New York

Vår tids flygresor är det närmastge man kan komma boskapstransporter. Därför bör alla sådana resor som sträcker sig längre än till inrikesflyg sorgfälligt undvikas. Men jag kom alltså fram och lever nu i en värld av andra klockslag. Hur debatten i Eslöv förlöpte har jag ingen aning om men det kommer väl en rapport. Det finns i varje fall bilder av erased-rummet i Eslöv på ministry of arts hemsida. Länk finns här på sidan.

Återkommer med fördjupade reflektioner om världens tillstånd i morgon.

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7 svar på New York

  1. A Report on the Counterjihad Summit skriver:

    Gates of Vienna November 2, 2007 Friday 3:39 PM EST:

    “A Report on the Counterjihad Summit

    Baron Bodissey

    Nov. 2, 2007 — Counterjihad Brussels 2007 was planned and coordinated by the Center for Vigilant Freedom in order to bring together various European groups “” members of political parties, interest groups, bloggers, and writers “” to discuss the common danger they face from radical Islam in their respective countries, share reports on the encroachment of Islam and sharia in their countries, and outline the measures being used to resist The event was more than just a talk-fest, with the second day of the conference dedicated to working groups.

    >The role of CVF in all of this was to act as the network cable and routers for all the different groups that are already grappling with the issue of the Islamization of Europe. We are just one such group performing this function; others such as SIOE are also working all across Europe for the same ends. We applaud and support all the networks of people who are striving towards the common * * * * * * * * * * * * * * The first day of the conference met at the European Parliament for a combination of featured speakers and reports for each European country represented at the conference. We adjourned and reconvened at dinner in the Flemish Parliament building for additional speakers, the award to Bat Ye’or, and informal discussion and networking.
    Agenda>
    1. Keynote “Eurabia “” How Far has it Bat Ye’or”Creeping Dhimmitude at the United David
    2. Country Ten-minute summaries with statements of problems, current and planned
    a. Belgium (Paul Belien/Filip Dewinter)
    b. Germany (Stefan Herre)
    c. France (Nidra Poller)
    d. UK (Gerard Batten)
    e. Sweden (Ted Ekeroth/Reinhard “” FOMI)
    f. Denmark (Lars Hedegaard)
    g. Norway (Jens Anfindsen)
    h. Finland (KGS)
    i. Netherlands (Johannes Jansen)
    j. Italy (Adriana Bolchini Gaigher)
    k. Switzerland (Arnaud Dotezac)
    l. Romania (Traian Ungureanu)
    m. Austria (Elisabeth
    3. Working
    4. What can we learn from Israel’s ongoing fight with terrorism? (http://www.motionbox.com/video/player/1c9ddcb61d1ae592?iid=emb_plyr_video_videoclick#1|video, H/T Atlas Dr Arieh Eldad, member of Israeli
    5. From Dawa to Jihad (presentation is not public, but here is a http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/files/Sookhdeo.mp3|video interview, H/T Atlas Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, Director, Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity and of the Barnabas
    6. Opposing Dr. Marc Cogen, professor of International Law, Ghent
    7. The War Against Jihad : Understanding the adversary (presentation not Sam Solomon, ex-Muslim and shariah law expert, author of the “Proposed Charter of Muslim
    8. Reception and Islam “” Is it the real problem? (http://www.motionbox.com/video/player/1c9dddb01c1de492?iid=emb_plyr_video_videoclick#1|video, H/T Atlas Robert The First and Last Enemy “” Jew-Hatred in IslamAndrew Bostom
    >In an earlier post I excerpted from Bat Ye’or’s opening speech in the European Parliament. Below are some additional excerpts from several speakers. Full texts of these and other speakers are available at Counterjihad Europa, as are the speakers’ biographies.>>From David Littman’s – – – – – – – – I would like to start with a prologue. In January 1971 I discovered a rare gem in the library of St. Anthony’s College, Oxford and “” encouraged by Professor Bernard Lewis, then in London “” I co-edited a slim volume, Arab Theologians on Jews and Israel under the pseudonym, “D.F. Green.” (1)
    >It contains a brief introduction and extracts from 25 lectures pronounced by senior Muslim scholars in 1968 at The Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research, under the auspices of Al Azhar University. These scholarly Islamic transactions were published in 1970 (in Arabic and English) by the Egyptian Government Printing Offices, thus providing official Forty years ago it was disheartening to witness the principal religious leaders of the Arab-Muslim world convening for the sake of glorifying a Jihad ideology and vilifying another religion and an entire people, shunning neither expressions of abuse, nor the worst invectives “” with lecture titles such as, The Jews are the Enemies of Human Life as is Evident from their Holy Book. The Supreme Judge of Jordan spoke on The Jihad is the Way to Gain Victory, and various forms of Jihad were strongly recommended by speakers. Jews are frequently denoted as the “enemies of Allah” or the “enemies of humanity.” This latter expression is even to be found in the opening speech of Egypt’s then vice-president. The Mufti of the Lebanon preferred the expression “” “dogs of humanity”. (2)
