As the Cartoon Jihad claims its first lives, BYF points out that, as always, other Moslems are among the first victims of Islamism. I like the Kipling quote, too, Toby!
Tim Blair has published two readers' emails; the first argues:
It is also not a matter of freedom of speech, it’s a matter of respect. Displaying cartoons of our beloved prophet is the same as insulting Muslims. Is anyone allowed to insult a race, religion, or group of people on the media? Why is that not allowed? Because it is wrong. You cannot argue that it is a matter of freedom of speech.
He also "argues" that Zionists are baby-killing, sister-raping monsters, and that that's the only thing he has against Jews. I'll leave that to one side, for the purposes of this post.
Consider this. Many pious Moslems refer to their deity as Allah (SWT). The letters "SWT" are the acronym for the Arabic "Subhanahu wa Ta'ala" meaning "Allah is pure of having partners and He is exalted from having a son.". Now, that seems to me to be a deliberate repudiation of Christian trinitarian theology. Is it not, in its implicit abasing of Christian theology (note the references to 'purity' and 'exhaltation') a deliberate insult to Christians? A minority of fundamentalists might think so. So let's ban references to "Allah SWT", "Allah Ta'ala" and the like as anti-Christian insults. What about the Muslim claim that Jews and Christians have "falsified" their scriptures? This is a core Islamic belief. No doubt it is offensive to Jews and Christians. Let's ban it.
On the other hand, let's not. Because, as, "Amanda" (who says she is Jewish, and as such a member of the most "provoked", "offended" and persecuted people on the face of the Earth):
There are many things in the media which are unfavorable to Jews (and Christians, etc.), but as far as I’m concerned, one needs to cop it sweet, and respond with intelligence and dignity (or not at all), rather than with unjustifiable violence.
If there's one thing the Moslem world needs, it's a lot more intelligence and dignity.
Finally, there is this article in the Sydney Morning Herald. I think that the quote attributed to David Penberthy is noteworthy. The editor of the Daily Telegraph, said that publishing the images could have "nasty consequences", especially given racial tensions in Sydney. Be that as it may, as Professor Alan Dershowitz argued in a different context in his book The Case for Israel, to hold back on that basis is to allow a "stonethrower's veto"; it is a mark of a mature democracy that insults, provocations and affronts are met with arguments, not bombs and bullets. That is the essence of the whole dispute, and that is what much of Islam needs to learn and accept. In liberal democratic countries, indeed, in the modern world, citizens are not supposed to kill people and destroy property because they feel insulted, or religiously belittled. We are not in seventh-century Arabia now, chabibi.
Moreover, Islam is a belief system, nothing more, and like liberalism, capitalism, communism, fascism, or whatever, it ought to be subject to free criticism in a democratic society.
Having criticized Penberthy for his craven submission to a bunch of atavistic reactionary thugs, I should just like to say that of the haraam cartoons, this is my favourite: