Pharyngula

Tit-for-tat

The Danish cartoonists vs. Muslims conflict is flaring up again, with the discovery of a conspiracy by Muslims to kill a cartoonist. There are many levels of irony here; it’s simply stupid to try and protest accusations that you are violent by committing acts of violence. I’ve also noticed an interesting pattern of escalation.

The aggrieved Muslims are saying, “Mock our god and we will kill you.” They have the goal of suppressing images they consider blasphemous.

The cartoonists are saying, “Threaten to kill us and we will mock your god.” Obviously, they’d like to stay alive, but their goal in this context is to see their work disseminated widely.

Now ask yourself, who is achieving their goals? Who is winning?

It looks to me like a few relatively obscure cartoonists are crushing the fundamentalist Muslim world. Those cartoons aren’t even that good, and they’re being published everywhere, even appearing on blogs.

i-a3e4da534f1f85f19b7d224c4cbe6b3f-mohammed_bomb.jpg

Now maybe I’m misinterpreting the fundie Muslim position here: maybe their goal is actually to make sure the world thinks their beliefs are dangerous and stupid, and also ineffectual; they’re flailing pointlessly to suppress a couple of scribblings that would have vanished into obscurity, and have managed to turn them into icons of Islamic insanity. They’re doing a good job if that’s so. They’ve convinced me, at any rate.

Comments

  1. #1 Michelle
    February 13, 2008

    Extremists of any religion make their whole community look like crazy fools.

    You know, nowadays Christians don’t launch lots of massacres, but they sure get offended at anything that makes fun of Jeebus! Did you guys see the makeup kits in Singapore?

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,330439,00.html

    I found that hilarious.

  2. #2 Snarki, child of Loki
    February 13, 2008

    Saying nasty things about cartoonists might get a few people on your side temporarily.

    But the retaliation will have the whole world laughing at you for decades.

    I guess some people are just slow learners, and need to have their noses rubbed in the obvious. Makes more laughs for the rest of us, so there’s some benefit, I suppose.

  3. #3 Moody834
    February 13, 2008

    Don’t have any airports near your house, do you?

    (…Sounds funny, now.)

    People would recall that seen in The World According to Garp….

    Yeesh, I need coffee.

  4. #4 gene
    February 13, 2008

    Professor,

    I have a slightly different interpretation. The Danish cartoon case was ginned up by the rulers of islamic nations to deflect criticism from their failed policies. islamic leaders enrich and indulge themselves and keep their populations in poverty and to deflect their anger, outside enemies have to be created.

    The governments of Egypt, Libya, Syria, Pakistan and others had a conveint fall guy to cover for their countries lack of infrastructure, education, medical facilities and hope. And tons of Danish flags were rushed into the region for burning.

    After the initial publication there was no worldwide outcry, but a group of Imams in Denmark (who had been granted sanctuary by the Danish Government) added 3 fake cartoons they created and toured the world looking for support.

    Once the governmental leaders realized the gold mine of deflection they ensured the fanatics would be roused from the state supported mosques and religious schools.

  5. #5 Steve in MI
    February 13, 2008

    So we’re reminded again of the trust of that throwaway line (here heavily paraphrased) from The Hitchhikers Guide: “The purpose of of a president is not to wield power, but to distract attention from it.” So, Gene, you’re implying that the only difference between our ogliarchy and theirs is the use of a slightly different batch of holy bangles to distract the devout masses from the acts being committed against them?

  6. #6 Taz
    February 13, 2008

    According to the article, these people are accused of plotting to murder a Danish citizen, and as punishment they’re going to be kicked out of the country? I’m no right-wing fanatic when it comes to sentencing, but that seems wholly inadequate.

  7. #7 Ted D
    February 13, 2008

    Someone really ought to have told them to start with a strongly worded letter to the editor. A vicious verbal barb stings way more than a beheading or a bomb.

  8. #8 Deepsix
    February 13, 2008

    Michelle, that was pretty funny. Of course now I feel dirty for going to foxnews.com.

  9. #9 Nan
    February 13, 2008

    @4 – I’ve read analyses of the recent Teddy bear brouhaha in Sudan that came to a similar conclusion. Of course, we have similar manipulations going on in the U.S. — keep the believers fired up about gay marriage or the war on Christmas and maybe they won’t notice their wages are stagnant, the foreclosure rate is climbing, infrastructure is crumbling, and U.S. troops are dying daily in an illegal and unnecessary war. Religion has always been used to keep the masses in line.

  10. #10 Ted D
    February 13, 2008

    A non-fox article about lookin’ good for jesus:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7241296.stm

  11. #11 Aris
    February 13, 2008

    PZ, I’m very glad you’re posting more on Islamic insanity. I hate to compare religions, and Christianity is loony enough with its exorcisms and apocalyptic aspirations; but it does seem that no religion is currently as medieval in its culture as Islam. My problem is the severe case of cognitive dissonance I experience when I find myself agreeing with people like Wafa Sultan and Hirsi Ali who run around with the deranged David Horowitz ( I think both were part of his Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week) and get angry at all the fellow liberals who won’t criticize Islam, no matter what, out of some misguided reverence for abstract multiculturalism.

    ____________________________________________

  12. #12 danley
    February 13, 2008

    Time for Hitchism to descend on all ye (ye) nations.

  13. #13 CalGeorge
    February 13, 2008

    Cartoon reactions from an hate-filled cartoon religion whose basic working principle is: I’ve got this book and it makes me powerful and you must obey me or face the consequences, which include loss of life or body parts.

    1.4 billion idiots.

  14. #14 Zeph
    February 13, 2008

    am I missing something? aren’t the muslims protesting the depiction of their prophet, which is supposedly blasphemous? this is the first time I’ve actually seen the cartoon in question, and nowhere on it is there anything to indicate that this is a picture of the prophet muhammad… they need to quit their bitching, if they don’t want the world to think they’re violent then quit being violent!

  15. #15 Moses
    February 13, 2008

    So we’re reminded again of the trust of that throwaway line (here heavily paraphrased) from The Hitchhikers Guide: “The purpose of of a president is not to wield power, but to distract attention from it.” So, Gene, you’re implying that the only difference between our ogliarchy and theirs is the use of a slightly different batch of holy bangles to distract the devout masses from the acts being committed against them?

    Posted by: Steve in MI | February 13, 2008 9:01 AM

    Just because it’s fiction, doesn’t mean it’s not true in the broader sense. Just yesterday, another bit of the law was flushed down the toilet. At this point in my life, I hardly recognize the US and, maybe, 2/3rds of the Constitution is working, and most of that weakly. First Amendment – semi-trashed. Fourth Amendment – Trashed. Fifth Amendment – semi-trashed. Sixth Amendment – trashed. “Unlimited” unitary Executive – every day… Congressional oversight – non-existent. Wacko Judicial opinions – Right wing throw-down!

    But, back to the main point, it’s not like we’re acting so very different. The Christian right has a hell of a dog-and-pony show going on right now. Here in America. A regular “Kill the Muslims” tour put on by Focus on the Family, including a recent stop at the US Air Force Academy.

    So, let’s not just pile on the Muslims, of which these are just a few. There are plenty of cretins to go around, including most the Christian Right.

  16. #16 Mold
    February 13, 2008

    Deportation may not seem like much. But, Denmark is one of those Social Liberal Welfare states. The wankers that dreamed this up are very likely on the dole and being sent back to the auld sod might be real punishment. Oh, the rulers of the Islamic lands are not noted for their kind and gentle treatment of heretics or revolutionaries. It’s one thing to moan about the evils of parents when one lives at home. It’s quite another to be living on the street that always makes the news.

  17. #17 schmeer
    February 13, 2008

    Hopefully the major news outlets in the US show that they actually have a spine and print the cartoon this time. I didn’t even know what the thing looked like for quite a while.

    Whatever happened to the US being one of the big defenders of free speech?

  18. #18 Moses
    February 13, 2008

    Hmm… LInk’s not working. Here’s the Christian Right’s “Kill all the Muslims” tour: http://thefaithfulpenguin.blogspot.com/2008/02/christian-right-kill-all-muslims.html

  19. #19 gene
    February 13, 2008

    Astute observations about the US Nan. The War on Christmas keeps people from recognizing the theft of 3 trillion dollars by the War profiters in the DoD.

    And Steve in MI, I think rulers of nations feel the have more in common with each other than with the people they control. It’s in the leadership interests to keep their people focused away from what the government is doing.

    To quote Mencken:
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

  20. #20 GS
    February 13, 2008

    Winning? Where? In the newspapers in non-Muslim countries? And where is the war being fought?

  21. #21 pwe
    February 13, 2008

    Taz wrote (# 6):

    According to the article, these people are accused of plotting to murder a Danish citizen, and as punishment they’re going to be kicked out of the country? I’m no right-wing fanatic when it comes to sentencing, but that seems wholly inadequate.

