Reformist Muslim

Exploring possibilities for the future of Islam and other thoughts

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Location: London, United Kingdom

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The New Great Satan - Denmark???

For an excellent roundup of Muslim opinion on the cartoon controversy, you can visit Thabet's blog here.

As to what I think, firstly I would suggest that simply causing offense should not be sufficient for a big fuss to be made about anything. Otherwise, Sikh protests forcing the play Behzti to stop playing would probably have been justified, as would Christian protesters complaining about Jerry Springer the Opera being broadcast on the BBC.

As Svend White points out though, the context of these cartoons is the very real increase of xenophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment in Denmark, and increased anti-semitism and Islamophobia in significant segments of Western Europe. The cartoons themselves are just a symptom of this and Steve makes a good point at avari/nameh, that an appropriate response by the Danish Prime Minister would have been to acknowledge the increased Islamophobia in his country, which has made such incendiary cartoons being published without widespread condemnation possible.

Unfortunately it seems to me that the unfortunately inevitable threats of violence has made this into a false, 'our free speech v. dangerous fundamentalists' debate (I'm not sure many people are actually proposing government censorship). Andrew Sullivan see's it this way and puts it in the same catalogue of events as the Rushdie fatwa and 9/11. This is an unfortunate exaggeration, (although the Rushdie case should serve as a reminder for the need to be careful when choosing objects of scorn) but the major problem with this is that seems to make apologising for the original cartoons into an appeasement of the threat of violence which doesn't do anyone any good.

5 Comments:

Anonymous eteraz said...

count on sullivan to get it wrong. there is no comparison between a quasi conscious caricature done at the populist level and a singular man's abstract fictionalization. besides, satanic verses was as much about rushdie's critique of khomeini as anything else.

5:26 am, February 03, 2006  
Blogger thabet said...

Thank you, eteraz. At last someone else who agrees with me about Rushdie's book...

10:21 am, February 03, 2006  
Blogger reformist_muslim said...

Very interesting take on the Rushdie book. I've never read the Satanic Verses because most of what I've heard is that it wasn't a very good novel. Do you guys think it is worth reading?

2:21 pm, February 03, 2006  
Blogger thabet said...

Hmmmmm. Not much of a reformist Muslim if you're wanting to rely on the fatwa others, are you? ;-)

3:05 pm, February 03, 2006  
Blogger reformist_muslim said...

Hehe - I don't think there should have been a fatwa regardless of what was in the book. Leaving that aside though, do you think it is worth reading on its merits?

Eteraz, I find Andew Sullivan incredibly frustrating as his brand of liberal/conservative politics is quie appealing and he writes well on domestic issues. When it comes to the Muslim world and Palestine in particular though, as you say, he often has things completely wrong.

7:31 pm, February 03, 2006  

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