'Double Standards' and Dissenters

As the worldwide protests against Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad show no signs of subsiding, a debate within the Muslim world is also visible.

While many online Islamic commentators accuse the West of hypocrisy about freedom of expression, a few Muslim writers are criticizing the protests as excessive and at least three editors have been jailed for republishing the offending images, according to news reports.

Perhaps the most common continuing complaint in the Muslim media is that the West has a "double standard" on free expression.

"There are some wonderful people in Europe who are truly liberal and honestly compassionate and who fight for rights irrespective of race, creed or religion," writes Munar Majid in Malaysia's New Straits Times

"But there are also too many hypocrites who hide their skin-deep prejudices under a veneer of the right to freedom of expression which they [would] not express if it involved, say, iconic Jewish and Zionist matters."

"Let's not have more and more double standards to push Muslims against the wall," he concludes.

In Pakistan, syndicated columnist Nosheen Saeed says, "The double standards and hypocrisy of the West can't be more visible."

"Since the purpose of publishing the cartoons was to offend Muslims, Europe has successfully managed to do so. The West always initiates violence and when Muslims retaliate, they are labeled extremists," she wrote.

When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a myth, said an Iran News editorialist, "not even a single Western publication defended his right to free speech."

"The Iranian president had only expressed his opinion but was then criticized vehemently by most countries and international organizations, including the Germans who nurtured the ruthless Nazi culture and even the United Nations, which is supposed to protect free speech!"

"If there are taboos and redlines to be avoided," he wrote, "why should the West violate them when it comes to sensitive Muslim issues? The inconsistency in the European approach is glaring."

But Egypt's Al Ahram Weekly sees "a touch of hypocrisy" in the Islamic outrage.

"Why are we being so inflexible towards Denmark, even after the newspaper in question, and many others in the country, have apologized for the cartoons which, by the way, most of those protesting have not seen?" the editors ask.

And some journalists in the Islamic world have not shied from sharing the offensive images with readers. In Algeria, two editors have been jailed for running the cartoons, according to New Zealand Radio.

In Yemen,  editor Mohammed al Asadi was detained Saturday after his weekly newspaper, the Yemen Observer, published partial details of the Danish images. The caricatures, according to the paper's Web site,  appeared "under a thick gray band and in the context of an issue of the newspaper that was almost entirely devoted to praising the Prophet Mohammed, explaining the current controversy, and illuminating the background of Middle Eastern anger over the images."

Asadi, who faces up to a year in jail, told visitors, "I feel great. I know I haven't done anything wrong."

Two columnists for the Daily Times in Lahore have decried the recent demonstrations in Pakistan. Mian Ijaz Ul Hassan, a painter and political activist, says they remind him of "children who take to banging their head against a wall or the floor to register a protest with their mother. These tactics may work with a feeble-hearted mother, but surely an adversary would not give two hoots even if you jump off the wall or dig a hole to bury yourself."

"How many of us have actually seen the offensive material?" asks businessman Munir Attaullah.

Are the cartoons "universally and outrageously repulsive to any sane person, or is it just in bad taste? And is it not possible that this cartoon business is, like much else in our schizophrenic society (such as the wearing of lipstick and jeans, participating in mixed marathons, or contracting 'love' marriages etc.) just another example of what a particular segment of our population thrives upon (by making a mountain out of a molehill and constantly trying to impose its own values on everyone else)?"

By Jefferson Morley |  February 16, 2006; 9:15 AM ET  | Category:  Asia , Europe , Mideast , Religion
Previous: Britain's Abu Ghraib? | Next: Cartoon Debate Cont'd: Iran's Ebadi 'Fed Up'


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That's find for Islam to asking for the cartoons not to be printed out of respect for their religion. So when are those same countries going to shut down the stream of anti Jewish and Christian comments that flow like the Mississippi River from their newspapers, radion and television stations?

Posted by: Ken | February 16, 2006 10:00 AM

Sorry typo "find" should be "fine"

Posted by: ken | February 16, 2006 10:01 AM

Double Standards? They can spout their rhetoric, but it does not hold water nor pass the smell test.

First, journalist, papers and other publications are going to cater to their own readership base...I would be willing to bet money that the political cartoons published in many Middle Eastern papers would not be my cup of tea, that I might even find them in poor taste, offensive, but I would not deny them their right to publish them, would not orchestrate a riot to protest the fact they made them into a paper I do not even read.

Secondly, those cartoons delivered a message that Muslims and their radical Islamic fringe do not want to hear, rather than realize they need to clean up their own houses. How many stories have we read about Islamic clerics preaching hatred from the pulpit, how many times have Mosques been the seeds from which various jihads took took root and grew?

The Muslim community wants to cry outrage over cartoons depicting their allah in a negative light, yet danced in the streets after 911. Where is the outrage when a hostage is decapitated on Aljazeera? Yes, there is a double standard, and a worrisome one. I support anyone's right to their beliefs, but will fight to the death to stop any one who tries to force their belief system onto me, and that is the Islamic agenda....believe in our God or die.

Look at the cartoons, then look at the pictures of the distruction caused by those in the Muslim community. Look at those cartoons and compare them to the deaths the Muslims caused in protesting them, and tell me who has blood on their hands. Let's stop being politically correct, and simply tell the world wide Muslim community that they are their OWN WORST ENEMY, and that if they want respect for their people and their religion, then they need to start addressing the ills, poisons and hatred that is Islam.

Posted by: Beltway Pinto Bean | February 16, 2006 10:17 AM

Well-said, Beltway.