    The article is a bit odd.

    Just below the headline, it says:

    Early Tuesday morning, Danish police arrested three men with a Muslim background suspected of conspiring to kill Kurt Westergaard, a Danish cartoonist with Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten.

    So there were three men. But of which nationality?

    Two of those arrested are Tunisian citizens, one a Danish citizen, according to the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, which has kept the group under surveillance for months.

    That is two Tunisian citizens and one Danish citizen, right?

    But wait!

    Pursuant to the regulations of the Danish aliens’ act, the two Moroccan citizens are held in custody in preparation for expulsion from Denmark.

    Now, those two Tunisian citizens apparently were quick to change their nationality.

    But let us take that quote one more time:

    Pursuant to the regulations of the Danish aliens’ act, the two Moroccan citizens are held in custody in preparation for expulsion from Denmark.

    If they are Moroccan citizens, how does the regulations of the Danish aliens‘ act apply to them? Moroccan citizens are usually not from outer space!

    - pwe

  22. #22 Cuttlefish, OM
    February 13, 2008

    The Muslims want to rid the world
    Of all cartoons that irk us–
    I say, come join in my jihad
    Against The Family Circus!
    To threaten death for doodling
    Mohammed is just silly,
    When much more damage has been done
    By Jeffy and by Billy.
    The mental anguish brought about
    By P.J. or by Dolly
    Makes Muslim claims of blasphemy
    Just so much useless folly.
    Who holds a gun to Bil Keane’s head–
    Against his plaintive plea,
    And makes him write this sort of crap?
    Oh! “Ida Know”; “Not Me”!

  23. #23 pwe
    February 13, 2008

    Moody834 wrote (#3):

    Don’t have any airports near your house, do you?

    (…Sounds funny, now.)

    People would recall that seen in The World According to Garp….

    Yeesh, I need coffee.

    Ummm, I live just on the other side of a highway from Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup, but I haven’t read The World According to Garp, so please enlighten me, what that is all about :-)

    - pwe

  24. #24 Tulse
    February 13, 2008

    You can buy Looking Good for Jesus products online.

    Now if only someone made Cthulhu cosmetics…

  25. #25 bernarda
    February 13, 2008

    Allah sure is a wimp if he needs mortals to defend him from blasphemy. These muslims are just admitting that their gawd is stupid and impotent. Allah it seems it not so great, but rather the wizard of oz.

    But that doesn’t prevent the British wimp government from bending over backside raised high once again to the idol of multiculturalism.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/7204635.stm

    “A story based on the Three Little Pigs fairy tale has been turned down by a government agency’s awards panel as the subject matter could offend Muslims.

    The digital book, re-telling the classic story, was rejected by judges who warned that “the use of pigs raises cultural issues”.

    Becta, the government’s educational technology agency, is a leading partner in the annual Bett Award for schools.”

    If I offend any muslims, it is purely intentional and I don’t care. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  26. #26 Moses
    February 13, 2008

    And Steve in MI, I think rulers of nations feel the have more in common with each other than with the people they control. It’s in the leadership interests to keep their people focused away from what the government is doing.

    Posted by: gene | February 13, 2008 9:29 AM

    Absolutely, externalization and/or internal-scapegoating are two of the classic strategies to deflect the population into a more controllable state. You see the Iranians do it with the US and Israel. You see the US do it in our diplomacy. Hitler did it with the Jews. Mussolini did it in Italy. Always the anger at the poverty, lack-of-freedoms, etc. must be directed against “them,” the evil conspirators that our holding “us” down.

    We see this in America, too. For example, Bush fails to heed warnings about terrorism and not only gets little criticism, but the Whitehouse, through proxies, have most of the American people believing, within months that Iraq was either responsible or that the could support Al Qaeda in a second or third attack. For example, in a February, 2003 76 percent of those surveyed felt Saddam provides assistance to Al Qaeda. A second poll in in a February, 2003 asked: “Was Saddam Hussein personally involved in the September 11 attacks?” 72 percent said it was either very or somewhat likely.

    Rather than demanding accountability for the massive failures and ignored warnings about the 9/11 attack and the punishments of those who criminally negligent, the US population was distracted by the Whitehouse fixing the anger on an external enemy – Iraq – that had NOTHING to do with act and was no credible threat. This allowed some terrible results to happen. Condi Rice should have been fired – she was promoted. The entire Bush Whitehouse should have been impeached, for numerous reasons much more serious that parsing language about a blow-job, and they were re-elected. We should have had a police action against Al Qaeda for their crimes – we’re in two illegal wars.

    If you were part of the minority and dared step out of line and talk about the Emperors New Clothes, you’re branded a “traitor.” You are dehumanized as a “rifle dropping, girly-boy” or just called “French.” If you were a CIA agent, you were outed and your career destroyed. People threatened your life, police assaulted you for demonstrating, they burned your CDs, and the list goes on and on and on…

  27. #27 Shawn O'connerly
    February 13, 2008

    “So we’re reminded again of the trust of that throwaway line (here heavily paraphrased) from The Hitchhikers Guide: “The purpose of of a president is not to wield power, but to distract attention from it.” So, Gene, you’re implying that the only difference between our ogliarchy and theirs is the use of a slightly different batch of holy bangles to distract the devout masses from the acts being committed against them?”

    EXACTLY. Once you ignore all our differences, WE’RE JUST LIKE THEM!!11!

  28. #28 Adnan Ahmad
    February 13, 2008

    I really loathe these sort of people, especially when I’ve got to remind people that I’m an atheist despite my Muslim – rather than Islamic, which is a word that just bugs me as much as “Pakistanian” rather than Pakistani, but I digress – name. Amusingly, it was the insistence by my devout but fairly liberal parents on a good education that led to me being bored with the notion of an invisible imaginary friend-like entity.

    As much as I can understand how a Muslim can feel picked on nowadays – post 9/11 “he’s swarthy has facial hair/ get hiiiim” anyone? – I have to wince at the sheer stupidity of the “You said something naughty about Mohammed? I keeel you!” attitude. End of the day, they tend to forget that it’s just words, not sticks and stones. Ach.

  29. #29 Holbach
    February 13, 2008

    I read the decision by the Danes to publish those freaking
    muslim cartoons on the Internet news this morning. About
    time the Danes finally got some fortitude and stood up
    against the muslim fanatics. To stem the fanatics obvious
    retribution against this courageous act, they should hire
    street thugs and even the underworld to retaliate against
    this deranged scum when they start to act. Just flail away
    and smash as many of them you can until they get the message that we are not going to tolerate any more insane
    bullshit. Do what Indiana Jones did in the movie “Raiders
    of the lost ark” and blast the right away and with deadly force. This is what the scum employ, so why not retaliate in kind? Smash the slime down, and let their freaking
    god worry over them.

  30. #30 Peter Mc
    February 13, 2008

    Hitchikers and Islam: what terrible possible conflations of things become possible. Prophets. Eccentrica Gallumbits.

  31. #31 Lycosid
    February 13, 2008

    Cuttlefish, #22 was brilliant. Kudos to all the Danish folks putting their safety in jeopardy for free speech.

  32. #32 rick
    February 13, 2008

    I agree, but I have to object to one PZ statement: “Those cartoons aren’t even that good”.
    At least the one shown above is an excellent cartoon. The idea is focused and the drawing is excellent. I’ve seen a few others which are much less clever and skillfully rendered, but this one could win a prize.

  33. #33 SteveN
    February 13, 2008

    I’d just like to congratulate PZ for having the balls to post the cartoon on his blog. If only the major newspaper and television channels had been equally courageous when this storm in a teacup originally erupted. Playing the cowardly PC card only served to strengthen the resolve and self-belief of the loonies. It’s nice to see that a number of Danish newspapers are today (or tomorrow) publishing the cartoons in an act of solidarity.

  34. #34 anonymous dave
    February 13, 2008

    #29 – sarcasm, right? The reference to the brownshirts was the giveaway.

  35. #35 Carolyn
    February 13, 2008

    Muslims in Denmark have some legitimate grievances, not having been allowed to build a mosque or a muslim graveyard. And given the coverage of these issues I’ve read in Jullands-Posten, the comics were a very mean commentary in context. (that same paper publishes letters to the editor which argue about the permissibility of allowing a mosque, including ones arguing: “well, yes, but only if it doesn’t look like a mosque”)

    This got lost in the wider reaction, which on “both sides” (more like all sides, there’s certainly more than two) completely ignored context. The comics are more than their content, they are part of a larger statement. The worldwide protests were ridiculous, and probably hurt Danish Muslims (or Muslim residents of Denmark) more than anyone else – their real problems became part of a ridiculous protest, or were just lost.

  36. #36 Gunnar
    February 13, 2008

    I thought this one was pretty funny.