    >These clerics affirmed then “” as do others nowadays, and also the Iranian and Syrian presidents “” that they differentiate meticulously between Zionism and Judaism and are against Zionism, but not against Judaism. There cannot be a more trenchant disproof than the arguments used at this 1968 Conference. Zionism’s odium is described as emanating from the perversity of Judaism. Zionists and Jews are treated synonymously. And this theological mindset has remained intact 40 years later “” even greatly magnified “” yet it is minimized by those who still refuse to see with their eyes and hear with their ears the clear message from Syria and Iran, from Hizbollah and Hamas, and from the Jihadist hosts Perhaps it’s time to republish a fourth edition, Muslim Theologians on Jihad and on Jews and Israel “” in the hope that readers may learn that today’s ‘culture of hate’ and of Jihad is nothing new.
    >Dr. Abdul Halim Mahmoud, then Head of the Islamic Research Academy and Rector of Al Azhar University, later published Jihad and Victory in which he made the same point about the Jews according to Allah commands the Muslims to fight the friends of Satan wherever they are found. Among the friends of Satan “” indeed among the foremost friends of Satan in our age “” are the Jews. The Jews have laid down a program for the destruction of humanity, through subverting religion and ethics. They have already begun their control of the mass media, and their propaganda. They have falsified knowledge, violated standards of literary truth, and put conscience in the service of breaking down to implement this program with their money, and destroying humanity. As a consequence of such activities, the Jews have succeeded in gaining control and seizing power. But Allah “” praise be to Him “” will wreck the edifice that the Jews have built and eliminate their destructive machinations and double-dealing.
    On 4 April 2002, Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi “” the highest ranking cleric in the Sunni world “” referred to the Jews as “the enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs.” And fatwas by Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi use racist, genocidal language.
    In any counter-Jihad context, it would be advisable to reiterate, ad nauseam, hard irrefutable facts. For instance, the slogan of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement, founded in 1928, which is the blueprint for all the “Jihadist Martyrdom” Bombers “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” This is virtually identical to article 8 of the 1988 Hamas Charter 60 years later, whose article 2 states that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement in Palestine.” From Lars Hedegaard’s country report on It is by now quite clear that the Danish cartoon crisis that erupted a few months after Jyllands-Posten’s publication of the Muhammed drawings on 30 September 2005 was deliberately triggered to test if Denmark was ripe for a take-over in the sense that the Danes were willing to bow to sharia law and accept their place as dhimmies.
    >Bernard Lewis went even further and observed that the death sentences against the Danish cartoonists and editors were a sign that the Islamic strategists were already considering Denmark to be part of the Dar al-Islam where the sharia As subsequent research has revealed, it is equally evident that the main instigator of the troubles in the shape of embassy and flag burnings, violent demonstrations, death threats and boycotts were Muslim states in cahoots with The Muslim Brotherhood.
    >I shall refrain from speculating as to why the leaders of the umma thought of Denmark as a soft spot ready to be conquered. Perhaps they had been looking for a suitable place to show off their global reach and decided that it might as well be Denmark since it presented itself as a target at the right Recently the entire charade has been repeated following the Swedish artist Lars Vilks’ publication of a drawing of a prophet (he didn’t say it was Muhammed) as a dog in a traffic circle. The same death threats were issued although the street demonstrations were not as well organised or violent as in the case of Denmark.
    >Interestingly the Swedish experience sheds new light on the Danish case. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen was roundly blamed and vilified for his refusal to meet with the ambassadors from Muslim states who would like to lecture him on the proper “tone” in the press and demanded an official apology. Rasmussen’s unwillingness to see the Muslim emissaries was then cited by Danish apologists for the imams as the true cause of the subsequent troubles. Had the Prime Minister only agreed to listen to the well-founded grievances of the concerned ambassadors, matters would never have got out of Well, the Swedish prime minister did receive a deputation of Muslim ambassadors to discuss internal Swedish affairs and he got precisely the same result as his Danish colleague – death threats.
