Off Topic Messages

On Religion, Sex, Rights, & Difference in Society

Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:13 pm

Welcome to the 21st Century :!: :lol:

Editor fired after publication of Islam cartoons
Caricatures of Prophet Muhammad have sparked widespread Muslim anger


MSNBC News Services,Updated: 9:49 a.m. ET Feb. 2, 2006


PARIS - The Paris newspaper France Soir has fired its managing editor after the daily printed caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad that have sparked rising protests and boycotts in the Muslim world.

The daily confirmed that owner Raymond Lakah had fired Jacques Lefranc on Wednesday evening after a tumultuous day on which German and Spanish dailies ran the controversial cartoons that first appeared in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten.

Angered by the drawings, Palestinian gunmen jumped on the outer wall of a European Union office in Gaza City on Thursday and demanded an apology. Masked gunmen also briefly took over an EU office in Gaza on Monday.

Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet to prevent idolatry. The drawings have prompted boycotts of Danish goods and bomb threats and demonstrations against Danish facilities, and have divided opinion within Europe and the Middle East.

The cartoons include an image of Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse, and another portraying him holding a sword, his eyes covered by a black rectangle.

Syria has called for those behind publishing the cartoons to be punished. Danish goods were swept from shelves in many countries, and Saudi Arabia and Libya recalled their ambassadors to Denmark.


Tabloid defends publication
The front page of France Soir on Wednesday carried the headline “Yes, We Have the Right to Caricature God” and a cartoon of Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian gods floating on a cloud.

The tabloid staunchly defended its right to print the cartoons.

“The best way to fight censorship is not to let it happen,” it wrote in an editorial. “In these circumstances, that meant publishing these drawings.”

“Imagine a society that added up all the prohibitions of different religions. What would remain of the freedom to think, to speak and even to come and go?" the paper wrote.


“We know societies like that all too well. The Iran of the mullahs, for example. But yesterday, it was the France of the Inquisitions, the burning stakes and the Saint Bartholomew’s Day (massacre of Protestants),” the editorial said.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the issue had gone beyond a row between Copenhagen and the Muslim world and now centered on Western free speech versus taboos in Islam, which is now the second religion in many European countries.

“We are talking about an issue with fundamental significance to how democracies work,” Rasmussen told the Copenhagen daily Politiken. “One can safely say it is now an even bigger issue.”

Other European papers publish cartoons
Switzerland's Le Temps and Hungary's Magyar Hirlap ran a cartoon showing an imam telling suicide bombers to stop because Heaven had run out of virgins to reward them.

Germany’s Die Welt daily printed one of the drawings on its front page, arguing that a “right to blasphemy” was anchored in democratic freedoms. The Berliner Zeitung daily printed two of the caricatures as part of its coverage of the controversy.

Italy’s La Stampa printed a small version of an offending caricature, on page 13. Two Spanish papers, Barcelona’s El Periodico and Madrid’s El Mundo, also carried the photos.

The publication by French Soir drew a stern reaction from the French Foreign Ministry.

Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told reporters that press freedom could not be called into question but urged restraint: “The principle of freedom should be exercised in a spirit of tolerance, respect of beliefs, respect of religions, which is the very basis of secularism of our country.”

The issue is sensitive in France, home to Western Europe’s largest Muslim community with an estimated 5 million people.

Mohammed Bechari, president of the National Federation of the Muslims of France, said his group would start legal proceedings against France Soir because of “these pictures that have disturbed us, and that are still hurting the feelings of 1.2 billion Muslims.”

Scathing Arab reaction
Reaction in Middle East countries has been scathing.

“In the West, one discovers there are different moral ceilings and all moral parameters and measures are not equal,” wrote the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

“If the Danish cartoon had been about a Jewish rabbi, it would never have been published.”

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef said Riyadh considered the cartoons an insult to Mohammad and all Muslims. “We hope that religious centers like the Vatican will clarify their opinion in this respect,” he told the state news agency SPA.

