Thursday, February 09, 2006
A Hero; and Some Villains
Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been talking plain sense on the cartoon nonsense. The matter is fairly simple: It is not illegal to publish offensive cartoons. Nor should it be. However, in this and related matters, there has been a de facto blasphemy law imposed by gangsters through intimidation.
To reveal this fact was the purpose of the cartoons.
What would you do if you could invent your own laws? Perhaps you would invent a religion in which it was 'offensive' for others to park their cars in arbitrarily determined places. To do so would not result in death or intimidation, but a small fine - perhaps £30. This would be a good option if your modest aim in being 'offended' was a small second income. Religious offence has no such modesty.
It has been suggested by some people who self-identify as Muslims that the cartoons were intended and did in fact show Muhammed in a negative light. (This was, of course, not the intention. Who would be interested in doing this?) One such commentator is the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and friend of Ken Livingstone, Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.
(His speeches on this are astonishing and well worth seeking out. Search on keyword 'rage'. Then compare with Peter Mandelson's interpretation; that those who republished the cartoon are 'throwing petrol onto the flames'. If Ayaan Hirsi Ali is at the extreme end of the heroism scale, Mandelson is at the other.)
Qaradawi said: "The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has observed with deep interest the issue of the publishing of cartoons that ridicule the Prophet, which in turn insults the feelings of millions of Muslims as they see the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) depicted in an offensive manner."
Who would do such a thing as to depict the Prophet in an offensive manner? via The Daily Ablution, an answer may emerge. I think you'll agree this puts the chap in an offensive light:
"..the messenger of God used to chop hands, cut throats, and stone people. In the same way that he massacred the Jews of Bani Qurayza because they were a bunch of discontent people. If the Prophet used to order to burn a house or exterminate a tribe that was justice."
That was Ayatollah Khomeini, presenting Islam as a anything other than a peaceful religion. What a slander! Qaradawi and his pals should be told.