In February 2006, Islamic blasphemy laws have been effectively brought to bear throughout large portions of the Western world, suppressing cherished freedoms of speech and criticism through threats of murder and acts of violence, oppression and terror.
As Richard Neuhaus wisely notes in his February 8, 2006 posting (emphasis added):
The conflagration is not, as many American and European editorialists are opining, about sensitivity to the religious feelings of others. The same editorialists routinely approve of “transgressive” art and vituperative rhetoric that trashes Christianity. Nor is it about the “hypocrisy” or “unfairness” of Muslims who incessantly publish vile anti-Semitic and anti-Christian caricatures, although what they do is certainly not nice.
No, the teaching of Islam is that it is blasphemy to visually depict Muhammed, whether favorably or unfavorably, but especially unfavorably. It is also impermissible to criticize the teachings of the Qur’an and the hadith. These and many other prohibitions are part of the sharia law that militant Islamists are intent upon imposing upon Islam and, insofar as they are able, on the world.
If you haven't seen the cartoons yet, I urge you to have a look at them (this page, about halfway down). Not to provoke our Muslim neighbours, but so that you will be aware of just how mild these cartoons really are.
Will we be ruled to Shariah law? I am dismayed by the cowardice of the North American media, who refuse to publish these cartoons. Unless people can see how mild these drawings are, they cannot properly understand the issue of this global Islamic violence.
It truly is, as John Neuhaus noted, not about sensitivity but about Islamic law. If for fear of our lives we cannot publish silly cartoons, what is next? Criticism of the Qu'ran is also considered blasphemy. As is criticism of Mohammed.
The next time North American media choose to offend Christians and Jews in the name of freedom of expression, it will ring hollow in the face of this moral cowardice.
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