In Beirut, the leader of Lebanon’s Shiite Hizbollah said the dispute would never had occurred if a 17-year-old death edict against British writer Salman Rushdie been carried out.

“Had a Muslim carried out Imam Khomeini’s fatwa against the apostate Salman Rushdie, then those low-lifers would not have dared discredit the Prophet, not in Denmark, Norway or France,” Hizbollah head Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Wednesday night.

The late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called on Muslims in 1989 to kill Rushdie for blasphemy against Islam in his book “The Satanic Verses.” Rushdie went into hiding and was never attacked.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

© 2006 MSNBC.com

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11097877/
Last edited by Gregory Nolan Jr. on Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:35 pm, edited 5 times in total.

Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:19 pm

Greg -

Thanks for that !

I see all the UK newspapers have reported it but not one of them has reprinted the offending caricatures !

Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:31 pm

That's interesting Colin.

I find the lack of lightness in the Muslim world disorienting at times. Personally, I'm up for some good natured mockery of almost anything from time to time. Perhaps it's a media stereotype.

I do know that today people in general let too many little things upset them.

Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:35 pm

Oh no...another fatwa! Maybe Mr. Lefranc can take refuge with Salman Rushdie until the Mohammed fanatics grow thicker skin.

Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:35 pm

I noticed it's hard to find. I think this is it, taken from the Danish paper that first printed it, Jyllands-Posten
Image
Last edited by Gregory Nolan Jr. on Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:36 pm

Now THAT'S funny! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:47 pm

One can only guess how many cartoons Jesus and Budhha, or say, a rabbi, have been featured in cartoons...

I think this debate is healthy - particularly for Islam and its followers - in reminding us all of the values of free speech and free ideas.

Which isn't to say the media should as a practice ridicule religious people,
as some Americans feel that NBC in particular ridicules Christianity, with that upcoming "Crusifixin's" episode of the gay sit-com, "Will & Grace" which will feature Britney Spears as a part of Born-Again duo...

Some feel that Hollywood's nomination of three gay-themed movies for Oscars is another example of the media "coasts" being out of touch with the more conservative "Main Street" America.

Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:33 pm

If they're good movies they're good movies. I don't care what they are about. There's really no reason the Best Picture nominees have to represent the American mainstream. When "The Godfather" it didn't mean Hollywood was advocating gangsterism.

Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:30 pm

I"m for good movies, too. Things like "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" didn't accidentally get made during the civil rights era.

So it's hard not to connect the dots and see that Hollywood is trying to send a message after Bush was re-elected, in part because of his opposition to gay marriage.

I'm no arch conservative, but it's hard to think Hollywood doesn't have any politics such as the "Brokeback Mountain" tagline: "Love is a force of nature." Politics are fine, too and it would be naive to ask for art devoid of it.

But given the trouble the cinema in the US has been having with ticket sales, one could say they are spiting their nose to save their face.

Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:34 pm

i am so sick of this. it's totally absurd and blown out of proportion. they say we should respect their religion and what they believe in. they should look at it from a different perspective and respect the fact that we have freedom of speech here in Denmark/Europe

it's not like i enjoy turning on my tv and see some arab or iraqi people, burn what's supposed to be the symbol of my country. my flag!
or pictures of our prime minister....
they just can't relate to, that our government doesn't have anything to do with it!!
it's one guy who made those drawings, not the entire danish population, or Europe. they just don't get it!

Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:37 pm

Well, look at it as a "teaching moment" - for both sides.

Muslims have to come to terms with a diverse, homgenous society that protects the right of people to mostly march to their own beat.

And if they prove not to like such ideals, that too, will color the reception of the West.

Likewise,we should be proud that the Academy nominates pictures regardless of controversial storylines. But with a drumbeat like this, it's enough to make you think the conservatives aren't paranoid after all.

Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:52 pm

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:Well, look at it as a "teaching moment" - for both sides.

