Defaming Muhammad

In 2005 the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten and 12 of its cartoonists were threatened by Muslim extremists for publishing cartoons about the prophet Muhammad deemed offensive by Islamists. The resulting religious hysteria and extremism was amazing and horrible to behold.

Eleven Muslim ambassadors traveled to Copenhagen to confront Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen demanding apologies from the newspaper. The ambassador of Turkey had received full support of the Turkish Foreign Ministry in demanding that Rasmussen call Jyllands-Posten to account for abusing Islam in the name of democracy, human rights and freedom of expression.
When Rasmussen refused to cede his countrymen’s freedom of speech, the ambassadors decided to take the matter to international Muslim organizations, such as the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In January 2006, after both the newspaper and the Danish government refused Muslim demands for an apology, a wave of violence ensued during which several Danish embassies were set alight.

That was then, this is now.

Danish police arrested 5 Muslim men on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 alleged to have been planning to murder Kurt Westergaard, one of 12 cartoonists commissioned by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper to produce caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in late 2005. At this point Mr. Westergaard has realized that he will have to live out the rest of life under the threat of murder by Muslim terrorists – over a Cartoon!

Bomhead Muhammad

I’m joining in the campaign to reprint the signature cartoon by Kurt Westergaard. It is unconscionableness to allow Islamists to impose their beliefs upon the world by the threat of violence.

Related Reading:

The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion
Freedom's Fray (Freedom's Fire Book 3)
Muhammad: How He Can Make You Extraordinary
Humanity without Dignity: Moral Equality, Respect, and Human Rights
The Islamist: Why I Became an Islamic Fundamentalist, What I Saw Inside, and Why I Left

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24 Responses to “Defaming Muhammad”

  1. robertjerome Says:

    Islam reminds me of the baser elements of Judeo/Christianity. The situation with the Danish cartoonists just goest to show how obsessed the Abrahamic religions are with killing, evisceration and death. And yet people still follow and base their lives upon the beliefs of desert people who lived 2,000 years ago.

    Go chuck your bible or your torah or your qur’an in the nearest garbage bin and join the real world.

    http://www.robertjerome.wordpress.com

  2. jonolan Says:

    A purely secular / atheistic world is at least as much of a fantasy as anything in anyone’s holy book. Religion is a fact of life. I’d like to think though that the violence in religion’s name isn’t a permanent fact of life.

  3. Aafke Says:

    I think the muslem leaders just like to use stuff like this to draw their own subjects attention away from sometghing they’d like to keep out of the public eye. That one poor kaffir gets snuffed in the process is a bonus.
    So I take it something juicy is going on right now.

    Have you ever seen Arab cartoons? Because they make it sound as if cartoons are invented by the devil and ”the west”, but they don’t mind making them themselves as long as they target America and Israel.
    This is a link to one of my favorite blogs, scroll down, and view some nice Arabic cartoons:
    http://muttawa.blogspot.com/2005_10_01_muttawa_archive.html#112876740820496659

    Actually, suicide and mindless killing are not at all allowed in Islam, but it is the same as in other religions: many people don’t read their own books, but the perverted interpretations of some bigotted total nutter.
    There are as many different muslims about as in every other religion on the planet.

    A healthy growth in atheism would be a great improvement towards world peace. But its not for everybody: a lot of people just can’t do without religion.
    I’m afraid there is no religion that can’t be twisted to concede ”holy wars”. Buhddism comes closest I think.

  4. jonolan Says:

    Aafke, you’re of course right. If you read passages of the Torah, Bible or Qu’ran out of context – i.e. take individual verses or sura – you can find excuses for some truly heinous behavior.

    I’m not sure about atheism being a positive force though. It would require more strength of character for a true atheist not to behave very selfishly.

    BTW – two of those cartoons (in a set of four) that you cited were actually created by the Nazis, not the Muslim Arabs.

  5. Aafke Says:

    The point of the blogger was that they look remarkably similar. And it is a bit hypocritical to make such a fuss about the danish cartoons when the cartoons placed in Arab newspapers aren’t that ”halal” either.

    Ah, well, the one or two atheists I know are just very nice and intelligent, and not prone to violence. I don’t think you need religion to be considerate to others.

    Although all major religions call for, what might be termed ”good behaviour”, in fairly clear statements: It seems to me that the more fundementally religious some people become, the less friendly and polite they get.

