Wednesday, February 01, 2006


If you click on the image on the right, the sign for Islam, you will be able to view one of the cartoons published by the Danish newspaper
"Jyllands-Posten" that have caused such a lot of unrest and controversy in muslim societies all over the world. In my opinion this picture was never just an innocent joke. I fact I think it describes very well the fears and worries (and predjudices ?) that we in the west have about the Islamic faith and the way life seems to us to be lived in the Middle-Eastern countries. It´s highly provocative, both politically and with regard to religion and therefore highly explosive. I only publish it here to make that point.

I would not have published it if I was the editor of "Jyllands-Posten", I think it was a bad failure of judgement, a blunder, to do so in the first place. Very well, we Scandinavians pride ourselves that we cherish the human right of free speech, but it has to go along with limits of consideration for other peoples´s feelings and religion. Like the head of the small Islamic sect in Iceland pointed out on television last night, the comics always used to depict Jews like handwringing Scrooges in the last century, now it seems to be the turn of people of the Islamic faith to have themselves stereotyped and ridiculed as bombthrowing devils.

I think the Danes have handled this matter badly. We have a saying in Icelandic "Sá vægir sem vitið hefur meira", which means that the most clever person let´s go in a dispute. I think it should be put to use in this context. The right thing to do for the editor of Jyllands-Posten was to apologize to the Islamic world for having published these pictures, without fully realising how very provocative and mean at least some of them are. He has in fact at long last done so, more than four months after he allowed these cartoons to be published, in a letter of apology that looked rather lame to me, and the harm is certainly done.

Let´s not kindle the fires of hatred.
Let´s not light matches in a room full of explosives.
Let´s try not to throw bombs like this one at the frail peace there exists in this world.

Letter from Carsten Juste, Editor-in chief of Jyllands-Posten,
to fellow muslim citizens in Denmark.

Google Search - (denmark muslims)
The Star

Wikipedia about the Jyllands-Posten cartoons


Kyle said...

I think you have a point about steiotyping, and that they should stop it expecialy in the Middle East.

Soumyadip said...

I agree with the sensible mouse.