    >The refusal of the Danish Prime Minister to issue a formal apology for activities that were perfectly legal under Danish law to countries that do not allow freedom of expression may be seen as proof that Denmark did not surrender. But the picture is If we look at most members of the Danish elites – among writers, journalists, academics, the Lutheran Church and several political parties – particularly on the left – they were only too eager to apologise and publicly condemn Jyllands-Posten for using free speech for purposes for which it had never been intended, i.e. to cause dismay among Muslims. While paying lip service to the principle of free speech, these elites were perfectly willing to accept guidelines for its appropriate use issued by the self-proclaimed spokesmen for “1.6 billion Muslims”.
    >Most disturbing of all was the fact that leaders of the Danish security police, known as the PET, reacted to the well-orchestrated onslaught against Danish interests at home and abroad by lauding the calming and benevolent influence of the Danish imams and declaring its intentions to collaborate more closely with them in future. The very people who had been instrumental in stirring up trouble by travelling around in the Middle East showing pictures that had not been printed in any Danish newspaper – including a photo that they claimed to be showing Muhammed as a pig, but was in reality a photo of a man participating in a pig-squealing contest in The most important outcome of the Muhammed affair – undoubtedly Denmark’s most serious foreign policy crisis since 1945 – was that by and large the common man stood firm in his defence of free speech. Several subsequent opinion polls have confirmed that despite some erosion of support for Jyllands-Posten and the right to offend and ridicule religion, there is still a majority of unbowed Danes behind our old freedoms. We are thus faced with a truly remarkable state of affairs, where those who make a living out of writing are more than willing to stay within guidelines dictated by representatives of powers where teenage homosexuals are whipped and hanged in public, whereas the common folks defend the very freedom of speech for which the professionals have little use.
    >The resilience of the commoners makes Denmark stand out among so many of our neighbours as a country to From Andrew Bostom’s after-dinner
    Antisemitism did not exist in the traditional Islamic world”¦ Antisemitism is, in fact, a relatively new phenomenon in the Arab world, gaining ground particularly since the eruption of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the mid-twentieth century. Nazi-style antisemitic books and publications have been produced openly. For example, there are at least nine different Arabic translations of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, which was translated into Arabic for the first time in the 1920s”¦The development of European-style antisemitism in the Arab countries is related to three major first penetration during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries of a variety of European ideologies and concepts into the Arab world, among them antisemitism; second, the collapse of traditional political systems and of the loyalties and practices associated with them, giving way to the emergence of nationalistic government structures less tolerant in their treatment of religious, ethnic, and ideological minorities; and third, and most crucial, the development of the conflict over the domination of Palestine, beginning with Jewish resettlement in the late nineteenth century, followed by the establishment of the State of Israel and the ensuing Arab-Israeli conflict”¦Themes borrowed from European Christendom were adapted by incorporating references in But this very flawed construct ignores primary, uniquely Islamic components of Muslim Jew hatred, both past and present. Indeed, for the Muslim masses, basic Islamic education in the Koran, hadith, and sira (earliest Muslim biographies of Muhammad) may create an immutable superstructure of Jew hatred on to which non-Muslim sources of Jew hatred are easily
    The uncomfortable examination of Islamic doctrines and history is required in order to understand the enduring phenomenon of Muslim Jew hatred, which dates back to the origins of Islam. We can no longer view Muslim Jew hatred as a “borrowed phenomenon,” seen exclusively, or even primarily, through the prism of Nazism and the Holocaust, the tragic legacy of Judeophobic Christian traditions, or “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” from Czarist Below are some excerpts from a few of the speakers’ David Littman:
