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Getting On : All My Politics

Your taboo, not mine

from Lance - Saturday, February 11, 2006
accessed 3121 times

An interesting article I found in Time magazine. By Andrew Sullivan.

The iconic image of last week was in the Gaza Strip. It was of a Palestinian gunman astride the local office of the European Union. All the diplomatic staff had fled, tipped off ahead of time. The source of the militant's ire? A series of satirical cartoons originally published in Denmark. Yes, cartoons.

A Danish paper, a while back, had commissioned a set of cartoons depicting the fear that many writers and artists in Europe feel when dealing with the subject of Islam. To Western eyes, the cartoons were not in any way remarkable. In fact, they were rather tame. One showed Muhammad with his turban depicted as a bomb--not exactly a fresh image to describe Islamic terrorism. Another used a simple graphic device: it showed Muhammad surrounded by two women in full Muslim garb, their eyes peering out from an oblong space in their black chadors. And on Muhammad's face there was an oblong too, blacking out his eyes. The point was that Islam has a blind spot when it comes to women's freedom. Crude but powerful: exactly what a political cartoon is supposed to be.

The result was an astonishing uproar in the Muslim world, one of those revealing moments when the gulf between our world and theirs seems unbridgeable. Boycotts of European goods are in force; demonstrators in London held up signs proclaiming EXTERMINATE THOSE WHO MOCK ISLAM and BE PREPARED FOR THE REAL HOLOCAUST; the editor of the French newspaper France-Soir was fired for reprinting the drawings; Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the publication; and protesters set fire to the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus. The Egyptian ambassador to Denmark expressed disbelief that the government would not prevent further reprinting. Freedom of the press, the Egyptian explained, "means the whole story will continue and that we are back to square one again. The government of Denmark has to do something to appease the Muslim world."

Excuse me? In fact, the opposite is the case. The Muslim world needs to do something to appease the West. Since Ayatullah Khomeini declared a death sentence against Salman Rushdie for how he depicted Muhammad in his book The Satanic Verses, Islamic radicals have been essentially threatening the free discussion of their religion and politics in the West. Rushdie escaped with his life. But Pim Fortuyn, a Dutch politician who stood up against Muslim immigrant hostility to equality for women and gays, was murdered on the street. Theo van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who offended strict Muslims, was killed thereafter. Several other Dutch politicians who have dared to criticize the intolerance of many Muslims live with police protection.

Muslim leaders say the cartoons are not just offensive. They're blasphemy--the mother of all offenses. That's because Islam forbids any visual depiction of the Prophet, even benign ones. Should non-Muslims respect this taboo? I see no reason why. You can respect a religion without honoring its taboos. I eat pork, and I'm not an anti-Semite. As a Catholic, I don't expect atheists to genuflect before an altar. If violating a taboo is necessary to illustrate a political point, then the call is an easy one. Freedom means learning to deal with being offended.

Blasphemy, after all, is commonplace in the West. In America, Christians have become accustomed to artists' offending their religious symbols. They can protest, and cut off public funding--but the right of the individual to say or depict offensive messages or symbols is not really in dispute. Blasphemy, moreover, is common in the Muslim world, and sanctioned by Arab governments. The Arab media run cartoons depicting Jews and the symbols of the Jewish faith with imagery indistinguishable from that used in the Third Reich. But I have yet to see Jews or Israelis threaten the lives of Muslims because of it.

And there is, of course, the other blasphemy. It occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, when fanatics murdered thousands of innocents in the name of Islam. Surely, nothing could be more blasphemous. So where were the Muslim boycotts of Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan after that horrifying event? Since 9/11 mosques have been bombed in Iraq by Islamic terrorists. Where was the rioting condemning attacks on the holiest of shrines? These double standards reveal something quite clear: this call for "sensitivity" is primarily a cover for intolerance of others and intimidation of free people.

Yes, there's no reason to offend people of any faith arbitrarily. We owe all faiths respect. But the Danish cartoons were not arbitrarily offensive. They were designed to reveal Islamic intolerance--and they have now done so, in abundance. The West's principles are clear enough. Tolerance? Yes. Faith? Absolutely. Freedom of speech? Nonnegotiable.

Reader's comments on this article

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from Benz
Sunday, February 26, 2006 - 03:58


Just want to remind everyone its "High five a muslim day" coming up this 28th of Feb because "giving some slappy makes everyone happy"

For details see: and

(reply to this comment)

From Benz
Sunday, February 26, 2006, 04:00

here's where it started: to this comment
From Ne Oublie
Sunday, February 26, 2006, 08:41

Sounds terribly patronising if you ask me!(reply to this comment
From neez
Sunday, February 26, 2006, 23:21


It's humour Neoub. You wouldn't understand. to this comment

From Ne Oublie
Monday, February 27, 2006, 01:22

Funny thing, I didn't find those Danish cartoons funny either - I guess they're all just a level of humour I don't appreciate.(reply to this comment
From vixen
Monday, February 27, 2006, 02:31

Actually those cartoons were *not* meant to be humourous above all else, they were commisioned as part of a wider debate on freedom of speech. I know that's a simplistic statement but I'm busy just now, and also, I don't really care enough to get into a lengthy discussion.(reply to this comment
From Ne Oublie
Monday, February 27, 2006, 03:27


Ah right, so it was a 'let's show off our freedom of speech by seeing how much we can insult them and get away with it' sorta deal? I can't imagine why I didn't find the humour in it?!?(reply to this comment

From vixen
Monday, February 27, 2006, 03:45

Uhm, no. But I did say I'm not getting into a discussion now... :-)(reply to this comment
From Ne Oublie
Monday, February 27, 2006, 04:16

Don't worry vixie, I've read the news and commentary on it all - although I am curious to hear a Danish perspective...(reply to this comment
From vixen
Monday, February 27, 2006, 04:51


Heh. I was wondering when you'd bring that up... Maybe sometime in the chat we can talk it out, eh.(reply to this comment

From Benz
Sunday, February 26, 2006, 13:03

chill nibbilies, all in good humour to this comment
From neez
Sunday, February 26, 2006, 23:36


You cant mention the Ronnie Johns show without giving the Chop Chop a fucken plug. to this comment

From Benz
Monday, February 27, 2006, 01:27


Ya man Chop Chop for PM!!

anyways this Nooblie is getting to be a bit of a worry... turning into more of a whinging Pom every day.

reminds me of one of those Little Britain characters, or better yet League of Gentlemen.(reply to this comment

from sar
Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 10:13

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

I heard what I thought to be an interesting argument on this point the day. It was argued that the reaction of the muslim community to the cartoons could be better understood by looking at the whole of the picture. It is easy to see how the oppression of the muslim world by the west was in play in their reaction to the cartoons.

