Just when you thought the controversy over negative depictions of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad had waned, Osama bin Laden has threatened attacks on Europe due the February 13th republishing of the cartoons in a Danish newspaper.
Two years ago, approximately twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet in a derogatory manner appeared in Denmark’s newspaper, Jyllands-Posten and other European papers. The cartoons sparked outrage in the Muslim community resulting in riots all over the Muslim world including embassies being burned in Syria, along with death threats to Danes and the artist. The cartoons were recently reprinted in the Danish newspaper, to illustrate Denmark’s commitment to Freedom of Speech despite threats of terrorism. But Bin Laden dismissed this as an “excuse” and “if there is no check on the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.”
While there is no doubt that the cartoons are offensive and in horrible taste, threatening Danes and burning down embassies only reinforces images that Muslims are barbaric and threatening. (And before I’m labeled an agent of intolerance I would like to clarify that I DON’T believe all Muslims are terrorists) For all we know the cartoonist didn’t know the Quaran forbade depicting the Prophet, because they’ve never read it. So how could they know? A much better P.R. move would’ve been for clerics to write an angry letter to the paper. Or at least talk to Christians about how quelling their anger whenever they see images of Jesus in urine, or a depiction of the Virgin Mary made with excrement.
In the end both college students and people need to lighten up. Yes, the world is full of offensive acts but it is up to us to not overreact to the insult and put limits on our Freedom of Speech. If nothing in this world were offensive then life would be dull. Keep the First Amendment alive by challenge negative images in the classroom, not burning down buildings other wise your as bad as bin Laden.
[Cartoon Credits: TheFreckledFinger.com – visit TheFreckledFinger.com for more cartoons]
And Osama, since you get off on threatening cartoonists. Here’s a cartoon for you…