Muslims have to come to terms with a diverse, homgenous society that protects the right of people to mostly march to their own beat.

And if they prove not to like such ideals, that too, will color the reception of Europeans.


They're proving it right before our very eyes Greg. Many western European countries have themselves a major Muslim problem due to the liberal immigration laws. So it's not a question of reception, they're already there in large numbers! I feel for the Europeans, as I've come to believe they're going to have to fight the war on terror and the Jihadists within their own respective countries.

Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:41 am

there's way too much Jesus mockery happening nowadays.

If there's mockery of Muhummahd and Allah too -
oh well
tough sh*t - that's fairness.

That weirdo Marilyn Manson goes on stage and rips pages out of a bible and wipes his ass with it.
Let's see him do that with a koran too.

Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:47 am

Greg- Dumb blockbusters, high prices and a lack of time are what have kept me out of the movies not any political agenda.

The movies in question here (particularly "Brokeback Mountain") have received rave reviews. So, it's not like the monkey see, monkey do Academy is propping them up. I do think it's a sign of the times that they all got made at this point because a large percentage of the population is finally starting to see that homosexuals are actually people and like everyone else sometimes have stories to tell. If "Brokeback Mountain" is indeed the best picture of the year it would be absurd not to recognize simply because some have objections to its storyline.

Fri Feb 03, 2006 1:12 am

I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain, but I don't really have any objection to this movie's subject matter. Homosexuals fall in love just like everybody else, and regardless of what people's personal views are on the subject, I think it's valid for films to tell their stories.

Besides, this isn't really anything new. Around 1981 or so there was a movie where the guy from the tv show The Rookies (Michael Ontkean) and Harry Hamlin fall in love. It was controversial at the time. When it came on cable tv me and some of my buddies watched it and it was actually a pretty interesting movie. Although me and my buddies were homophobic a$$wipes at the time and had to rip the movie with goofy comments. I've matured some since then (well maybe not - I'm still an a$$wipe :lol: ).

I have no interest in seeing Brokeback Mountain, but I support the right for a film of this nature to be made.

Fri Feb 03, 2006 1:28 am

Elvisgirl wrote:it's not like i enjoy turning on my tv and see some arab or iraqi people, burn what's supposed to be the symbol of my country. my flag!
or pictures of our prime minister....


I saw this. Pretty bad......and sad.

Fri Feb 03, 2006 2:04 am

Indeed, if "Brokeback" and the transexual flick or the Capote opus are as good as they say, then rightfully they deserves the nomination. The sheer number of gay-themed movies (at the expense of other films?) is instructive, I still say.

I do think Hollywood is trying to send a message that, yes, gays are human beings, etc. nevermind the fact that traditionalists who block gay marriage are not necessarily saying otherwise.

One need not be a homophobe to think that there is the potential for a backlash against Hollywood. It's conceivable that the recent "gay marriage" push was just too much too soon for much of the American populace at a time when many had finally come around to the spirt of "live and let live."


And to bring this back to the Muslim question, I do think the mocking going on with that cartoon (if one should call it that) is the Western dislike of orthodoxy on the issue of religion and free speech. There's this sense that we are open to you and your foreign cultures but don't make us change.

In Hollywood, there seems to be an "in your face" sense of: "well, you voted for that "gay-baiting" George Bush - now watch us nominate "Brokeback Mountain" as best picture !" Which isn't to say the mainstream heterosexual masses does not also relish their power in defining marriage on their own traditional terms as they have for what seems like all of recorded time.

I find it hard to believe that there isn't some sense of Hollywood turning the tables on the Bush era. And so be it. It doesn't and won't win elections, but it will sure feel good to win that Oscar. :lol:

Fri Feb 03, 2006 10:29 am

Again I do not feel Democrats are out of the mainstream. They are out of power because they do not know how to win elections which is something else entirely. Republican lite and not fighting fire with fire will do that.