How would the US citizens react if a similar cartoon had been published with regard to 9/11? The muslim world has been under far greater oppression at the hands of the west than vice versa. It would be fair, I think, to consider, not the reaction of Americans in general, but the reaction of the immediate families of the victims of 9/11. Would they behave rationally and consider it a matter of freedom of speach, or would it be an adding of insult to injury?

Regarding the second to last paragraph of your argument, there was no trial of any individuals for 9/11, no group or organisation claimed responsibility to the acts, so I don't see how you have somehow managed to find an intention without an intendor. You say it was done in the name of religion. Where is your conclusive evidence?
(reply to this comment)

from ange
Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 05:11

On a similar note, The Irish Times has printed an article about a German newspaper called Der Tagesspiegel which has printed a cartoon showing the Iranian football team dressed as suicide bombers. It says:

"A German newspaper yesterday published a cartoon depicting the Iranian football team as suicide bombers, opening up a new front in the row over caricatures of the prophet Mohammad.

Iran immediately demanded an apology from Der Tagesspiegel, which showed four Iranian players at this summer's World Cup in Germany with explosives attached to their chests. A captian read: "Why the German army should definately be used during the football world cup".

Malte Lehming, comment editor at Der Taggsspiegel, said yesterday the caricature was meant for a German audience. Asked whether it has been unwise to print it, he said: " The problem is where do you draw the line? Cartoons have to be satirical and mean. We are very sorry if we have hurt the feelings of any Iranians. But we have not apologised."

The cartoonisht, Klaus Stuttmann, received three death threats and is in hiding, the paper said."
(reply to this comment)
from openmind
Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 02:42

Does anyone know where I can find these cartoon images online?
(reply to this comment)
From AndyH
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 09:53


Here's a better site, for larger viewing.

Get the T-shirt here. to this comment

From this was interresting
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 10:46

From the link;

A European poll which pointed to Israel as a threat was heavily protested and debated and discredited by its detractors.

Cartoons of Israelis (who are technically at war with Arabs) in the Arab press are heavily protested and we never hear the end of it.

Any negative depiction of a Jew in any media anywhere in western europe would get you in serious trouble, possilbly even jailed, even for debating the holocaust!

And you want Muslims to NOT protest the riddiculing of their prophet?!

Clear hypocricy and double standard on your part, oh civilised west.

We keep hearing day-in-day-out about how terrible and evil anti-semitism is.

You all know, and you alwyays try to lecture Muslims, that free speech must be responsible, and inflamatory material must be banned.

Then you turn around and you do this.

And now you say we dont have the right to NOT buy Danish or be insulted!

Amazing. Simply amazing.

(reply to this comment
From Baxter
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 12:56



I've seen more than enough derogatory cartoons of Sharon, Begin, etc. to last a lifetime! BOLLOX!!!

The original moslem law says that ALL depictions of people, NOT JUST THE PROPHET are forbidden, but moslem artist themselves have neglected to follow this rule for the most part throughout the admittedly distinguished history of islamic art.

How many major Arab newspapers run cartoons? (reply to this comment

From chill
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 13:05

it's lifted from a discusion site linked above.(reply to this comment
From and this
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 11:07

3 Feb 2006 @ 15:07 by rich_s @ : My take
The original context of these cartoons is that artists are frightened of criticising Islam because of the potential actions of violent extremists. The reaction to the publication of the cartoons just proves the original point - that fundamentalists are intolerent and hold world-views that are incompatible with Western ideas such as free speech.

The cartoons may well offend, because they are blasphemous by Islamic standards. The subject matter of some of them is an attack on the religion and its ideas. That's offensive? Well, tough, because in Europe religion is fair game. We've had the enlightenment, and separated church and state, and now most of us believe in "science" - if your theory doesn't stand up to rational scrutiny then down it falls.

Religious schools of thought seem to think that they should be protected from this scrutiny, and that people are allowed to believe what they like, no matter what irrational nonsense it is. For the sake of peaceful living, a compromise is neccessary, so Western countries have laws allowing "freedom to practise religion" - laws of tolerance. I'm fine and happy with that as long as you don't wave your nonsense in my face. That's not keeping your end of the bargain.

Don't make me choose between liberties and your make-belief deity. Muslims who haven't already need to learn to take silly cartoons and such like on the chin, like most Christians have learnt, otherwise there cannot be harmony. For example, don't insist that non-muslims must follow Islamic law and never depict Muhammed, because in reality all you are doing is forcing us to stand up and say "Look, we think your beliefs are bullsh*t"

(reply to this comment
From roughneck
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 06:37

(Agree/Disagree?) to this comment
From about pictorial art
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 13:10

Islamic tradition

Main article: Aniconism

The Qur'an, Islam's holiest book, condemns idolatry, but has no direct condemnations of pictorial art. Direct prohibitions of pictorial art, or any depiction of sacred figures, are found in some hadith, or recorded oral traditions.

Views regarding pictorial representation within several religious communities have varied from group to group, and from time to time. Among Muslims, the Shi'a Muslims have been generally tolerant of pictorial representation of human figures, Sunni Muslims less so. However, the Sunni Ottomans, the last dynasty to claim the caliphate, were not only tolerant but even patrons of the miniaturists' art. Many Ottoman miniatures depict Muhammad; they usually show Muhammad's face covered with a veil or as a featureless void emanating light (depicted as flames). Pictorial surveys of Muhammad can be found on the internet.[58][59][60] Note that the last site also contains some modern depictions, offensive to some, of Muhammad.