  37. #37 Gene Goldring
    February 13, 2008

    Does Blue-Q market the LOOKING GOOD FOR JESUS Coin Purse in Singapore?
    http://www.blueq.com/shop/item/114-productId.125838060_114-catId.117440633.html

    I bet the complaining Catholics wouldn’t complain about that item.

  38. #38 Holbach
    February 13, 2008

    Anonymous dave @ # 34 No sarcasm inferred or expressed,
    just pure hatred for dangerous religious fanatics who
    want to bring down civilized society to conform to
    their brand of insanity. The thought of the brownshirts or
    any other political group bent on turmoil had never entered
    my mind, nor would I have used my emotions in any way other than what is expressed here. Pure and simple.

  39. #39 Stanton
    February 13, 2008

    Anyone else reminded of the picture of the guy holding up the sign, “Behead those who say Islam is a violent religion!”?

  40. #40 schmeer
    February 13, 2008

    Anyone else reminded of the picture of the guy holding up the sign, “Behead those who say Islam is a violent religion!”?

    Yes, the irony is rich. I also like the sign I’ve seen as an avatar at Dawkins.net which says “Free Speech for everyone, even douchebags.”

  41. #41 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 13, 2008

    Snarki, child of Loki

    LOL!

    Holbach, why do you want to<br> stoop to that level? That can’t even be<br> justified on utilitarian grounds. You’re<br> getting your holy wrath again. Calm down a little.

    At least the one shown above is an excellent cartoon. The idea is focused and the drawing is excellent. I’ve seen a few others which are much less clever and skillfully rendered, but this one could win a prize.

    Naaah. I mean, what’s it supposed to show? Head-Asplodey Syndrome?

    I thought this one was pretty funny.

    That one is funny.

  42. #42 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 13, 2008

    Snarki, child of Loki

    LOL!

    Holbach, why do you want to<br> stoop to that level? That can’t even be<br> justified on utilitarian grounds. You’re<br> getting your holy wrath again. Calm down a little.

    At least the one shown above is an excellent cartoon. The idea is focused and the drawing is excellent. I’ve seen a few others which are much less clever and skillfully rendered, but this one could win a prize.

    Naaah. I mean, what’s it supposed to show? Head-Asplodey Syndrome?

    I thought this one was pretty funny.

    That one is funny.

  43. #43 anonymous dave
    February 13, 2008

    Holbach – good thing you’re just venting. While the protesters are the embodiment of lunacy, your suggestion sounded just like Kristallnacht, just substituting a group you dislike for one the Nazis disliked. Perhaps not such a great idea.
    Carolyn – I don’t think context helps them any. Because they aren’t allowed to construct buildings to their liking, they somehow are more understandable in their absurdly overreacting to cartoons (which their “leaders” forged)? So what if they aren’t allowed to worship their particular brand of sky-fairydom? They want to avail themselves of laws on freedom of religion, to practice a religion that declares itself above (and beyond) the law? I see no problem with the rejection of this notion.

  44. #44 OsakaGuy
    February 13, 2008

    PZ said: “Those cartoons aren’t even that good”

    A few are very good. The irony of these two are great. (Keep in mind they were drawn before the ruckus):
    http://www.smashtheman.com/smash/Uploads/MuslimCartoonAnger6.gif
    http://www.smashtheman.com/smash/Uploads/MuslimCartoonAnger3.gif

    This one is pretty funny:
    http://www.smashtheman.com/smash/Uploads/MuslimCartoonAnger12.gif

    Finally I like this one too:
    http://www.smashtheman.com/smash/Uploads/MuslimCartoonAnger8.gif

  45. #45 david
    February 13, 2008

    Michelle –

    From the perspective of someone who’s lived in Singapore, I suspect that it’s probably a non-Christian retailer making wild guesses at what Christians might buy.

  46. #46 gex
    February 13, 2008

    This is what fundamentalists are good at. Symbolic ideology over what works. We see it here in abstinence only sex ed, just say no drug policy, trickle down economics, and hell we even had the PMRC perform this exact service. 2 Live Crew was crap. The PMRC made them.

  47. #47 pwe
    February 13, 2008

    Carolyn wrote (#35):

    Muslims in Denmark have some legitimate grievances, not having been allowed to build a mosque or a muslim graveyard.

    I am sure, what you are referring to here. There have been two projects with building ‘grand mosques’. One in Arhus, projected price: DKr 50 million, this far only around DKr 100.000 have been collected. The other in Copenhagen, projected price much higher (though I don’t remember it exactly), but, alas, the company that owned the site had not been contacted and have other plans for the site.

    And as for a Muslim graveyard, it has been built.

    And given the coverage of these issues I’ve read in Jullands-Posten, the comics were a very mean commentary in context. (that same paper publishes letters to the editor which argue about the permissibility of allowing a mosque, including ones arguing: “well, yes, but only if it doesn’t look like a mosque”)

    JyllandsPosten is a conservative newspaper with focus on Lutheran Christianity and on Danish nationalism.

    But as I have understood, the 12 cartoons were to illustrate artistic self-cencorship following the assasination of film-producer Theo van Gogh.

    - pwe

  48. #48 Becca
    February 13, 2008

    Don’t be silly, PZ. The Muslims are clearly trying to convince the world the Danes can’t think of any good cartoon ideas. Quite successfully, too, might I add.

  49. #49 Lev
    February 13, 2008

    Not many Islamists in Morris? Do you not feel a slight twinge of regret for posting this?

  50. #50 Carolyn
    February 13, 2008

    anonymous dave – Some “leaders” in Denmark (the protests weren’t nearly as hot in Denmark as elsewhere) forged comics – that doesn’t mean that every random muslim in denmark should then bow down and say -oh, we don’t deserve rights.

    No cemetery means burying family members somewhere that may have been home. No mosque permitted is a message that people “like them” aren’t welcome – it’s a building, if it was all about style, it would have been resolved by now. And much as the claim is that scandinavia is all secular, you need to have your child’s name approved by the local priest in Denmark (there are no muslim names on the “approved” list), and there are confirmation classes in school (technically, they end class and walk down to the church). This isn’t justification for murder or widespread looting, but it is not nothing.

    I’m not saying that even the protests or actions _by_muslims_in_denmark_at_the_time_ were entirely reasonable. I don’t want to try and excuse the world of protesters who were downright horrible – or even think of excusing a murder plot. But I think the comics were nastier in this context, given what else the newspaper publishes about muslims, than without, and that the overreaction of some “leaders” took attention away from this. It’s not a matter of free speech – I can say the cartoonists had a right to draw these comics (and circulate, etc), and still think they are petty and a bad political idea.

  51. #51 sublunary
    February 13, 2008

    All of this Looking Good For Jesus Stuff reminded me of something I think is almost as funny:

    Give us breathe that is Pure and Good

  52. #52 Brownian, OM
    February 13, 2008

    Oh, Cuttlefish. My favourite. But you might find The Family Circus much better when paired with Nietzsche quotations (and Holy fuck, I’d be an existentialist nihilist too if my name had that many superfluous letters.)

    Again, I must ask the obvious: why do these all-powerful deities insist on hordes of minions to do their dirty work for them? One good ol’ fashioned smiting would do more to convert the unbelievers than a few hundred million nutcase followers ever will. I guess they just must not care about conversion as much as they’d like us to believe.

    Or perhaps this is just their way of deflecting us from the real truth that they don’t exist.

  53. #53 Cephus
    February 13, 2008

    Seriously, I’m so sick and tired of the Muslim threat-mongering that goes on, that picture is going to be going up on my blog later in the day in a post that’s heavily critical of Islam and as I say in the last line, “What are you going to do, fly a plane into my house?”

  54. #54 raatrani
    February 13, 2008

    I’ve already put the Lookin’ Good stuff on my festivus list… but back to the real issue. This whole farcical fiasco brings to mind a lot of what Richard Dawkins has to say about no one having the right to not be offended.

  55. #55 No One of Consequence
    February 13, 2008

    I did my own Mohammed Cartoon when this first came out, and thankfully have had no death threats.

  56. #56 windy
    February 13, 2008

    A story based on the Three Little Pigs fairy tale has been turned down by a government agency’s awards panel as the subject matter could offend Muslims.

    Can’t see why, since the story warns you not to eat pork! ;)

  57. #57 Holbach
    February 13, 2008

    anonymous dave; How can you equate what you expressed at
    #34 and #42 to what I expressed in my original statement?
    Good grief, the Nazis tried to exterminate the Jews on
    purely ethnic and economic reasons, not because the Jews
    were trying to exterminate the Nazis! If the Jews were so
    inclined then it would stand that the Nazis would respond
    in kind. The muslims want to exterminate the infidels because they are so; where the hell is it shown, other than
    the crusades, that other religions want to exterminate the
    muslims purely on religious grounds? Are you conscious of
    what you are saying when you utter such nonsense? This is
    obvious a one-sided situation, so when someone is trying
    to kill you, every force should be used to combat it. How
    can you devolve this situation into going after a people
    who mean you no harm? Self-protection with brute force
    should prevail even if it means an equal and more than
    equal force to vanquish the perpetrator. Can I express
    this in any blatant terms that are easy to grasp?