And if the cartoon represents an openness to outside cultures but a refusal to be changed, so be it.

Fri Feb 03, 2006 10:53 am

ColinB wrote:I see all the UK newspapers have reported it but not one of them has reprinted the offending caricatures !

The cartoon is repeated in todays Sun. Yay for free speech! :D

Fri Feb 03, 2006 11:50 am

Elvisgirl wrote:i am so sick of this. it's totally absurd and blown out of proportion. they say we should respect their religion and what they believe in. they should look at it from a different perspective and respect the fact that we have freedom of speech here in Denmark/Europe

it's not like i enjoy turning on my tv and see some arab or iraqi people, burn what's supposed to be the symbol of my country. my flag!
or pictures of our prime minister....
they just can't relate to, that our government doesn't have anything to do with it!!
it's one guy who made those drawings, not the entire danish population, or Europe. they just don't get it!


Have you ever seen a religious fanatic with a brain?
Have you ever seen a religious fanatic that respects democracy?
Have you ever seen a religious fanatic that respects infidels?
Have you ever seen a muslim that was upset when planes were flown into buildings?
It is about time we kick back all those religious fanatics into the sandboxes they come from if they come to live here and despise our way of living and freedom of speech and democracy.

Fri Feb 03, 2006 2:27 pm

Luuk wrote:
Elvisgirl wrote:i am so sick of this. it's totally absurd and blown out of proportion. they say we should respect their religion and what they believe in. they should look at it from a different perspective and respect the fact that we have freedom of speech here in Denmark/Europe

it's not like i enjoy turning on my tv and see some arab or iraqi people, burn what's supposed to be the symbol of my country. my flag!
or pictures of our prime minister....
they just can't relate to, that our government doesn't have anything to do with it!!
it's one guy who made those drawings, not the entire danish population, or Europe. they just don't get it!


Have you ever seen a religious fanatic with a brain?
Have you ever seen a religious fanatic that respects democracy?
Have you ever seen a religious fanatic that respects infidels?
Have you ever seen a muslim that was upset when planes were flown into buildings?
It is about time we kick back all those religious fanatics into the sandboxes they come from if they come to live here and despise our way of living and freedom of speech and democracy.


Have you ever seen the rain....

Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:32 pm

Renan wrote:
Luuk wrote:
Elvisgirl wrote:i am so sick of this. it's totally absurd and blown out of proportion. they say we should respect their religion and what they believe in. they should look at it from a different perspective and respect the fact that we have freedom of speech here in Denmark/Europe

it's not like i enjoy turning on my tv and see some arab or iraqi people, burn what's supposed to be the symbol of my country. my flag!
or pictures of our prime minister....
they just can't relate to, that our government doesn't have anything to do with it!!
it's one guy who made those drawings, not the entire danish population, or Europe. they just don't get it!


Have you ever seen a religious fanatic with a brain?
Have you ever seen a religious fanatic that respects democracy?
Have you ever seen a religious fanatic that respects infidels?
Have you ever seen a muslim that was upset when planes were flown into buildings?
It is about time we kick back all those religious fanatics into the sandboxes they come from if they come to live here and despise our way of living and freedom of speech and democracy.


Have you ever seen the rain....


It no longer rains in the Netherlands Renan. A bunch of beauracrats at the Hague outlawed it so that there would no longer be any need for dams, and that little dutch girl could finally take her finger out of the dyke. :)

Fri Feb 03, 2006 5:32 pm

likethebike wrote:Again I do not feel Democrats are out of the mainstream. They are out of power because they do not know how to win elections which is something else entirely. Republican lite and not fighting fire with fire will do that.

And if the cartoon represents an openness to outside cultures but a refusal to be changed, so be it.



I'm not sure if it's just a matter of not knowing how to win elections, LTB. And I say this someone who holds his nose every four years and pulls the lever for Democrats. We are out of the mainstream by celebrating the anti-military ("anti-war / peace activists") types like Cindy Sheehan,or embracing illegal immigration and multiculturalist identity politics and those who scoff at called traditional values define the party. That's a political loser every time.

