Thursday, February 02, 2006

Turns Out They DO Hate Our Freedoms

A number of European newspapers have printed a series of editorial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in unflattering ways. Because images of Mohammad are forbidden by Islam and because the cartoons depict Mohammad as a terrorist, Muslims around the world are extremely upset.

Palestinian gunmen surrounded the European Union building in the Gaza Strip and demanded an apology. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades threatened to kidnap Europeans. Afghani school kids burned German and French flags. Saudi Arabia and Syria have recalled their ambassadors to Denmark, where the cartoons originated last fall.

Wow. I am ceaselessly amazed at the Muslim world’s propensity to become enraged over every perceived slight and insult. It’s as if a significant portion of the culture lives life in a constant state of agitation, just a jostle away from explosion. Democracy will be hard to grow in hearts this angry.

After all, freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy. You simply cannot have a free and open society if threats of kidnappings and worse ensue after every insulting word is spoken (or cartoon is drawn). Can you imagine if Christians in the US or Europe set fires every time they perceived their religion to have been insulted? Thank God all we generally do is boycott.

Michael from Might Middle says it well:

We have as much of a right to ridicule historical religious figures as we have to ridicule any other figure, alive, dead or resurrected. We must always respect a person's right to believe whatever they want to believe, to practice whatever religion they want to practice, but the right to free practice of religion does not include a right to be free of criticism or free of challenge or free of ridicule.

We have a right to disagree. We have a right to disrespect. We have a right to laugh. We have a right to sneer. And the day has not yet come when we take lessons in the etiquette of self-expression from countries that jail reporters and confiscate Bibles, and execute apostates, and run The Procols of the Elders of Zion in prime time, and treat the deliberate murders of children like a sacrament.

President Bush has been ridiculed for saying that radical Muslims hate us because they hate our freedom. But that is more correct than people give him credit for. They may not hate “our freedom” but they sure do have a problem with the expressions of our freedoms.


Blogger Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Right on! And I have to admit to a sigh of relief that the crisis is focused on Europe, not on us. The question now is, is Europe going to respond with cowardice or courage? Perhaps a tipping point awaits.

5:08 PM  
Blogger cakreiz said...

You're right, Alan, they do. I'm unsure why anyone is surprised.

7:56 AM  

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