HOSNI MUBARAK, Egyptian President
Jyllands-Posten, a Danish rightwing newspaper, published provocative caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), which led to widespread protest from the Muslim world about the insulting manner in which the cartoons had depicted the Prophet (pbuh). Now, a number of European newspapers like France Soir, Italy's La Stampa, Spain's El Periodico and ABC have defended Jyllands-Posten's right to its freedom of expression by publishing similar styled cartoons as well.
In their apparent eagerness to confront Muslim anger by blindly defending the Danish newspaper, sadly, those European media had failed miserably to justify the deliberate and demeaning provocations by Jyllands-Posten, other than to wave the banner of 'freedom of expression'.
I have already shown in my previous posting Jewish Goose, but no Arabic Gander that even in this claimed Western principle of so-called 'freedom of expression', the West has time and time again demonstrated hypocritical double standards.
Let me ask the following questions:
(1) What exercise of the ‘freedom of expression’ necessitated the deliberate and provocative publishing of an Islamic image that was/is deemed taboo by Muslims? What justification does this ‘principle’ have that allows the perpetrator to belittle and insult another religion and provoke its believers?
(2) More importantly, assuming for one instant that (1) above was necessary, which I reckon would be hard put to prove, why was it necessary to depict that religious image in such a derogatory fashion?
(3) Again, what 'freedom of expression' had been achieved by fabricating a personality held in high esteem by Muslims as a modern day terrorist?
Even as a non-Muslim, who have often lambasted some Muslim (or other) clerics for their hypocrisy, I found the cartoons unnecessarily and deliberately insulting. One cartoon portrayed the Prophet (pbuh) with a turban shaped like a ticking bomb, one depicted him as a terrorist and one associated him with suicide bombers at the gates of heaven telling the dead bombers there’s not enough virgins for them.
There have been Muslims terrorists, as there were Hindus, Christians, Shintos, Jews (who became revered Prime Ministers), even Americans, etc. Why portray the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as such to distress over a billion other law abiding peace loving Muslims?
(4) Why don't they exercise the 'freedom of expression' by discussing issues that are forbidden to them already, either legally or by self restraint, for example, like the subject of Holocaust denial (a crime in Austria and Germany - where's the freedom of speech?), or even taking that to its logical test, allowing, nay, indeed defending those deniers like David Irving and Iranian Ahmadinejad the right to do so? Where were Voltaire's followers?
(5) Why didn’t the media come out to defend Prince Harry's right to wear the swastika armband to a fancy dress ball? Instead he was condemned without one single European newspapers or personality defending his 'right' to express his party fancy dress preference? Why the muted cringe?
Not that I support any denial of the Holocaust in any way, as that would be immoral to make-believe that 6 million Jews were not systemically murdered by the Nazis, but within the context of the Europeans' hypocritical and nauseating mantra of 'freedom of expression', why was this claim of Western value applicable only when someone made derogatory portraits of an Islamic Prophet (pbuh), but not extended to discussion of a Jewish taboo? David Irving and Prince Harry would have welcome some support, at least on principle, from these so-called paragons of the 'freedom of expression'.
There is no doubt that whole campaign, started by Jyllands-Posten, had been to deliberately, irresponsibly and provocatively attack the Muslims and their sacred beliefs. It’s a modern day ‘crusade’ to attack the ‘enemy’ with insults. No doubt the recent violence by European Arabs had aroused the anger of the Christian Europeans, but the violence should be dealth with as the crimes they had been. Why expressed anger at all Muslims by villifying their Prophet (pbuh)?
The Chinese have an old saying that "one shouldn't sweep everyone down with a single stroke of a long bamboo."
The provocation was masked under the guise of 'freedom of speech'. In that, that newspapers had been all the more cowardly, using a noble reason to hide a base motive.
The newspapers have also been utterly irresponsible because now the innocents would be the ones to suffer the repercussions. Already in the Middle East, groups of angry rednecks are hunting for Danes, Norwegians, French, Spaniards and Italians. What have their newspapers done to their citizens to transform them into targets of hatred?
Apart from the hunt for the mentioned nationalities, two Saudi employees of the Swede-Danish diary products, Arla Foods, were beaten by angry crowds in Saudi Arabia. Employees and shareholders of Danish and other Scandinavian companies will suffer possible job losses and certainly economic deprivation as the Arab boycott bites deeply.
The sad truth is that newspapers such as France Soir had jumped on the crusading bandwagon not because of principles, but to arrest their declining circulation and serious financial difficulties, and in that, acted opportunistically to exploit and inflame bigoted prejudice to boost its sales. Then, there's the Norwegian Chritian magazine, Magazinet, who need to explain what its real motive would be by publishing insulting caricatures of a Prophet (pbuh) of another religion, instead of hiding behind the veil of that so-called 'freedom' principle.
Every scoundrel in Europe has been exploiting the 'freedom of expression' for their own secret agenda, and in that process, has caused untold loss of goodwill and problems for the innocents.
Danish newspaper offends Muslim nations