Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cartoons continue to fuel unrest

World leaders appeal for end to violence

Cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published in several European newspapers continue to outrage Muslims around the world. After days of violent protests that have claimed several lives, the conflict has pushed both sides across an unexpected threshold, where they view each other with frustration and suspicion, often trading inflammatory accusations.

As the protests have spread, some Europeans have come to realize that relatively small Muslim minorities - three percent in Britain, four percent in Denmark and around five percent in the European Union - can wield power across the Islamic world. Many moderate Muslims in Denmark have been shocked by the violence and deaths around the world prompted by the row over Danish cartoons using satire to portray the Prophet Muhammad.

According to Voice of America, the second largest Islamic organization in Indonesia has called for Muslims to forgive the publication of drawings.

The 12 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published last year originally appeared in the best-selling Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September to accompany an editorial criticizing self-censorship in the Danish media. Since then some media outlets have republished the pictures in solidarity, while others have refrained from publishing them to avoid causing offense to their audiences.

The backlash resulting from the publishing of the cartoons has prompted fierce debate among journalists. Western dailies cite free speech as the reason for printing the questionable images.

President Bush today pleaded for an end to violence. A leading Muslim organization in Afghanistan is also calling for an end to the violence. Police there shot four protesters to death today to stop hundreds from marching on a southern U.S. military base. Middle East unrest also continues.

This story is taking on a technology angle. The furor over the cartoons is now is being felt on the Internet, where hackers have struck down and defaced hundreds of Danish Web sites over the past week. More from PC World.com.

Related: Christian Science Monitor, Washington Post

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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

If they keep shooting the protesting muslims eventually things will quite down.

Shirazi said...

To the above comment: No. Not at all.

Deb S. said...

For the record, Anonymous: Inflammatory remarks will not be tolerated on this site - period. It's too bad you chose not even give us the courtesy of a screen name. By not revealing who you are, your credibility is questionable.

Abrar said...

Thanks for visint my BLOG!! you are quite correct that 2 wrongs don't make a right. However, I just wanted to appreciate the non-violent nature of the protest from the iranian newspaper!! This issues needs to be protested, but in the most peacfull possible!! And the Iranians have come up wiht something unique which really makes us all question the freedom of expression and its limits!!

I ahve added you t my Blogroll as well. Keep visiting for more interesting content........ murgha style ;)

Regards

Deb S. said...

Abrar: Thanks for weighing in on this topic.

On the surface, I am sure it seems as if the Iranian newspaper is taking nonviolent action to protest the publishing of the cariacatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

What I am looking at is the fallout that could result - and possible escalation of violence - should the newspaper go forward with its sponsorship of an international competition for cartoons on the Holocaust. This issue is already volatile worldwide. In my humble opinion, even the suggestion of such a competition adds fuel to the fire. I don't want to see any more lives lost.

For readers who are catching up on the ongoing developments of this story:

A prominent Iranian newspaper said Tuesday it would hold a competition for cartoons on the Holocaust to test whether the West extends the principle of freedom of expression to the Nazi genocide as it did to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

Hamshahri, one of Iran's largest papers, says the contest is a reaction to European newspapers' publication of Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. According to Hamshahri, the contest is scheduled to be launched on Monday.
To learn more, read this story by the Washington Post.

For still another point of view, check out Abrar's post on his site, Murgha of the Day.

Abrar, thanks for stopping by and linking our sites.

Abrar said...

DCS: I agree that this action by the Iranians may result in more violence. Also, it may result to mysterious incidents that I have mentioned! Also, by holding such a contest, the Iranian paper is not helping in resolvinf this issue but rather provoking it. However, it will certainly test all of our belives on freedom of expression and its tiggering the debate that how free should freedom of speech be??? How can something be FREE if its LIMITED?? But I think Media has certian responsibility and the Danish Newspaper ignored that!! Now, the Iranian paper is doing the same thing and setting a very bad precedent.

Deb S. said...

Abrar: You make some valid points - definitely something for all of us to think about. I'll be the first to say that there are no easy answers to resolve this issues, especially while emotions fly. Nothing gets resolved, either, when government and religious leaders hurl accusations at each other. There definitely needs to be some strong, responsible leadership on all sides.

Many leaders, particularly Muslims, are calling for an end to the violence. Religious leaders are reminding protesters about the power of forgiveness. I definitely think that this is a step in the right direction.

I wish that we could keep politics out of this altogether, but that's not how it works in the real world. However, I do think world leaders should put their cultural and political differences to the side as much as possible. What the world needs to see now is leadership with courage, thoughtfulness and integrity.

Again, I appreciate all of your thoughts on this very difficult issue.