Posted by: nyrunner | February 16, 2006 10:22 AM

Mr. Morley,

I just want to thank you for the time and decidation you put into this washpost blog.

If there's one thing that the explosion of cable television news has largely ignored, it's the views and opinions of the international community. It's well known that the time dedicated to international news on network news broadcasts has diminished dramatically over the past two decades; I'm happy I can come here and read who's picked up the slack.

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: corbett | February 16, 2006 10:27 AM

That should say dedication.

Posted by: corbett | February 16, 2006 10:28 AM

No other response can be done (Reuters, 02/16/2006 12h13):

"Amitaï Sandy (an Isreali cartoonist) plan to organize an anti-semitic cartoon contest in Isreal."
"We will show the world that we can make the best, sharpest and most offensive anti-semitic caricatures ever published. No Iranian can beat us to this game".


Posted by: Christophe | February 16, 2006 10:41 AM

If you think about it these protests are symbolic of the deeper issues facing the muslim world as a whole. The plain fact is they are being encouraged by religious/political leaders for some perceived benefit. Are we expected to believe that Pakistan has no police force capable of stopping thugs from trashing the local McDonalds? In the muslim world political elites manipulate the ignorant masses into violence whose primary purpose is to enrich the elites monetarily - a great example are the Palestinians - find out who's making money off that conflict and you know who is stoking those fires. Until we start to recognize that this is the primary motivating factor for the ruling elites in that part of the world and how we the west help play into that scenario we are doomed to live this nightmare over and over again.

Posted by: Bob | February 16, 2006 10:42 AM

F. Zakaria explained the outrage over the cartoons in a way that Americans can relate too. Imagine a cartoon, published perhaps during Katrina of a caricatured black person doing nothing except perhaps eating watermelon, while the flood waters were rising around him. Even if you are insensitive enough not to be outrages by the idea, any American surely understands how this would set off protests, maybe even riots. But at the same time you can't help a sardonic smile when protests against the violent depiction of Muhammad turn into riots in which people feel moved to destroy buildings and burn flags. And what's this of people claiming that Americans are more sensitive than Europeans? Do people watch the Daily Show or read The Onion? Another thing; of course it is true that Bin Ladan and other extremists don't represent Islam, however it must be said that his approval rating in many Islamic communities is probably higher than say Pat Robertson's (maybe not by much) is in Christian America. When facing up against extremists it doesn't help to understate their popularity. Here's to the hope for a future where both these men become less popular. I hope it gets here soon...

Posted by: David George Ferguson | February 16, 2006 10:44 AM

Er, claiming that historical facts didn't actually exist isn't free speech; it's mis-information.

Posted by: Happy Womble | February 16, 2006 10:52 AM

Saeed complains that when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a myth, said an Iran News editorialist, "not even a single Western publication defended his right to free speech."

And not even a single Western nation marched in the streets, burned down an Iranian embassy, tried to kill anybody, or declare holy war. To make matters worse, the West's leaders didn't even encourage people to do that kind of thing.

Saeed is the hypocrite.

Posted by: Dave | February 16, 2006 12:02 PM

The cartoons in my opinion are serving as a good wake-up for Muslims who care about the image of their Prophet. But directing their anger at the West is the wrong direction. It is not the West who created such a terrible image, it is radical Muslims. This serves as a good wake-up call for Westerners also, as the free press has been taken over by terror. I am happy to see more and more media outlets turning their back on this fear, as terror only works if you let it to. You can find the 12 Danish cartoons on my website, at http://www.obber.com, along with a game I created. The game is a shooting gallery, for some of the radical Muslims responsible for giving their Prophet the wrong image. It starts with an introduction from the turban and the bomb cartoon.

Posted by: Curtis Stone | February 16, 2006 12:03 PM

There actually is a double standard going on here. The problem we have in America is that when someone from the Middle East says "the West", we think that means just us or that all of the West shares our same rights. In this case, "the West" is Europe, and Europe does not abide by our first amendment.

Here's a really good article explaining the "double standard" that Europe has: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20060215_teitel.html. Europe has laws that we don't banning hate speech. You're not even allowed to deny the holocaust in some countries. The Catholic religion gets its way in that things found offensive by the Vatican get buried. What the Islamics are referring to with the "double standard" is in fact true - Europe does treat other religions with respect, and Islamics believe they are not being treated with the same respect. I think they have a point with regard to Europe's double standard. Does this point merit violent protest? No. I think they can be more effective with economic boycotts and pressing their case in a civil manner.

Posted by: mary | February 16, 2006 12:04 PM

The "outrage" over the cartoons has moved from the individual, who may be rightly outraged, to groups who would use it for political purposes. Like Islam itself, the emotions and beliefs of Muslims are being used to advance political positions, both domestically and internationally.

It reminds me of how the republicans use gay-marriage or abortion to whip up the fears of many who believe it to be wrong. These are emotional issues that for some people overshadows any other issue and becomes the one issue people focus on. It redirects the attentions away from the poor record of those who trot out these fears every election cycle.

As a political weapon for Muslims, the cartoons will be around for a long time pulled out whenever a Muslim wants to score a political point against anything western, as though the whole West had anything to do with it. And these same Muslims wonder why some people in the West look at all Muslims as supporting terrorism.

Posted by: Sully | February 16, 2006 12:56 PM

For the perfect example of the double standards of U.S. media, see the link for "sports" on the Washington Post's home page, and notice the first link is for the "Redskins," a term that all current dictionaries define as "usually offensive to Native Americans." American Indians have seen their culture, lifeways, and religion caricaturized, ridiculed, and scorned for hundreds of years.