Say what one will about Bill Clinton, but he often tried to bring the South back into the picture in a way that John Kerry did not. We can't win without speaking in a language that the Midwest and the South understands. Run on the social agenda and we'll lose everytime.

The US perhaps should be more liberal but it's not and we need to recognize that in some fashion and get back to bread and butter "kitchen table" issues instead of divisive abstractions like "gay marriage." It will take this country finally being in dire economic straights, one of just the rich and the poor, for us to regain our focus, as liberal party activists tend to dominate the agenda and end up making it like Roe Vs. Wade or ethnic pride is the most important issue. It's not.

Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:02 pm

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:
likethebike wrote:Again I do not feel Democrats are out of the mainstream. They are out of power because they do not know how to win elections which is something else entirely. Republican lite and not fighting fire with fire will do that.

And if the cartoon represents an openness to outside cultures but a refusal to be changed, so be it.



I'm not sure if it's just a matter of not knowing how to win elections, LTB. And I say this as a Democrat who holds his nose every four years and pulls the lever. We are out of the mainstream by allowing the anti-military ("anti-war / peace activists") and those who scoff at traditional values define the party. That's a loser.


That's it exactly Greg. To put it bluntly the Democratic party has allowed the hard left to become the driving wheel of the party. Because of this it has become identified as the party of:
*Anti-God*
*Pro-abortion*
*High tax supported socialism*
*Pro-gay marraige*
*Anti-defence*

They did themselves no favors by putting Howard Dean up as head of the party, that only reinforces the indentification. The truth is that there are certainly strong defence democrats such as Senator Leiberman; as well as Congressmen who aren't in favor of abortion (at least late term) or gay marraige and who are people of faith. They need to raise the profile of these democrats, and push the hard leftists to the fringe (where they belong). As far as taxes go the democrats best weapon against the republicans is to hammer them on the corporate tax breaks. To do this isn't 'republican lite' as LTB stated, but rather moving back towards a centrist, populist agenda that appeals to that very wide moderate middle where most Americans are.

Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:24 pm

I generally agree, Pete.

Whatever it is that won FDR all those terms and make Dems winners for years, well, we need to get back to that.

On the topic thread, the nonsense from the "religion of peace" continues.
Thou dost protest too much, ye of Islam! By the way, is Google protecting their behind again like they did with China, where they agreed to censor human rights and other searches deemed offensive to the dictatorship?

Plug in "Muslim cartoon" and you still can't find the exact one that this controversy is about. It took me awhile to find it yesterday. (See original large post of it above.)

Temperatures Rise Over Cartoons Mocking Muhammad
By CRAIG S. SMITH and IAN FISHER, NEW YORK TIMES
PARIS, Feb. 2 — An international dispute over European newspaper cartoons deemed blasphemous by some Muslims gained momentum on Thursday when gunmen threatened the European Union offices in Gaza and more European papers pointedly published the drawings as an affirmation of freedom of speech.
Image

In Gaza, masked gunmen swarmed the European Union offices on Thursday to protest the cartoons, and there were threats to foreigners from European countries where the cartoons have been reprinted. The gunmen stayed about 45 minutes.

A newly elected legislator from Hamas, the radical Islamic group that swept the Palestinian elections last week, said large rallies were planned in Gaza in the next few days to protest the cartoons, which depict the Prophet Muhammad in an unflattering light. Merely publishing the image of Muhammad is regarded as blasphemous by many Muslims.

"We are angry — very, very, very angry," said the legislator, Jamila al-Shanty. "No one can say a bad word about our prophet."

The conflict is the latest manifestation of growing tensions between Europe and the Muslim world as the Continent struggles to absorb a fast-expanding Muslim population whose customs and values are often at odds with Europe's secular societies. Islam is Europe's fastest growing religion and is now the second largest religion in most European countries. Racial and religious discrimination against Muslims in Europe's weakest economies adds to the strains.

