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News On Editorial Cartoons Intended As Serious Criticism

  1. Feb 11, 2006 #1
    I think I can get the discussion restarted by pointing out something that has not been discussed yet:

    What's being lost in this discussion is that the Mohamed bomber cartoon was not a gratuitous insult against Islam. A picture is worth a thousand words. The artist could have written a thousand word editorial that would take ten minutes to read on how virulent strains of Islam are seen to be a clear and present danger threatening the very survival of the Western Civilization. Instead, he drew a clever, compelling picture that encapsulated that point in an instant glance.

    Let me repeat, it was a political cartoon intended to be taken seriously as a critique against certain deranged interpretations of Islam. In other words, it was not a cartoon at all--it was a visual editorial.

    The violent protests only prove the artist's point.

    And yes, Cyrus, a case can be made that Mohamed was nonviolent and that he did not advocate violence. Yet there are hundreds of other scholars who have spent their entire lives in madrasas who interpret the sayings of Mohamed quite differently from your own and our own U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. This was the idea that the editorial artist attemped to capture in his depiction.

    To say that the cartoon a satire or lampoon intended to insult as if it were something that appeared in Mad Magazine or an episode of South Park is false. It was intended as a serious critique of a significant portion of modern Islam. And it was also a call to the silent moral majority within Islam to stand up for themselves for once, and for the sake of world peace, tell the Osamas and Ahmadenejads et al. to get lost.

    To argue that this critque was intolerably insulting and that the perpetrators of such a critique from the editors up to the Danish president must be served consequences, is to argue that any serious criticism of (certain--the bomb-throwing anarchist--versions) of Islam cannot be tolerated.

    If there is to be a conversation between Western Civilization and Islamic Civilization, Islam must learn to listen as well as to talk.

    Also, correct me if I'm wrong, the prohibition on depicting Mohamed is traditional, and does not derive from any specific passage in the Koran.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2006 #2
    This thread will be locked warren, why even bother talking anymore....... I already tried to have one respectful debate and look what happened................
  4. Feb 11, 2006 #3
    Well, it seemed to me that part of the problem that you alluded to in your last post in the locked thread was that the conversation was proceeding too fast, in little sound bites, rather than thoughtful paragraphes that try to be complete arguments unto themselves. Perhaps if we can promise to slow it down, avoid insults, and try to come up with something new, then Moonbear will let this thread survive for a little while at least.
  5. Feb 11, 2006 #4


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    I don't understand what there is to talk about. There is freedom of speech and the press. But just because there is this freedom it does not mean there won't be repercussions for it. Such as these protests, which are an excercise of freedom of speech as well. It could be about any group, whether Jews, blacks, etc., and it could incite such a reaction. However, I will say that sensitivity is higher than normal at this time among Arab/Islamic people, and one should note that pictures are not allowed in Islam so this is particularly offensive to them.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2006
  6. Feb 11, 2006 #5


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    I think as long as we try to keep it well-argumented, civilized, and level-headed, there's no danger for a lock. But I do think that we've turned the question in about all possible directions. There are different antagonist viewpoints:

    A) Principles vs. pragmatism

    1) the principle of free press and free speech on one hand and
    2) the pragmatic attitude that it is maybe going to have undesired consequences if one makes use, in this particular case, of the right of free speech.

    There are those that say that _especially because of 2)_ one should insist upon 1), and then there are those that say that because of 2), 1) should be applied with moderation.

    B) Clash of cultures

    1) in the West, freedom is a strong value, which is unalienable on proper soil
    2) in the ME, Islam is a strong value, which is unalienable EVERYWHERE.

    C) Gradation in reactions and violence

    1) there are those who claim that no matter how, verbal and written acts are always less severe than physical violence
    2) there are those who say that a verbal insult is equivalent, or worse, than an act of physical violence.

    D) the meaning of the cartoons
    1) there are those who say that they are explicitly racist, anti-islam etc...
    2) there are those who say that they are only to point out how certain extremists abused Islam for their violent agenda.

    I think we've gone through about all the oppositions, no ?
  7. Feb 11, 2006 #6
    I believe the works of political cartoonist Thomas Nast has some application here. In the context of insulting an entire religion, Nast drew wayyy...more contraversial images which pissed off a lot more people. Many of his cartoons depicted the pope and catholics in general as a bunch of drunken slobs ruining society. Though this was not just a religist (racist except with relgion) rant, he actually had legitimate arguements. The catholic church during 1870 New York, was overstepping boundries of religion and state, besides helping to support "Boss" Tweed's political machine. My point is that though things may be offensive to people, they are supposed to be offensive, since they [the cartoons] are used to provok serious thought. Its does not matter to the political cartoonist himself, to be politicaly correct, but to make a blaring point that drives people to action and wake them up!!!! If people get pissed off in the meantime, thats fine, since people are thinking.
  8. Feb 11, 2006 #7


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    I still am not seeing what's new with this thread compared to what has already been argued to death in the two locked ones. I'm still trying to figure out how the first thread degraded when everyone seemed to all agree!

    Please, no more threads on the topic. I'm going to reconsider the one started by Shahil in the morning...or in a few hours when the sun comes up....or something like that. If I decide to re-open it, I will merge this one with that one. Or, if Vanesch is up to it, he can review the previous thread and re-open it if he decides all is okay, and merge this with it.
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