  58. #58 Marcus Ranum
    February 13, 2008

    When the cartoon disaster first reared its head, South Park was going to have an episode making fun of it. Which they pulled due to studio pressure.

    My humble offering in response was Cartman bomb-head Mohammed: http://www.ranum.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=search&cat=0&pos=0

    It garnered my me first cowardly internet death threat, so I am pretty proud of it. (I got an Email from someone who couldn’t write saying “u shouldnt post things like that when ure address is on ure website. someone could just show up to kill u or something.”

    In the interest of solidarity, we need a bombhead jebus, too. Remember – let’s be fair and make fun of all the religiotards more or less equally.

  59. #59 CJColucci
    February 13, 2008

    Did you hear about the atheist mob that picketed a newspaper office when its cartoonist was found with several sheets of blank paper?

  60. #60 Marcus Ranum
    February 13, 2008

    Holbach writes:
    … the Nazis tried to exterminate the Jews on
    purely ethnic and economic reasons

    Oh, really? Are you sure that religion didn’t have a teeny weeny eeny bitty smidgen to do with it?

  61. #61 Helioprogenus
    February 13, 2008

    I know many moderate muslims who find this “conflict” rather fascinating, but aren’t insulted by it. They could care less if some cartoon was portraying some mythical figure their religion reveres. From what I understand, in Europe, the extremists are arguing religion, when in fact, it’s their ethnic sensibilities that are offended by it all. They feel some form of immigrant backlash, since many muslims are first or second generation immigrants, and they feel like these cartoons are run, not for religion, but for racism. Obviously, some are offended by what they feel as an insult to their irrational religious beliefs, but for most, the offense runs deeper then that. This issue is more about immigrant rights then religion. They band together over a unifying issue that happens to be religious, but is more about furthering their status in their new environments. Now of course, it doesn’t help their cause when they try to institute Sharia law, force changes that would restrict freedom on the grounds to protect their stupid religious beliefs, but ultimately, such is the tension with new groups of immigrants. The simplest solution is to cast off religion all together.

    My idea is to have an annual insult day where we can go off on all the religions. We can walk into a church for example, and leave a sign saying “you all worship a 2000 year old megalomaniac Jew”, we can walk into a synagogue on saturday and turn on all the lights, leaving a giant carcass of a pig, which we can also do at a mosque with a picture of mohammed on it, we can walk into a hindu temple and leave a side of beef, and just for kicks, finally, and this one’s my favorite, we can invite some strippers to a buddhist monestary to celebrate buddah’s birthday.

    However, all of these acts, though an insult to religion, would seem rather racist. That’s the ultimate problem then, religion is often wrapped so tightly around one’s background and ethnic heritage, that it’s hard for people to escape them. Jews define their ethnic group on religious grounds, Allawi’s, without their brand of islam, would not exist as an ethnic group (they speak the language of the country they live in, lebanese arabic in lebanon, syrian arabic in Syria, etc..), and countless others who define themselves on religious grounds. This isn’t easy, because for these people, losing their religion is losing their sense of culture. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m an atheist and think that religion is useless these days. As long as one’s educated enough to have a rudimentary understanding of certain scientific principles, and willing to embrace certain aspects of their background and culture, while adopting enlightened positions like the inherent freedom that everyone possesses, things can work out.

  62. #62 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    February 13, 2008

    According to the article, these people are accused of plotting to murder a Danish citizen, and as punishment they’re going to be kicked out of the country?

    I’m happy to report that there are indications (at least in swedish press) that these individuals are going to have their day in court – at least they will reportedly see a judge.

    It would add irony if lawlessness are met with lack of due process.

  63. #63 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    February 13, 2008

    According to the article, these people are accused of plotting to murder a Danish citizen, and as punishment they’re going to be kicked out of the country?

    I’m happy to report that there are indications (at least in swedish press) that these individuals are going to have their day in court – at least they will reportedly see a judge.

    It would add irony if lawlessness are met with lack of due process.

  64. #64 Holbach
    February 13, 2008

    C J Colucci @ # 57 Good one. Similiar to little booklets
    I have whose cover reads: “What god has revealed to man”
    The pages are all blank! I showed this to a religionist
    friend who did not find it amusing. I did not say a word.
    and knowing me to be an atheist, he did neither, and
    walked away with a look of disgust on his face, or was it
    defeated frustration? Ha, that really pisses them off!

  65. #65 Dianne
    February 13, 2008

    According to the article, these people are accused of plotting to murder a Danish citizen, and as punishment they’re going to be kicked out of the country? I’m no right-wing fanatic when it comes to sentencing, but that seems wholly inadequate.

    I’m no soft on crime, close the prisons left-wing fanatic, but being deported because one is accused of a crime strikes me as being altogether wrong. If they were convicted, yeah, then simply being deported seems wrong for a number of reasons (including the unfairness of Denmark’s dumping its problems on other countries rather than dealing with crimes committed there itself as well as being inadequate punishment for attempting to murder someone), but deportation after just being accused of a crime, no matter how horrid the accusation…not a good idea.

  66. #66 Dianne
    February 13, 2008

    I’m happy to report that there are indications (at least in swedish press) that these individuals are going to have their day in court – at least they will reportedly see a judge.

    Oh, good. I’m glad that Denmark hasn’t gone completely insane and still respects due process, at least somewhat. Given that, IIRC, the third person accused, a Danish citizen, was charged and released, I wonder how strong the evidence really was. Was this a genuine plot with intent or some idiots babbling in a violent way without any actual chance of acting? Or a false or mistaken accusation altogether?

  67. #67 Kesh
    February 13, 2008

    Not many Islamists in Morris? Do you not feel a slight twinge of regret for posting this?
    Posted by:
    Lev

    Why in the world should PZ feel regret for posting this? Are you implying that this will provoke an attack in Morris, thereby making it his fault?

  68. #68 Richard Harris
    February 13, 2008

    The prophet Mu-ham-mad, piss be upon him.

    Mu = micro; ham = cured pork; mad = insane.

  69. #69 Flonkbob
    February 13, 2008

    PZ, thanks for posting the lame comic. I keep forgetting just how petty this whole thing is.

  70. #70 Taz
    February 13, 2008

    To stem the fanatics obvious
    retribution against this courageous act, they should hire street thugs and even the underworld to retaliate against this deranged scum when they start to act. Just flail away
    and smash as many of them you can until they get the message that we are not going to tolerate any more insane bullshit.

    Brilliant idea. It won’t do a damn thing to stop terrorists who plot in secret. But if any Muslims want to try legitimate, open protest – it’ll sure teach them!

  71. #71 Marcus Ranum
    February 13, 2008

    CJColucci writes:
    Did you hear about the atheist mob that picketed a newspaper office when its cartoonist was found with several sheets of blank paper?

    We nihilists are gonna go on a rampage against everyone who hasn’t got any paper at all; it’s an insult!

  72. #72 Stephen
    February 13, 2008

    According to the article, these people are accused of plotting to murder a Danish citizen, and as punishment they’re going to be kicked out of the country? I’m no right-wing fanatic when it comes to sentencing, but that seems wholly inadequate.

    I’m struggling to make sense of this as well. The best interpretation I can put on it is that they were probably plotting to murder (but the evidence is not hard enough to get a conviction) but definitely contravening the regulations under which they were permitted to stay in the country (and will be kicked out when a judge has confirmed this).

    If any passing Danes can fill us in on this …

  73. #73 dzho
    February 13, 2008

    holbach: Your idea of meeting threats with overwhelming force has been tried, notably by the Bush administration, and always found counterproductive in the end. It’s far more effective to laugh at them.

    Where’d you get such booklets(#62)? I want!

  74. #74 Soren
    February 13, 2008

    Denmark have some spanking new anti-terror legislation. This empowers the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) to deport legal aliens on undisclosed causes.

    That is, if the PET finds that a person poses a danger to the security of Denmark that person will have his right to live in Denmark revoked, with no recourse to any court of law.

    This is based on the idea that PET might compromise its sources or state secrets if it were to tell the supposed terrorist why they think he is dangerous. Why the accused could not get an appointed lawyer with security clearance to defend him in a trial, I don’t know, and I am deeply offended for the travesty of justice this is.

    Now in the case with the plot to kill the cartoonist, PET warned the cartoonist three months ago, and moved him and his family to a safe, secret location. Yesterday morning they then moved to arrest three person, one Danish citizen, an to Tunisian citizens.

    They were all released from custody, before being put before a judge, since the police reckoned the evidence (the part of the evidence that was safe to release to the public) would not hold up in court.

    As a result the Danish citizen is free to return to his old life, with no impediments, and the two Tunisian citizes face being deported to Tunesia.

