Danish cartoons satirise Mohamed… fair comment

To the Danish government… We are SHOCKED by your respect to freedom in disrespect to ReligionAmid all the anti-Denmark protests and calls for arrests, this stands out as the placard that sums it up best. I can understand that you might (like this lady) choose religion over freedom, if it’s going to get you into heaven, but I’d like to see some evidence first:

‘To the Danish government… We are SHOCKED by your respect to freedom in disrespect to Religion’

Perhaps it’s because I simply can’t understand why anyone believes in god – any god – that I’ve never been able understand why anybody needs to seek retribution on his behalf. Won’t he do that himself when the time comes? Faced with blasphemy, surely the appropriate thing for a believer to do is offer a friendly warning: ‘you’ve just bought a one-way ticket to hell! Honestly, you really, really have!’

If that didn’t work, you could simply shake your head and block the blasphemer’s horrific fate out of your mind. If you were genuinely fearful for the sinner’s soul, I guess some sort of vigil might be appropriate. Ah, you might say, what if others are swayed by the blasphemer… don’t we need to shut him up? Well no. Violence tends to begat violence and create martyrs. Better to confront the criticism head-on with well thought out compelling arguments supported with solid, convincing evidence.

Which takes us to the Danish cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad. Some say the prophet shouldn’t be depicted at all (you should worship god, not idols) but that’s bogus as he’s pictured a lot without controversy (pics can be hard to find online, but there are two here) and it’s unlikely these cartoons will be used for idolatry.

In one a bunch of suicide bombers arrive at heaven’s gate only to discover they’ve run out of virgins. It may be that most Muslims don’t expect their martyrs to be rewarded with 72 virgins. Some think it’s raisins and are genuinely embarrassed by this nonsense. But some do and Hamas has pushed this line. Even if the number of Muslim martyrs expecting 72 virgins is relatively small, I reckon that the satire is fair: this the minority that produces suicide bombers.

Then we’ve got the picture of Mohamed as a bomb. This – ‘butcher those who mock Islam’… ‘be prepared for the real holocaust!’… ‘behead those who insult Islam’ – may be a minority response. But it remains a lesson in shooting oneself in the foot and shows how attempts to silence blasphemers backfire. So fair comment, once again.
Related:Religious Hatred Bill defeated compromised… hoorah! But what’s it mean?

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