Mohammed Cartoons Spark Rage in Middle East

Posted on February 2, 2006

The republishing of cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed have caused outrage in some Islamic communities. The cartoons were originally published in Denmark in the Danish newspaper called Jyllands-Posten. The Financial Times reports that Danish products are being boycotted in some Middle East countries.

Of course, in their righteous zeal to denounce an unflattering comic portraying Mohammed, they are conveniently ignoring the offensive anti-Semitic and anti-Christian comics that run every day in the mainstream, supposedly "moderate" Arab media.

A Deutsche Welle article reports that an independent Jordanian newspapers has published the controversial cartoons. One of the cartoons shows the Muslim religion's founder wearing a bomb-shaped turban.

Editor & Publisher also has articles on the story including a fired French editor and protest by gunmen in the Gaza Strip. In the blogosphere the topic is being heavily discussed. If you run a Technorati search for "Jyllands-posten Mohammed," there are hundreds of posts. CJR Daily says blogs uncovered a collection of depictions of Mohammed throughout history which includes a few of the recent cartoons.

Right now various European newspapers are trying to decide whether to cave into this xenophobic nonsense and refuse to run editorial cartoons or to be brave and stand up for freedom of expression. If anyone is offended by the Danish cartoons and wants to show his displeasure by refusing to buy Danish Butter Cookies or some of the other myriad Danish products that are being removed from Middle Eastern store shelves, fine. That's a non-violent way to protest (although it's quite unfair to Danish companies who had nothing to do with the cartoons in question). But if anyone carries out a threat of violence to innocent bystanders -- Danish or otherwise -- because of a cartoon, they they should be dealt with in a very harsh manner.

Why not show your support for free speech by either 1) eating a delicious Danish Butter Cookie, 2) buying a Bang & Olufson stereo system or 3) buying a new set of Legos for a favorite child.