February 8, 2006


"Doing a Rushdie" and lessons for Christians: The publishing of these cartoons had nothing to do with the Freedom of the Press, but was the result of activity bordering on sinful, as a result of causing scandal and provocation (Robert Duncan, 2/06/06, Spero News)

[I] don’t really think this was about the Freedom of the Press. Instead, this was about identifying and provoking a set group of people for no other reason than their religion.

In other words, this experiment was purposely meant to offend certain people (read Muslims).

The publishing of these cartoons had nothing to do with the Freedom of the Press, but was the result of activity bordering on sinful (do people still believe in that word?), as a result of causing scandal and provocation for no other reason than to get a rise out of people.

It’s also ironic, since this is the same press that has increasingly shown a disregard for religion in general.

Nobody in the Western World would argue that the press doesn’t have the right to publish what they want. On the other hand, having the right to do something also means having a sense of responsibility.

As tests goes this one needs tossed in the garbage barrel and the examiners given an “F.”

The problem isn't reacting with fury--which they should--but tarring with too wide a brush. The exercise of speech should have consequences but they should be visited upon the speaker and his enablers. Target specifically those who create and display or publish something like Piss Christ or Satanic verses, not the entire West for a few heinous cartoons.

Muslims Again Protest Muhammad Caricatures (QASSIM ABDEL-ZAHRA, 2/03/06, Associated Press)

In Iraq, the country's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al- Sistani, decried the drawings but did not call for protests.

"We strongly denounce and condemn this horrific action," he said in a statement posted on his Web site and dated Tuesday.

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.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 8, 2006 12:00 AM

OJ: The whole thing is a set up for push back organized by Syria and Iran. the outrage is faux.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 8, 2006 8:46 PM

So you think we should all hang separately, then.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 8, 2006 8:46 PM

Blasphemers should.

Posted by: oj at February 8, 2006 8:52 PM


Uh-huh, all those Semitic peoples are part of huge conspiracies....

Posted by: oj at February 8, 2006 8:53 PM

Not a big fan of free speech and democracy are you Sparky?

If the Europeans cave on this it will be the biggest betrayal of freedom since Munich.

Posted by: bplus at February 8, 2006 9:04 PM


I'm a fan of people taking responsibility for what they say.

Posted by: oj at February 8, 2006 9:07 PM

The cartoons were the appropriate response to extortion. The fatwas against Salman Rushdie and others, as well as the murder of Theo Van Gogh called for a response. It seemed noone else in Europe besides these 10 cartoonists had the guts to stand up to the Islamic thugs. For that they'll be scapegoated by a cowardly West that has lost the nerve to defend its values.

OJ, the Islamic tar brush only comes in super-wide. It has to cover the entire infidel world. When they absorb the Dar al Harb into the Dar al Salaam, what makes you think that you'll rate an exception?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at February 8, 2006 9:11 PM

the msm is amplifying the braying of very few individuals. having said that this episode is an excellent opportunity to provide the muslim immigrants world wide, a material lesson in assimilation. oh, syria and iran are hip deep in this and as usual this will rebound on them in unexpected and unwanted ways.

Posted by: toe at February 8, 2006 9:18 PM


In case you haven't heard, short of shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater, we are pretty much allowed to say/paint/write/draw/sing whatever we want in a free society. Now I'm no fan of rap or Howard Stern, but I don't have to listen to them. I'm not fond of art work using bodily fluids as a medium, but I don't have to look at them. I didn't even riot when you stated your desire to kill gays.

OTOH, I now have a handle on your often bizarre world view: you don't like freedom. No wonder you love those theocratic hostage taking, gay executing, artist murdering, ayatollahs in Iran. You have more in common with them than real Americans. Over a quarter century ago, people like me were patriotically waving the the US flag on our college campus to protest the embassy take over and hostage holding by those people you love. I suppose statistically there had to be at least one "America" cheering for the Iranians.

I didn't think to look for him in NH.

Posted by: bplus at February 8, 2006 9:42 PM

Turning the other cheek to non-lethal provications that radical Muslims did create over the years, such as the anti-Semetic and anti-Christian drawings, stories and TV shows in their own media, does show a sign of self-confidence and maturity on the part of the West, but you can only take it so far, if the Islamists see the lack of reaction by the west the same way bin Laden saw the U.S.'s lack of reaction following the murders of American troops in Somalia (or as Hitler saw Chamberlain and Britian after Munich).

Sooner or later, you have to stand up to intimidation in some way, or it will only embolden those people to tighten the screws even more. Had Europe chosen to take a stand much earlier than this, it might never have gotten to the point where the paper felt compelled to publish those cartoons, since the Danish illustrators wouldn't have been cowered in the first place against doing a children's book on Mohammad.