    Their layers will try get them humanitarian amnesty, since Danish law forbids Danish authorities to release people who are likely to be executed, tortured or face serious persecution. (which is why it was such a big scandal when it was showed that Danish troops in the middle east had released prisoners in to the US army, since the US has a track record only slightly better that the previous Iraq government when it comes to handling prisoners)

    So as things are now the two Tunisians only recourse to the law is to plead for humanitarian amnesty, since the Danish Security and Intelligence Services decision is final and indisputable.

  75. #75 Dianne
    February 13, 2008

    Soren: Bluntly and at risk of a Godwin, Denmark’s “anti-terror” law sounds nearly as fascist as the US’s. So much for the wonders of Danish liberalism. I guess that should be obvious from the Danish support of the Iraq War, though. (Disclaimer: Yes, I know, the US is worse, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing that other countries would behave well instead of just 1% better than the US.)

  76. #76 anonymous dave
    February 13, 2008

    #56 – I’m conscious. Are you? For instance, you now defend your pogrom by claiming that muslims are trying to kill you. Really? Have you tried haldol for this?
    I tried to let you of the hook, suggesting you were just venting, but your renewed defense of your earlier post is whacked. As others have reasonably suggested, these people are best met with derision, not bricks and bats.* In case you still don’t get what I was saying, I’ll spell it out: Nazis used street thugs to advance their aims; you advocate for a similar approach; I point out the similarities in order to convince you the idea is perhaps not so good.

    *Gratuitous Annie Hall reference.

  77. #77 Holbach
    February 13, 2008

    dzho @ # 71 Laughing at the deranged religionists is
    certainly not going to impress or get their attention.
    How about a bat and a laugh?

    Anyway, the source of the attentive little booklets was
    INDEPENDENT PUBLICATIONS of Paterson, New Jersey. They
    were a Freethought outlet, by mail, and they went out of
    business a long time ago, as I have had these booklets
    and other freethought material for at least thiry years.
    They published some great stuff, Joseph Lewis, Ingersoll,
    and many more names known only to us rationalists.
    They don’t appear on Google so I assume they are gone.

    Heck, you can make your own booklets or any size that just
    gets the religionists attention. Make sure you use lower
    case “g” on that freaking word! Good luck!

  78. #78 C Barr
    February 13, 2008

    For those commenting on the innocuousness of the offending “bomb-head” cartoon. Go back and read comment #4 by Gene. Nobody paid attention to the published Danish cartoons until several unpublished illustrations were added to the collection. One of these new additions showed Mohammed with an infant bride, protraying him as a lecherous pedophile, while another had Mohammed kneeling in prayer towards Mecca while being fucked by a dog. These cartoons were then shopped around the muslim world to stir up trouble. There’s more to this story than the superficial coverage it has received.

  79. #79 raatrani
    February 13, 2008

    #76

    More than that, and which I do not think was sufficiently pointed out, was that those four cartoons were forged by the nutcases shopping the cartoons around.

  80. #80 Lev
    February 13, 2008

    “Why in the world should PZ feel regret for posting this? Are you implying that this will provoke an attack in Morris, thereby making it his fault?”

    No, not at all. Merely, that it is not a paticularly enviable position to put yourself in. Christopher Hitchens, for example, routinely gets recieves threats suggesting that he children are vulnerable as a result of his public positions. Now obviously you can’t guard against every nutjob but it just seemed ill-advised.

  81. #81 Steve_C
    February 13, 2008

    Then the terrorists win.

  82. #82 Johannes
    February 13, 2008

    De-lurking for a moment I can inform that the two tunisian citizens ( @ pwe #21 it is the danish citizen who’s from Morocco ) will perhaps not be deported afterall.
    According to the national danish broadcasting service, islamists as well as political disidents are “systematicly tortured” in Tunisia, making the deportation illegal according to danish law.

    It’s sadly ironic.

  83. #83 Great White Wonder
    February 13, 2008

    Nobody paid attention to the published Danish cartoons until several unpublished illustrations were added to the collection. One of these new additions showed Mohammed with an infant bride, protraying him as a lecherous pedophile, while another had Mohammed kneeling in prayer towards Mecca while being fucked by a dog.

    Awesome. Were there any cartoons of Jesus giving Mohammed a hummer, or vice versa? Those are my faves, i.e., the ones with “crossover potential.”

  84. #84 Suricou Raven
    February 13, 2008

    The best defence against attackers directed against cartoon publishers is for everyone to publish cartoons. As any schoolyard gang will tell you, they cant punish everyone.

  85. #85 shane
    February 13, 2008

    When they came for the 3 Little Pigs I didn’t get upset because I don’t like fairy tales.
    When they came for Porky Pig it was ok because I prefer Daffy.
    But now they’ve come for Miss Piggy….

  86. #86 Shane
    February 13, 2008

    So Adnan, you’re an apostate. /*limply tosses first stone*/

  87. #87 shane
    February 13, 2008

    Anyone else reminded of the picture of the guy holding up the sign, “Behead those who say Islam is a violent religion!”?

    I think you’ll find that the photo has been photoshopped. I think that there are photos that say “behead those who insult islam” though.

    I’m doing my bit for religious intolerance. I have t-shirt that says “I named this shirt Mohammed”. And because I am equal opportunity I have another that says “Abort Born Again Christians”.

  88. #88 HP
    February 13, 2008

    I’m surprised no one has pointed that the so-called “Mohammed” in the cartoon PZ posted is wearing a turban. Arabs don’t wear turbans. They don’t now, and they didn’t in the 8th century. You know who wears turbans? Persians.

    I don’t think this is a cartoon of Mohammad at all. I think it’s an old cartoon of Ayatollah Khomeini that someone dug up and said it was supposed to be Mohammad.

    Muslims have no iconography, and there is no such thing as a recognizable image of Mohammad to do a cartoon of, in the way that there are recognizable images of Jesus or Buddha. Theoretically, it’s impossible to make a cartoon of Mohammad. All you can do is draw a picture of some crazy guy, and then tell people it’s Mohammad. That’s not cartooning; it’s barely adequate as propaganda.

    Any cartoon of Mohammad is a lousy cartoon. Because any cartoon where you have to explain who it’s supposed to be a picture of is a lousy cartoon.

  89. #89 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    February 13, 2008

    #86

    You fail to cite your sources. The Wiki entry for Muhammad shows two images of him, from the 14th and 15th centuries.

    It is pretty hard to make out what kind of head gear is on the image PZ posted, but note that the old images do show something vaguely turban-like.

  90. #90 Great White Wonder
    February 13, 2008

    I’m surprised no one has pointed that the so-called “Mohammed” in the cartoon PZ posted is wearing a turban. Arabs don’t wear turbans. They don’t now, and they didn’t in the 8th century. You know who wears turbans? Persians.

    Indeed. And Iranian Muslim fundies would never ever even think of suicide bombing anybody.

    Right.

  91. #91 DCW
    February 13, 2008

    http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2008/02/08/4834833-sun.html

    This is a link to a news story on how the Canadian and British welfare system is basically subsidizing practitioners of Sharia Law. ie-Welfare payments for multiple wives.

  92. #92 Mike from Ottawa
    February 13, 2008

    You never, ever take on cartoonists. Don’t pick fights with people who are funnier than you are.

    For DCW: did you read the story you linked to? It’s not very persuasive. Just one aspect: the reference to the Family Law Act of Ontario and its definition of “spouse” neglected to mention that the definitions section begins “In this Act”, which is to say the FLA definitions only apply in the FLA. The FLA covers things like spousal and child support. Whatever one’s views on polygamy, these provisions were intended to (and often do) protect women and children where a marriage breaks up. It appears the reporter merely tossed in the reference to the FLA to make it look like the officials who said that you can only claim benefits for one spouse were wrong (or lying) rather than do some research to find out if the claim in the headline is true.

    Perhaps something will come out and justify that headline, but at the moment, it’s just right wing rant of which we’re getting more and more these days. The local less right-wing rag, the Ottawa Citizen, has regular columns by creationists nitwits. Sadly, I don’t have the knack for writing letters that get published (I suffer from Excessive Frankness Disorder).

    For Pharyngulites not familiar with the Canadian media scene, the Toronto Sun, and the ‘Sun Media’, the source of DCW’s story, are reflexively right-wing of sort that pander to the ‘rather get mad than think’ crowd. Canadian equivalents of the New York Post.

  93. #93 Lilly de Lure
    February 14, 2008

    Theoretically, it’s impossible to make a cartoon of Mohammad. All you can do is draw a picture of some crazy guy, and then tell people it’s Mohammad. That’s not cartooning; it’s barely adequate as propaganda.

    I take your point that the cartoons aren’t particularly good but that’s not the issue. As “anti muslim propaganda” they pale next to shots of, say, muslim fanatics charging around with banners saying “Behead Those Who Insult Islam” and threatening to do just this to the authors of said cartoons.