Additionally, Muslims who think cartoons about the holocaust will have any impact on world opinion about what is an appropriate subject for humor have obviously never watched an episode of South Park, a program that regularly skewers all aspects of society, to include jokes about the holocaust.

Cultural divide, indeed.

Posted by: Hugh Foley | February 16, 2006 01:02 PM

Has anyone ever really read some of the verses in the Quran for themselves. The problem is we (the media and most people) are believing what these moderate imams tell us on television. Well check out for yourself just a small sampling of "peaceful" verses: http://www.blessedcause.org/Quran.htm. We are seeing the real Islam for what it is, and we should fear it.

Posted by: Doug | February 16, 2006 01:17 PM

Nosheen Saeed needs to get a clue about what "freedom of speech" really is. He seems to feel that critisicm of a stated position is the same as censorship. I hope he isn't typical of Arab journalists.

Posted by: CT | February 16, 2006 01:20 PM

"Moderate Muslim". A contradiction in terms?

Posted by: Nat | February 16, 2006 01:44 PM


"And not even a single Western nation marched in the streets, burned down an Iranian embassy, tried to kill anybody, or declare holy war. To make matters worse, the West's leaders didn't even encourage people to do that kind of thing."

No holy war was declared by any Arab or Muslim government against the ANTI-MUSLIM cartoons.

As to your other comment....

The West launched 2 large scale wars in the Middle East in which thousands and thousands of people were killed, and both of them were carried out AGAINST THE WISH OF THE PEOPLE (the locals, of course, the victims).

THE WEST enforced a HARSH INHUMANE embargo on Iraq that has killed at least half a million Iraqi children..The embargo was even opposed by Saddam's victims (Kuwait) because it was killing innocent people.

Now all of this was OF COURSE done for OIL and the effort re-established the Kuwaiti dictatorship the way it was....that is, the way they were running the oil business.

Your disgraceful Madeleine Albright (a very well respected western official) stated ON RECORD that half a million Iraqi babies was WORTH THE PRICE.


Do you really think that people in the Middle East are not aware of all of that?

Make no mistake that we will teach it to our children along with the crimes of our own dictators.

Posted by: Karim | February 16, 2006 01:45 PM

President Ahmadinejad's assertion that the Holocaust is a "myth" creates a much more serious issue than that of "freedom of speech". As head of state, every word that comes from his mouth should be considered Iran's official position. To date, no European newspaper has followed the publishing of offensive cartoons with the pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Andy P | February 16, 2006 01:48 PM

In observing the rash of protests the Islamic world has unleashed since being made aware (by a handful of extremist clerics) of cartoons published months ago in Denmark, a few thoughts come to mind.

The first is that this talk of a "double standard" is fundamentally flawed. The complaints from the Islamic protesters generally revolve around the idea that criticisms or offensive speech directed at Jews is forbidden in the Western World, while offensive speech against Muslims is allowed and even encouraged. Many others have pointed out the blatant hypocrisy of such complaints emanating from a society that routinely dispenses anti-Semitic rhetoric and prays for the annihilation of Israel. The flaw in the argument runs deeper than that, however. "Race" and "religion" are two very seperate animals. Individuals choose their religion, and with that accept both the positive and negative aspects associated with it. Race, however, is not a selectable quality--an individual has no choice whether they are born black, white, Jew, Arab, etc. So equating offensive language aimed at a religious group with that aimed at a particular race--regardless of the inherent hypocrisy of those making the comparison--is fundamentally flawed and not comparable.

Not that I expect the Muslim protesters to take notice of this distinction, which leads to my second point: most protesters are so busy "protesting" they have neglected to understand what it is, exactly, they are protesting. It is a rather twisted irony to observe Muslims violently protesting an image characterizing Mohammed as violent.

Finally, with regards to the comparisons to Ahmadinejad's statements regarding the Holocaust and its existence (or non-existence). It's true that the world reacted with revulsion and a demand of a retraction of the statement. As well it should. The statement was a denial of a factual event meant solely to offend and inflame tensions between the Arab world and Israel. It was also an irresponsible statement made by the leader of a state. However, a key difference is that the statement was not followed by violence and riots in New York and Jerusalem. Jewish and Christian leaders did not call for the destruction of Iran, or the ostracizing of Islam. Rather, they reacted as any society should when faced with such racist and inflammatory rhetoric spoken by a head of state--it rejected the statement and demanded a greater degree of responsibilty and accountability on the part of Ahmadinejad.

In short, the Muslim protests are misplaced and misguided. The reaction the cartoons solicited by the Muslim world was, ironically, the very message they were trying to convey. You have to wonder how many in the Muslim world realize this.

Posted by: Ben | February 16, 2006 01:59 PM

Double standard? How retarded. Free speech means that the president of Iran can talk about his views of the holocaust and any (non-violent) reaction to his comments is free speech also. I guess the muslim world has been oppressed by their leaders for so long that the mere concept of a free press and free speech is alien to them. And Mr. Bush, this muslim world is living proof that not everyone wants to be free.

Posted by: playahata | February 16, 2006 02:02 PM

This is my comment in regards to Jeff's entry in the blog.

In my opinion, the only double standard that is relevant to this is the way some of our media denigrates the Jewish people or the Jewish faith in general....generally caused by the Israeli conflict.

