I’m going to state upfront that I believe in the freedom to speak and to write. If I don’t agree with something I have the right not to read it or to listen to it. Having said that, if someone doesn’t understand why showing a pig on or next to the Koran or the Torah for that matter would cause extreme offense, then you’ve got a lot of reading to do.
Images are much more powerful than words. Stop and think about images used in the past, say pre-war Germany, that were used to increase hatred of targeted ethnic groups. Were the cartoonists in Europe trying to do something like that? Probably not. Were they trying to provoke discussion? Maybe. Trouble is the only part that succeeded was the provoking. Did they just flat out not realize what the response in the Muslim world would be? Could be. Maybe the artists and the editors just flat out didn’t realize that something published in Denmark might end up being seen in Indonesia. And it could be that most of the people burning, shouting and shooting haven’t seen the images and are going off what they “believe” the images show.
This is a link to a page that includes the cartoons that have caused the uproar in so many parts of the Muslim world. I’m not going to give an opinion on the images, some of the peripheral ones are pretty bad, in my opinion. Oh, the ones credited for causing most of the uproar are at the bottom of the page. http://www.zombietime.com/mohammed_image_archive/
What can I say? Would I be uncomfortable if images of Jesus or Moses were substituted for the Muslim images? Probably. Would I go out burn an innocent bystanders’ house down because of it? Hell, no. That isn’t going to solve anything. The best of their teachings will survive not matter how many buildings are torched. But, the best of those teachings just might get lost in all that smoke.
The responses of some of the folks on this side of the water to what is happeningin the Muslim world are depressing to say the least. There’s either a total lack of understanding about why there might be a problem or “just you try to burn my car and see what’s happens.”
There seems to be a fatal flaw in the human response to the divine revelations in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. Too many who claim to follow all three traditions seem to believe that those who offend their traditions, or who are seen to offend their traditions must be hounded from our midst as unfit to live. They aren’t the only voices, they may not even be the majority in any of the faiths, but they do seem to be the loudest. And they’re the ones with the torches and the guns.
So what do the rest of us do? Go out with our copies of Matthew Fox, or Hildegard of Bingen or Meister Ekhart in one hand and our own clubs in the other? Do we shout that there are traditions in all three faiths that teach peace, understanding, and respect? That all three teach that by caring for the sick, those in need, the poor and the voiceless we do the will of the Creator? And you’d better agree with us or else? Bit like going to war to promote peace isn’t it? Wait some of us are already trying that.
That knocking sound you might hear is my head hitting the desk.