In an unfortunate display of example following postulation, the flame fanning by Muslim clerics behind the Danish newspaper [Jyllands-Posten] cartoons as reported by the Wall Street Journal echos points I made regarding the “War on Christmas” crusade being waged by various fundamental Christian groups (See Jesus in the Checkout Line)
In writing how unthinking followers confuse the symbol with the real thing, in this case how a tree IS Christmas:
This is where the dogmatic followers in the “War on Christmas” crusade are stuck – the label. The crusade leaders know this and use the effect on the followers to advance their agenda.
Now match this with what the Wall Street Journal reports:
Keen to “globalize” the crisis to pressure the Danish government, Mr. [Ahmed] Abu-Laban [a fundamentalist Palestinian cleric] and his colleagues decided to send delegations to the Middle East. They prepared a dossier to distribute during the travels. The document, which exceeded 30 pages, featured copies of the published cartoons and Arabic media reports about the controversy. It also contained a group of highly offensive pictures that had never been published by the newspaper, including a photograph of a man dressed as a pig, with the caption: “this is the real picture of Muhammad.”
That picture, it turns out, is far from being a satire of Mohammad or any other sacred Islamic figure. It is a picture of a French man at the French Pig-Squealing Championships in Trie-sur-Baise’s annual festival. Ahmed Abu-Laban has claimed these extra images were from threatening letters and promised to produce the letters for various news services. So far, copies of the letters have not been produced. The defilement of Mohammad’s image by Ahmed Abu-Laban is far the greater offence in this instance. By deliberately bringing this, and other much more offensive depictions of Mohammad and Islam, into the fray, Ahmed Abu-Laban himself must be held accountable by Muslims claiming offense at the set of cartoons published by the Danish newspaper. That is, if they are at all interested in retaining any credibility for their objections. Doubtful, as the issue isn’t about cartoons. Its deeper and broader. Again from Jesus in the Checkout Line:
As Eric Raymond observes, “Serious is deadly. Any spiritual tradition that can’t laugh at itself, that can’t step outside its own dogmas and admit how absurd it can look from the outside, has already become a cancer.” The problem is, they are not so much deadly to themselves as they are to anyone who stands in their way. Such serious spirituality manifests itself as subtle religious persecution and escalates to violent crusades and religious wars.
We are witnessing a direct confrontation between Freedom of Speech in a Free society and the theocratic self interests of a small, violent group willing to twist any nuance of offence to further their emotional goals. One of those goals is censorship. The two sides are mutually exclusive. Having been softened by three decades of “political correctness” indoctrination and the resulting vague confusion that somehow any and all discrimination is a bad thing, the environment has been prepared for harvesting by opportunistic drumbeaters such as the radical Muslims. Vernor Vinge writes, “There were a dozen research trends that could ultimately put world-killer weapons in the hands of anyone having a bad hair day.”
We are in interesting times.
2006.02.08 – 1 – Just came across this quote, not sure who said it (Billy Sunday?), but it fits the topic: “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.”
2006.02.08 – 2 – Some balanced perspective from Amir Taheri:
Islamic ethics is based on “limits and proportions,” which means that the answer to an offensive cartoon is a cartoon, not the burning of embassies or the kidnapping of people designated as the enemy. Islam rejects guilt by association. Just as Muslims should not blame all Westerners for the poor taste of a cartoonist who wanted to be offensive, those horrified by the spectacle of rent-a-mob sackings of embassies in the name of Islam should not blame all Muslims for what is an outburst of fascist energy.