The Cartoon Wars

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: George W. Bush Views: 6994

Like white phosphorus, the mocking cartoons of Muhammad have inflamed and lit up the battlefield in the culture war between the secular and the sacred, between West and East. 

Since 9-11, President Bush seems to have understood that if we wish to win the war on terror, we must separate the Islamic masses from the monsters. To defeat the Islamic extremists, we must win the hearts and minds of the moderates. 

To this end, Bush has visited mosques. He has held White House celebrations for the breaking of the fast at the end of Ramadan. He has sent Karen Hughes to State to develop ideas to show we respect the Islamic faith and that our war is against terror, not Islam. He has said more times than many of us care to recall, "Islam is a religion of peace." 

Those cartoons - insulting, blasphemous, provocative to Muslims - have wiped out much of what Bush had accomplished. The cartoons have given the Muslim radicals visible proof to show the masses that the West mocks what they hold sacred. 

All Muslims believe that to depict the face of the prophet or to ridicule him as Salman Rushdie did is a sacrilege. Why did that Danish newspaper do it? Why have conservatives rushed to show solidarity with the European editor-idiots who plastered these mocking cartoons all over Page 1? 

"We believe in the First Amendment!" comes the blustery reply. 

But just because the First Amendment may protect the right of Nazis to march in Skokie, or Larry Flynt to publish pornography, or Mapplethorpe to publish photos of himself with a bullwhip protruding from his rectum does not mean we stand in solidarity with Nazis, Larry Flynt or Robert Mapplethorpe - or does it? 

Conservatives rage in rebuttal that Islamic nations tolerate cartoons, books, billboards and TV shows far more anti-Semitic and anti-Christian than these cartoons were anti-Islamic. 

All of which is true, and none of which is relevant. For this is not a debate over double standards. It is a battle for the hearts and minds of Islamic peoples. And if we are to have any hope of winning that battle, we cannot condone insults to what they hold most sacred and dear: their faith. 

Though State initially condemned the cartoons - "Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is unacceptable" - neocons who lust after "World War IV" with "Islamofascism" seem to have regained control of the message. While Bush, standing next to King Abdullah of Jordan, denounced the violence the cartoons ignited and Condi Rice charged Iran and Syria with exploiting the crisis, neither would criticize the cartoons. 

But if Bush cannot follow the lead of our best friends in the region, like Abdullah, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Recep Erdogan of Turkey and Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, or even Jacques Chirac, and denounce the insulting content of the cartoons as well as the violence promoted by the anti-Western demagogues, our wars for democracy will be in vain. For we cannot win the friendship of these people if they believe our words of respect for their religion are a cover for an abiding contempt. 

And let us admit the truth. Contempt for the beliefs and values the Islamic faith holds dear, and for the prophet, has been widely expressed by ideologues, entertainers, preachers and even conservatives post-9-11. 

We are all entitled to hold such views. But if we wish to exercise our right to air them in print or broadcast, we should expect to reap what we have sown. For, as Bishop Berkeley said: "Things are as they are, and their consequences will be what they will be. Why then should we seek to be deceived?" 

To understand Islam, we might read more deeply into our own history. When Christianity was as old as Islam is today, we, too, were prepared to die in crusades to defend Christians abroad. We, too, were prepared to burn heretics, schismatics and infidels. Their Most Catholic Majesties, the king and queen of Spain in the 15th century, and the father of the Anglican Church, Henry VIII, had no problem with beheadings. 

Five centuries ago, Christians would have responded to insults as Muslims do today. However, given our pathetic protests of Hollywood sacrileges such as "The Last Temptation of Christ," one could argue that Muslims are simply more devout and resolute in defense of their faith than the milquetoast Christians of modernity. 

Like Catholics and Protestants in the 16th century, Muslims do not believe all religions are equal. They do not believe freedom of speech and the press should protect those who blaspheme their God or prophet. 

And if we are unwilling to curb our tongues when it comes to their faith, or to condemn those among us who use their freedom to insult the Islamic religion, we should probably pack up and get out of the Middle East. Before they throw us out.

