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Monday, February 06, 2006

They're just cartoons

Well, I guess if you have strong faith and perceive someone is out to get you, then maybe the Danish cartoons are slightly more than 'just' cartoons.

But what kind of religion responds to a NEWSPAPER'S editorial line by trashing a COUNTRY'S embassies? What kind of religion responds by inciting murder, beheadings and annihilation of those who drew these nasty little cartoons?

I am fine with Muslims being offended by these cartoons; I guess I would feel the same. And I am sure that most Muslims feel offence, then move on and get on with their day. But how am I supposed to feel about Muslims who respond to accusations of militancy by, um, behaving militantly?

Maybe the right response would have been mass flower giving ceremonies, or maybe a hug cake-bake charity raising fair? How about a an organised rendition of Paul McCartney's "Pipes of Peace"? Or a "Come round to my place, Mr Dane, let's have a game of Monopoly with you and the kids"?

I've just read the background to the story on Wikipedia and it's infuriating.

In case you didn't know, the cartoons were commissioned by a Danish paper to illustrate a story about a Danish author's difficulty in finding an illustrator for her CHILDREN'S book on Muhammed's life. Illustrators were afraid to depict Mohammed for fear of backlash from the Muslim community.

The story in the paper was about the difficulty of discussing, let alone criticising, Islam in public. That's a completely valid editorial piece, and reporting on the way we have to tread on eggs around discussion of Islam is valid.

We are free to satirise and criticise Christianity in this country. Sure, Christians get very riled, but our tenets of free speech allow Christians to respond. Brilliant. And in Denmark, Jesus is often portrayed in a way considered as blasphemous in othe countries.

The same should be said of Islam.

The final point, I guess, is that my reaction is to the actions and behaviours I see through the media. And it's not in the media's interest to report on the millions of people who have a sane and rational response to the cartoons - annoyance, offence, anger - but do positive things to change the situation.

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