Most contemporary Muslims believe that ordinary portraits and photos, films and illustrations, are permissible. Only some Salafi and Islamist interpretations of Sunni Islam still condemn pictorial representations of any kind. Offensive satirical pictures are a somewhat different case — disrespect to Islam or to Muhammad is still widely considered blasphemous or sacrilegious.(reply to this comment
From well
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 13:32


If "some Salafi and Islamist interpretations of Sunni Islam still condemn pictorial representations of any kind", than you are going against them by having any pictures of your family or anyone else for that matter. So perhaps you should go burn them all right now because you wouldn't want to be sacreilegious.

What, it doesn't apply to you because you don't follow that interpretation? Then prehaps you can understand where I am coming from. I'm not muslim so if I want to make, look at, or publish pictures that you may find offensive, too fucking bad. You are welcome to reatliate by publishing pictures of my mother with a cartoon moustache and glasses drawn on, or whatever equivalent you find appropriate.

Burt Calvert Rogers, USA.(reply to this comment

from moon beam
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 - 11:02

I agree with Vacuous who said it so well, but here is my two cents anyway.

What most people forget is that those who kicked up the stink about the cartoons are under a religious cult influence of extremism, just the eastern version rather than a western one, most do not hold this view.

We saw the same with Christians taking offence to Life of Bryan, Jesus Christ superstar and more recently jerry Springer’s opera.

Christians tend to deal with this by way of sending their kids to faith schools, limiting their TV, films and reading materials. Not allowing their children to socialise outside the community church etc...a small percentage take more extremist measures (that describes a cult!) like the timothy McVeigh, killing doctors who perform abortions etc..

This is one of the reasons I don’t endorse faith schools, be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish or COG and why I support teaching about extremist factions of religion (ie CULTS) in RE lessons. Like cigarettes religion should come with a warning to be seen as responsible. I have taught my son about all the religions and the dangers inherent within that way of thinking.

Most people of religious persuasion are benign and simply use faith as a personal motivator, but to follow religion and faith in it’s logical conclusions there are potential murderers all over the world, motivated by what they consider as the highest ideal, the greatest sacrifice.

Politics plays a part but are we not missing the elephant in the room

I think it’s time for people of reason to stop tip-toeing around. Religious faith
discourages independent thought, is divisive, elitist and dangerous.

A religious gathering, harmless, inoffensive as it may seem, is just the start of the slippery slope towards young men and woman strapping explosives to their backs IMO.

The assault on the senses that religious gatherings are, are no doubt highly seductive, partly due to group identity/ solidarity, if you carry the illusion that you are queen of Sheba , you’d be very lonely indeed. But religious people all hold the same delusion which gives a vast amount of reinforcement to their belief.

Reason has yet to win the war. Even a benign heard from the local temple, church and mosque still supports a backward belief system that must be challenged, yet governments are still trying to impose a law that limits freedom of speech, limiting the right to question and criticise. It is tough to question those poor, deluded, desperate or simply naive people but isn’t it better to brace truth than false hope? People lean on their faith as a crutch but the comfort it provides to them is just a shallow pretence, and why do I have to put up with that? Can I ignore the bigger picture? This is my world and my life too. They do not have the monopoly on what is best for everyone.

The suspension of disbelief inherent in all faith leads to more dangerous and insidious ideas, they say that faith and science can live together but how when they are deeply opposed.

Scientists are always asking questions, being sceptical, testing hypothesis, Faith is about turning untested belief into rigid unshakable truth through power of institution and the mere passage of time.

Take a quick example;

Catholics believe in a thing called the ascension, that Mary never died physically all because that part was not included in the bible. It was actually 600 years later that it was included into tradition, now it is fact and you have to believe it. The same goes for portraying peoples likeness esp. Mohammad, it is not mentioned in the Koran but now how many years later it is part and parcel of an established law. So in religion one has to believe a made up tale as fact as absolute truth.

These little things don’t seem so bad or so serious but they do come with appalling human cost when the pope says no to the use of condoms in aids ridden Africa.

No one religion can be singled out, they all use the same tricks, issued by authority than passed down the ranks to parents and children without a shred of evidence. Science sees a challenge and all are welcome, religion thrives on unsolved mystery.

Religion is big business, hundreds of rival groups set up to fight and compete for peoples souls and money.

It’s hypocritical for western Christians to criticise their fellow believers in other faiths esp when fundamental religion is on the rise not downfall in the US. Latest polls showed %45 believed the world was only 10,000 yrs old,

Humans do need some sense of purpose and meaning, but most of us except life’s complex ability as we become adults.

Christian Fundamentalism/fascist extremism is attacking science but what does it have to offer instead? The mirror image of Islamic extremism, an American Taliban?

We live in a time of lethal polarisation, when the great religions are pushing to the point where it’s hard to see how they can be reconciled. We have seen the religious insanities from Jonestown to northern Ireland and the middle east, to understand the likes of Osama you have to understand that the religious terrorism they inspire IS the LOGICAL outcome of deeply held belief, even moderate believers encourage unreason as a positive virtue. Religious warriors think they are doing the ultimate good. We get the message growing up- onward Christians solders marching as to war;
Fight the good fight; Stand up, stand up for Jesus ye solders of the cross….

The war between good and evil seems to me a war between two evils. And as bad luck would have it the centre of all this is in one place and all three major monotheist religions see it as they’re and their’s alone. Not a very good example of sharing eh?

Can we as secular humanists just sit back and let these two opposed factions carry on this senseless battle dragging every other dammed human being into it. Shouldn’t they know better? My god is better than yours nah ha!

In any other field, you can argue about politics, taste in music, poetry. There's never the feeling that you're supposed to tiptoe away. You're just not allowed to criticize someone's belief if it's a religious belief, though you're perfectly allowed if it's about politics.
I would like to raise people's consciousness against this feeling that religion deserves respect simply because it is religion. the tendency of broadcast media, for example, to ask clergy to appear and give their opinion, whenever there's any controversial issue like abortion, simply because they represent those religions. Whereas other people have to earn the right to have their opinion asked by having something sensible to say.

Leader of the conservative opposition party goes on paid paternity leave this week but voted against it in the house of commons. Hypocrate!