Pat Buchanan has been an advisor to three presidents and has thrice sought the office. A founding panelist of four political television shows, he currently hosts MSNBC's daily news program, "Buchanan & Press" and appears on "The McLaughlin Group." He writes a nationally syndicated newspaper column and is the author of six books including the recent bestseller, The Death of the West, which sold over 200,000 copies. In 2002 Pat Buchanan founded The American Conservative with Scott McConnell and Taki Theodoracopulos.

  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: George W. Bush
Views: 6994

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Older Comments:

& invasions...on the issue of the cartoons, the majority of Muslims don't mind rational criticism of the greatest man in history the messenger of God Muhammad pbuh & he doesn't either & this was the tradition in all Muslim countries especially Morocco & Andalusia but insults r neither constructive criticism nor free speech. Absolute free speech is a fantasy but allowed in the cartoon case by ur institutionally racist govs simply bcs it is anti-islamic. To ADD GASOLINE to fire, the EU encouraged the republishing of the cartoons to pls Muslim haters among the white supremacists in Europe. This is a green light for them to become more verbally violent towards us. It's truly evil disguised in the name of free speech. They are attacking Muslims worldwide especially Europe's Muslims who's ego is already deeply wounded. This is done in order to make us angrier so that we can set western institutions ablaze to prove a point that Islam is a violent rel.. I am happy that among 1.5 b Muslims worldwide a tiny % acted in a foolish & violent way. I really hope u got it Paul from a peaceful Muslim but if u don't then it's too bad & truly sad that one of our terrorists just like yours will probably explain it better to u. Justice be with you Paul!

I hope that one day u will read the book history of the world by HG Wells to show u that Muslims coomitted less crimes than others.. I want to quickly add that I don't add gasoline to fire. That's not in my nature besides no one needs to do that; can't you see that the American & British bombs Moab, Daisy Cutter etc had already set the whole of Baghdad & Kanadahar in flames? The Muslim psyche is deeply wounded after three centuries of its subjugation to Western imperialism, colonialism & terror. This how your ancestors & their decendants did it: bribery and comfort for the wealthy & powerful Muslims; intimidation, torture, assassination & bombing for the masses & Muslim activists that try to salvade parts of our uprooted identity. U seem to be very subjective Paul just as bad as those amongst us that trust our criminal Arab & Muslim politicians. WAKE UP FROM YOUR EMPTY FORM OF PATRIOTISM. I know it's easier to destroy ur own house than rid urself from ur own prejudices. How can u trust & defend ur criminal leaders playing politics. I never believed that Muslims should hate, attack or help attack westerners. That's very immoral to even think about it & evil to do. What I believe & always say & hundreds of millions of Muslims say to the western govs: Mind ur own d...m business & stop interfering in Muslims affairs something they don't seem to want to do. I am not just talking about economic & political interference. I am also talking about military coups &

Salaamu alaikum,

Paul you stated

You seem to continuously like pouring gasoline on the flames of anger. Yes over 10 - 15 years ago, heinous and barbaric war crimes were committed in the following proportions 90% by Serb extremists, 6 percent by Croat extremists, and 4 percent by Muslim extremists. No it was not supported by the rest of Europe. Yes these extremists are either standing trial or being hunted down to stand trial in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Europe."

Well, you are wrong I state the facts may be you are too innocent to understand the nature of racism & islamophobia unless you are blind to see it i.e the way Saddam is hunted vs the way Milosovic is caugh...get it now.

If i was that type of man I wouldn't marry an Italian woman. I would like to see the West & the Muslim World and the whole world as one but govs run by racists in Europe/the USA & Australia will never allow that to happen so wake up & smell coffee I just want Muslims to be independant, united (not uniform)and strong enough to defend themselves & their lands.

Salaam A'lekum,

The 'Mohammed Cartoons' - Maybe the Prophet would have sighed with frustration at their ignorance, and despair at the orchestrated violence, rioting, arson, kidnapping and murder committed by those who worship him above Islam.

The cartoonists might have been correct if they had portrayed these criminal people and those who encourage them.

Peace for All.


You seem to continuously like pouring gasoline on the flames of anger. Yes over 10 - 15 years ago, heinous and barbaric war crimes were committed in the following proportions 90% by Serb extremists, 6 percent by Croat extremists, and 4 percent by Muslim extremists. No it was not supported by the rest of Europe. Yes these extremists are either standing trial or being hunted down to stand trial in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Europe.