    The damage to Islam and its standing in the world was not caused by the cartoons but by the behaviour of said fanatics, which was deliberately incited by the poisonous insinuations of a few Imans bent on causing trouble.

    If moderate muslims really want to undo the damage this episode has done it’s no good complaining about the cartoons on one hand whilst being noticably silent about the behaviour that did the real damage on the other. That’s called “dodging responsibility” and “playing the victim” and it’s not exactly endearing (to me at least).

  94. #94 Soren
    February 14, 2008

    Regarding the forged cartoons.

    Danish Muslims went on a tour of the middle east with a portfolio containing the original Mohammed cartoons published in the newspaper, and – what they called – other examples of anti islam material gathered in Denmark.

    This included amongst other things , more cartoons and a picture of a bearded man wearing a pigs snout.

    Some Danish media then forwarded the claim that the muslims lied about the extra cartoons and the picture, and said these were from the original disputed cartoons.

    When it was discovered that the bearded man was not trying to mock the prophet, but in stead was a contestant in a squeal like a pig contest, the muslims were accused of further lies.

    Their defense, which in my opinion seems valid, was that the extra material was examples of stuff they had received by mail and other means, together with disparaging comments on their prophet. Thus the picture of the man with a pig snout was sent with a note explaining that this was Muhammed disguised as a pig.

    Not that I find it a good thing that a bunch of fools tour the middle east trying to stir resentment against Denmark, but the whole issue has been very nasty here in Denmark with lies, exaggerations, suspicion etc running rampant on all sides.

    Anyone disagreeing with the cartoons were accused of being against freedom of speech, since you apparently do not have freedom of speech when you criticize newspapers for their editorial decisions. People defending the right of the newspaper to bring the cartoons were accused of being rascist persecutors of muslims etc.

  95. #95 Lilly de Lure
    February 14, 2008

    Their defense, which in my opinion seems valid, was that the extra material was examples of stuff they had received by mail and other means, together with disparaging comments on their prophet. Thus the picture of the man with a pig snout was sent with a note explaining that this was Muhammed disguised as a pig.

    And no-one thought to check the origin of this mysterious note (and the other mailings) before they saw fit to incite worldwide riots? Sorry, this doesn’t seem like much of a defence to me, just criminally irresponsible behaviour.

    Anyone disagreeing with the cartoons were accused of being against freedom of speech, since you apparently do not have freedom of speech when you criticize newspapers for their editorial decisions.

    Exchanges of unpleasant accusations in the press, whether they are justified or not, hardly qualifies as being as ugly as worldwide riots, death threats and apparently, attempts at murder.

    I’m of the opinion that the reaction to these cartoons completely supercedes the issue of whether or not they are racist. Racist speech, however repellent, does NOT justify the reaction these cartoons have got.

  96. #96 Torben
    February 14, 2008

    @Carolyn, 35&49
    You’re making stuff up. The Danish Muslim graveyard is in place. There were problems finding a suitable spot, but nobody ever forbade Muslims to make a cemetary. I think everybody here, including non-Muslims, would prefer Danish Muslims to have a larger sense of belonging to the society that might come from not having to ship the dead off to Turkey or Pakistan.
    Same for the mosques. It’s not that they aren’t allowed; they just haven’t made money and opportunity meet yet. Some want the government to pay, but obviously that’s ludicrous, and lack of government funding hardly constitutes preventing or prohibiting it. Besides, there are plenty of mosques here. We are talking about purpose-built mosques.

  97. #97 Peter Lund
    February 14, 2008

    Carolyn (#35), you are lying (or being willfully uninformed) about the mosques and the burial sites.

    Here is the first mosque in Denmark, built in the sixties:
    http://www.oplev.hvidovre.dk/Default.aspx?ID=72
    (second picture, Nusrat Djahan Moské).

    Here is a purely Muslim graveyard:
    http://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Den_muslimske_gravplads_i_Br%C3%B8ndby
    (in Danish only)

    Another one is on the way:
    http://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Den_muslimske_gravplads_i_Roskilde

    There is a funny story in the wikipedia entry on the first one: the site is Brøndby, a city that borders on Copenhagen (the capital), but the plot had been owned by Copenhagen since 1930. Unfortunately, the mayor of Brøndby didn’t know that when he promised the plot to a group of Muslim and immigrant associations — for only 700,000 DKK (1 DKK = 1/5$, roughly). The city of Copenhagen meant it was worth about 21,500,000 DKK, with more than just a little justifaction, actually. The discussions and negotiations about this took some time and along the way Indsam, the main immigrant association and the one that had raised (most?) of the capital, went bankrupt. New capital was raised, an independent appraisal committee was involved, several successive Ministers for Church Affairs were involved, and offers from the state to pay the difference between what capital the Muslims had and what the city of Copenhagen wanted were made and withdrawn.

    But why all that trouble? Where were muslims buried before?

    They were either buried in muslim areas within existing graveyards (or outside them in “unchristened soil” but still on the same plot of land). There are plenty of such places, for example a very pretty one in Vestre Kirkegård (Western Churchyard) in Copenhagen where I sometimes go for a walk. It also has a special area for Faeroese, Greenlanders, German refugees, Russians, Catholics, etc., each according to their own customs. It is a very quiet and beautiful place: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vestre_Cemetery (the Danish version has pictures).

    Or they were sent “home” to their country of birth. Not necessarily because conditions weren’t satisfactory up here in the North, but because the family expected it. A bit funny, when Muslims often want their dead ones buried as fast as possible because that’s what their religion “requires”.

    So why is it hard to create new graveyards? Because of our zoning laws and because our Muslims come from many different places and have many different kinds of Muslim faith. The former means that there are very detailed and strict rules and plans for what every little bit of Danish soil can be used for — and Christian graveyards are not that easy to create, either — whereas the latter means that they have a hard time agreeing on where to put the graveyards, what kind of burial rites should be practices, and such simple things as how to raise the money. The same thing (about the many different nationalities, ethnicities, and sects) holds for the Mosques and prayer houses.

    Think about the last point for a minute, would you contribute money to a group of Mormons for their burial site or their temple if you were an Evangelical? A Baptist? A Calvinist? A Presbyterian (supposedly Calvinists, too)?

    There are several plots around the country explicitly reserved for Mosques that lie fallow because the Muslims can’t agree on who should run the show and raise the money. That has been the case for years. There have also been several offers of money for several Mosques from the Saudis but they have thankfully been met with a cool reception by our Muslims.

    So where /do/ they pray? All over the place, actually. A group of them get together and buy or lease a room, a shed, an appartment, a house (or build one), often in an industrial part of town, decorate it according to /their/ customs and use that. Some are shabby, others are pretty nice. There’s no law against that, and there’s no law against building ones that look like “real” mosques, except for zoning and planning regulations that are no different from what they are for any other building. One of the most fundamentalist ones is about 600 meters from where I live — (it’s the one that caused most of the trouble the last time around with those drawings). That one looks rather decrepit from the outside and is housed in a former small factory of some sort. They primarily use Arabic and English. Another one is about a kilometer away in some very nice surroundings. I believe they are mostly Somalis. And there’s one about 1,5 kilometers away that is rather fundamentalist — and associated with terrorism. I believe they primarily use Arabic.

    Most are discreet and not at all fundamentalistic — it’s just that those who are get noticed and remembered easier :/

    And a parting remark: we haven’t had a Muslim minority for all that long – a few showed up as migrant workers in the late sixties, the rest followed as chain immigration, then the refugees started arriving. Most were young when they arrived and most (thankfully) weren’t really all that religious. The need for special burial sites simply wasn’t all that big ten or twenty years ago.

  98. #98 Leif
    February 14, 2008

    @Carolyn, 35&49

    Fear of reactions from muslims made people censor themselves. The newspaper wanted to illustrate that. The reactions to the comics proved their point.

    I am so tired of most muslims going “we are being harassed” like the recent storm on the wiki-article on Muhammed.

    And by the way it is not the local priest which approves names, but the national Justicedepartment. And there are plenty of foreign names on the lists of automatically approved names including f.ex. Muhammed (in many different spelling variations). This approvement is there to secure that noone calls their child “Bulls…”, “Dummy” or things like that.

    Interested parties can look here:
    Lists of names: http://www.familiestyrelsen.dk/navne/1/ (warning: search screen in danish)
    Law on names:
    http://www.familiestyrelsen.dk/other-languages/english/the-danish-act-on-names/

    Names not on the lists can be approved too, but that just takes a bit more time.

    Noone forces muslims to be confirmed. Where do you find your info on Denmark?

    Only a few deranged people in Denmark says muslims should have no rights. What many people are saying is that they should have no special rights just because of their 1400 year old book. And some muslims misrepresent that by saing they are being persecuted.

  99. #99 Ray C.
    February 14, 2008

    Anyone else reminded of the picture of the guy holding up the sign, “Behead those who say Islam is a violent religion!”?