Posted by: John at February 8, 2006 9:51 PM

Blasphemers should

Orrin, that's you. Amongst other things you've suggested that Islam is less than perfect, that it needs to be Reformed. If that isn't blasphemy already it will be. That's how bullying proceeds.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 8, 2006 10:07 PM


They won't. We'll win and we're imposing our standards on them not vice versa. They only want to do what we do with impunity.

Posted by: oj at February 8, 2006 10:25 PM


Yes, that's what the war is being fought over. Either I'm a blasphemer who'll be punished when they take over or they're the heretics who we'll make conform. Not hard to predict how it goes.

Posted by: oj at February 8, 2006 10:27 PM


Why can't you shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater?

Posted by: oj at February 8, 2006 10:30 PM

One can't blaspheme a false prophet.

If the Mussulmen don't want to see Danish cartoons they should stay out of Denmark. Their own countries are wretched because of inbreeding, polygamy, and adherence to a heretical death cult, so they immigrate to civilized nations, then once there demand accommodation.

Posted by: Carter at February 8, 2006 11:01 PM


Europe's nihilism will lose to Islam.

Posted by: oj at February 8, 2006 11:07 PM

It'll be interesting to see if this is corroborated as true. If it is, then maybe Muslims are farther along on the road toward the kind of "reformation" that some advocate.And not as thin skinned as their apologists here in the West believe either. It If anything, it does seem to support the contention that this has all been ginned up by the extremist elements.

(That an Egyptian paper will print them, but CNN won't tells me that my decision to ignore CNN irrelevant is the right one.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 8, 2006 11:10 PM

Like Van Goghing them?????

Posted by: Sandy P at February 8, 2006 11:25 PM

It is not our standard to let cartoonists or writers be targeted for death. I know that you are a few centuries behind the curve, but please try to keep up.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at February 8, 2006 11:27 PM

I don't know if the future will be one where Europe has lost to Islam, and I don't know what that has to do with the immediate situation.

I like Danes. I don't find them nihilist. You know I find nihilist? The people who celebrate suicide bombers and terrorism, the people who say "You love life, we love death", the people who threaten murder and commit arson because someone drew a cartoon of the heretic they follow.

Posted by: Carter at February 8, 2006 11:58 PM

OJ: Go out and buy a danish flag. Now ask yourself where that stuff comes from. You have been had.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 9, 2006 12:03 AM


Shouting "FIRE" in a crowded theatre is perfectly reasonable, if, in fact, there is a fire.

The fire here is Islamofascism, and the cartoons are perfectly reasonable in that context.

The "test" which the writer refers to is an accurate metaphor, but like our vile public education system, the punditocracy now wishes to blame the test, when, in fact it is Islam (the religion of peace) that has failed.

If we can endure "Piss Christ" and flag burning (as we have and should have) then they can endure these cartoons.

The fact that the news is now reporting that much of the anger has been manufactured is yet more evidence of just how easily the people can be manipulated.

Posted by: Bruno at February 9, 2006 12:07 AM


Take a chill pill. OJ is a big fan of individual freedom. He just wants individuals to temper their freedom with good dose of self-control. Though slightly more libertarian leaning than OJ, I tend to agree with him on this.

(jump in and correct if I'm wrong, OJ)


You are correct about Islam & Europe, but that is only because "Europe's Nihilism" is MORE of a "false Prophet" than "radical Islam."

The truth of the matter is that on this earth, Western (small "r") Republicanism offers the grace of allowing one their own beliefs. Beyond Earth, Christianity offers grace as well.

Neither EU nihilism nor Radical Islam (nor "regular Islam - by my reading) offers any grace in either of these spheres, hence their dramatic shortcoming.

Posted by: Bruno at February 9, 2006 12:28 AM

As near as I can tell, the main objection from sober-minded people (see Hugh Hewitt et al.) to the whiff of anti-Islamic sentiment bubbling after the reaction to the cartoons is that there is an element of insult involved - as in, gotcha', you poor fanatical losers. You might be able to bomb, but we can MOCK!

But that is not why the cartoons were published. It may be why they were drawn, but it is not why they were published.

The view seems to be that by broadening our criticism of Islam, there will be an increase (incremental perhaps, but 1% of 1.5 billion is 1.5 million) in the number of jihadists. Maybe so, but I suspect if it weren't the cartoons, it would be something else. And Al-Jazeera is there to broadcast that something else to all the right neighborhoods.

The problem we have is that in the West, we don't know who the 'good' Muslims are. In the US, Muslims are fairly well integrated and mosques are, for the most part, like any other church or temple or tabernacle or whatever. People go there once a week (or more) and they live their lives in the community, both locally and nationally. In Europe, it isn't like that. And the US elites are reacting like Europeans (towards Islamic bullying), for the most part - just hoping it will go away.