Okay that was a little more than two cents

(reply to this comment)
From steam
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 14:02

I think many of your points are well made, however the faith you place in science as being so openminded etc seems somewhat overdone. In fact there are "my mind is made up" people in all walks of life and fields, even things as simple as sports, this is related to the human condition of the emotional comfort of the familiar. Manifest in religion yes, as well as almost every other field. You are right that the one with the greatest impact and the greatest tendency towards rigidity is religion, just be careful not to paint a wonderful world full of openminded people in every area besides religion.(reply to this comment
From moon beam
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 08:17

Thanks, no fear but to make it clearer I have no particular "faith" in science, (it would be foolish to have 'faith' as we know the word)esp. after critisising the very act of faith and making a case for individual openmindedness and the value of evidence. I was trying to make a simple distinction between the two. As with history and psycology, I am able to see the bennefits science provides and realise it's ever changing/growing, on-going process. A scientist has to prove or disprove or move forward an earlier or stated hypothesis, and one cannot 'know' the outcome.

Birds of a feather stick together as the ole' saying goes and I realise that religion isn't the only call to arms out there, just the biggest and most insiduous. You mention sports, and in a way I feel that they have gone a long way to bring nations and countries together, rather than divide them, as with the eurovision song contest.

(reply to this comment
From exister
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 11:58

Anybody know where I can get some tickets to the Jerry Springer Opera?(reply to this comment
from vacuous
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 - 02:59

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

If our tribalism will ever be replaced by an extended moral identity, if religious war (jihad) will become unthinkable in the same way slavery and cannibalism are, religious beliefs can no longer be sheltered from the tides of inquiry and criticism. We are confronted by a people who hold beliefs for which there is no rational justification, and yet these beliefs underlie the demands they make upon us.

Muslims assert that Westerners have offended their dignity, their pride and their honour with these cartoons. What should we make of this? Can anyone point to a greater offender of dignity than Islamic law itself? Simply remember what afghanistan was like under the Taliban. Who were the creatures walking around in shrouds and being beaten for exposing an ankle? Those were the dignified women of islam.

(reply to this comment)

From Korpesco
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 10:18


"religious beliefs can no longer be sheltered from the tides of inquiry and criticism. We are confronted by a people who hold beliefs for which there is no rational justification, and yet these beliefs underlie the demands they make upon us. "

Nicely put, Religious faith seems to be the one species of human ignorance that will not admit the possiblity of correction and criticism, it is protected from criticism in every way. Islamic (as well as other) religion seizes upon ancient taboos and prescientific fancies as though it held ultimate metaphysical significance. The Koran embraces the narrowest spectrum of political, moral, scientific, and spiritual understanding---by its antiquity alone it offers the most dilute wisdom in regards to the present...and yet this unjustifiable dogma is thrust upon us as unquestionable and unpolitic to critique.

Muslims these day seem to be suffering fears of contamination and consumed by what they call "humiliation"--humiliation over the fact that while their civilisation has floundered, they have watched a godless, sin-loving people become the masters of everything. But like you said nothing oppresses and humiliates the middle eastern people more than their religion itself.

Some people say that "Islam is a religion of peace" but one only needs to read the Koran itself to see this is untrue. We are seeing protest from men and women who would stake the future of our freedoms on beliefs that should not survive an elementary school education.

(reply to this comment

from Nick
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 - 15:28

Average visitor agreement is 4 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 4 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 4 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 4 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 4 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
It was about 2 years ago now when the Muslim Taliban in Afghanistan announced that they were going to bomb one of the most sacred and ancient Buddhist monuments. A 200ft tall statue of Buda that had been there for many centuries. (I think it had been there for almost 1,000 years.) The international community begged that they reconsider and have some respect for the Buddhist community.

Off course they went ahead and blew the thing to bits, shattering a world treasure and spitting in the face of another culture.

And they have the balls to throw the tantrums they are throwing now just because of a cartoon?!?!?!

And for all you liberals that try to preach tolerance to these people, just remember that if they had the chance they would kill you just because you don’t believe in what they want you to believe in.

(reply to this comment)

From Phoenixkidd
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 05:47

I remember that, It seemed like the only people that were concerned were the conservationalists and UNESCO. The buddhists didn't throw their arms up in protest and start burning down embassies and "Western" Food eateries!!--GEEZUS I hate those extremists--This monument was a huge ephigy in a side of a mountain the gradeur alone should have been reason for it to be perserved--But oh no "Let's blast it away with our missle launchers, Make great entertainment since we don't have TV's"--said the muslim devils. (reply to this comment
From not true that they have never gotten on
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 11:37

5 Feb 2006 @ 17:48 by Amer Masarweh @ : You're all crazy!
This page is so hateful.. i am a Christian Arab and i have lived close to Muslims my whole life, Muslims are NORMAL PEOPLE! just like you and me. And to the Racist jewish guy who tried to write some crap in here my Mother is a Christian from Jerusalem and they ALL and i do repeat ALL believe Israel is the biggest threat to the world. Muslims don't do what you said , you can’t generalize all Muslims are terrorists because a very very small group of them attacked you ! Terrorists also comprise of people from all religions and all countries, but ur just using that crap to offend Islam.

Israel Occupied Palestine back in 1948 and has killed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and is still killing up to our present day, so how can u criticize Palestinians for fighting to get their homeland back ? Even if they do it by the so called "Human Bombs", because that’s the only weapon they have! They don’t have the support of the U.S, they don’t get money and mass destruction weapons from the U.S, they don't own hundreds of nuclear heads! All of that said and u still calls Palestinians and Muslims terrorists?

All you people have been brain washed by stupid propaganda, wake up and smell the facts... Ur sitting in ur home safe and sound while we people live in fear for our lives each day... I live in Jordan which is a safe place at the moment but we share borders with Iraq and Palestine both of which have been destroyed by wars from the U.S and Israel, after all of that being said I want u people to think hard and try to define the word "Islamic Terrorist" again! If killing was done by U.S or Israeli Soldiers then it’s all right? If a person in Iraq or Palestine died while defending his Country and Honor then that is Terrorism?
I’ve got one word for you People... PROPAGANDA!!

Stop reading all these crappy articles.. In Islam it is forbidden to make drawings of the Prophet, and in my humble opinion I think that is 100% true and really respectful.. For hundreds of years not a single Muslim made a drawing of the prophet, and now a Danish news paper publishes insulting drawings of the prophet with a bomb in his hat? What’s the point of that? It only encourages more hate and more racism, I mean look at what it has done to this page!

