Why I Published Those Cartoons

Just the Facts
From the horses mouth.

So, over two weeks we witnessed a half-dozen cases of self-censorship, pitting freedom of speech against the fear of confronting issues about Islam. This was a legitimate news story to cover, and Jyllands-Posten decided to do it by adopting the well-known journalistic principle: Show, don't tell. I wrote to members of the association of Danish cartoonists asking them "to draw Muhammad as you see him." We certainly did not ask them to make fun of the prophet. Twelve out of 25 active members responded.

Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn't intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy.

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...021702499.html (external - login to view)
I think not
Here's a post from an Islamic forum:

Freedom of speech is not a platonic concept; it has no metaphysical existence outside of the men and women who designed it and those who confirm it in different times and different places. The underlying flaw in your argument is that you are applying an American understanding of freedom of speech. As great as America is, it is not the only country that has utilized this principle within a political system. Believe it or not, there are other countries out their that have their own Constitutions and interpetations of freedom of speech. One of those countries happens to be Denmark. So ultimately, American jurisprudence is merely persuasive authority on Danish law; it is not binding authority. In order for us to interpret the issue of freedom of speech within the context of the charicatures of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), we have to look at the environment that this incident occurred in. Hence, it is important to look within the context of the Danish constitution and Danish jurisprudence. After all, it shouldn't surprise us that
Denmark's conception of freedom of speech is slightly different from our own in that they prohibit hate speech as well as speech that criticizes the existence of the Holocaust. The Danish, and in general, European approach, is that freedom of speech is not an absolute right. This is also confirmed to a slightly lesser degree by American jurisprudence as well. Speech that is obscene, corporate, or libelous isn't granted that same degree of constitutional protection as purely political speech. Hence, the cartoons that were published defaming Muhammad (saw) were illegal according to Danish law.

Section 266b of the Danish Criminal Code:

Any person who, publicly or with the intention of wider dissemination, makes a statement or imparts other information by which a group of people are threatened, insulted or degraded on account of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, or sexual inclination shall be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding 2 years.

And its section 140, which deals with blasphemy, reads:

Those who publicly mock or insult the doctrines or worship of any religious community that is legal in this country, will be punished by a fine or incarceration for up to 4 month.

The first inconsistency in the argument that the cartoons are protected speech is that it constitutes an insult to Islam. With all of the talk of it being "political speech", this is simply patently false. Muhammad (saw) has been dead for 1400 years. He is not a political actor. He controls no armies, no governments, no economies. There is no government on the earth today which has a direct link to the Prophet (saw). Hence, any criticism of the Prophet (saw) today is inherently related to Islam as a religion. A religion that has over 1.2 Billion adherents. That means that almost 1 in 6 persons in the world is Muslim. The argument that "these cartoons is a critique of fundamentalism" is patently false. There are other ways of critiquing fundamentalism. Simply because David Koresh, a Branch Dravidian, claimed to be a legitimate spokesperson of Jesus, doesn't make it correct to criticize Jesus. The two are unrelated. Thus, it is entirely conceivable that the actions of the newspaper would hold them liable for both criminal and civil sanctions.

What supports this conviction is the fact that the very newspaper which chooses to defame the Prophet (saw) and Islam has chosen to remain silent in its criticism of Jesus, Christianity, and the Holocaust.

As defensive as we are of the Media, another thing we have to keep in mind is that there are more than one ways to coerce or limit freedom than government intrigues. We live in the era of corporate media where thousands of media outlets are owned only by five major corporations who have their own conception of social and political values. We see constant abrogations of speech in the media on multiple occassions, whether or not their is a political reason for doing so.

For example, the Danish newspaper had previously refused to publish cartoons depicting Jesus since it would have "offended" some of its readers. The editor did not say "well, lets get some cartoonists to draw the cartoons anyway" just to spite those who object. Furthermore, when Iran proposed to draw cartoons of the Holocaust and the editor of the Danish newspaper offered to publish the cartoons the same day, the newspaper itself gave the editor a leave of absence and stated that they would not publish the holocaust cartoons. If freedom of speech is an absolute right, it should apply in all circumstances and in all places. However, this is simply not the case.

The question is why is not why these images are offensive. That is like asking "Why do the Abu Ghraib prison pictures offend Muslims?" The fact is that these pictures are offensive and the editor of the newspaper knew that they were offensive and intentionally did so. The Muslim reaction has nothing to do with fundamentalism. Muslims all accross the world have been offended. This reflects an ignorance of Islam itself. Many of the people who berate Islam, the Qur'an, or Muhammad don't know the first thing about Islam. This is what is propagating the anger of Muslims. It is as simple as that.

If people want to understand who the Prophet (saw) was, all you have to do is read speeches like his last sermon, which follows:
Prophet Muhammad's
Last Sermon
This sermon was delivered on the Ninth day of Dhul al Hijjah 10 A.H. in the 'Uranah valley of Mount Arafat.

After praising, and thanking Allah, he said:

“O People, listen well to my words, for I do not know whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present today.

O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Treat others justly so that no one would be unjust to you.

Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury (riba), therefore all riba obligation shall henceforth be waived*. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer inequity. Allah has judged that there shall be no riba and that all the riba due to `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib shall henceforth be waived.

Every right arising out of homicide in pre-Islamic days is henceforth waived and the first such right that I waive is that arising from the murder of Rabi`ah ibn al Harith ibn `Abd al Muttalib.

O Men, the Unbelievers indulge in tampering with the calendar in order to make permissible that which Allah forbade, and to forbid that which Allah has made permissible. With Allah the months are twelve in number. Four of them are sacred, three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Sha`ban. Beware of the devil, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights over your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers. It is your right and they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste...

O People, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, perform your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your financial obligation (zakah) of your wealth. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.

Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and you will answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

O People, no prophet or messenger will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I am leaving you with the Book of Allah (the Qurân) and my Sunnah (the life style and the behavioral mode of the Prophet), if you follow them you will never go astray.

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness O Allah, that I have conveyed your message to your people.”

Originally Posted by freedom2critique
The underlying trend is that islam doesn't allow for critical analysis, which is fundamental with freespeech. The reason is the religion cannot withstand scrutiny.

Drawing cartoon's of a revered world-figure isn't 'critical analysis'.

They were designed to offend Muslims, not to get them to think about their religion.

Racism often tries to hide behind the guise of 'freedom' as was argued by the Southern states during the civil rights era.

How Muslim Youth Should Respond to Events Unfolding in the World
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