February 10, 2006

Comments on the Cartoon Violence

When I was a child, I learned the hard way that being hypersensitive to teasing and ridicule would only encourage my tormentors. This is a lesson that fundamentalist Muslims rioting over the publication of political cartoons seemingly have yet to learn. There are no guarantees in life that your religious or political beliefs will never be challenged or criticized, no matter how hard you may try to insulate yourself from the outside world. I dare say that if a faith or its practice is so fragile that it cannot withstand even the slightest criticism or exposure to other beliefs, perhaps it could use some revision. I also wonder why the rioting Muslims think that Allah is so weak or defenseless that he requires human apologists. Furthermore, the Muslim religion not only prohibits depicting the Prophet Mohammed, but also any other person, animal, or plant, a restriction that gives rise to intricate abstractions in its peoples’ art. But non-Muslims are not bound by the strictures of Islam; if they were, there would be no cartoons at all, not to mention lingerie advertisements. The mere existence of figurative art is not an affront to Islam, and neither is the existence of artwork that is not obscene or patently offensive, but that merely draws a link between followers of Mohammed and terrorism. It is a fact that all of the 9/11 bombers were Muslim, so if devout adherents wish to address an outrage against Islam and Allah, perhaps they should begin with that one.

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