This is apparently old news, but I was previously unaware of it. I recall being shocked when Cat Stevens was treated as potentially dangerous after his conversion to Islam. Now not so much!
The Left and the Jihad Fred Halliday - openDemocracy may be worth reading
In democracyarsenal.org, Shadi Hamid makes a Note to Muslims objecting to a the claim by Zaid Shakir that his wish for an Islamic law is shared by "every Muslim who is honest".
Perhaps the wish for a Muslim country governed by Islamic law is parallel to the wish for a Christian nation governed according to Christian principles, or perhaps it is for sharia law which might be more parallel to asking to be governed by strictly literal Biblical rules. None of the four appeals to me but all are advocated by at least some of the religious "leaders" of each faith.
The claim that "every honest" Whateverist wants a Whateverist government may be denied by what Basil refers to as "Eid-Muslims" and "Christmas-Christians", but to those who believe that their faith clearly demands committment to its establishment in law, those who do not make that demand are legitimately cast as dishonest.
In the case of Christianity, disestablismentarianism is so evident in scriptural teaching that to any reasonable person (ie anyone who agrees with me) it is clear that it is actually those who would establish religious law who are making a dishonest interpretation. Unfortunately, for Islam, so far as I understand it, this is not the case.
This has been around for at least a couple of years but keeps returning to the email inbox so I thought I'd point out that although the authors of the joke seem to see "al-gebra" as just a funny coincidence,I've always thought that it could be used as a lead-in to a discussion of the origins of the subject and as a timely reminder of the fact that there was once a time when the Islamic world was a refuge of tolerance and rationality.
Jyllands Posten editor Flemming Rose defends himself re the mohammed cartoons which idiot Mullah Krekar decried as a "declaration of war" against Islam claiming without apprent irony about Western secularists that "as the losing side, they commit violence."
Unfortunately Rose extends his defense in places to attribute to the "left-wing" positions that may never have been taken by anyone more serious than himself, and although his proposal for mutual accomodation to the realities of multiculturalism is reasonable, his use of phrases such as "Giving the same weight to the illiberal values of conservative Islam as to the liberal traditions of the European Enlightenment" belies his claim not to be biased.
Why give them such ammunition?
(Unless your goal is other than what you say it is and is rather to promote discord, jihad, conflagration, and apocalypse)
In this kind of debate, it is essential both to recognize our debt in the West to the liberal values of progressive Islam and to not ignore the illiberal traditions of conservative Western Christianity.
Mona Eltahawi's article A Mountain Out of a Molehill Over Danish Cartoons provides a welcome breath of sanity.
Well, so far as I can tell from this image, the twelve cartoons (on the subject of fear of censorship and/or reprisals regarding representations of Mohammed) are as follows:
- One appears to be mocking the editor who commissioned the illustrations. It shows a beardless bespectacled nordic looking fellow in a turban with an orange or ball on it labelled 'PR STUNT' holding a page on which a stick figure of a bearded man in a turban is drawn.
- Another has a similar figure holding a sign as one of seven in a police lineup including several bearded turbaned individuals, one of whom has a halo.
- A third has a young dark haired student named Mohammed pointing to a blackboard on which the text apparently translates to say that "The Jyllands-Posten's journalists are a bunch of reactionary provocateurs"
- Another has an apparently fearful cartoonist trying to hide his sketch-in-progress of an unidentified bearded arabic-looking figure.
- One has some kind of caliph or prince calming a couple of enraged soldiers with words to the effect that it's only a stupid Danish cartoon
- Two are apparently straight-up illustrations suitable for a children's book. One of these has a heavily bearded turbaned peasant leading a donkey across an arid landscape.and the other, which also seems not intended to insult, is a slightly more cartoonish scholarly looking fellow with a crescent-shaped halo.
- Two incorporate star and crescent into human facial features - one without comment and one with several such characters and a text that I haven't seen translated.
- Then there's the oft reported immam on a cloud turning back burned bodies with "Stop! stop! we ran out of virgins".
- An angry looking man in a turban with a sword has his eyes blacked out (as if to protect id) by a rectangle that matches the cutouts in the black chadors of through which the eyes of two women behind him are the only visible details.
- And then of course there's the man with the bomb in his turban
Certainly probably a stupid exercise given the circumstances - although the intrusion of restrictive sensibilities into an open culture is something that I hope will be effectively resisted.
Perhaps the organizer should be shot - not by those enraged but by those who are suffering the consequences for his exercise of freedom.
Mohammed the Prophet should be vastly more insulted by the actions and assertions of those who claim to represent him - especially the sleazy characters posing as religious leaders who have added some truly offensive cartoons of their own devising in order to inflame those who find the real thing rather tame.
Actually, despite the inflammatory news reports on all sides the demonstrations of outrage and calls for boycott etc have in many instances been just the kind of exercise of free speech that Europeans should be defending. And where things have gotten nasty the atmosphere has only occasionally gone beyond the level of subhuman savagery demonstrated from time to time by British soccer fans when their colours get accidentally trampled on.
This BBC News article reports the firing of France Soir editor Jacques Lefranc by owner Raymond Lakah over the re-publication of cartoons originating in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten which "gave offense" to Muslims. But if Mohammed is not to be despised, then picturing him with a bomb-shaped turban is far less of an insult to him than killing in his name.