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Friday, February 3, 2006
Outrage over Cartoon Continues, Grows
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:40 am

An opening note: there is something to be said about newspapers/media outlets avoiding engaging in highly offensive activities. We do need to recognize that these cartoons are quite offensive to religious Muslims, moreso than I think we non-Muslims understand. However, the way he offended respond is quite important. And, as I note below, the comparison of the reaction to cartoons versus other abuses of Islam is noteworthy. Certainly this situation underscores the a clash of cultures, and a clash between more traditional mindsets with more liberal, modern ones.

We in the West have a hard time understanding how anyone can get this upset over cartoons. Getting upset we understand (think the Toles cartoon story)-getting violent we do not. And on the lighter side, Americans probably have a hard time understanding anyone getting upset by something done by the Danes.

However, the situation has clearly gotten a remarkably large number of people very upset.

Here’s a partial run-down:

Via Reuters: Anger over Mohammad cartoons spreads

Up to 300 militant Indonesian Muslims went on a rampage in the lobby of a building housing the Danish embassy in Jakarta.

Shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest), they smashed lamps with bamboo sticks, threw chairs, lobbed rotten eggs and tomatoes and tore up a Danish flag. No one was hurt.

And, via the AP: Muslims Again Protest Muhammad Caricatures

Thousands of Iraqis protested after Friday prayers against caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad reprinted in European papers and the country’s top Shiite cleric denounced the drawings.


Thousands of Iraqis staged demonstrations after weekly mosque prayer services on Friday. About 4,500 people joined rallies in Basra and hundreds at a Baghdad mosque. Danish flags were burned at both demonstrations.


The 12 caricatures have prompted boycotts of Danish goods, bomb threats and demonstrations in front of Danish embassies across the Islamic world. Muslims have also directed their anger at other European countries, with Palestinian gunmen briefly kidnapping a German citizen Thursday and surrounding European Union headquarters in Gaza.


In Indonesia, 150 demonstrators hurled eggs at the building housing the Danish Embassy, then stormed in, pushing past security guards.


About 800 people protested in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, chanting “Death to Denmark” and “Death to France.” Another rally in the southern city of Karachi drew 1,200 people.

Via the Telegraph:

A leading Islamic cleric called for an “international day of anger” today over publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, and a Danish activist predicted that deadly violence could break out in Europe “at any minute”.

And so on…

What struck me earlier today was that it was a shame that the abuse of Islam as a rationale for flying planes into buildings or exploding bombs in crowded markets, all for the purpose of killing the innocent, doesn’t result in even a small percentage of the outrage that some cartoons have generated.

And yes, I understand the strictures in Islam against images of Mohammed. Still, it does not speak well of a large number of Muslims that murder in the name of their religion sparks nary a peep, but a caricature of their Prophet does.

I should note, however, the following from the above-cited AP story:

Al-Sistani, who wields enormous influence over Iraq’s majority Shiites, made no call for protests and suggested that militant Muslims were partly to blame for distorting Islam’s image.

He referred to “misguided and oppressive” segments of the Muslim community and said their actions “projected a distorted and dark image of the faith of justice, love and brotherhood.”

“Enemies have exploited this … to spread their poison and revive their old hatreds with new methods and mechanisms,” he said of the cartoons.

Other coverage:

  • CNN: Storm grows over Mohammad cartoons
  • CNN: Gunmen shut EU Gaza office over cartoons
  • WaPo: Tension Rises Over Cartoons of Muhammad
  • OTB has the toons and much linkage.


  1. At the risk of being banned from commenting, I would make two observations:

    1. Outrage over the cartoons — or, really, over a great deal of the insignificant issues that the Muslims seem to demonstrate and gnash their teeth at — I think stems from the anger and hostility inherent in Islam itself. Actually, I guess it would be more accurate to say that the outrageous response seems to stem from Islam. That is the subject of a book, not a comment, but I think the observation is apt.

    2. The protestors, and their leaders, do not help the image of Islam by their actions. I.e. if they don’t want somebody protraying Muhammed as a terrorist (with a bomb on his head), then don’t blow up innocents over a cartoon protraying Muhammed as a terrorist with a bomb on his head. I realize that the protests are actually about portraying any image of Muhammed, not just the one, but I think the observations still stands: Activist Muslims are painting themselves, and all Muslims, with their own brush.

    Comment by Scott Gosnell — Friday, February 3, 2006 @ 9:41 am

  2. […] 8216;’This is absolutely not the way we express our opinions.’’ The statement from al Sistani in Iraq that I noted on Friday can be added as well. Not that there haven’t been state- […]

    Pingback by PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Cartoon Protests Spread to Lebanon — Sunday, February 5, 2006 @ 8:19 am

  3. I’m a Muslim, and truthfully, both the caricatures AND the fanatics that have hurt the image of my religion make me mad. Although I am dissapointed with European media(and not the entire community, because then I’d be a hypocrite), I am more saddened by the images I see on TV of ‘fellow’ Muslims resorting to violence. Of course all this is much bigger then the immediate situation taking place, and the argument will drag on forever, but I would like to say it would help to be a little self-censoring right now as there is a war going on (Iraq, Afghanistan, probably Iran very soon) and the last thing the West wants is more misunderstanding between two very old rivals: East vs. West.

    Comment by Humaira — Sunday, February 5, 2006 @ 10:58 pm

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