Still it does not justify the collective punishment (the same that the west practices all the time) that Arabs reserve for all Jews because of Israeli actions.

So I repeat again:

The Arab newspapers which complained about the ANTI-MUSLIM ANTI-ARAB Cartoons should remember that any ANTI-JEWISH cartoons is NOT acceptable and that if they believe it is acceptable, then they are as hypocrite as some western governments.

The Jewish faith and Jews in general haven't done ANYTHING to us Arabs.

Our problem is mainly with certain governments in the West (and it was the Jews too not too long ago).

Jews haven't colonized all of our lands and killed our people for the sake of taking over our resources; It is the WEST that did that only 40 years ago. In Some Arab countries, it was less than 35 years ago.

We still have people in our countries who remember the colonial days, they are not even dead yet.

While the majority of the West no longer engages in colonialism, a new form of colonialism is taking place. The aim is the same: to control other people resources for their benefit.

Arab Newspapers should offer apologises for any Anti-Jewish cartoons or material that they ever printed.

Posted by: Karim | February 16, 2006 02:05 PM

Karim- its a couple of drawings, we call them cartoons. Get over it. Really, get over it. Stop with the being angry, stop with the "I'm so persecuted..", blah, blah. Get over it. Fact - Muslim terrorists exist and until you have the stones to stand up and clean YOUR OWN house then you should expect these caricatures to continue. Get a clue, Muslims are doing more to discredit the image of Allah than an army of Danish cartoonists. Why don't you take all that pent up rage and do something productive like speak up against the radicals? Coward.

There are also some people in the world who don't give two craps for your religion. Christians, Jews, Muslims, whatever, as far as we're concerned its just an invisible friend for adults. Why do you care what I believe? Why do you care if I don't respect what you believe unless you have some doubts about the strength of your conviction? Grow up, make your life so fulfilling and happy you won't have time for anger.

Posted by: asta | February 16, 2006 02:10 PM

Look. I'm Jewish, born in a jewish household, engaged to an israeli. I hear jokes about the holocaust (such as the famous pizza one) and I LAUGH. why?

because its a joke. Whether it is meant in a way of being funny or as a way to express hatred, it is still a joke.

I know that by dating someone of german descent does not suddenly make me a nazi supporter. I also know that stereotypes usually stem from a small shred of proof.

Unfortunately, what is supposed to be the most peacefull religion in the world, is very quickly turning that shred of proof into a representation of every muslim nation.

I have MANY islamic friends. You know who they are mad at? The people protesting. The people proving the cartoonists correct.

Muslims, hear this: don't be mad at someone with misinformation making stereotypes against your people. denoucne, hunt down, and boot out those that are DEFILING your religion. Be angry at those that are spreading these images as truth, not those that are drawing them based on the actions you disply to the public eye.

Posted by: Squishyness | February 16, 2006 02:12 PM


Posted by: Squishyness | February 16, 2006 02:13 PM

"Amitaï Sandy (an Isreali cartoonist) plans to organize an anti-semitic cartoon contest in Isreal."
"We will show the world that we can make the best, sharpest and most offensive anti-semitic caricatures ever published. No Iranian can beat us to this game".

That's the smartest thing I've heard in this whole silly mess. No-one can laugh at themselves like the Jews.

Posted by: OD | February 16, 2006 02:20 PM

It's all pretty funny to me the way the leaders of Iran, Syria, Indonesia, etc, give a wink and a nod to the protests knowing that when their pawns (i.e., the "outraged" masses) are screaming and burning flags of other countries, they at least are not looking inward to the problems in their countries and plotting a coup. Their leaders like OUR leaders know it's always easier to direct public anger outward.

Yeah, whats-his-face in Iran can fume and fuss and wish death upon the "infidels," but for him and his dictatorial peers in the Muslim world, those cartoons were a gift from God (no pun intended).

Posted by: Mo H. Ammad | February 16, 2006 02:31 PM

Brilliant Squishyness, tell them to hunt down those defiling the religion. Problem is, you mean radical muslims, they mean cartoonists and writers and...

Posted by: NW | February 16, 2006 02:38 PM

Again, who cares if someone insults your religion? Let's be serious, does it really make all that much of a difference? My god can beat up you god. Do you realize how foolish that sounds? Of course in a free society you must be allowed to speak your mind. I am also allowed to mock your opinion.

We have billions of starving, illiterate, suffering people in this world and the only thing that matters to some people is where they go to church...or temple...or mosque. Do you know why they care? Money and power. That's it. Show me someone who wants me to follow their religion, and I'll show you someone who either wants my money, my labor or my land - or possibly some combination of the three.

Just out of curiosity, since when did Judaism become a race? Last I heard all Jews and Muslims share the same father.

Posted by: asta | February 16, 2006 02:56 PM

Europe is often spoken of as if it was all one and the same. I think only 2 countries, Germany and Austria, have laws against holocaust denial. And Scandinavia is probably the most secular part of the world (been to over 40 countries myself, lived half my life abroad incl. USA). To us Italy, Spain, Greece and Ireland for example seem ultra-religious and the way God is mentioned by US politicians is very odd to us. These danish journalists were honestly concerned about the self-censorship brought on by the outright intimidation of anyone with even the slightest, entirely legitimate, criticism of islam. Take Theo van Gogh. He died for helping to highlight issues concerning women and islam.

Posted by: Scandinavian | February 16, 2006 03:17 PM

About no one in the West marched to Iranian Embassy or burned it down. They don't have to as they trust their governments for this job. And in the Mideast and south asia people have to do it themselves.

