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.
& 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!
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.
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.
Does your neck have sunburn after you removed your pointy white hood?
Well said and I'm interested. I would appreciate the chance to read your thoughts. (Iviews / isalmicity please take note.)
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
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.
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
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?
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.
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
us 300 years to make Christianity civilized and
And now we can start on square on with Islam.