Monday, February 06, 2006

Muhammad Cartoons-

Those of you reading the global news (of which I hope that includes everyone) know of the protests and now violence that has broken out around the world. Here is a brief synopsis of what has happened. A Danish newspaper had a cartoon contest, of which the subject matter was Muhammad. This was done in an attempt to no longer self-sensor. The newspaper stated that "religious dogma has no place in a secular society" (Papers reprint Islam row Cartoons, Feb.1, 2006, The cartoons were first published in September of last year. After multiple reprintings, mainly in western Europe, the Muslim community has come out to protest.

My initial reaction was well Christians are portrayed in cartoons too. How many times have you seen the t-shirt "Jesus is my homeboy". Which I can't stand by the way. But lets say for a moment that there was an African American, or a Jewish individual portrayed in some of these cartoons in stead of Muhammad? Would it be ok then? Every heard of Hate Speech? Does this qualify?

Did you know that "Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet to prevent idolatry" ( Germany's Welt daily argued that within democratic freedoms they have "a right to blasphemy". Now, I am all for the separation of church and state...But that statement just rubs me the wrong way. Where is the line...What is the protocol for saying what needs to be said, for appropriate commentary without insult and disrespect while still maintaining ones strong beliefs and faith and standing up for Christianity?

I question the Danish paper the most. What were they thinking first of all. Now it is true that freedom of press and freedom of speech include cartoons (short of hate speech of course, at least in the U.S.). But it seems, to me, that this was almost to make a point of stereotyping and ultimately offending Muslims. Would it not be offensive to Christians if Jesus was portrayed in some sort of pornographic or extremely violent setting.

Does the west only associate the teachings of Muhammad with the violence often found in the Middle East? Well how about the violence of Israel? How about the assassinations, some of which in broad day light that Israel has carried out over the past 50 years. What do we have to say about the human rights abuses perpetrated daily by the Israeli Army? Is not the west immediately associated with violence through a Muslims eyes then too perhaps? Will it always be West vs Islam? Having worked with and known personally many Muslims I have found this not to be the case. But how many of us know a Muslim? Prior to Chicago I did not. How much do we know about the Islamic faith? I confess I know very little other than Jesus was seen as a prophet not as the Son of God and the five prayers said each day while facing East. Now that takes faith and dedication. It would take a great deal of discipline and or hardship for me to get in the habit of pray to that level of dedication each day.

Another thing that I pause upon is the fact that these cartoons were first published in September 2005. Why did it take so long to gain world recognition and Muslim disapproval? Is there something more to that...?

Im still not sure where I stand on this issues other than there are many sides of it.


Blogger beholdhowfree said...

Well you look at this a little different than I do, but you raise some good questions. Truth be told, I don't actually know personally any Muslim. Or at least not one that I could sit down and ask some questions. Hmmmm...

2:10 AM  

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