Posted by: Khalid Seth | February 16, 2006 05:23 PM


What you wrote is dishonest, hypocritical and inaccurate.

What the Danish published was not a joke. Show us where it said it was a joke.

It was a racist hateful publication.

Muslims do not need to ask you if they are allowed to be offended.

They are free to be offended of WHATEVER THE HELL THEY CHOSE.

Use violence is of course another thing, which I condemn.

As to our ARAB radicals (what you called Muslims, which I consider a bigoted comment), well they are not supported by our armies or even our un-elected governments. All of them are clandistine and outlaws.

Our radicals are not given fighter jets, tanks and laser-guided bombs to attack other nations, kill their people and destroy their properties (oh I know its for their own good).

Your radicals are ELECTED and are running the government with pretty much the full approval (and financial support) of millions of people and are in full control of a scary powerful army armed with nuclear weapons.

Oh but stupid me...doesn't realize that that's how democracy works. If the great democracy of America decides that killing 2 million Vietnamese people is OK, well we, along with the victims, should just stuff it and swallow the bitter taste of being unlucky!!

And if the same democracy decides that 100,000 dead people in Iraq is for a good cause, we should just swallow our conscience and dignity.

Well here is some news for you, we will NOT swallow it anymore.

The policies of your governments are not just offensive or distasteful, they KILL people, and not just a few, but many thousands.

Posted by: Karim | February 16, 2006 05:30 PM

You know I just wanted to respond to the enlightened one (it doesn't matter what his name is), who singled out the Redskins as an example of American 'double standards.' When I was a kid I remember seeing Princess Pale Moon sing the national anthem at RFK. If you know anything about sports, what genius would name his team after something he loathes or at least is indifferent too? The term Redskins is meant to honor the team not belittle or demean them, it's just unfortunate there are people out there that think they are entitled to be censors for the rest of us. There was a story a while ago, about some sensitive American Indian who decided to print shirts for a rec-type basketball team called the 'Fightin' Whities.' There happy? The afflicted responded with equal force, (something muslims don't understand), case closed.

Posted by: Capitalist Bob | February 16, 2006 05:54 PM

Why is it that Muslims find the cartoons of Muhammed so objectionable? I seem to recall a certain armed religious conquest by said prophet oh, say, in 600 or 700 AD. It also happens to be true that many Muslims (Arabs in particular) either believe they are still living in that time, or wish to revert to that period, their "golden age", so to speak. If anyone needed further insight, all one would have to do is refer to some of the language in the Quran itself, as noted by an ealier contributor.

So again, why are Muslims objecting to the cartoons? Could it be because they portray an element of truth?

Posted by: SR | February 16, 2006 06:17 PM

"It was a racist hateful publication."

No, sorry but no. There was nothing Racist or hateful in that publication.

Offensive maybe, bad taste, I'll give you that but of those 12 cartoons 10 of them were perfectly respectfull by western standerds one might be considered non complementry and even the one much talked about guy with bomb in turben was no more agressive then your average political cartoon.

Get over yourself, someone bumped you on the subway and now your crying that it was on purpose and the world is out to get you.

Posted by: Duck | February 16, 2006 06:22 PM

"So again, why are Muslims objecting to the cartoons? Could it be because they portray an element of truth?"

To the best of my knowlage most people arn't actually. This has become a gigantic urbun myth in my opinion.

They're screaming that the Dutch insulted the Prophet and were being Racist and Hatefull because they were told to scream that. They were lied to and passions boiled over and the lie is perpetuating itself.

Posted by: Duck | February 16, 2006 06:26 PM

Ok last post,

For all those that have never seen them. Here is a link to the cartoons.


So the question is, are these really racist or hatefull?

Posted by: Duck | February 16, 2006 06:33 PM

It's worth noting here that if we're not muslim, we aren't going to understand the issue, and vice versa. So - how about a 'novel' idea. Dialogue. Y'know, something that doesn't make the west say 'hmmm - look at those uncivil, loose cannons.' A little more talking and a little less rock throwing would go a long way. Westerners look at the riots that are still happening as a joke, a failure of civilization. Are we still kids on a playground who didn't get our way?

I know, I know - we instigated all this by being born in the west. Sorry, no one's buying it. If you keep reacting below the bar rather than above it, that's all the other side will see you as. Why aren't the clerics urging for calm every second of the day? Who's standing up against this?

Like Ben stated, Karim, where are your stones? You can judge, but the mirror is just a little too harsh for you to look in?

Posted by: settle down | February 16, 2006 06:55 PM

Karim, I don't know if it's intentional or not, but you're misquoting ex-Sec of State Albright. She never said the embargo killed 500,000 Iraqi kids; the interviewer (L Stahl) told her some folks had alleged that number and asked her if the embargo was still justified, and she didn't bother to dispute the figure and said it was. here's a thorough debunking, both of the 'quote' and the larger claim.

also, your anger over any deaths in Iraq b/w 1991 and 2003 should be directed at saddam and his regime.

Posted by: CE | February 16, 2006 07:03 PM

Muslims routinely participate in marches shouting death to israel, trample litereally on the flags of nations they don't like and smile and wink at each other when a terrorist kills thousands of innocent people.

People think muslims are violent extremists because....they are.

Posted by: | February 16, 2006 07:05 PM

way to bring it down a notch anonomous.

