Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Fri, Feb 10 2006

What Does This Cartoon Thing Really Mean?

You'll need quite a bit of time to read Egyptian Sandmonkey's post (and all the comments) regarding the infamous cartoons that have sparked protests in Denmark. According to the blog post, it seems that there was much less reaction to the cartoons when they were published in Egypt just a few weeks after their publication in the Danish newspapers.

I know that freedom of speech is often at odds with personal beliefs. I've seen many parodies of Jesus over the years, and I may not appreciate all of them, but if a society chooses to be a democratic one it's always going to have to deal with these sorts of issues, particularly as many diverse religions and cultures try to blend in one geographical place. If we decide we can never do anything that offends any one religion or culture we are going to have to create so many restrictions that democracy will cease to exist. So we attempt to keep expression open and hope that people will use that freedom for good. I'd rather live in a place that chooses freedom, even though it means one or more of us might feel offended at some point because some will choose to use their freedom for negative purposes.

I do have one question that has bothered me about all this, and I suppose it would take someone with a great education on Middle East history to explain it in a way I can understand. I keep hearing that it's mostly Muslim extremists who wish to force the Western countries out of the affairs of the Middle East. But a lot of the protesting against these recent cartoons has been from Muslim people who migrated to Europe. Why did they go there if they didn't wish to be part of a society that has more freedoms? And if Islam has geographical implications, where is Islam supposed to be? I'm not being sarcastic when I ask this. I truly want to understand how extremist Muslim folks can believe that, on one hand they can tell everyone to stay out and stop trying to control their holy places in the Middle East but on the other hand, believe they can go everywhere and control the freedoms of societies in other areas. And if what they (extremists) really want is to live in a closed society dominated by one religion is that to be a region in the Middle East or is that to be the whole world? If it turns out to be the latter I can tell them right now that we're all in for a very long haul because this is not going to happen without some really terrible consequences. And it isn't something people can fix by boycotting a few products. That's like slapping a bandaid on the forehead of a woman in labor with quintuplets. It doesn't address the real problem, it doesn't make anyone feel better and it isn't going to stop the sequence of events to come.

I hope that the real leaders of Islam will be able to make their way to the front of this fray and educate us as to the real principles that guide Muslim believers. We folks of other religions and other cultures need to know the truth. I just hope the extremists don't destroy the earth before that happens.

posted at: 09:36 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry

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