    >Born in London, he graduated in history and political science from Trinity College Dublin (B.A. with Honors and M.A), followed by postgraduate studies at the Institute of Archaeology (London University). In 1959 he married and he and his wife moved to Switzerland where they settled. In 1971, under the pseudonym, “D. F. Green”, he compiled and edited jointly with Yehoshafat Harkabi, Arab Theologians on Jews and Israel (English/ French/German, 1971-1976), and published historical articles in academic periodicals from 1975-1985. From the mid-1970s he translated, from French into English, many studies by Bat Ye’or on the condition of Jews and Christians under Islam (“dhimmitude”), co-translating three of her books. Since 1986, he has been active at UN human rights bodies in Geneva as a non-governmental organization (NGO) human rights defender, known for addressing many taboo subjects. He is currently the accredited representative of two the Association for World Education (AWE) and the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), recently addressing the UN Council on Human Rights four times at its Sixth Session in September Gerard
    Gerard Batten was a founder member of the UK Independence Party in September 1993 and the first party secretary from 1994 to 1997. He fought local elections, a by-election, a European election, and two general elections as a UKIP candidate before being elected as the MEP for London in June 2004. He also serves as a member of UKIP’s National Executive Committee. In July 04 he was appointed to the Security & Defence Committee of the European Parliament and as the UKIP spokesman on Security & Lars Lars Hedegaard is a historian, author, journalist and President of The Free Press Society “” a Danish organization founded in 2005 for the protection of free speech. He is the co-founder and co-editor of the Free Press Society’s web magazine http://www.sappho.dk specializing in articles and commentaries on Islam, free speech and Western civilization that most of the mainstream press will not touch. He is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Copenhagen daily newspaper Information. Since 2000 he has been a commentator with the national daily Berlingske Tidende and a frequent contributor to radio and television programs.
    >With degrees in history (University of Aarhus) and English (University of Copenhagen) he has worked for publishing houses in the USA and Denmark and for several journals and newspapers. He is the author of a number of books on contemporary world history. During the 1990s he worked for the Nordic Council of Ministers, specializing in North European area studies. Since then he has devoted most of his time to the study of Islam’s impact on European and Western civilization, on which subject he has published a large number of articles in the Danish Adriana Bolchini
    Journalist and national president O.D.D.I.I. Observatory of Italian and International Law. Director of the on-line magazine Lisistrata. She is also a campaigner for social problems and participates in an independent capacity in the administrative elections of the PSI. (Partito Socialista Italiana). In 1978, she was a victim of a terrorist attack carried out by the terrorist group Prima Linea in She is active in the social and political field, writing reviews on problems in the cities and she founded the on-line magazine, Lisistrata and an associated blog, plus hosting a network of various other websites. Some years before 2001, she began to notice problems with immigrants, particularly Muslims and began to investigate. She learned about the Muslim Brotherhood, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the terrorist strategies of Wahabbi Sunnis and its associated anti-western hatred and the conflict arising from the Khomeini revolution with the appearance of martyrs and suicide bombers which led to the massacres of the American and French military in Lebanon. After the 11 September, the nature of the Muslim invasion became an incontrovertible truth. Finally she realised that Italy is becoming infiltrated by Islamic traditions and usage, leading towards the application of Sharia, to which she is vehemently opposed and for which she has received death Aryeh Eldad:
    >Prof. Aryeh Eldad, M.D. (×ר×(TM)×” ××oe×”×””Z, also spelt Arie Eldad) is a member of the Israeli Knesset and a physician. He belongs to the Moledet party, part of the National Union list in the Israeli Knesset. Eldad is a professor and head of the plastic surgery and burns unit at the Hadassah Medical Center hospital in Jerusalem. He studied medicine at Tel Aviv University, where he earned his doctorate. He served as the chief medical officer and was the senior commander of the Israeli Defence Forces medical corps for 25 years and reached a rank of Tat Aluf (Brigadier General). He is renowned worldwide for his treatment of burns and won the Evans Award from the American Burns Treatment Association. He heads the Ethics committee of the Knesset. He is head of the sub-committee for anti corruption struggle, member of labor welfare and health committee, head of sub committees for organ transplantation and Para-Medical Professions. He is a member of the Science and Technology committee, and head of the Lobby for Anti-corruption A the complete text of the above selections, along with much more material from the conference, can be found at Counterjihad Europa.>”

