Muslims outraged

For all the Religious Right political influence and the cultural weight of the most mindless forms of Christianity in the United States, at least it’s not a Muslim country.

After a Danish and a Norwegian newspaper printed a couple of cartoons less-than-fully-respectful of Muhammad, Muslims the world over are indulging their sense of outrage, demanding that Denmark and Norway somehow censor or otherwise punish the newspaper or the cartoonists. Some comments sent to the Turkish newspaper I read online huff about how the Scandinavians pretend to be so concerned about human rights yet they let the religious sensibilities of a billion Muslims be offended. There are calls for boycotts of Scandinavian products, and even some violence.

Here’s some English-language news about it from the Guardian, buried at the end of a story about the Middle East.

gunmen from the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade – a Fatah offshoot – held the EU building in Gaza for half an hour this morning.

The gunmen said they wanted an apology from Denmark and Norway for the publication in a Danish and Norwegian newspaper of cartoons showing Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban on his head.

Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet, even respectful ones, out of concern that such images could lead to idolatry.

The cartoons have sparked protests, flag burnings and boycotts of Danish products throughout the Muslim world. On Sunday, Palestinian protesters burned Danish flags in two West Bank towns.

The Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper has refused to apologise for the publication on the grounds of freedom of speech. The Norwegian evangelical newspaper Magazinet reprinted the cartoons in the name of defending free expression.

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About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University