The trouble began in September in Denmark, when the daily Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons lampooning intolerance among Muslims and links to terrorism. A Norwegian magazine published the cartoons again last month, and the issue erupted this week after diplomatic efforts failed to resolve demands by several angry Arab countries that the publications be punished.

The cartoons include one depicting Muhammad with a bomb in place of a turban on his head and another showing him on a cloud in heaven telling an approaching line of smoking suicide bombers, "Stop, stop, we ran out of virgins!"

They have since been reprinted in France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Hungary. The BBC broadcast them on Thursday.

[On Friday, 300 militant Indonesian Muslims went on a rampage inside the lobby of the Jakarta building housing the Danish Embassy, unable to get past security to the embassy on the 25th floor, Reuters reported. They tossed rotten eggs and made fiery speeches calling on their government to sever diplomatic ties with Denmark and evict its ambassador. The protesters dispersed after an hour. There were no arrests.]
Image
Most European commentators concede that the cartoons were in poor taste but argue that conservative Muslims must learn to accept Western standards of free speech and the pluralism that those standards protect.

Several accused Muslims of a double standard, noting that media in several Arab countries continue to broadcast or publish references to "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a notorious early 20th-century anti-Semitic hoax that presented itself as the Jews' master plan to rule the world.

Many Muslims say the Danish cartoons reinforce a dangerous confusion between Islam and the Islamist terrorism that nearly all Muslims abhor. Dalil Boubakeur, head of France's Muslim Council, called the caricatures a new sign of Europe's growing "Islamophobia."

Saudi Arabia and Syria recalled their ambassadors from Denmark, while the Danish government summoned other foreign envoys in Copenhagen to talks on Friday over the issue, having already explained that it does not control the press.

Jyllands-Posten has received two bomb threats in the past few days, despite having apologized for any hurt feelings about the drawings.

Thursday morning, about a dozen gunmen appeared at the European Union offices in Gaza, firing automatic weapons and spray-painting a warning on the outside gate. The men handed out a pamphlet warning Denmark, Norway and France that they had 48 hours to apologize.

The office, staffed then only by Palestinians, reportedly received a warning that the gunmen were coming, and was quickly closed.

In Nablus, on the West Bank, two masked gunmen kidnapped a German from a hotel, thinking he was French or Danish, Agence France-Presse reported. They turned him over to the police once they realized their mistake.

Leaders of Fatah and Hamas said they did not endorse harming any foreigners in Gaza. All the same, the threat emptied hotels there of Europeans, most of them journalists.

France Soir, the only French daily to reprint the cartoons, fired its managing editor late Wednesday as "a strong sign of respect for the beliefs and intimate convictions of every individual," according to a statement from its owner, Raymond Lakah, an Egyptian-born French businessman.

In an editorial defending its decision to publish the cartoons, France Soir asked Thursday what would remain of "the freedom to think, speak, even to come and go," if society adhered to all of the prohibitions of the world's various religions. The result, the newspaper said, would be "the Iran of the mullahs, for example."

Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, issued a statement condemning "in the strongest terms" France Soir's publication of the cartoons. "Any insult to the holy prophet (peace be upon him) is an insult to more than one billion Muslims," his statement read.

On Thursday, France's embassy in Algeria, a former colony, issued a statement condemning the publication, saying the French government was "deeply attached to the spirit of tolerance and to respect of religious belief, as we are to the principle of freedom of the press."

"In this light, France condemns all those who hurt individuals in their beliefs or religious convictions," the statement read.

Still, Europeans showed no signs of backing down. Le Monde ran a sketch of a man, presumably Muhammad, made of sentences reading, "I must not draw Muhammad."

Craig S. Smith reported from Paris for this article, and Ian Fisher from Gaza.