Also what happened latter, in neighbouring Kosovo and who stopped a potentially greater tragedy occurring? And one more thought, why are there Muslims in that region of Europe... conversion, immigration, coercion and / or invasion? The same question applies to your homeland of Canada / Moroco.

John Downs,
Does your neck have sunburn after you removed your pointy white hood?

Tariq Mustafa,
Well said and I'm interested. I would appreciate the chance to read your thoughts. (Iviews / isalmicity please take note.)


To John Downs,without the saudi's oil and some wise US,you will be living in dark ages,if you have a brain use it,which i doubt it,before it's too late .

Pat Buchanan, you have once again demonstrated your clear thinking. As a patriotic American, I thank you for providing advise that is in the best interests of America.

Hey John, that was pretty strong. To start with there are many Muslims in the USA that do not watch television, not because they can not afford it, but because of what is on it and what it represents. Have you been there and talked to the people of the land? They are called bedoins and many want to live in the desert and hold fast to the old ways. If you are talking about the children in Iraq having to drink sewer water, that is something that foreign policy did from here. Did you know that Jesus (peace be upon him)held to the commandment of no graven images also. The story of the man carving a dove out of clay; check your books. This is a main reason that Muslims, and some Christians, in the Middle East do not take photos or watch TV. On the next issue. Shouldn't that same rule apply when people go to the Middle East, shouldn't their laws be followed by Americans whether or not they agree? We do follow the laws here, but it seems that the same respect does not apply for the laws in other countries. What hypocrysy you speak. You sound very hateful and unreasonable. Finally,I agree with freedom of speech, but yet every religious organization is bound by the threat of losing their tax exempt status if they speak out. A church cannot condemn depictions of Jesus without it said they are speaking against a constitutional issue. If religions can not touch politics in any way, then religions should not be able to be touched by someone's sideways politics. All religions should be left alone!

I fully agree with the views expressed by Dr Muzaffar and Mr Buchanan. At this point we need to cool things off so that the real issues can be brought out and discussed. We do not serve the Prophets message by violent expression of outrage at the cartoons.
It would serve the real cause of Islam much more effectively by projecting the personality and character of this benefactor of all humanity. But this has to be done in a manner convincing the skeptics and westerners. One good way of doing this is by bringing out what reputable non-Muslim scholars incl. Bernard Shaw, Lamartaine, Gibbons, Rev. Bosworth Smith, Mahatma Gandhi, Annie Besant, Montgomery Watt etc have written about this most illustrious of persons
Let us demand that they can say what they like,if they are so sensitive about their freedom to talk rubbish but let them also respect the other requisite of a free and responsible press i.e. Fairness, objectivity and giving their readers both sides of the picture
I have already written out more detailed comments on these lines quoting extracts from these writings and sent them to Jyllands Posten for publishing in their paper. Being almost 4000 words I could not fit into this space. I would be happy to forward both my comments and the letter to Posten if I can get the relevant email. Anyone is free to reproduce them or their extracts
We should put pressure on these euro papers to give us equal space to show the other side, Let their readers judge whether our gentle, honorable and forgiving Prophet deserved such ignorant treatment

I think Pat should get off his ass and go to Saudi Arabia, Iran Turkey,Syria.... abd not to the major cities but in the countryside and see the filth,poverty,lack of education ,lack of hygene, lack of personal freedom ie: speech,association et al. Why is there no TV or Cinema?? The Muslim religion was and is used by those in power to intimidate and control the masses. Deprive them of other viewpoints and maintain absolute control. BEWARE of our immigration policies of Islamic nations as they are filtering into every country in the world and plan to make them all into a caliphate. Time will tell and when it happens and it will if we dont open our eyes then it will hit the fan, and to late to complain! Send them all back to where they or their forfathers came from if they cannot live in a democratic society and abide by OUR laws

while it is sad that things like this happens and I do think that the press should respect Allah and his prophet an debuttle explaining what is the damage this has done might help. you could tell people what Quran teaches about killing or whatever the cartoon shows , Then have an website listed in the article where people can go to and read for themselves what muslim doctrine teaches like sat Fourth book women verses then whatever the verses are that way peoople can read for themselves.there will always be those who will not matter what you say will have bad feeling about muslims but for those who want to understand the truth will reach them. may Allah bless you

Assalamou Alaikoum. What is the purpose of Islamicity posting more and more articles like this? Has the management of this web site fallen into the pathetic game of good cops bad cops? What good is this type of views going to provide your sincere and well educated audience?
The author mentioned their best friends in the region, like Abdullah, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt Hamid Karzai. Well they are certainly your best friends, but they are also the enemies of their own Muslims brothers and sisters, is there a need for me to prove it?

