Monday, 4 January 2010

Jack Nicholson And "A Head For A Cartoon"

Heeeeeere's Muhammad!

No, he is

This fantastic piece by Thomas Landen over at the Brussels Journal highlights the perverted logic and sense of priority held by the global Muslim community. It deals with the recent attempted murder by an axe-wielding Somali Muslim (a la Jack Nicholson in The Shining) of 74 year old Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who drew the now-infamous image of the "Prophet" Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

Westergaard was thankfully unharmed, but as Landen points out, many Muslims, instead of upholding his right to free speech, are making fatuous comparisons which are simply an insult to all rational, civilised people:

Though Gulf News condemns the assassination attempt, it calls it a “revenge attack” and morally equates it with Mr. Westergaard drawing a “deeply offensive” cartoon. Gulf News criticizes the would-be assassin, not for attempting to kill the cartoonist, but for having “descended to the level” of this “contemptuous and despicable man.” Have we missed something? Did Mr. Westergaard also try to kill a man with an axe? No, he merely made a drawing with a pencil.

There is a world of difference between voicing a political opinion – however offensive, contemptuous or despicable it may seem to some – and hacking someone to pieces. An assassination attempt can never be equated with an insult. Drawing a picture, making a documentary, writing a book, or wording an opinion, can never be equated with setting out with an axe to kill someone. This is obvious. Yet, it seems that even the “moderate” Muslims of Gulf News in the United Arab Emirates fail to understand it.

It is simply impossible to harbor any illusions about “the true faith of Islam” as long as Muslims fail to recognize this distinction. “An eye for an eye,” says the Bible, thereby restricting the extent of retribution to an equitable punishment. A cartoon for a cartoon, that would be fair. The Koran, however, does not restrict the extent of retribution. On the contrary, Islam demands a head for a cartoon (Westergaard), a head for a book (Rushdie), a head for a movie (van Gogh), a head for a political statement (Wilders). Anyone who “offends” Islam, the Koran, Allah or his Prophet, deserves capital punishment.

Left unspoken by Landen, although I'm sure it occurred to him, is the question of why it should be considered offensive at all to equate Muhammad with violence, when even the attacker's fellow Muslims invoke their Prophet's bloody legacy to justify acts of terrorism. This is a question many of our politicians ought to at least try to answer, given how many of them condemned Westergaard for drawing the cartoon, or Jyllands-Posten for publishing it - as if shedding the blood of innocent people over a drawing is entirely reasonable, and the real crime is "provoking" the rioters.

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