OUTRAGE: Palestinians burn a homemade Danish flag Monday in front of a European Union building in Gaza City, Gaza Strip.
Los Angeles Times: Anger Over Cartoons of Muhammad Escalates
Protests erupted in the Muslim world and militants issued threats against Europeans on Thursday in response to the publication in Western media of controversial caricatures of the prophet Muhammad.
Debate over the drawings, which were first published in September by a Danish newspaper, is being seen as a collision between freedom of expression and religious sensitivities in European nations, where Muslim populations have struggled to fit in.
The caricatures have appeared recently in newspapers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and even Jordan.
Muslims, who consider any depiction of God and the prophets blasphemy, are outraged by the caricatures, one of which shows Muhammad with a bomb as a turban. Another shows the prophet standing on a cloud as he tells a group of suicide bombers that paradise has run out of the virgins said to await martyrs upon their death.
The conflict heated up on multiple fronts Thursday. In the Gaza Strip, masked Palestinians fired weapons into the air as they surrounded an office of the European Union and a French cultural center. Two Palestinian militant groups threatened to retaliate against the newspapers by kidnapping European citizens and targeting churches and European offices.
Thes folks need to learn some sensitivity and TOLERANCE of others. The world does NOT revolve around Muhammad as much as they may WISH it.
A Jordanian weekly that ran the cartoons with a plea to Muslims to “be reasonable” fired its editor, withdrew the edition and faced possible sanction from the government, Associated Press reported.
In Paris, the tabloid France Soir abruptly fired its managing editor for reprinting the caricatures in Wednesday’s edition, the cover of which carried the paper’s own cartoon of Muhammad alongside Christian, Jewish and Buddhist holy figures. “Don’t complain, Muhammad, we’re all being caricatured here,” the Christian God says.
Tunisia and Morocco banned the sale of copies of France Soir.
In Jakarta this morning, Muslims protested in the lobby of a high-rise that houses the Danish Embassy, pelted the building with eggs and burned the Danish flag outside.
Editorialists, political leaders and advocates of press freedom said the Muslim backlash, which has included boycotts, death threats and flag burnings, jeopardized democratic rights.
Certainly the Muslims have the right to protest but to carry it to the extremes of violence is over the top.
And the American/European press cowering to religious extremist demands is disheartening and saddening. A free press is a free press.
Book burning is book burning.
Michelle Malkin has a good piece, THE COWARDLY AMERICAN MEDIA (VIDEO ADDED)
“The reaction in Muslim countries shocks me because it confirms the weight that radical Islam has acquired,” said Patrick Chappatte, a cartoonist quoted in the Swiss newspaper Le Temps. “A real totalitarianism is at work in the world and wants to impose its views not only on Arab Muslims, but on the West. The same way that they veil women, Islamic radicals want to veil cartoons in the press.”
But Muslim leaders accused European media of provoking strife by humiliating Islam. “Freedom of expression cannot be the freedom to lie,” said Dalil Boubakeur, imam of the Mosque of Paris and president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith. “The prophet did not found a terrorist religion, but on the contrary, a religion of peace.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the furor had exacerbated religious tensions.
“Any insult to the holy prophet â€” peace be upon him â€” is an insult to more than a billion Muslims,” Karzai said in a statement.
Western leaders responded gingerly. They were mindful that the issue could unleash violence reminiscent of the assassination of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who was killed in 2004 by a Dutch Muslim extremist angered by the filmmaker’s depictions of Islam.
Stay tuned as the Europeans walk the tight rope between freedom of expression and their radical Islamic immigrant communities’ protests this weekend.
Michelle Malkin: THE MUHAMMAD CARTOONS BLOGBURST