  2. Good News: The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust Fund skriver:

    Gates of Vienna October 30, 2007 Tuesday 1:11 PM EST:

    “Good News: The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust Fund

    Dymphna

    Oct. 30, 2007 ( — You may remember that my idea of private funding for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s safety did not get a warm reception. People thought a government should be providing this. I said at the time that it would soon escalate. At what point would governments have to cut off provision of security to private
    Since then, Lars Vilks has moved to a safe house…well, sort of safe. He did allow television cameras to have a look around the
    And then there is the blogger from Politically Incorrect, who has been threatened – they were outside his house – and he has gone into hiding
    There is the potential for many, many more as the EUSSR and the islamistics make the idea of free speech seem
    We just received an email announcing the establishment of a private trust fund dedicated to raising monies for the purpose of providing Ayaan Hirsi Ali with personal
    The preferred and most immediate way to assist Ms. Hirsi Ali in the financing of her private security protection is through the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security
    The trust fund can accept both US and international funds and is entirely for the purpose of financing Ms. Hirsi Ali’s
    Make checks payable to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust. The mailing address
    Bank of 1054 31st Street, N.W.,Suite 18
    Washington, DC
    [Ayaan Hirsi Ali Trust Tax Identification
    If you’d rather do a wire transfer, here’s
    Account Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust
    >Account Number:
    1010054748>
    Bank Bank of Georgetown
    >Bank Address:
    1054 31st Street, N.W., Suite Washington, DC 20007
    >Bank Telephone:
    202-355-1200>
    Bank Routing 054001712
    >For more information please contact the representatives for Ms. Hirsi Ali:
    John or
    Mackenzie Their telephone contact is 202.457.1600
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * I wonder if they can establish a Paypal account, too? If anyone knows how they’d go about doing this, would you call and suggest it? That would be likely to bring in more funding from the blogosphere.
    >”

  3. Politiken.dk skriver:

    Politiken.dk 25.10.2007:

    “DF laver kampagne med Muhammed

    Først gjorde Jyllands-Posten det af journalistiske årsarger, så fulgte en svensk tegner efter for kunstens skyld. Nu gør DF det for at få stemmer.

    Dansk Folkepartis kampagnemateriale er præget af en afbildning af en herre i turban.

    Billedet, som angivelig forestiller den muslimske profet Muhammed, er begået af Dansk Folkepartis grafiker, som har tegnet af efter et portræt af den muslimske profet fra en bog om islam fra år 1683 af forfatteren Alexander Ross.

    »Den er et led i valgkampen omkring danske værdier, som vi vil fremhæve meget. Blandt andet lighed mellem kønnene, solidaritet og mange andre ting. Annoncen hører helt klart under ytringsfrihed«, siger Dansk Folkepartis leder, Pia Kjærsgaard, til Nyhedsavisen.

    Alle gode gange tre

    Det er tredje gang, profeten spiller en rolle i skandinavisk politik, som sikkert ville have forbavset ham. Første gang var da Jyllands-Posten tegnede ham for at afprøve ytringsfriheden, anden gang var da den svenske tegner Lars Vilks ville skabe kunst og blandt andet afbildede Muhammed som hund.

    Denne gang må den afdøde profet finde sig i at deltage i den danske valgkamp og pryde to valgannoncer om henholdsvis ytringsfrihed og tolerance.

    Islamisk Trossamfund lader sig ikke provokere

    Islamisk Trossamfund ikke lade sig provokere af Pia Kjærsgaard og hendes folks tredje runde med deres profet..

    »Det er hun ikke værdig til. Vores politik er nu at ignorere provokationer fra Dansk Folkeparti. Vi vil hellere have en dialog med dem, der vil forvalte ytringsfriheden forsvarligt og anstændigt,« siger talsmand Kassem Ahmed til Nyhedsavisen.”

  4. Guardian Unlimited skriver:

    Guardian Unlimited October 25, 2007 Thursday:

    “DANISH ELECTION AD REIGNITES MUHAMMAD CARTOON CONTROVERSY

    A Danish political party is using a drawing of the prophet Muhammad on election material, in a move described as a “provocation” by at least one local Muslim organisation.

    The far-right Danish People’s party today unveiled an election advertisement showing a hand-drawn picture of the Islamic prophet under the slogan “Freedom of speech is Danish, censorship is not”, followed by the words “We defend Danish values”.

