It certainly is a symptom of a more serious disease; but what disease is that? When Aydin says that the problem stems from “ignorance, arrogance, insensitivity and festering political differences that fuel hostilities,” clearly he is placing the responsibility for cartoon rage on the West: if only the Danes and others had been more sensitive and knowledgeable, all this wouldn’t have happened.
No one seems to have had the common sense or courage to explain that free societies allow for the giving of offense and require peaceful responses to such offenses. Or that to kill people across the world who had nothing to do with the cartoons because of those cartoons is sheer madness.
“Tutu: Muslim Anger Not Just About Cartoons,” from AP, with thanks to all who sent this in:
DOHA, Qatar – The furor over the Prophet Muhammad drawings is a small part of an expanding divide between Islam and the West, or what international leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu described as the “symptom of a more serious disease.”
Attending a U.N.-sponsored conference aimed at healing the deepening rift, Tutu and 19 other delegates agreed that key ways to bridge the chasm were reaching out to young people and providing more education. Even then, they agreed it would take years of dialogue and practical steps before the rift can be healed.
More education about what? Which young people will be educated? Will Muslims be taught that peaceful responses to offenses are a requirement of pluralism, and that pluralism is a requirement of the modern world? Or will Westerners be educated about the necessity to put Islam and Muslims in a privileged position, and not to criticize or denigrate them in any way?
“What we face nowadays is not a clash of civilizations but a clash mostly caused by ignorance, arrogance, insensitivity and festering political differences that fuel hostilities,” Turkish minister of state Mehmet Aydin said….
“What has happened and the aftermath has been seen as a symptom of a more serious disease,” said Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner. “Had relationships been different, one, the cartoons might not have happened, or if they had, they probably would have been handled differently.”
Handled differently by whom? Let’s remember why the cartoons “happened” in the first place: a Danish author couldn’t get anyone to illustrate his book about Muhammad. A Danish newspaper decided to print the cartoons, nine of which were completely inoffensive and three of which mildly noted the connection between Islam and violence, which Muslims around the world have been making every day. The intention was not to provoke people to irrational violence, but to reassert Western principles of free speech, which — as cartoon rage itself shows vividly — are being threatened by the intimidation and intransigence that some Muslims are now bringing to the West.
The European Union on Monday said that although it regretted the cartoons were “considered offensive” by Muslims, freedom of expression “is a fundamental right and an essential element of a democratic discourse.”
Opinions like that angered former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, who complained at the meeting that “we already have enough misunderstandings in our world today.”
“Insulting the beliefs and customs of people and religions is not freedom of speech. This is not only related to Islam. We must respect the beliefs of other nations and religions whether we believe in them or not. If we don’t believe or approve of them, we must challenge them through discussion and intellectual undertakings,” he said.
Khatami’s words ring hollow in light of the manifest lack of respect the Iranian regime has for Israel and for the West in general. In any case, “insulting the beliefs and customs of people and religions” is precisely freedom of speech. Freedom of speech must be guaranteed because when a powerful group is insulted or threatened by it, it seeks to suppress it. That suppression thus becomes a cardinal protection for tyranny. Western nations have, in the course of history, determined that it is preferable to put up with insult and offense than to acquiesce to tyranny. This is nothing to apologize for, and is a principle that should and must be defended, for it is under attack:
Tutu noted that freedom of expression also came with some obligations.
“Imagine if the subject had been the Holocaust and it had been treated in a way that the Jews had deemed offensive and the reaction of the Danish government and international community had been as it is now,” he said.
In this Tutu descends to a new low, and echoes the likes of murderous thugs like Ahmadinejad. Holocaust denial is illegal in Europe. I do not approve of such laws, but in any case denying a manifest fact and spreading falsehoods is not equivalent to noting that Muslims have been violent, which is a daily fact of life. Moreover, insulting Jews and Christians is not illegal, and happens all the time in Europe and America. But because Jews and Christians never react violently, there has never been a UN commission about these insults, and never will be, and Desmond Tutu has never seen fit to pontificate piously about the responsibility that comes with free speech when faced with the likes of “Piss Christ.”
He lamented the negative stereotyping of Muslims and wondered why North Ireland’s Protestants and Catholics, the Oklahoma City bombers or even the Nazis had never been labeled “Christian terrorists.”
Oh for pete’s sake, Desmond. It sounds as if you have been handed, and studied well, the jihad apologists’ handbook. The differences between these examples and Islamic terrorists are numerous. For one thing, Islamic violence is a constant of Islamic history. And throughout that history, up to today, violent Muslims have justified it by recourse to Islamic teachings about the necessity to make war against and subjugate the infidels. Christianity has no such teachings. Certainly Christians have been violent throughout history — human nature, of course, is everywhere the same. But there is no organized global movement of Christians dedicated to imposing the Christian social order by force, and never has been. The violence in Ireland, although conducted by groups identified by their religion, was not justified by Christian principles even by those who carried it out. The Oklahoma City bombings were perpetrated (probably) by avowed atheists who are routinely mischaracterized as fundamentalist Christians. The Nazis were operating according to the racial and genocidal principles of Hitler. Yes, he was baptized Catholic, but was not observant and formulated a German neo-paganism that was deeply hostile to Christianity. Certainly he exploited Christian anti-Semitism; he also spoke of his desire to crush Christianity. Hardly a Khomeini figure.
Desmond Tutu should know better.
“Look at the Ku Klux Klan, who use a cross as their symbol and propagate hatred against others and encourage lynching. And yet we never hear someone say, ‘There’s an example of how Christianity encourages violence,'” Tutu said.
And why not, Tutu? Because no Christian church or sect or group outside of the Ku Klux Klan endorses what it does. In fact, every Christian church and sect abhors the Klan’s principles. Where are the Muslim groups renouncing jihad and the idea that Sharia must be imposed on the world by violent or peaceful means? Can you name even one, Desmond?
The group, which was meeting for the second time, said the divide also manifested itself in discrimination against immigrants, social and economic inequality and negative stereotyping….
Not that those immigrants have any responsibility for how they are perceived and treated.
The group was created by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan last year to act as a vehicle to promote moderation and dialogue between Islamic and Western nations. It still has two more conferences “” or at least a year “” before it will offer concrete proposals to Annan….