Brothers at islamicity, it's time to stop and catch your breath, because they are not just making you walk, they are making you run.

Why don't we see article like this one on Islamicity?

Note: You will appreciate the opening of the author article mentioning the only real South American Leader currently leading, hopefully for a very long time, his beautiful country and beautiful people;

"Let the dogs of the empire bark, that's their job...They will forever try to preserve the US empire by all means, while we will do everything possible to shred it" - Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela.

Les carottes sont cuites.

Stop the cold war against ISLAM and Muslim. We want peace, not war. War only bring worldly prosperity to business entities and the goverment that support it. Look, the price of oil is soaring!

I loved Pat Buchanan's article. He should be president. Bush has
never shown diplomacy, and just makes matters worse. Bush is a
puppet and can't think for himself on this issue. And then we have
the Vice President whos former business is rebuilding the Iraq that
he destroyed. Our world is upside down. Soon we'll get ours, and
we'll deserve it. Shame on us. Safiya

I find it disrepectful that someone would degrade any faith; however, this cartoon did not come from America. I see the USA get blamed for most disrespect of other countries and this is part of the reason why the USA is seen as being so bad. Don't hate us as some Americans are Muslims too.

Dear Mr. Buchana, point well made about tolerance, however you describe the Muslim nation and Muslim's are not limited to the Mid-East or Asia, but are of all origins and races including the deep American South where i have met "Red-neck reverts to Islam; anyhow, my point is that you are trumpeting the idea that the Muslim nation is comprised of zealots or the ignorant uneducated brute squad apes depicted in Planet of the Apes. "Muslims do believe all religions are equal," that is not true. Any educated Muslim would tell you that Islam is tolerant of all faiths. Spain is an excellent example of how Muslims protected Jews and others from the barbarism of the Christian zealots. Furthermore, you push the idea of winning their hearts and minds; which sounds like Muslims need the "tolerant West" to teach them civility. It was the Muslims who taught the West civility and how to wipe their dirty asses when all of Europe was in dark ages and suffering and spreading disease all over the damn place. THe Muslims were busy inventing ALgebra and mobile clinics. So dont make the notion that Muslims need to be "petted" by clean Western White people. Guess what ? Muslims come in White as well and hold PHDs and are doctors and lawyers . Hello ? I think that we all need to learn the true meaning of tolerance and cultural relatavism in order to win the hearts and minds of extremists and of the neo-cons. Yes i am a fundamentalist if that means that i adhere to the fundamentals of Islam.

As long as your freedom does not cross mine!

To Johnson,

Salaamu alaikum all,

You think Europe is civilised...ha ha ha think again; your continent has just witnessed the mass slaughter of Bosnian Muslims and your so called civilised leaders (far from it) watched the mass rape and mass murder and also supported it too. Wake up from your deep slumber and know well that your histrory of genocide, holocausts, anti-semitism & islamophobia is far from over?

Pat Buchanan has gone completely out of his mind. "Like Catholics and Protestants in the 16th century, Muslims do not believe all religions are equal." Yes, 16th century, welcome to the 21st Pat. If that is you claim Pat, then bring back the crusades and fight the real infidels, and the religion of satan, Islam.

Ummm, Islam does have the concept of freedom of speech and in the past non-muslims have been respected while under muslims rules.

I being muslim myself Allhumdulillah am ofcourse very offended. However this has given every muslim no matter shiia ,Sunni.. a chance to show the world how we are. I am very sad that many have misused this oppertunity and proven many things that some are saying about Islam to be true. If we say that we are a religion of peace, we should practice it even in such hard times as these. We should not trolerate these things, but do not lower to their level.