  6. eeyore Says:

    YES, islam is a religon of peace….how many times do I have to tell you ?
    (and if you don’t agree,I’ll kill you)

  7. Aafke Says:

    I take that sentence back, about not needing religion to be kind to your next person. I’ve been thinking it over. Many people don’t have the character or state of mind to be kind to others and do need a religion to tell them what’s good behaviour.
    And because religions get highjacked by evil people who then twist the original message, it still doesn’t work.

    I recently came across the knowledge that a lot of people actually think that this is it! We, now, are the ultimate end of evolution. The epithome of God’s creation. What a depressing thought! 🙁

  8. Nabiha Meher Shaikh Says:

    I don’t see why Muslims are so reactionary. It’s just a cartoon! It doesn’t mean anything. I remember talking to my students about this. I tried to reason with them and tell them that getting offended about everything one hears about one’s religion is… well… stupid. In Pakistan, crazed mobs took to the streets and burned banks etc. They created chaos in their own land. It was just ridiculous. It’s just a cartoon…

  9. expatbrian Says:

    Well, as an atheist, I am the last person who might say this but…regardless of the freedom to do so, I think its very bad form to condemn, denigrate, or make snide remarks or images of someone elses religious leaders of beliefs. I’m not saying there should be a law against it. I just think its bad form. The cartoons in question are racist and should indeed be offensive to moderate and mainstream Muslims.
    However, none of this gives extremists the right to condemn a mans life or set fires or blow up buildings because they don’t approve. But this is easier, cheaper, and takes less brains than the response they should have given which might include taking out ad space or printing articles about why the cartoons are so offensive..in other words, stating their case in a civilized way.
    As long as the Muslim extremists behave like animals they should expect to be treated like animals. And as long as people, cartoonists or otherwise, disrespect other people’s beliefs and grossly generalize to the whole from the actions of the few, they leave themselves wide open to attack.

  10. jonolan Says:

    Sorry, Brian – Akismet erroneously caught your comment! I’m glad I noticed that while doing maintenance.

    I agree that the cartoons were offensive. I would never have posted Westergaard’s cartoon if it hadn’t been for the ongoing violence in response to it. I don’t think the extremists are getting quite the response they hoped for. 😉

  11. Nabiha Meher Shaikh Says:

    Jonolan,

    They are getting the response they hoped for! By publishing a cartoon on your blog, you are becoming yet another example of an Islam hating Muslim for them (I’m not implying you are one; they will see it this way). In other words, you’re helping their cause, twisted as this may seem. They prey on disenfranchised youth, and these cartoons were a great way for them to play up the whole “clash of civilisations” nonsense.

  12. robert roels Says:

    Hi Jonolan;

    I see you like controversy and posting a picture such as this one doesn’t help. I hope you are wearing Nike, I heard you can run faster wearing them. 🙂

    All kidding aside, if the cartoon is an innocent mistake drawn in ignorance, there is no wrong doing.

    However, a cartoon of a prophet, would be like a cartoon of Jesus or Mary. The extremist Christians would not react any differently that those of Islam.

    I believe that respecting the faiths of others is important, although I do not hesitate to point out deficiencies in faith if they attempt to impose it on me or lie to me.

    This is not the case with the cartoonist. He was insulting. However, an apology and removal of the insult would be sufficient, and I think most followers of Islam would agree.

    Unfortunately, extremists are motivated by forces I don’t understand. Maybe that is what they refer to as evil.

    Regards

    Robert

  13. Aafke Says:

    I still maintain that the muslims are pretty hypocritical, considering what they print in their own media.

  14. jonolan Says:

    Nabiha,

    That’s an interesting and disturbing thought. Sadly it’s a no-win scenario. According to you – and it’s a logical premise – refuting the extremists and publicizing the cartoons furthers their cause amongst Muslims, yet failing to publicize the cartoons is bowing to the will of these extremists and also furthers their cause and their methods.

    Robert,

    No, I don’t bother with Nike; I prefer Colt, Glock and H & K!

    I do not know the original basis for the cartoons. The newspaper claims it was a deliberate exercise in free speech and a vehicle to show how Islam is corrupted by jihadis. Being neither blindly trusting of the press nor possessed of in-depth knowledge of the newspaper, I take that with a grain of salt.