    The material will be used during the campaign for next month’s general election, which was called yesterday by the prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

    The DPP is the third-largest political force in Denmark. It is a key parliamentary ally for the centre-right, minority government of Mr Fogh Rasmussen.

    The row comes two years after the Muhammad cartoons crisis, when the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten printed 12 caricatures of Muhammad after an author of children’s books said he could not find an illustrator for his book on the life of the prophet.

    The drawings sparked violent protests across the Muslim world, culminating with the burning of the Danish embassy in Damascus and its consulate in Beirut in February 2006.

    “[The ad] is a part of an election campaign centring on Danish values, which we want to push forward,” the DPP leader, Pia Kjaersgaard, told the newspaper Nyhedsavisen. “Among them are gender equality and solidarity. The ad clearly falls under the issue of freedom of expression.”

    Asked why she chose to use this ad in the light of the Muhammad cartoon crisis, Ms Kjaersgaard answered: “Why shouldn’t we? Is it forbidden? Self-censorship is bad.”

    The ad has been condemned by at least one Danish-Muslim organisation, which called it a “provocation”.

    “We work all the time for calm and peace on both sides, and the Danish People’s party is pulling us back with this kind of provocation,” Ahmed Harby, a spokesman for the Islamic Faith Society, a loose network of Danish-Muslim organisations, told Guardian Unlimited. Islam forbids the depiction of its most important prophet.

    “We want respect and calm. This is a step back,” said Mr Harby.

    Last July, a Danish court acquitted Ms Kjaersgaard of libel after she accused some members of the Islamic Faith Society of “treason”.

    The representatives had travelled to the Middle East to publicise the publication of the cartoons in Jyllands-Posten. The court said the word “treason” was not libelous because it had often been used in public debate.

    The Muhammad cartoon crisis has continued to cause controversy in Scandinavia. This summer in Sweden, the artist Lars Vilks received death threats after one of his drawings, depicting Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body, was published in the local daily Nerikes Allehanda.

    The Danish general election will take place on November 13.”

  5. The Courier Mail (Australia) skriver:

    The Courier Mail (Australia) September 27, 2007 Thursday:

    ” Jesus dog statue gone

    AFP

    STOCKHOLM: A Swedish artist yesterday unveiled a sculpture depicting Christ as a well-endowed dog, saying he wanted to stimulate debate about religion and freedom of expression following a row over cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

    The sculpture showed Jesus as a dog with a bloodstained head under a crown of thorns and an ”enormous sexual organ”, according to Swedish press agency TT.

    However, within hours of it being installed on a roundabout in Skaanes Fagerhult, in Sweden’s south, it disappeared.

    ”It is my turn to follow (artist) Lars Vilks and provoke a sensible discussion about religion,” artist Stig Ramsing said.

    Vilks is the Swedish artist whose cartoon of the prophet Mohammed with a dog’s body triggered massive controversy both in Sweden and abroad.”

  6. Turkish Daily News skriver:

    Turkish Daily News September 27, 2007 Thursday:

    “CARTOONS OF MUHAMMAD AND CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS

    As if we haven’t had enough troubles with the Danish cartoon crisis of 2005, yet another one erupted recently in Sweden. Artist Lars Vilks pictured a cartoon showing Prophet Muhammad’s head on the body of a dog, and the daily Nerikes Allehanda published it Aug. 19

    Not too surprisingly, many Muslims found the depiction highly insulting. Demonstrators took the streets in Pakistan and burnt a Swedish flag. Egypt, Pakistan and Iran made diplomatic protests. And just recently, Al Qaeda in Iraq offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who kills Vilks.

    A hasty comment in the face of all that would be to say that Islam is incompatible with freedom of speech, which is a key Western value, and that we are passing through just another episode in the so-called clash of civilizations. But I think the issue is not that simple. Moreover, as a liberal Muslim who believes both in Islam and freedom of speech, I think we can nurture a reconciliation if we dare to be self-critical on both sides.