The religion is one since the date of Prophet Abraham (S.A.) Prophet Muhammad (S.A.) did not bring any new religion. He was a messenger of God like any other prphets mentioned in the Holy Books. God prescribed codes of conduction for mankind according to different circumstances in different times. This code of conduct was perfected during the time of prophet Muhammad (S.A.) as stated in the Holy Quran, where the name of the code was given as ISLAM by God Himself. The soverignity of the Universe belongs to God alone. So in His Wisdom, God gave the final code of conduct for mankind in the Holy book of Quran. No man can question His decision. He also said that there was no compultion in the matter of religion. Islam is not actualy a religion, it is in fact complete submission before God. In Quran all prophets have been given equal status. Muslims who have true faith in the code of conduct in Quran must accept this as stated in the said Holy book in several places.
It is the agents of Devil who creates all sorts of troubles in the world as he promised before God
that he would mislead the mankind from left,righ,front and back and sought God's permission to do that, which God gave and told that those who are devout and steadfast in their devotion to God would not be betrayed by Satan (devil) The different name given ti religion was
the brain wave of mankind at different times and has no relevance to practical devotion to God. In these days the so called leaders are nothing but the followers of Satan. People who have slight mind of understanding must realise that there is only ONE Creator that is Allah or may call by any other beautiful name, and try bring peace in the world in fervent prayer before Allah, and not to follow the footsteps of Satan (devil)Oh Muslim ! control your anger and wait for the decision of Allah, who is perfect in His justice. When He will cath the followers of Devil, the Devil will run away. Now see the conditions of Sharon.

Pat you are more or less right. You wish Bush/Condi & Co. to criticise cartoons in your dream. I will tell you they will never and even if they do its only cosmetics. They say that their war against terror in not against islam but 1.5 billions muslim 100% believe that it is a war against Islam.

I think muslim ummah understand that cartoon controvery showing, proving and confirming that west want to destroy Islam disguising under the labels of democracy. Actually put it this way that west democracy is not democracy but it is hypocracy.

Muslims around the world knows that through cartoons west is showing real hatred against islam .In fact through cartoons they are showing what is hidden in their breast.

Muslim leaders around the world those puppets and hypocryte muslim leaders who helped west massacre muslim will find no safe heaven if they do not cooprate with muslim ummah to protest insult towards Islam, Quran and of course our beloved Prophet Mohammed SAW may my parent, family, wealth and my soul and the souls of 1.5 billions muslims be sacrificed upon him. Muslim Ummah will throw away those hypocryte leaders of the west and islamic countries if they continue to insult our Prophet SAW. Those insult our Prophet SAW are against US, against allah and his beloved prophet SAW. West think Freedom of speech is more sacred than Prophet SAW but in fact Prophet SAW is more sacred than the entire universe and whatever it contains.

Those who do not criticise and stopped this blasphmous cartoons are against us and not with us.

Remember Prophet Mohammed SAW is the FOUNDER OF FREEDOM and a Mercy to the entire mankind.

Peace be upon those who believe and love Prophet Mohammed SAW.

A slave of Prophet Mohammed SAW

Muslims love and honor all prophets and thousands of muslims demonstrated alongside Christian when films like the Last Temptation of Christ (alayhisalam) came out blaspheming the Prophet Jesus (alayhisalam). We should not and would not let any of God's messengers be ridiculed. Thank you for this article condoning tolerance. Now let us work towards education too. As muslims it is our duty to stand up this intolerance and ignorace with intelligence, let us tell people exactly who the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was! Let us tell people how he created laws so that even animals would not be treated cruelly, he said that if three people are riding on a donkey stop them until one gets down. He taught us that if a guest comes to our home and we don't have enough food, dim the lights and put the food in front of the guest, and even pretend to eat so that subhanallah, the guest doesn't feel like a burden. His last sermon is full of everlasting light and mercy for all generations. We have the best sources, his own life and example and the quran to teach people who he really was! Let us fight ignorance with knowledge and liable and slander with the truth! Inshahallah.

THOMAS said:
I would reply to Mr. Buchanan by paraphrasing the great Philosopher Voltaire; I disagree with what you say, but I defend your right to say it. Mr. Buchanan as a religious man believes that there is something special about religion. Religion is just an ideology that has to stand on its own two feet and be able to take the attacks from free speech just like all other ideologies

Buchanan is right about our own religion.It took
us 300 years to make Christianity civilized and
And now we can start on square on with Islam.