The avoidance of this cartoon issue by the American mainstream press, print or electronic, is shameful. They could take a lesson from their European counterparts, which are facing it head-on. Hurrah for the newspapers in France and other countries that reprinted these cartoons. The only thing wrong with their response, and that of the governments concerned, is that anyone felt the need to apologize for anything. No apologies were necessary, and the cartoons deserve the widest dissemination, if for no other reason than as a mark of solidarity in standing up for freedom of the press and freedom of opinion -- and freedom in general. Islamofascists and their supporters cannot be allowed to tell the people or press of free countries what they can or cannot print or broadcast. In a free society everything -- EVERYTHING -- is subject to comment, and if that comment sometimes goes over the line, then so be it. Of course, in the current case it did not, but there are always people eager to feel aggrieved. Where is the outrage when, for example, their co-religionists mock and vilify Jewish religious leaders and icons, and far more ourageously, even disgustingly? No, they need to understand that we're secular, we're here, and they had better get used to it. If they want to hunker down in societal darkness and in philosophical and theocratic squalor, such is their right, but they should not then seek to come in to an open society and demand that parts of it be shut down.
I am in 100 percent agreement, Willis.
It is a relief that the Religious Hate Bill in the UK has been watered down to restricting offences to threatening words and behavior instead of also making criticism, insults and ridicule of religion illegal. If the legislation had passed in its intended form, it would have been similar if during the Blitz, for example, England had outlawed derogatory views of Hitler and the Nazis out of a concern for the ex-patriot Germans living in England at the time. So some inspired individual wanting to portray Hitler in his pink-spotted undershorts plotting world domination would have gone to prison. Laws already exist to protect people against violence and vandalism. Why is it necessary to create a special sub-category for religious violence or religious vandalism? Any belief, religious or otherwise, is subject to criticism and even ridicule in a free society. And for that right to be withdrawn in a fit of ill-considered political correctness would go against the very nature of a free society which to me is defined as the right to have and express your own opinion, whether or not it agrees with anyone or offends anyone.
Well, I guess we're all on the same page here. What amazes me is when editorialists who declaim portentously that our free society is threatened if some Christian group bitches about public funding of an "art work" mocking Jesus or Mary or whatever -- which happens to be their right in a free society -- suddenly discover that not only is mocking Mohammad unacceptable across the board, but that riots and embassy burnings to protest same are somehow understandable if not actually defensible. Bear in mind that many of the imams protesting are routinely given to telling their congregations perfectly revolting things about Christians and Jews. These guys want some respect from everybody, they better learn how to extend some to everybody.