    Islam’s most troubled times: First of all, let me be critical on my side of the dispute and say this: The violent reactions shown to Danish cartoons or this recent Swedish one, let alone the death threats and verdicts, are dead wrong. These are uncivilized and unjustified responses that only help portray Islam as an inherently violent and intolerant religion while its more authentic interpretations that are peaceful and lenient are neglected

    I know that might be hard to accept for some Westerners who have become quite suspicious about Islam in the face of various examples of Muslim rage that they have been seeing in the past few decades. But one should not judge a civilization by looking at the most radical elements of the worst period in its history

    Just remember that Christendom had its dark ages we all know the age of Crusaders and the Inquisitors and note that Islam is having its most troubled times. For various political, social and historical reasons, most Muslim societies have lagged behind the West since the 18th century, and this has created many complex reactions and various sorts of anger. This anger often expresses itself by using religious slogans, but its roots are actually in mundane problems

    This becomes obvious especially when we compare the sacred sources of Islam, most notably the Koran, with the radical or narrow-minded practices of some contemporary Muslims. Some of these practices such as the killing of apostates, the stoning of adulterers, or the seclusion of women have simply no basis in the Koran, and they are actually historical traditions which have crept into Islamic sources over time

    Other practices such as terrorism i.e., attacks against civilians are against the Koranic principles of just war, but radicals try to justify them with arguments for “vengeance,” which is an earthly cause.

    The Koran on mockery There is a deep contrast between the Koran and violent reactions shown to the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, too. In the Koran, one simply cannot find any excuse for violence in the face of mockery

    Early Muslims were ridiculed very often by pagans, and what the Koran suggested to them was a civilized disapproval: “When you hear God’s verses being rejected and mocked at by people,” the Muslim scripture said, “you must not sit with them till they start talking of other things.” (4/140) And although the current cartoon-avengers are filled with fury, the Koran defined Muslims as “those who control their rage and pardon other people, [because] God loves the good-doers.” (3/134) No wonder sensible Muslim authorities continuously disapprove the violent reactions to cartoons given by their radical co-religionists. Just last week Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (DRA), the official religious body which control’s the country’s 85,000 mosques and hundreds of others in Europe, made an announcement regarding the Swedish cartoon

    It called on Muslims “not to forget that respect to others faiths is the sign of respect to one’s own,” and “to show their response not by counter-insults and violence, and within the principles of dignity and modesty.” This statement was also posted on the Web site of the Sweden branch of the DRA.

    Understanding the Muslim mind: Yet the fact that Muslims should refrain from fury does not mean that they have to approve the cartoons. No, they don’t have to do that, and they will not. Because in Islam, honoring God, the Prophet, the Koran and other symbols of the faith is a crucial value

    In Muslim houses, the Koran or a plate that has the Prophet’s name is not placed below a certain height. When the Prophet’s name is mentioned, Muslims traditionally utter an Arabic phrase, which express their love and devotion to him

    It might be hard to understand this for a secular person, but for a devout Muslim, the honor of the prophet is much more important than is his own. An insult directed at the prophet would be much more offensive than one directed to his personality.

    Which brings me to my criticism to the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad. Those who draw, print and defend these caricatures routinely speak about “freedom of expression.” I don’t think that they would also defend some sort of “freedom of insult,” but they say that these cartoons do not correspond to that

    Yet insults are in the eyes of the beholder. A gesture might be very innocent in one culture, while it might be a horrible offense in another. If millions of Muslims all around the world are saying that they regard these cartoons as insults to Islam, then that is what these cartoons really are.

    Mind the gap Let me give you another example of “freedom of expression:” It has become a custom for the Iranian regime to draw American and Israeli flags on the floor so their citizens can walk and even trample on them. Now do you think they are doing a good job with that? I don’t, because although they might have justified reactions to American and Israeli policies, they don’t have the right to insult a whole nation by desecrating its flag. And by doing so, they help neither themselves nor the world.

    You can say that depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog and walking on a flag are not similar things, but that’s not how Muslims see it. They actually see the former as even a much more outrageous offense. For the mainly post-Christian and thoroughly secular Swedish society, this tremendous value attached to the sacred might seem bizarre. But most Muslims do value their faith more than anything else, and no one has the right to ask them to be less pious.

    Please just take a minute to see what kind of a situation we are in today: There is growing suspicion between the East and the West, and the idea of a clash of civilizations is floating around. What we desperately need is most obvious: Dialogue and understanding between Western and Muslim societies.

    But dialog does not start with a slap in the face. It starts with mutual respect. Many moderate Muslims are trying to build that respect toward the Western world within their societies. A few Westerners should not impair those good efforts by the reckless strokes of their pens.”

  7. AlexM skriver:

    Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

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