Posted by: settle down | February 16, 2006 07:13 PM

When will the Western leaders finally tell the muslim world that we can all live in peace and prosper or if they want a "Holy War" wewill be glad to have a "Crusade" and settle this problem once and for all. I do not hate any Muslim, infact, I have a pray rug that I received as a gift in a place of honor in my home and have offered to assist a Muslim family I know to move to the States if they want. But I will fight for my right to believe what I want and and keep my right to free speech. The final decision on how this world turns out is up the Muslim world.....Not the West.

Posted by: jlb | February 16, 2006 07:34 PM

great... a smackdown threat would really help matters. Gosh, I wonder why we don't do what you suggest...

Posted by: settle down | February 16, 2006 07:53 PM

and the conversation falls apart...

Posted by: settle down | February 16, 2006 07:54 PM


The fact that she didn't dispute the figure is irrelevant.

I read that article before. Even if we go by what the article said, then some 300,000 children died unecessary deaths.

I m guessing that becomes OK eh? 300,000 of dead foreigners in the desert, who gives a damn!

What matters is her answer which simply showed her deep disregard for human life, foreign one of course, as it is usual business for US foreign policy (Oil is more valuable).

And of course there was no outcry in America about her statements (culture of disregard for foreign human life).

What matters more is that when she stated that, she was the US ambassador to the UN. It was before she was nominated as secretary of State.

Her job at the UN was to enforce and to promote the sanctions (US veto power), which she did.


Albright now writes that her answer to Stahl was "crazy" and that she regretted it "as soon as [she] had spoken." Yet she did not take back her words between 1996 and September 11, 2001. According to Matt Welch, in a speech at the University of Southern California shortly after 9/11 she "quietly" expressed regret for her statement, claiming it had been taken out of context. (She does not make that point in her book.) But neither her office nor the Clinton administration issued a prominent retraction to the American people or the world. Could that be because her initial answer was sincere and that her belated apology was issued with her legacy in mind? We can be sure of one thing: word of her original response spread throughout the Arab world. Maybe even among some of the 9/11 terrorists.

Even though Albright opposed the war on Iraq, I doubt this lady has any conscience.

She should be tried for genocide just like other dictators, including Arab ones.

Posted by: Karim | February 16, 2006 10:03 PM

Simple economics... poverty, disease, a feeling of uselessness and the neighbourhood Mullah who is more than happy to redirect your ire towards the great Islamic cause. There is an excellent editorial in the NY Times discussing some of the issues that fuel extremism.


It is sad that the United States agreed to sell 70 plus F-16's to us yet they have continously ignored Musharrafs requests for economic aid. Infact getting some sort of a free trade agreement was Musharrafs priority (even ahead of Millitary assistance).
The thing that saddens me the most is the insistence by a large majority of people on this mesage board (and other websites) to brand all Muslims with the title of extremists. Some people continue to berate the moderates for not doing enough to make our voices heard. Those who refuse to see the Muslim world through anything but eyes tinted with prejudice will never give credit to those of us who try to raise the voice of reason within our countries and societies. If the media (our own and the west's) do not highlight our efforts that does not mean they do not exist or that they are insufficient. Perhaps you think that we should stage a 'bloody coup' to make people realize that we advocate a message of peace.
Reform in the Muslim world will take place, make no mistake about that. It might take us a while but we will get there.
The West can play its part by not fanning the flames lit by extremism and balancing its policies in the Mid East.

Posted by: Zain | February 16, 2006 11:23 PM

Muslim rage at prejudice and insult is as natural and justified as Jewish rage at prejudice and insult. Those who think not are proponents of "Jewish privilege". Every lawyer know the phrase of using a shield (from insult) as a sword (for attack immunized from criticism) - a practice that many in the Jewish community have honed to a science. Therefore the evolving and self-serving mutation of the "definition" of anti-Semitism from the initial shield against personal prejudice, to a sword defending the Israeli program of aggression and genocide.

The conjunction of Iran, Hamas, and the cartoons spotlights the highly provocative addiction to Jewish privilege in current Western thinking and even law. Iran can't even enrich, but Israel can possess; Likud's genocidal hateful agenda is embraced as a "plan for peace" by the White House, democratically elected Hamas is to be starved into extinction because it dares to legitimacy; it is an appropriate exercise of freedom of speech to desecrate what is most sacred to Islam, not so and even criminal in some places to desecrate what is sacred to Jews. Of course, the "root privilege" is that Jews are allowed - without sanction or reprisal by the West - to dispossess, starve and destroy Palestinian people in violation of every principle of human decency, but the very human efforts at resistance by the crushed Palestinians are condemned as criminal acts.

This is not simple hypocrisy - a much overused word. We are all hypocritical in our own small ways here and there - one would go mad trying to be a slave to consistency. Oh no! What we see in Jewish privilege is virulent, malignant identity politics based on religion and ethnicity - one set of standards destructive to Muslims, another advantageous for Jews. Not too different than the identity politics in the "black codes" in the former slave states in the US after the Civil War.