My point is for us to find world peace we should stop classifying people based on their religion or their color or whatever.. Take Jordan my country for example; The Majority of the population is Muslims... the minor majority is Christians (mostly Arab Christians nor foreigners) and some other religions... We all live in peace and harmony and have the freedom of mind speech and the freedom to practice religion freely, that’s because we have respect for each other.. Respect not racism.

Amer Masarweh, Amman-Jordan
(reply to this comment
From Baxter
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 12:52


Okey, I don't think I've gone for the 'hate-mongering' line, but..... what the fuck are you doing here? Forgive me for guessing that you're not an ex-TF SGA, so why are you here? Get lost! (disclaimer; if you are an SGA, I apologise)

If the hateful racist 'jew' is fish, i should tell you: he ain't no Jew!

If you live in a safe place, why do you generalise in saying that: 'Ur sitting in ur home safe and sound while we people live in fear for our lives each day'

The discussion is whether or not the Moslem community is overly sensitive to criticism.

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From Samuel
Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 16:02

Amen to that!(reply to this comment
from Fish
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 - 12:46

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
I’m more than a little annoyed be this entire cartoon foolishness, as right now I’m in the thick of it. I mean there were demonstrations going on about one hundred meters from where I’m staying.

I’m in Istanbul, by the way. The thing that annoys me the most about the whole thing is the deliberate hypocrisy of it all. The Turks have just put out a new movie, (their most expensive ever) which has become a mega hit here. Its now playing all over the middle east, and will screen in Russia, the us, and most of Europe. Its called “Irak” The plot is something to the effect of this:

An “elite”(such things exist?) Turkish army group goes into northern Iraq to seek revenge or something for a comrade that was humiliated by the Americans. (They found him in Iraq without ID, so the put a bag on his head and marched him back to Turkey. This humiliation caused him to kill himself. See “Last Samurai” etc… )

When they get there they are “horrified” to find that the GIs are breaking into weddings, shooting the kids, after raping their mothers in front of them. The rest of the party is general rounded up and sent to Abu Garab, where (get this) a Jewish doctor cuts them up and sends their organs off, to be sold in Telaviv and New York.

The portrayal of the American solders is comically evil to, say the least, with demonic growls of “yessss…YESSS” while raping veiled women, and “whose a naughty boy?” while gunning down four year old children. It would be funny if I was sitting in my apartment in Japan watching it. But I’m not, like I said, I’m in the thick of it.

People here are for the most part simple. They are very prone to believe nearly anything they’re fed. This country also borders Iraq. Is it prudent to release a movie (now of all times) that glorifies suicide bombers, while demonizing one of their supposed “closest allies”?

I find it aggravating that nearly everywhere I go I see or hear the trailer from this movie being played. (“yessss…..YERSSSS!!!”) No.

In the end of the movie the Turks rally the northern Iraqi’s and together the kill every last American. This is done in the name of Islam.

Reality check. Who lives in northern Iraq? (Kurds) WTF were the makers of this movie thinking? They could try to make it slightly more realistic. The sad thing is, they don’t need to. These people love to believe in obvious lies, while suppressing to this day the numerous atrocities they have perpetrated. (Armenians, anyone?)

I have yet to hear a single murmur of a complaint from the US. This is blatant slander of the wildest kind, targeted at the people who least need to here it. Yet they do nothing? Why? Tolerance perhaps?
(reply to this comment)
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 09:09

Ha! if the US complained it would be like the pot calling the kettle black, they haven't got a moral leg to stand on.

Hollywood history, FOX propaganda etc..(reply to this comment
From Fish
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 09:28

There is a distinct difference between glorifying your own country, and encouraging suicide bombings. Shut the fuck up. And don't use "Ha!". Anyone who uses that bergishness should be baned. (reply to this comment
From OMG, Really?
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 09:32

And therein lies the difference, the US does not complain. They support freedom of speech even if it does not promote happy joy joy US sentiment.(reply to this comment
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 11:53

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(
last time I checked they were going down the road of limiting it...(reply to this comment
From Really?
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 13:31

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(
Why say something if you're not going to say anything. That statement is so vague as to be completely ineffectual. Care to enlighten?(reply to this comment
From vacuous
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 03:06

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Yes, religious identity seems to trump all others. Look at the support for Saddam Hussein, who, as both a secularist and a tyrant was widely despised by the muslim world prior to the american invasion; and yet the reaction we see today shows that no matter what crimes were committed against the Iraqi people, the Kurds, the Kuwaitis, and the Iranians, the idea of an army of infidels occupying Bagdad simple cannot be countenanced, no matter what humanitarian purposes it may serve. Saddam may have killed and tortured more muslims than any person in recent times but the Americans are the "enemies of God".(reply to this comment
From Ne Oublie
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 05:45

Don't mistake nationalism or ethnicism for religious partisanism, vacuous. Much of what is now known as Islamic fundamentalism originally grew out of the Arab nationalist - specifically the Palestinian - movement meaning that their roots are primarily political. I think that is a significant factor in any evaluation of the current situation, yet one which is sadly ignored (or perhaps forgotten).(reply to this comment
From Ne Oublie
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 06:11

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Somewhat on the theme, I recently came across this quote from Life of Reason by George Santayana, which I consider to be an insightful definition.

Fanaticism consists of redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.(reply to this comment

From exister
Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 13:05

Hey, if you get bored and want to crank your Istanbul party up a notch walk into the nearest bar or tea house or whatever they have there and say something to the effect of "Ataturk had sex with his mom." The last guy I heard of that did that was dragged out back and never seen again. (reply to this comment
From Fish
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 11:17


I tried that and now Im the new Sultan!

From henceforth I shall be known as Ataturk II, The Apostate. The first thing Im going to do, after I get bored of my new harem, is have all the mosques blare Marilin Manson during prayers. (in place of the gay porn curently being aired)

I also intend to change all the cresents to byzantian crosses, change my title to Basilus and lanch a crusade against Moldova. Furthermore, I will invite the Russians to return to the fold of Orthodoxy, under my pious leadership. At least the women folk. This being done, I will return to my harem.