    I think you’ll find that the photo has been photoshopped. I think that there are photos that say “behead those who insult islam” though.

    The version saying “Behead those who say Islam is violent” is indeed a Photoshop straight from Little Green Footballs. The genuine one says “Behead those who insult Islam.”

  100. #100 Dianne
    February 14, 2008

    Only a few deranged people in Denmark says muslims should have no rights.

    Pity that they appear to be running your government. Graveyards aside, allowing people to be deported with no legal recourse on the basis of an accusation is denying them rights.

  101. #101 Fade
    February 14, 2008

    “You know, nowadays Christians don’t launch lots of massacres”

    Uh, does anyone really believe that America could keep killing Iraqis to the tune of hundreds of thousands if they weren’t ‘dirty islamics’?

    American Christians are massacreing women and children RIGHT NOW. It’s okay, though, because Christians are so civil and organized about it.

    I wonder how great the Muslim world might be right now if it weren’t for the radical fundies that ruined their civilization. And now, I wonder now how far Christian fundies will go to stagnate the growth of the western world. Whatever Fundamental Religion “Is” on either side, its bad for the future of your nation.

  102. #102 Dianne
    February 14, 2008

    You know, nowadays Christians don’t launch lots of massacres

    Bush’s “crusade”, various terrorist acts against abortion providers, Timothy McVeigh, Pat Robertson’s call for the assassination of a leader he doesn’t like…nope, no Christians have launched masscares recently.

  103. #103 tim gueguen
    February 14, 2008

    I wouldn’t consider the war in Iraq to count as a massacre by Christians given that it isn’t being done in name of Christianity or to promote conversion by force to Christianity.

    How about the Balkan wars of the ’90s? You had largely Orthodox Serbs fighting largely Catholic Croats.

  104. #104 Leif
    February 14, 2008

    @Dianne, 98

    Well, that is still not saying muslims should have no rights. It is saying that people without danish citizenship have lesser rights in Denmark than those with citizenship. That is the case in every country in the world, by the way.

    I fully agree though that there ought to be some kind of control and posibility of defense in any case. I have not researched what checks are in place, if any.

    I don’t think our government is run by deranged people, and I am very glad it isn’t run by people submitting to most religious demands. Now if we could just get the national church seperated from the state and all support for faithschools withdrawn I would be much happier with our government. Cultures are clashing and not all cultures are equal. We are in a global civil conflict thankfully still mostly without weapons. I wonder if it will stay that way.

  105. #105 K
    February 14, 2008

    I call muslims nut-jobs last year and I’m called a bigot.
    This year suddenly everyone else grows a set.
    Puberty much?

  106. #106 Daniel Murphy
    February 14, 2008

    Carolyn writes: Muslims in Denmark have some legitimate grievances, not having been allowed to build a mosque or a muslim graveyard.

    False, unless Wiki is wrong. I read there that there’s been a mosque in Denmark since 1967. There’s been a separate Muslim cemetery in Denmark (as opposed to separate Muslim sections of several public cemeteries, which already existed) since 2006.

    Carolyn writes: And much as the claim is that scandinavia is all secular, you need to have your child’s name approved by the local priest in Denmark (there are no muslim names on the “approved” list)

    False. (1) There is a list of names that have been approved by the national government, but the list is enormous. (2) If a desired name is not on the list of approved names, you can apply to get it approved. (3) It’s not up to “the local priest” to decide which names are lawful. (4) The national list includes “muslim” names. Here are some of the names on the list:

    Mohamad, Mohamed, Mohamedamiin, Mohamedovitch, Mohamedsadiq, Mohammad, Mohammadtaha, Mohammed, Mohamoud, Mohamud, Mohamuud, Abdallah, Abdalrahman, Abdel, Abdelhusain, Abdelkader, Abdelkarim, Abdellah, Abdellatif, Abdelmalik, Abdelqadeem, Abdelrahman, Abdelreda, Abdelshakur, Abderrahman, Abderrahmane, Abdeslam, Abdessalem, Abdi, Abdiadan, Abdiasis, Abdiaziz, Abdibaari, Abdifatah, Abdifataax, Abdifitah, Abdighani, Abdihakim, Abdihakin, Abdikadir, Abdikarim, Abdikhaliq, Abdikheyr, Abdilahi, Abdilatif, Abdilaziz, Abdillahi, Abdimalik, Abdinasir, Abdiqafar, Abdiqani, Abdirabbi, Abdirahaman, Abdirahim, Abdirahman, Abdirashid, Abdirauf, Abdirazaaq, Abdirhaman, Abdirisak, Abdirizak, Abdisalan, Abdishakur, Abdishakuur, Abdiwahaab, Abdiwali, Abdiweli, Abdol, Abdollah, Abdolsahab, Abdoulkader, Abdul, Abdulah, Abdulahi, Abdulasis, Abdulaziz, Abdulbasid, Abdulgadir, Abdulhakim, Abdulhamid, Abdulkadir, Abdulkarim, Abdulkhadir, Abdulkhaliq, Abdulla, Abdullah, Abdullahi, Abdulle, Abdullaahi, Abdulmalik, Abdulqadir, Abdulrahman, Abdur, Abdurahman, Abdurrahman, Hussain, Hussam, Hussein, Hussen, Hussin, Mehari, Mehde, Mehdi, Mehervan, Mehli, Mehmed, Mehmet, Mehmet- Ali, Mehndi, Meho, Mehran, Mehrdad, Mehul …

    You get the idea. (5) Muslims need not report newly named infantys to the local Peoples Church priest. According to http://www.familiestyrelsen.dk/navne/3/, “Tilhører du et af de anerkendte trossamfund eller Folkekirkens valg- og døvemenigheder, kan ansøgningen om navngivning indsendes til personregisterføreren (præsten eller kordegnen) i trossamfundet eller menigheden.”

    Carolyn writes: and there are confirmation classes in school (technically, they end class and walk down to the church).

    False. Forget “technically.” Truthfully, Danish Peoples Church confirmation class is taught in a church by a minister (“praest”) of the church, not by a school teacher in a school. Attendance is voluntary and, indeed, only open to baptized persons. In 2005, 48,378 youth of confirmation age (7th-8th grade) were confirmed in the Folkekirke; the other 28% were not.

    And what confirmation class has to with excusing violence, I can’t begin to fathom. Is Carolyn really arguing that Muslims have a “legitimate grievance” that that the majority of Danish youth voluntarily attend confirmation class and become confirmed in the church of their choice? Come on!

    Carolyn writes: I’m not saying that even the protests or actions _by_muslims_in_denmark_at_the_time_ were entirely reasonable.

    Then stop making excuses for bizarre, irrational, violent behavior. And stop making things up.

  107. #107 direstr8ts
    February 14, 2008

    Correct me if I am wrong, but is the modern Islamic Muslim total belief in what the Muslim Priest similar to that of Fudal pesents? I mean during that time in history the Catholic Church ruled Europe and what The Church said people blindly and ignorantly followed. I have met many Muslims and I really admired their dedication to their religion, but from what I have seen their very own faith takes away from individual relationship with their own god. No matter what religion you follow no two people view their god in the exact same way. Think about it before you reply. The person sitting next to you in your church gathering does not see god the exact same way as you do. Many people see Christ as a White man/ Black man or whatever makes you feel comfortable, but isn’t it possible that he is all things? No matter what you beleive I know one thing is certain… treat others as you would want to be treated, regardless of race, gender or beliefs.

  108. #108 Soren
    February 15, 2008

    “And no-one thought to check the origin of this mysterious note (and the other mailings) before they saw fit to incite worldwide riots? ”

    Why is the origins of the notes of interest? If muslims receive hatemail what sources of hatemail are respectable enough so that they might feel harassed by it?

    If their claim was that muslims in Denmark were being harassed, and they included examples of what they perceived as harassment, of what consequence is it what origins it is, the disparaging content is still disparaging content.

    “Exchanges of unpleasant accusations in the press, whether they are justified or not, hardly qualifies as being as ugly as worldwide riots, death threats and apparently, attempts at murder.

    I’m of the opinion that the reaction to these cartoons completely supercedes the issue of whether or not they are racist. Racist speech, however repellent, does NOT justify the reaction these cartoons have got.”

    Yes and we agree on that. I have never defended the violent reactions, or the threats made in reaction to the silly cartoons.

    What I was referring to was the idea that because some stupid fuckwits burned down embassies, made death threats etc. people criticising the cartoons, or people going on speaking tours to the middle east etc suddenly were framed as being in opposition to free speech, since free speech suddenly only was defined as speech praising the cartoons.

    It is not impossible to disagree with actions or statements and the same time defending the right to make those statements.

    So were the Danish uslims going on a tour to complain about Denmark silly to do so – yes. Did they have a right to do so? Well if the cartoonists had a right to make the cartoons, if the stupid islamofobes had a right to send hatemail, then surely people have a right to try to paint a distorted picture of Denmark, if they believe it to be so.

