I have been watching the news over the past week with a mixture of incredulity and irritation.
This rubbish over cartoons is so ridiculous that I would be deeply, deeply ashamed to be Muslim right now.
Firstly, the Danish paper in question shouldn't have published these cartoons, as they were obviously going to cause controversy. But there you go.
Secondly, the other European newspapers are to be congratulated for their support of the Jyllands Post because by that stage the controversy was becoming a dispute over the notion of the freedom of speech.
Thirdly, it's worse to burn down embassies than to draw "blasphemous" cartoons.
I can understand that Muslims don't like images being drawn of the prophet. And that they're apparently forbidden to do it. But here's the thing; were not.
We can draw whatever images of Mohammed we like. We can draw him doing whatever we want, because Muslim law does not apply to non-Muslims
. So I can appreciate that they might not like it, but tough. Simple as that.
Next, it would have been smart for the Middle Eastern governments that go so uppity over the cartoons to protest to the editor of the paper. But I don't see why they would bother (a) complaining to the Danish government or (b) trying to get the government to get the paper to apologise. The Danes were quite simple about this, there was nothing they could do because there is a free press in Denmark. It has been very interesting to see the reaction in the Middle East to these cartoons. Clearly not one Muslim country there either understands or appreciates the notion of a free press independent of government control. Quite an eye opener alright.
And the reaction in the region was completely unacceptable. To attack and burn down foreign embassies and to firebomb a church in Lebanon, what sort of impression do Arab Muslims want to give us? If they don't want to come across as short tempered, irrational, zealots who try and police the minds of everyone they come into contact with, then they probably shouldn;t go apeshit over a fucking cartoon.
It's just ridiculous. How could people get so exercised over a cartoon? I think it's safe to say that in no Western country would people storm and burn down embassies because a Muslim paper had published a cartoon about say...Jesus with a bomb in his...donkey.. Are we forced to come to the conclusion that Arab countries (and I'm making the difference between Arab and Muslim because no-one in Indonesia or Pakistan has gone torching Scandinavian consulates) is in such a backwards state that this sort of thing could even be considered normal or acceptable?
I don't want to think that Islam is backwards, that the religion of 1.3 billion people is so fundamentally flawed that it cannot survive outside a medieval society. But I'm just not hearing or seeing enough from the Muslim moderates, about whom I'm starting to wonder if they exist in any great numbers. We're very lucky to have a very moderate Muslim community in Ireland, which appears to have a good relationship with the Government, and is actively supporting the Gardai in keeping extremists out of the country. But other states seem less fortunate. The UK, for example, seems filled with thses Islamofascists who are determined to force their views on us here in the West. The Irish Times had a picture on its front page on Saturday of protestors in London (why were they protesting? No British paper published these cartoons?) and one had a placard saying "Europe is the cancer, Islam is the answer." Now firstly I would disagree completely. Secondly, if you don't like Europe then leave. No one is making you stay. Very much the opposite..
I've never seen an entire region of the world act so immaturely, I really haven't. We can hardly be expected to treat the Middle East and its inhabitants as equals, can we? If they're acting like tantrum prone kids?
This is a sort of clash of civilisations, in as much as civilisation (ours) is going up against hot headed and irrational zealotry. We can't appease this sort of nonsense with platitudes and apologies. It's the Middle-Easterners who should be apologising to the Danes and Norwegians for the damage to their embassies.