If we could identify the 'good' Muslims, we could support them, stand with them, embrace them - whatever. I think this is why President Bush keeps talking about a religion of peace and a noble faith. But it is difficult, because the bully boys shut them up first. Hound them and even kill them. Sure, it seems strange to us, because we are used to dismissing religious fanatics (especially the ones we know personally). I suspect for Muslims it is quite different - at the mosques (in Europe and in the Islamic world) it is a matter of life and death to know who the fanatics are and how to live with them.

And so we struggle. Blaming every Muslim for the behavior of the nutcase radicals is wrong. Condemning the entire faith because the nutcase radicals threaten us is wrong. But failing to see the problem (and the danger) is wrong as well.

Islam needs reform, but it is easy for us (in our Judeo-Christian & Western heritage) not only to see that, but to provide the remedy. An imam in Paris might just have a different prescription, and you can bet that all imams in Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and probably Indonesia have the same prescription - purify, purify, purify.

The fact that this whole 'crisis' has been manufactured should alert us to how far things have come. And the extent to which the enemies in Tehran, Damascus, and yes, Saudi Arabia will go in order to paralyze the US. If Islam is going to reform along OJ's lines, some prominent Muslims are going to have to stand up and tell the terror masters it is time for them to die.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 9, 2006 12:48 AM

Blasphemers should. (be hanged)

OJ, wouldn't be easier and faster for you to provide a list of people you DON'T want to kill?

Posted by: bplus at February 9, 2006 6:23 AM

Guys, the bottom line is OJ prefers theocracy to democracy. Everything else stems from that.

Posted by: bplus at February 9, 2006 6:25 AM


And if one doesn't exercise self-control others are obligated to exercise it for you.

Posted by: oj at February 9, 2006 7:12 AM


As I said, the problem isn't Danes generally. They should be attacking the specific speakers.

Posted by: oj at February 9, 2006 7:14 AM


Yes, Islam is behind us. Once they impose the same level of conformity we enjoy they'll find suchg things less threatening. For instance, the "Fire!" standard that daniel and Bruno cite did not result in deaths, just criminal convictions and non-capital sentences. We've usually found that sufficient to shut up people who blaspheme our civil religion.

Posted by: oj at February 9, 2006 7:17 AM


Not only do we not endure it, but Rudy Giuliani, a seeming favorite these days on the Right, made his bones opposing such blasphemy. Interestingly, the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, supported the exhibition of Chris Ofili's Holy Virgin Mary.

Posted by: oj at February 9, 2006 7:22 AM


Yes, we live in a hybrid one. The Republic is premised on divine guidance abut how our political affairs should be organized, but we don't allow clerical rule.

Posted by: oj at February 9, 2006 7:25 AM


No, once you do a few the rest figure it out.

Posted by: oj at February 9, 2006 7:28 AM


The problem isn't that it will create terrorists but that it's hateful towards a billion people. They needn't tolerate such hatred and shouldn't.

Posted by: oj at February 9, 2006 7:47 AM


Yes, but notice that they can only run wild in the street when they object to what Westerners believe and say. We change their regimes and kill them by the hundreds of thousands to get them to conform.

Would you feel safer if you were Salman Rushdie or a Ba'athist?

Posted by: oj at February 9, 2006 7:49 AM

Then (following your logic), the question for the entire Islamic world is why the West should tolerate them at all. After all, we have endured far worse than cartoons.

Your statement is high-minded, gentle, polite, and (mostly) correct. The problem is that the bungholes have embedded themselves in a 'culture' much like terrorists hiding among women and children. If we could magically kill every Islamofascist tonight, with no collateral damage, who here wouldn't push that button? The problem is what level of innocent casualties are we willing to accept?

The Islamofascists don't care about innocence, because there are no innocents (even in their world). But they know what constricts us. Iran's behavior would be quite different if we acted like they did, or like the Russians have done in Chechnya. Imagine how different things would have been with Arafat if Clinton had just grabbed him by the throat and told him to sign or die. Or if Reagan had killed him and every other Fatah goon in 1982.

But we don't live that way, so this manufactured crisis is a tough nut for us. And while the terror masters live, it will a problem for Islam as well.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 9, 2006 9:31 AM


Yes, the answer is: we aren't.

Posted by: oj at February 9, 2006 10:50 AM

I think Michael Medved said it best (in his interview w. Hewitt, posted at Radioblogger): the Muslim radicals scream and riot from a position of weakness, because they are profoundly insecure.

It seems we can give them cartoon, precision munitions, or valium. Which will help them the most?

Posted by: ratbert at February 9, 2006 12:30 PM

Giving them confidence, which is why The Reformation.

Posted by: oj at February 9, 2006 12:38 PM