    Christian extremists – read “fundies” – would and do react differently to such perceived insults. I heard of no murder attempt or riots over the “Jeebus” pictures or figurines. The sentiment and “moral outrage” may be quite similar, but the chosen vehicle of expression is quite different – rhetoric vs. violence.

    Aafke,

    True, but beware of lumping 1.3 billion people into one basket. It may be right to do so, but also it may not be so. In the case of hypocrisy, you’re probably right to lump them all together since hypocrisy seems rampant amongst the followers of all or most ideologies, but it’s a dangerous habit to acquire.

  15. Kamil Says:

    There is no doubt that the response of many governments (such as the Arab league) to the cartoons was childish and immature. There is also no doubt that the response of the people pretty much escapes a simple description like “disproportionate”. Having said this, we need to keep in mind several things:

    1. In the vast majority of these countries, there is overwhelming poverty and literacy levels are low. What do you expect when this is coupled with a hardline version of religion? Mob mentality takes over easily; this was clearly seen in the disgusting performances we saw here (Pakistan). It only takes a few people spouting some hate mongering rhetoric to inflame entire crowds. So many of these people did not even understand what they were actually protesting against or committing wanton acts of destruction and violence for.

    2. The same newspaper had, only a week earlier, refused to publish cartoons of Jesus Christ. What about David Irving being arrested when he stated that the holocaust never happened? I personally am of the opinion that his opinion is abysmally foolish and that there is no doubt whatsoever that the holocaust in all its gruesome detail did happen, but that’s not the point here- Where did freedom of speech go in these two cases?

    3. I’m sorry, but I refuse to accept that the publication was an “honest mistake”, it was more of a needle in a place where they knew they shouldn’t be poking. Obviously this does not justify the response, and I know that they did not count on the newspaper being distributed abroad by angry Muslims (again, pathetic), but considering how the Internet and media connect the entire world today, this was bound to happen. It offended them and they felt the need to share it with their brethren in their home countries.

    4. It may interest you to know that drawings and paintings of Muhammad have existed for hundreds of years. Many Muslims, particularly in Persia have actually created drawings and scenes of his life as an act of love and reverence. There have been many, many different interpretations of Islamic law on the “ban” on portraits… Many people believe that the puritan view is wrong and that all that is forbidden is WORSHIP of any drawings and idols. If you go to wikipedia and look Muhammad up, you will see some of the drawings of Muhammad… It is clear that unlike the Danish cartoons, these were not drawn with malicious intent.

  16. Aafke Says:

    A lot of muslims think this is an exaggerated response too. I never meant to generalise all muslims, that would be stupid: I know many people of many faiths whom I love and who are all lovely sensitive people.
    I only ment the ones who go on the streets and burn their own countries. And please, Denmark probably holds less people than New York. And so what? Some people may be insensitive prigs, what off it? Ignoring it would have been better. Who else reads Danish newspapers? Nobody anywere in the world would ever have known about them, or seen them.

    Yes, I have seen beautiful Q’uran-drawings. And there is a lot of beautiful islamic art around. And also one sees enough very large portraits of political rulers in Islamic countries.

  17. Steph Says:

    I’d agree if this really was about free speech but it isn’t. When has there ever been free speech in Europe? The Europe Union has approved Europe wide Holocaust denial laws and a whole raft of anti racial and religious hatred laws. And Denmark itself is notorious for its double standard towards Judaism and Islam.

    The point is that the cartoon is childish and designed to vilify Muslims, if it was about Jews it would be illegal in Denmark. I’ll happily defend freedom of speech but not Danish white supremacism.

  18. jonolan Says:

    Steph,

    So rioting, the destruction of property and the attempted murder of the cartoonist is an acceptable response? If you think so, what would you think of a similar response to the plethora of anti-Christian and anti-Jew cartoons in Islamic publications?

    BTW – That the cartoons were in bad taste is not in doubt.

  19. Steph Says:

    @ jonolan

    The protests outside the EU are irrelevant as far as I’m concerned, it is an EU matter, and Denmark should be consistent. I’m consistently against all incitement to racial and religious hatred laws, Denmark isn’t, it has laws protecting Jews from vilification. So what Denmark is championing is Islamophobia not free speech.

