I received a letter from a friend which said the editor of the Danish newspaper who published the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist died in a fire. While there was no rejoicing about the matter on the part of my friend, he did seem to indicate that’s what happens to people who abuse religious figures, an act of retribution from God Almighty and that he was satisfied, not rejoicing, with what he thought was the end of this editor’s life. I had to break the news to him that it was just a rumor and that no one associated with the cartoon fiasco had died a terrible death; indeed it appears no one at the newspaper, Jyllands-Posten , had died at all. I think he’ll get over his disappointment, but I began to wonder about that whole issue of the cartoons for it was meant to trigger an emotional response from people in order to highlight an already preconceived notion the editors and owner of the paper had about Muslims. Unfortunately, some Muslims reinforced the stereotypes brewing in the heads of the folks at JP, but what happened at that newspaper also underscores the terrible hypocrisy employed by them and their martyrdom complex of freedom of speech.
It must be noted the newspaper published this set of 12 cartoon panels about the Prophet twice, in late 2005 and again in 2008. It’s kind of interesting the publications occurred during campaigning season for American elections, but it took almost six months for the controversy to come to a boiling point and become an international issue after the first cartoons were published in ’05. The Muslims in Denmark handled it quite well for the most part, organizing and holding peaceful protests to make their feelings known on an issue of importance to them, but with regards to all things dealing in religion, anti-religious forces came into play and distorted what is a very real issue. The newspaper said it was a free speech issue, but it wasn’t. Earlier the paper had declined to publish a cartoon about Jesus, the son of Mary, offering as an “excuse” the quality of the cartoon wasn’t good enough for their paper. (Shouldn’t that have been up to the readers of the paper to decide?)
Fleming Rose, the cultural editor of the paper at the time of the publication of the caricatures of Islam’s prophet, went on to say later his paper would publish Holocaust denial cartoons in conjunction with an Iranian newspaper, but that idea too was nixed by the editor in chief of Jyllands-Posten, although they did go on to publish the winning and runner up submissions of the “contest” sponsored by the Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri. Quite naturally, this opened up the newspaper to accusations of a double standard, it is, and hypocrisy on freedom of speech, which again it is. Of course the editors of the paper don’t see it that way, and they never will. That Muslim groups were not given the right to edit or decide what should have been printed in the paper about their religion should be given the say weight as it was given to Christian and Jewish groups, otherwise talk of freedom of press and or freedom of an editor to decide what he/she puts in their newspaper is only lies. Europe is awash in anti-social behavior from religions and religious extremists across all divides; hyping one group’s extremists while ignoring another’s is demagoguery at its finest and all at the hands of an active, partisan press. That said, I’ve found the perfect cartoon to express all the 600 plus words of this post. Enjoy.