    The people doing wrong is the ones trying to silence others, or the people resorting to violence. But just saying someone is a stupid fuckwit for what he is saying, does not mean you are against free speech.

  109. #109 pwe
    February 15, 2008

    Soren wrote (#106):

    The people doing wrong is the ones trying to silence others, or the people resorting to violence. But just saying someone is a stupid fuckwit for what he is saying, does not mean you are against free speech.

    If you say someone’s a stupid fuckwit, then that someone’s better be for free speech :-)

    Not that I know, what a fuckwit is, but I suppose that calling someone a stupid fuckwith could be considered hatespeech.

    - pwe

  110. #110 Lilly de Lure
    February 15, 2008

    Why is the origins of the notes of interest? If muslims receive hatemail what sources of hatemail are respectable enough so that they might feel harassed by it?

    Well, what they received was a picture of a man wearing a false pig-nose together with a note saying that this man was portraying the Prophet Mohammed. My point was that it might have been helpful if they had checked whether this was in fact the case (it wasn’t – the man in the picture was in fact taking part in an agricultural festival with no reference to islam at all).

    Did they have a right to do so? Well if the cartoonists had a right to make the cartoons, if the stupid islamofobes had a right to send hatemail, then surely people have a right to try to paint a distorted picture of Denmark, if they believe it to be so.

    That’s a very peculiar attitude – it’s OK to incite riots worldwide so long as you believe you are right to do so? This sounds to me like crying “fire” in a crowded cinema, generally considered a no no.

    As for the hatemail – if you believe you are receiving hate mail or being harrassed the correct thing to do is go the police to get the matter investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted under the appropriate laws, or, if you are unhappy with the police response go to the press and say “we are being harrassed and we are not happy with how the police are dealing with it”, or stage peaceful demonstrations if you’re point is not getting through. All of this is totally acceptable behaviour and I can’t see anyone having a problem with that. Going on a worldwide “lets all hate Denmark” tour and encouraging riots, threatening murder e.t.c is not.

    It is not impossible to disagree with actions or statements and the same time defending the right to make those statements.

    Agreed, but I don’t regard anything I have posted as attacking anyone’s right to make statements. Saying someone is an idiot for saying what they are saying, or saying that the point they are making is moot, is not attacking their right to say it. It is merely commenting on what they have said, which is surely also protected free speech.

  111. #111 pwe
    February 15, 2008

    Well, I just looked at the rules of tegnebordet, a Danish website for cartoonists, and the rules state (my translation):

    5. Neither the drawing nor the description may contain racist messages, or in any other way degrade minorities.

    With the following clarifications:

    Likewise we do not allow personal smear campaigns against users or administrators, or Tegnebordet [= the website] in general. If you have any complaints, then complain in the right place and to the right person.

    However, political satire is accepted.

    We respect different beliefs. Alle pictures that illustrate anything from the Koran such that it is against the Muslim faith will be rejected.

    Respect others – independent of culture and faith.

    (My bolding)

    First off, sometime ago I saw some cartoons made by people with a certain political background (well, nationalconservatives, if you need to know) that were depivting Muslim immigrants in a, to my sentiments, very derogative way, and I can see good reasons to weed that kind of things out in a forum that is not dedicated to promoting a Danish Christian-centered nationalism.

    Like wise I don’t thing that a general cartoonist website is the proper place for the Muhammed cartoons brought in JyllandsPosten, since there was a specific context for those.

    That context being (as I have written above) the self-censorship among artists following the assasination of Theo van Gogh. Without that context, those cartoons lose their meaning.

    Well, just my 25 øre (the smallest Danish coin)

    - pwe

  112. #112 Brian Macker
    February 16, 2008

    What’s really embarrassing is that those non-muslims who try to excuse this behavior often write “Muslims are afraid that depicting Mohammed will lead to idolatry”. It seems that there is little to no chance they are going to worship a picture of Mohammed with a bomb on his head. So why point this pseudo-factoid out? Isn’t the insult enough of a motivation, or is the fear of idolatry more credible somehow in the eye of the author? I just don’t get it.

  113. #113 tus
    February 22, 2008

    bombhommed was the cartoon causing so much controversy? i thought it was something realy bad from the way everyone talked about it. that wouldnt have even warented a second look were it not for the pissed of muslims, now its all over the internet, its a meme on the chans (4chan, 7chan, 12chan etc) its extremely recognized now, by drawing attention to it they effectively did the total opposite of their intent.
    surely they arent THAT dumb.

  114. #114 Tom
    February 25, 2008

    If someone punches, stabs or kills someone for using the word “nigger,” are you going to run around screaming “nigger!”?

    Why are you intentionally offending people? And you are not just offending people who use violence, you are offending millions of people for no reason other than to provoke. THAT was the goal of the original cartoons, to provoke. WHY are you doing it?

    Are you happy you and those of like mind have provoked Pakistan into blocking YouTube from millions of people around the world? (it is now back up thank goodness) I need YouTube to get my political messages out, why are you intentionally adding fuel to the fire?

  115. #116 Tom
    February 25, 2008

    Google: “Cartoons of Mohammed Were Published As a Stunt Intended to Provoke” (my link to it didn’t post)

    The cartoons “ran in a newspaper that is repeatedly described as right-leaning, with ties to neocons. … Most telling may be the cartoon in which a figure stands in front of a blackboard with Arabic writing, translated in the caption: “Jyllands-Posten’s journalists are a bunch of reactionary provocateurs.” In another, a Western man in a turban — most likely the cartoonist — holds up a crude stick figure drawing, as an orange with the label “P.R. stunt” lands on his head. … the meaning of both these cartoons is clear — this was a deliberately provocative stunt, and the newspaper knew it.”

    Would this newspaper be this disrespectful to Christians as it had been to Muslims? What we do know is that this same newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, refused to print satirical cartoons depicting Jesus Christ giving the reason that they would “cause an outrage”:

    “On Saturday, Politiken printed a series of caricatures of Jesus on its editorial page. Next to them, the paper reprinted an e-mail exchange from April 2003 in which a leading Jyllands-Posten editor rejected publication of satirical cartoons depicting Jesus Christ. His reasoning? “I don’t think the readers of Jyllands-Posten would be pleased with the drawings. I think they would cause an outrage. That’s why I won’t use them.”” – Jyllands-Posten Rejected Jesus Satire

  116. #117 tus
    March 12, 2008

    umm…what?

    though i wouldnt call someone a nigger, if someone did, that would realy be there thing. freedom of speech extends even to the KKK and speech you dont like.

    but the point perhaps here is the irony involved. going to violence for being called violent is irony in its purest form. it would be more like a black person suing someone for making a cartoon about black people stereotypically always being late, and then being late to court. that would be a more apt analogy.

    the quality of the cartoon, or the point of making it are realy irrelevant, the person could have been just a racist asshole, he coulda been doing it for attention (and if he was added irony for drawing attention to it) none of those things realy matter, the picture isnt even funny, its the reaction people give to it that are funny.

  117. #118 James M. Martin
    April 16, 2008

    You have to keep in mind that the Koran forbids depictions of both Allah and the Prophet (Mohammed), which is why the makers of the 1977 movie, The Message had to resort to a “presentational” style in retelling the beginnings of Islam without ever showing the Prophet! The Danes had to have known this, and so it is understandable that Islamic people would object strenuously to the wicked cartoon depicting the founder of their faith as a terrorist with a bomb in his turban.

    When you stop to think of it, the Islamist proscription of visual depictions of their God and their Prophet suggest a far greater devotion to their religious principles than we find in followers of the Christer Jehovah and Reb Yeshua. I mean, can you imagine a Saudi in a Mercedes with a bumper sticker reading “Honk if you love Allah”? Or maybe peddling those sappy Family Dollar Jebusses with the golden hair and blue eyes, as if he were an Aryan instead of the historical Semite.

    And instead of multiple diurnal prostrations, what do we get on Sunday mornings but rock band “gospel” singing and sermons about monetary richness being close to Godliness? Whereas Muslim peoples honor their deity and the founder of their faith, Christers cheapen their god and their prophet. Mind you, I am only playing shaitan’s advocate: I see all religions as mindless mumbo jumbo dreamed up to explain the unknown and perpetuated by a greedy priesthood who’re so bereft of talent they can’t make a living any other way.

  118. #119 Yara
    April 24, 2008

    Hiya! I am mulsim and can I just say the majority of muslims are from poor countries and are uneducated in the ways of Islam. These people are very simple. I live in Saudi Arabia by the way and see this everyday.

    Of course the fact that they are killing etc is a huge contradiction but keep in mind that what muslims do isn’t what Islam preaches. There is a HUUUGE difference.

    And, like I read somewhere, violence in the name of Islam has done far more to damage the Prophet than any Danish cartoon.

    Peace

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.