    And there was no attempted murder of the cartoonist – if there had have been, there would have been a trial. All that happened was the Danish government rounded up and deported a few Muslim immigrants and issued a non-legal binding caution to a Danish Muslim citizen for his role in the “plot”. So the Danish police obviously didn’t have any evidence. It’s pure propaganda.

    Denmark is in a conundrum: it hates it’s Muslim minority, the government applauds and lies when the Danish press provoke and insult Muslims – then when the Muslim world reacts and blacklists Denmark, which hurts its economy, Denmark comes running to the EU looking for solidarity.

    Denmark doesn’t deserve the rest of Europe’s respect or support.

  20. Prudie Says:

    I think that Denmark has a bit of a problem here. On one hand, they have an increasingly violent Muslim minority who need little provocation to riot. On the other hand, they have “free speech,” however they define it. Really, they can do no right. If they limit what can be said/drawn/written about Islam, then they limit free speech and will consequently be condemned by the international community. If they come down hard on the rioting Muslims, then they are called racist by the international community and yet more Muslims riot. (And by “riot” I mean “generally break the law by harming other people and/or their property.”)

    Really, Denmark can’t win in this. They’ve created the situation. There’s no easy way out of it.

  21. Kamil Says:

    How refreshing to see someone (Steph) finally seeing through and exposing the hate propaganda that has been so zealously heaped upon Muslims and the Muslim world as a whole.
    Steph has only further proven the point I made earlier regarding double standards.
    Moreover, when speaking of “Muslim countries”, please DO NOT generalize. Go to a map and look at how many countries are listed as “Muslim”. Did you see any Malays in those riots? Did Indonesia’s Muslim community suddenly start burning down things?
    In my own country, the Northern province which was thought to be filled with |
    “extremists and terrorists” according to Western government statistics, has just voted in a Leftist secular party into power, in an overwhelming majority. Again, the work of Muslims.

    Having said this, yes, there are elements in the Islamic world that are still volatile, and I’m sorry, saying “Ignore it” is just plain moronic. The Danish media knew exactly what it was doing and these cartoons were published with malicious intent. Obviously they did not anticipate just how violent this reaction would get, but this is not the point.

  22. jonolan Says:

    Kamil,

    Further study on my part shows that yes indeed the cartoons were published with malice aforethought. That malice wasn’t so much aimed at Muslims, but at the disturbing levels of social self-censorship that was being displayed by the Danish people.

    Apparently a Danish author, Kre Bluitgen, tried to write a Muslim children’s book – Koranen og profeten Muhammeds liv – but had difficulty finding illustrators to draw Muhammad for the book, for fear of reprisals from Islamic extremists.

    The Jyllands-Posten got other cartoonists to create the less than flattering cartoons as a response to the self-censorship and the extremists that engender it.

    Now I cannot speak in an informed manner about the general policies or ideology of Denmark. They may well hate the Muslims living within their borders; I don’t know.

    In any case, the ongoing response from a broad swath of the Islamic world is just ridiculous. It’s not like you can pick up any Arab publication without seeing anti-Semite cartoons.

    BTW – Thanks for commenting! I love varying viewpoints since it’s the only way to actually expand my own viewpoints.

  23. Aafke Says:

    I know alot of islamic people who think this is all a bit overexited. And from a cosmic point of view, there are defenitely more important issues, also for muslims.

    Btw. the danish people have been very succesfull in the second world war to get almost the whole of the Jewish population out of the country just before the Germans were about to round them up. Let’s not generalise the danish either.

    And if some islamic leaders had not made such a big brouhaha over the whole thing, we would never have known, or seen these cartoons. Come on: some obscure danish newspaper. Does anybody here regularly read Danish newspapers? I don’t.
    If they wanted worldwide exposure of the cartoons they dislike so much, they couldn’t have done a better job!

    And after all, about cartoons: they are being made by the hundreds everyday. Some incensed muslims might want to realise that being rude and impolite while making cartoons is a part of western folkloristic habits, That they take on everything and everybody, and that nobody in ”the west” would actually set great store by them, or pay them a lot of attention.
    Unless some other people made them world-news.

  24. Petraeus v. Jones | Reflections From a Murky Pond Says:

    […] by either targeted or mass acts of violence. Their responses to insulting cartoons of their Prophet proved that point to the world. Therefor it’s hard to blame Gen. Petraeus for being against […]

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