The core problem with the US foreign policy vis-a'-vis Israel's destruction of Palestinian society, is that open discussion and debate at important policy levels is virtually taboo. This is not a legal "freedom of expression" issue. This taboo arises from the absence of challenge to the nonsensical insistence of Israel's "supporters" that all issues related to the occupation are "existential" for Israel. No compromise allowed.
This taboo of course echoes into the media and the general populace and in most quarters, outside academia, frank airing of disapproval of anything Israeli is a sure-fire way to make sure you are never invited again. Even academic examination is under virulent attack. Those that stray in the media are publicly and viciously attacked by a well-orchestrated legion of Jewish avengers.
The result is that far too many Americans in politics, media and the informed public fear the ADL or one of its army of local "minders" will publicly attack them as "anti-semitic" if they speak bluntly about what they really think about Israel's crimes. This fear, deliberately stoked by the ADL and its semantic warriors, obstructs the self-examination and self-correction in government, in the media, and among the politically-active public, that is an essential self-correcting mechanism in a healthy democracy.
We are far off-course in our pitiable and weak-kneed fear of finding, and talking about, the real "root causes" of Arab/Islamic hostility to the West - 90% of which arises from the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians. The longer we are cowardly toward the need to straighten out Israel's pathological destruction of Palestinian society, the further off and predictably the more dire the ultimate correction.
The same thing happened in the 1840's and 50's - rational discourse about slavery was impossible because the South insisted it was an existential issue for the way of life in the South. It took a catastrophe, the Civil War, to get our society back on course.
I think the probability of a catastrophic resolution of today's antagonisms is at a scary level.
I have a simpler way of putting it: The Muslims are not the Cherokee, and we and the Israelis better get used to that.

Posted by: Timothy L | February 17, 2006 12:06 AM

Karim, you didn't read the article if you think it says that 300,000 Iraqi children definitely died because of sanctions. and you remain oddly indifferent to the key cause of their suffering - Saddam's regime. why?

Look, obviously the death of any child is horrible and tragic. it's insulting and frankly stupid for you to claim or assume me or anyone else shrugs a child's death off merely because the child lives in another country. You're as guilty of generalizing and stereotyping as you claim Americans are.

and consider this - America's history and actions are not perfect, but we've acted several times in the past 20 years to aid Muslims in distress. There are Bosnians and Kosovars and Kurds and Afghans alive today who would not be if the US had not acted, however late or for whatever reasons. How many Muslim nations can make that claim?

Posted by: CE | February 17, 2006 11:48 AM

It is sad that the United States agreed to sell 70 plus F-16's....whoever wrote this post is right on! I agree with many of the "westerners..sp?" views on the middle east, however this persons post gave me a clear perspective on the problems and conditons that exist between our two cultures. It's very easy to view "all muslims as extremists" because that is all we see in the media. THis is wrong. In defense of our "western" views..there seems to be MUCH more extremist talk and images than from anyother religous group. Think about it....how many times do christians go to church and hear the minister/priest etc...talk and ask you to pray for a whole group of people to be killed or wiped off the map? It's NUTS. The double standard is something I take offense to because the argument is completely moronic. The "difference" between Iranian leaders publically calling for the mass disposal of an entire people and a small newspaper printing a very offensive cartoon are worlds apart! The argument makes the muslim stance look even more ridiculas......hmmm

Posted by: | February 17, 2006 12:18 PM


The key to those deaths were the harsh sanctions imposed and enforced mainly by the US government. The article that I posted explained how Saddam's government created one of the most elaborate state sponsored food-rationing programs.

Even Iraq's victim which was Kuwait, opposed the sanctions because they were killing innocent people:


The Kuwaiti who directly suffered from Saddam's illegal invasion showed some humanity in them...unlike your ruthless government which was not even attacked by Iraq.

I am not generalizing.

Had Albright dared to state what the same about US babies, she would have been forced to resign.

You could argue that other countries would have done the same (so why single out the US), but I will point back at Kuwait's, Iraq's victim, stand on the harsh sanctions.

This is not about Muslims but about Arabs (who happen to be Muslims) and their oil.

Posted by: Karim | February 17, 2006 11:37 PM

"Think about it....how many times do christians go to church and hear the minister/priest etc...talk and ask you to pray for a whole group of people to be killed or wiped off the map?"

Because they don't feel under attack from others, that is mainly why.

When our people see that many dead people and witness the decades old Israeli occupation (financed by your government, 3 billion dollars per year), they react that way.

Have you been to Israeli synagogues and heard what they say about Arabs? Obviously not. When Palestinian-Arabs kill their people, they also get angery and wish death of all of us Arabs.

What you wrote is the typical answer I hear from some westerners who are unable to view other people as equal human beings who suffer the same way and feel pain the same way.

When you talk about the Iranian president, you forget to mention that no one (other than himself) is financing or promoting his crazy plan.

Contrast this with the financial, military, political support the US government has given to Israel that has since 1948 worked on the mass disposal of the native Palestinians from where their ancestors had always lived.

Israel, DIRECTLY supported by the US government, US tax payers, US embassadors to the UN, US companies (Caterpillar, lockheed martin for its F-16s, etc), has denied Palestinians the right to exist as a free people SINCE 1948.

In 1969, Golda Meir, Israeli prime minister (who was born in Kiev in Europe), stated on record:

"There were no such thing as Palestinians"

It took Israeli at least 40 years to kind o recognize the NATIVE Palestinian rights to exist as a free people on their own native lands.

Israeli are even rewarded for this...with money, military aid and more political support. They were NEVER ever sanctioned by the US government. On the contrary, they were given money for whatever they decided.

Please look up double standards somewhere else other than where it was defined to you.

Lastly, don't forget that even today Israel is still occupying foreign Palestinian lands by force against their wish and in violation of many many UN resolutions, on top of the Geneva conventions.

This I know you don't care much about but I thought I would remind the readers.

Posted by: Karim | February 18, 2006 11:57 AM


"There are Bosnians and Kosovars and Kurds and Afghans alive today who would not be if the US had not acted, however late or for whatever reasons. How many Muslim nations can make that claim?"