Peace be with you.(reply to this comment

From exister
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 11:46

Finally! A foreign policy worth watching. Party on!(reply to this comment
From Scrubs Fan
Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 13:49

As JD said, "Atta Turk!"(reply to this comment
from Phoenixkidd
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 - 07:30

Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
I hate the Muslim Religion-There I said it!!
(reply to this comment)
From exister
Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 08:51

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

I don't entirely disagree with your sentiment, but I think it would be more constructive to elevate the dialogue above statements of personal hatred into the realm of ideals.

I hold my personal freedoms more sacred than Muslims hold Muhammed or Christian hold Christ or Jews hold the Torah. If any of these groups for whatever reason tries to infringe on my freedoms in the name of whatever cockamamy shit they hold sacred they will have a fight of apoclyptic proportions on their hands. Respecting what others hold sacred goes both ways and failure to recognize that will likely precipitate a conflict considerably more medieval than the mere printing of cartoons to demonstrate for free speech.(reply to this comment

From exister
Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 12:59


As a rather brief and distilled example: The freedom to legally purchase some random, sacred item, take that item home and desecrate it, record said descration on video and host that video on my personal web space for other human beings to OPTIONALLY view. That pretty much embodies the personal freedoms that I hold dearest, and I would sooner go to war to secure those freedoms for myself and my dear, sweet, fictional Argyle than over oil, or some bullshit, expansionist foreign policy. Problem is my government stupidly blew its metaphorical military nut to avenge an insult to the Presidents daddy, and now that real threats to our civilization loom on the horizon we are impotent to do anything about them.

Did you think that I was some sort of perpetual peacenick who holds nothing so dear that it is worth killing and dying for?? Sorely mistaken my friend.(reply to this comment

From Im lonely
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 20:28

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(
Have a look at how many posts you have wwoooo.It must be a sign put it in the latest freak news GN.(reply to this comment
From AndyH
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 09:59

Should have left it there and started a new if only sightly different identity, oh well.(reply to this comment
From AndyH
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 19:22


Twice now you have said that you would go to war to defend your freedoms, and twice that statement has been attacked. This is the very problem that the world is dealing with, everyone is apologizing to these muslims, instead of standing up for human rights. I like you, will kill people in the defense of my freedom, who wouldn't???


From Ne Oublie
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 01:17

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Anything which is sufficiently valued as to necessitate going to war should be worth clearly defining, and yes, challenging too! Otherwise we risk sinking to the same level of hot-headed and impulsive reaction which we are seeing at present.

'Freedom' is far too broad and easily misinterpreted term to be used as the sole descriptor of war-worthy cause. Consider how Western governments have used 'defending democracy' as justification for foreign interventions, all the while operating not as a democracy, but a republic.

It is far too easy to throw around popular catchphrases to generate support for your position, but without a properly evaluated and defined agenda you risk causing more damage than good.(reply to this comment

From AndyH
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 09:49


It's not accurate to compare me to western governments, I'm not speaking from a political standpoint. I am simply saying that I will stand up for my right to free speech, with violence if neccessary. (reply to this comment

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 10:31

which would make you a terrorist or freedom fighter? (reply to this comment
From AndyH
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 18:34

Neither. What is your problem? Am I not being perfectly clear? Would you not also stand up against oppresion? (reply to this comment
Friday, February 17, 2006, 05:17

Just pointing out the different perspectives on oppresion and that the terrorism is due to they're feelings of being oppressed by the west. i.e in Pallastine. (reply to this comment
From Ne Oublie
Sunday, February 19, 2006, 04:45

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
That is actually the essence of the problem, and what I was trying to highlight by probing exister on his comments: you are indignant and affronted by what you consider to be oppression by their culture. They are experiencing the same emotions, except seeing our culture as the oppressor. Andy and exister have already stated that they are prepared to use force to impose their ideology, so it's obviously not an unjustified concern. (Yes, it was a deliberate double-negative).

The distinction is therefore an ideological one between two cultures, both of which believe themselves to be threatened by the other. The angry and violent behaviour is not part of either of these ideologies, but rather the emotional response of individuals who happen to support one or the other. This is why rational discussion is essential to resolving such issues, instead of escalating and storing up even greater ill-will to follow.(reply to this comment
From exister
Monday, February 20, 2006, 06:10

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

So are you going to have a "rational discussion" with the fanatics and try to convince them to accept Jesus into their hearts and stop with the public beheadings? Good luck with that.

Oh, and for the record, you never probed me.(reply to this comment

From Ne Oublie
Tuesday, February 21, 2006, 06:28


Rational dialogue requires a rational mindset from all participating parties, this is the context in which the ideological differences should be discussed. Those who behave lawlessly should be treated as such by our criminal legal system, anything else only serves to justify and reinforce their actions in their mind. 'Terrorism', 'fanaticism' and other such terms should be relegated to history, thus removing their only power over our societies, and instead murderers and vandals should be prosecuted for their actions without all the liberal 'justifications' and claims of 'diminished accountability'.(reply to this comment

From moon beam
Monday, February 20, 2006, 11:31

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

In the United States, the core of our killing is in the South. Place. It’s ironic that the Bible Belt is the killing belt -- Texas, Florida, Alabama, Virginia, and so forth, Georgia. Chief executioners. In the South, defendants are vigorously prosecuted, but poorly defended. In the year 2000, 80 percent of executions in this country took place in the South. It’s a matter of place.

Where the execution of Jesus Christ is most deplored in the South, the execution of human beings is most employed. It’s a matter of place. I would deny that the state has a right to take a human life. That’s the same argument that was used in the right to enslave. And the Bible was used to justify that as well. The state does not have the right to kill, to take a human life; the state does not have a right to enslave

"Red state executions per million population is an order of magnitude greater than blue state executions (46.4 v 4.5). Blacks are executed at a rate significantly disproportionate to their share of overall population. On avearge, every 10 days the government executes a prisoner in the United States. Only 25 nations carry out capital punishment; of those, in 2004 four (China, Iran, Vietnam and the US) accounted for 97 percent of all executions."

Average crime rate of states with an active death penalty: 4375.86 crimes per 100,000 people.

Average crime rate of states with no active death penalty: 3259.15 crimes per 100,000 people.

