We have some advice for the PR department of Islamic fundamentalism: Get yourself some bloggers.
The blogosphere’s response to the political firestorm ignited by a Danish newspaper’s decision to run a series of cartoons caricaturing the prophet Mohammed has been decidedly one-sided. There’s even a blogger’s petition circulating that expresses support for the newspaper, the Jyllands Posten, which has been beset with death threats.
Many of the European bloggers who have commented are proud of the fact that other newspapers stood up to defend the Danish paper by reprinting the cartoons in their own pages. West of the Moon makes this point: “Ironically, the images that caused this latest furor are now being widely republished around the free world. Hurrah. If people resent this, perhaps they should ask themselves whether complaining vociferously was such a clever idea in the first place. Freedom of expression cuts more than one way.”
And that is the tamest of the comments. Most see the incident as a battle in a war between secularism and theocracy and are offended that Muslims would try to chill freedom of expression. James Binarism says just that when he writes that this is the type of “religious intolerance that accepts no mockery, no satire, no ridicule. We citizens of secular and democratic societies are summoned to condemn a dozen caricatures judged offensive to Islam. Summoned by who? By the Muslim Brotherhood, by Syria, the Islamic Jihad, the interior ministers of Arab countries, the Islamic Conferences — all paragons of tolerance, humanism and democracy. So, we must apologise to them because the freedom of expression they refuse, day after day, to each of their citizens, faithful or militant, is exercised in a society that is not subject to their iron rule. It’s the world upside down. No, we will never apologise for being free to speak, to think and to believe.”
Then there are others that just wonder why Muslims don’t have a better sense of humor. Badalona thinks “all religons should be the target of humour or satire or what have you. I believe that if you want to show Jesus Christ giving a blowjob … in the name of a good joke, I think you should be allowed to show it. Or, if you want to show Buddah with a firework up his arsehole or … the possibilities are endless. So why not Mohammed?”
Protestors respond that it’s not the humorous posing of Muhammed that they object to — it’s the fact that he’s being depicted at all. They cite Koranic injunctions against presenting the prophet’s likeness.
Well, leave it to the blogosphere to quickly come up with a catalogue of dozens of illustrations of Mohammed going back over a thousand years.
You really can’t beat an army of bloggers when you need some good defense.
So, Hamas, take note: Drop the bombs, pick up some laptops and save the blogosphere from this swarm of infidels!