Friday, February 03, 2006

Mohammed Cartoon Fiasco

The play by play goes something like this:

  • Danish newspaper published cartoon portraying Mohammed, God of Islam, offending many muslims around the world
  • Muslims begin violent protests, boycotts, threats, etc.
  • Euopean pols mortified, apologizing
  • Other European newspapers publish cartoon; similar cartoons follow
  • Editors being sacked, European pols mortified, apologizing and scrambling:

Europe's political elite were scrambling last night to contain the furore across the Arab world at the publication of caricatures of Muhammad, with leaders stressing that freedom of the press did not mean freedom to cause offence.

(from the Guardian UK)

I think there are a couple really interesting angles to this:

1. Gutless European pols will attempt to curtail their own freedoms in order to de-offend muslims, in a cowardly show of impotence

2. Nonetheless, freedom of the press oriented press folks will continue to mock Mohammed in cartoons in an escalating fashion

I mean, really, how could all of Europe ever seriously prevent this from happening? So long as the papers (and web sites, etc) have a mind to create and publish cartoons mocking Mohammed, they surely will do so. I can envision hundreds of cartoons, thousands even, coming from all corners of Europe and even other countries with free presses - completely overwhelming the muslim ability to take individual offense, protest, or carry out individual violent reprisal.

From there it goes one of two ways: a world war of muslims vs. the west (free press vs. offensiveness to faith), or a final acceptance by muslims that they just cant get violent every time their religion is trifled with.

I think its going to be the latter. If the world floods itself with images mocking Islam, the only possible outcome is that Islam will have to just chill the hell out. Theres just no way its going to come to a world war over a silly cartoon.