Conclusion: States with an active death penalty have crime rates more than 33% higher than the states with no active death penalty.

Dear Red States...

We've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and
we're taking the other Blue States with us.

In case you aren't aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon,Washington,
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast. We
believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially
to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states.
We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get Elliot
Spitzer. You get Ken Lay.

We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood.
We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.
We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.
We get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You
get Alabama.
We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to make the red states
pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the
Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a
bunch of single moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and
anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at
once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have
kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no
purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their
children's caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq, and
hope that the WMDs turn up, but we're not willing to spend our
resources in Bush's Quagmire.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent
of the country's fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple
and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation's fresh fruit, 95 percent of
America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners)
90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most
of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and
condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Harvard, Yale,
Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88
percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care
costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the
tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern
Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh,
Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was
actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred
unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say
that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam was involved
in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy b*****ds believe you are people
with higher morals then we lefties.

By the way, we're taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt
weed they grow in Mexico.

Peace out,
Blue States to this comment
From moon beam
Monday, February 20, 2006, 08:47

It is a sorry state mate. Peace talks and pressure do work though.

I was quite pleased to hear that the Arch bishop of Canterbury has withdrawn finance from the Caterpillar company for making weapons of mass destrution (armoured bulldozers )for use by the Israelis in illegally destroying Palistinians homes and killing Palestinian men, woman and children. (non-combatents)

When They have no home land as agreed in 47 and no way of fighting a normal battel what choice do they really have. When they have been dealt such an evil hand and from those who have dealt with repression and genocide themselves, they shoyuld break th ecycle of abuse and stop oppressing the

The west(mostly the US) is still supporting Isreal.

Even now when the Palistinians have democratically voted their new goverment, the US and Isreal will not acknowladge them. You can't support democracy then do this and be seen as respectable.

Last November, Allegra Pacheco, an American-Israeli human rights lawyer based in Jerusalem told a group of North Americans, "I've never won a case. The best I've ever done is postpone a house demolition." Pacheco immigrated to Israel with the intention of doing human rights work for a short time, until the establishment of a Palestinian state. After that she planned to use her New York law firm experience to set up joint ventures between Israeli and American businesses. "I can't believe I'm still doing this after three years," she said.

In addition to trying to prevent house demolitions, she tries to stop the torture of Palestinian prisoners whose cases are handled by LAWE, the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment. Pacheco readily admits that she has also been powerless to prevent torture. Her clients, who are regularly held under administrative detention without ever having charges filed against them, often suffer brutality during their imprisonment. Israel is, after all, the only country in 0the world where torture has been declared legal.

Human rights lawyers-both Israeli and Palestinian-who defend Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories have grown accustomed to losing land confiscation and house demolition cases in courts that cite land permit regulations drawn up in 1942 under British Mandate law. Attorneys request hearings and write appeals that are invariably rejected. At best they may succeed in obtaining a few more days for Palestinians to prepare for the loss of their homes or land that has been passed down within families for generations. According to Sarah Kaminker, former Jerusalem City Planner and currently a director of the Jerusalem Information Center, 291 homes have been demolished in the past three-and-a-half years.

Those results reflect voters' frustration at Fatah's failure to arrive at a political solution for Palestine's problems and disappointment in the performance of the Palestinian Authority. They furthermore reflect the will of the people to maintain their threatened identity amidst an onslaught of foreign hegemony. Religion, being an integral part of the ethos of any community, becomes a natural refuge under these circumstances.

Fatah should not be surprised at the results of the elections, since it is partly to blame for the disappointment and frustration prevailing in the Palestinian Territories.

Fatah should not be surprised at the results of the elections, since it is partly to blame for the disappointment and frustration prevailing in the Palestinian Territories. Everybody on the political scene realizes that we are still under a brutal Israeli military occupation, but people still were hoping that the Palestinian Authority would improve everyday life for Palestinians. They were looking forward for law and order, for discipline and security, for solutions to poverty and unemployment. And most of all, they were yearning for restored human dignity, respect, and public welfare which had been eroded and trampled upon by the long years of military occupation. Unfortunately, the nine other political slates besides Hamas and Fateh could not succeed in joining forces to run as single alternative to both Hamas and Fatah.

Before the results were out, we kept hearing official voices from the USA and Israel announcing that there will be no peace process if Hamas wins, and that there is no chance for the Road Map under Hamas. The Europeans sounded worried as well, realizing that a Hamas government in Palestine would force them to face serious change. Yet none of those official voices had the courage to admit that the peace process was already on hold due to the Israeli intransigence.

... none of those official voices had the courage to admit that the peace process was already on hold due to the Israeli intransigence.

How ironic that Mr. Shimon Peres has joined the chorus of those expressing grave concern about making peace with Hamas. We all recall how as prime minister he dismally failed to carry out the legacy of peace for which he, the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and the late President Arafat got the Nobel Peace Prize. Peres and his woeful chorus pretend not to understand the source of the Palestinian people's frustration, but they have been witnessing Israel violating U.N. resolutions and international law as well as using sophisticated and extensive weaponry to wage a relentless war on the Palestinian civilian population, and they share the blame for Fatah's failure, as they stood by passively or offered resources and encouragement to Israel's attempts to erode Fatah's authority.

The Road Map that Israeli spokesmen said would not be possible to implement under Hamas was never fully accepted by Israel, which has consistently blocked its implementation and the establishment of a Palestinian State through means such as building an illegal concrete wall eight meters tall to divide the Palestinian territories. So let us not pretend that peace was around the corner before Hamas' electoral victory, which at most heightened the already astronomical odds against peace barring a major shift in Israeli policy.

The Palestinian Authority has long experienced external and internal calls for reform. Hamas responded to those calls, and won the elections with a platform promising reform.

Hamas was not part of the PLO when Oslo was signed, and it did not participate in the first elections in 1996. Neither did it participate in the presidential elections in January 2005 after the death of President Arafat. And though it is a resistance movement, Hamas agreed to a period of calm to give Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, the newly elected president, a chance to pursue his political agenda after Arafat, who had been considered redundant by Israel and the USA. But Israel did not appreciate that gesture and did not abide by any agreement, choosing instead to persist in provoking the Palestinians, raiding their homes and camps, targeting their activists, and doing so with impunity.