Few good actions like that (for Bosnia only) do not make up for other actions because the problem goes beyond "mistakes" in policy.

It's like saying Saddam attacking the oppressive democratic regime of Israel in support for Palestinians would make up for his other crimes. You see some Arabs did buy into (Palestinians themselves) like you do with your own government.

You brought up Afghan people, well do you know how many Afghani were killed during the US invasion?

The policy itself is not based on mutual respect of the world community or the wish of foreign people. With very few exceptions, the policy is solely based on promoting US interests beyond your borders, period.

Even when some of your policy makers talk about helping others, they usually back it up with "if we don't, it is going to be bad for us".

You should know that even Europe doesn't think this way.

Every one in the world knows that the US government is not a socialist government, and that the people do not believe in welfare...if you wouldn't allow your own government to help your own poor citizens, how can you argue that your government is genuinely trying to help foreign people?

Posted by: Karim | February 18, 2006 12:15 PM

"..."Think about it....how many times do christians go to church and hear the minister/priest etc...talk and ask you to pray for a whole group of people to be killed or wiped off the map?"

Because they don't feel under attack from others, that is mainly why. ..."

Karim, are YOU INSANE???

ummm, I am pretty sure much of America, if not AT LEAST New York, might disagree with you there considering 9.11.

and I can only HOPE that there were no religious leaders here asking anyone to pray for the annihalation of an entire people.

Posted by: banshee | February 19, 2006 09:53 PM

If anybody is interested in seeing the cartoons or a documentary about them, check out http://www.obber.com.

Posted by: Curtis Stone | February 20, 2006 10:10 AM

Someone commented that Bosnians are alive because of America. Excuse me! America and the world stood by while 300000 Muslims were massacred by the Christian Serbs. Radovan Karadjic proclaimed that the Serbs were doing a public service for the Christian west by getting rid of the Muslims. Dutch "peacekeepers" stepped aside and let the Serbs massacre thousands of Muslim men in Srebenica. And Muslims are supposed to be grateful to the west? America stepped in Kosovo only after the process of ethnic cleansing was under way. Several mass graves of Muslims have been found in Kosovo. The butchers Radovan Kadadzic and Ratko Mladic are roaming scot free. Obviously this would not happen without western complicity. The Christian west is repaying a debt to these mass murderers for reducing the Muslim population in Europe.

Posted by: | February 20, 2006 12:12 PM

This is a debate about cartoons and violence, not a debate about US foreign policy in the Middle East (with which I do NOT agree, BTW).

Words should be met with words. Plain and simple. Freedom of speech guarantees little more. Words should NOT be met with violence, and freedom of speech should guarantee this.

But violence should be met with violence.

At this point in the conflict, it is both rational and justified for free people or their governments to organize and meet violence upon those who threaten violence upon those of us who enjoy free speech. Those that preach violence or threaten death against the cartoonists and newspaper publishers deserve nothing less than death themselves. It is irresponsible to NOT respond thusly to their threats of violence.

We must remember that men and women sacrificed their freedom and their very lives in wars against tyranny to achieve the liberal free society we all now enjoy. Wresting new free societies out of the clutches of centuries of tyranny was not some kumbaya encounter group or international conference. Blood was shed.

It is time for violence in the defence of freedom once again.

Posted by: Scott | February 21, 2006 05:23 PM

3 things.
1. You make many good points regarding the underlying reasons for angry muslim reaction to almost any perceived slight from the west (and the majority of secular Europeans, myself included, would agree with your views on the Iraq war, and the plight of the Palestinians). BUT,
2. Muslims have not cornered the market in suffering and injustice.
3. The Danish cartoons, lousy as they were, were a reponse to the increasing sense of intimidation many Europeans feel from radical islamists who view their faith as providing carte blanche to slaughter anyone who disagrees with them.

Violent reaction from muslims (everywhere from Lahore to Jakarta - NOT just Arabs) has simply fuelled this concern, and the handful of brave, rational, intelligent souls in Jordan, Yemen and Egypt who have openly questioned such reactions have mostly been locked up by their own governments.

It strikes me that the Islamic world is in crisis. It can continue to point the finger of blame (rightly, AND wrongly)outwards - at everyone from the Crusaders to the colonialists - in which case, further bloodshed seems inevitable. Or, it can pursue the far harder path of working out what its guiding principles should be in the 21st, rather than the 11th century.

Posted by: Ayesha | February 22, 2006 02:17 AM

Cartoons, cartoons, cartoons, and it's pathetic that a group of people, i.e. muslims, cannot get it through thier heads that not all countries and peoples are muslims and should not be subject to, in western countries in particular, to be threatened with thier lives for publishing cartoons. I know that in Europe there is, however, quite a lot of hope in seeing the emergence of Eurabia, and ofcourse such depictions of the great profit would not be allowed then, but stoning of adulteress females would be as would a whole host of grisley things. But, than again, that's Islam for you.

Posted by: sommer | March 18, 2006 11:26 PM

I am sick of these radical muslim leaders pushing the young muslims with islamic nationalism. They are overreacting. yes it goes against their religion but the media makes fun of everybody. Though not all these countries have experienced the media freedom we have they still should not be so mad as they make fun of christians jews and anyone else that isnt muslim. however we cannot do anything about it but taking away freedom of speech by not printing these cartoons is not a solution it is giving in to their outrageous demands.

Posted by: thinncrispy | April 26, 2006 05:41 PM

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Posted by: khan | July 5, 2006 09:28 AM

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