While the USA turned a blind eye to Israeli violations, it considered Mr. Ariel Sharon, the leader of the right wing Likud party of Israel, a man of peace despite his actions and bloody history. I am inclined to think that in claiming that they would not deal with a Palestinian government including Hamas, Israel and the USA were using a strategy of reverse psychology, secretly hoping that a Hamas win would justify whatever actions they wished to take against the Palestinians and their new leadership, and that members of the international community who endorse Israel's labeling of Hamas as a terrorist movement would support further crackdown on Palestinians under a Hamas government.

The Palestinian Authority has long experienced external and internal calls for reform. Hamas responded to those calls, and won the elections with a platform promising reform. Their victory at the polls demonstrates just how deeply voters wanted change. But how much of that change will happen -- and how much of it will be positive -- remains anyone's guess.

What the hague has to say

Don't be a part of the problem, be a part of the solution.
Israel has defied the United Nations and ignored the Geneva Convention countless times in order to force the Palestinians off Palestinian land and is now demolishing thousands of homes.

They justify these atrocities by stating that they are doing it to protect Israel from "terrorism".

Their real aim is to force the Palestinians off the tiny remnants of land left to them, to confine them to virtual prison camps in the occupied territories surrounded by the illegal wall which cuts them off from their farms, work, schools and hospitals, or drive them into neighbouring countries to join the thousands of Palestinians already suffering exile in refugee camps.

We must also condemn Tony Blair's repeated failure to speak out against Israel's defiant rejection of international law and we must put pressure on the Government to work with other countries to introduce economic sanctions against Israel until it is forced to stop its illegal and brutal occupation of Palestinian lands.

There can be no peace in the Middle East without justice for the Palestinians.(reply to this comment
Monday, February 20, 2006, 08:49


Israel Explores Dark Pages of Its Past

Kfar Qassem, FTWP
A woman mourns at the grave of a relative killed by Israeli soldiers in the 1956 Kafr Kassem massacre. (Heidi Levine — for The Washington Post)
By Lee Hockstader
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, October 31, 1999; Page A1

KAFR KASSEM, Israel –– Even now, the stories are told and retold in the village--from grandfathers to grandsons, from aunts to nieces--and they are harrowing.

They describe the 9-year-old girl who was shot 28 times by Israeli soldiers. The 11-year-old boy, a bullet wound in his chest gushing blood, who died in his grandfather's arms. The truckload of workmen ordered off their vehicle and mowed down where they stood, execution-style.

By the time the shooting stopped that evening in 1956, Israeli troops had killed 49 peaceable residents, half of them women and children, in the village of Kafr Kassem, about 10 miles east of Tel Aviv. All the dead were Arabs and all were full Israeli citizens, headed home at dusk from work in fields and factories--and unaware that a military curfew prohibiting movement after sundown had been imposed an hour or so earlier.

Israel has never apologized officially for the massacre, which took place in an atmosphere of Arab-Jewish tensions on the eve of the 1956 Sinai war. But this year Israel took a step toward coming to terms with it. On Friday, the 43rd anniversary of the incident, Israeli civics teachers were instructed to lead a one-hour discussion on Kafr Kassem in their classes.

"We would like to tell students our history as it was," said Education Minister Yossi Sarid, who issued the directive. "We have nothing to be ashamed of, and we are very proud of the Zionist accomplishments. Nevertheless, we made mistakes, and sometimes it was not too beautiful and sometimes you can notice various defects in the Zionist efforts."

Sarid's decision fits a growing move in Israeli schools to shine a light on some dark pages in Israel's past and to challenge long-cherished myths of the state's founding and early history. The new teachings explode some of the most basic assumptions that Israelis have about their state.

For instance, new ninth-grade history books point out for the first time that some Palestinians left their land and became refugees during the 1948 war of independence because they were expelled by Israelis or feared for their lives if they stayed--particularly after a massacre in a village called Deir Yassin. And the books debunk the widely held view that Israel's victory against five Arab states was an astonishing triumph by an outgunned underdog.

To many Israelis, and to the historians who have written the new textbooks, the teachings amount to the replacement of myths with facts. Facing up to the truth about Israel's past is a sign of the country's strength, they say.

"Just like the Americans have to come to grips with what happened with the Indians and to the blacks, we have to come to grips with what has been terrible and wrong in our history too," said Aviezer Ravitsky, professor of Jewish philosophy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The debate generated by this new approach has sparked controversy among politicians, scholars and working Israelis alike. In general, the argument runs parallel to the broader debate here between Israelis prepared to compromise on land and other issues with the Palestinians and those who fear that such compromises imperil the existence of the Jewish state.

Many younger Israelis are able to look at the country's early days with more detachment than their parents, and most seem to support Sarid's initiative to highlight the massacre in Kafr Kassem. Many believe Israel, militarily stronger and more developed than its Arab neighbors, is also mature enough to sift through the good and bad in its past.

But a strong current in Israeli society remains viscerally opposed to reexamining the formative myths. For those people, the founding and building of Israel was a morally pure chapter of history, and any other view is unwelcome. Sarid and some of the authors of the new textbooks have received venomous and threatening letters and e-mails.

"These new historians want to show that Israel was wrong in every step it took," said Gideon Ezra, 62, a conservative member of the Knesset, Israel's parliament. "They would like to show that all the wars we had with the Arabs are because of the Israelis and not because of the Arabs. People don't remember the 1948 war, the 1956 war, the 1967 war, the 1973 war."

Said Eran Cohen, 39, an electrician in Jerusalem: "It's just more groveling to the Arabs. . . . I don't think we should teach [Kafr Kassem]. The people who committed the crime were punished. Okay, some soldiers went too far, but the times were different."

One lightning rod for the debate is the author of one of the three new history textbooks used in ninth-grade classes, Eyal Naveh. His book, "The Twentieth Century," directly challenges the notion that the Jews were in all cases outgunned by the Arabs in the 1948 war.

"On nearly every front and in nearly every battle, the Jewish side had the advantage over the Arabs in terms of planning, organization, operation of equipment and also in the number of trained soldiers who participated in the battle," wrote Naveh, 47, an American-trained historian.

In Kafr Kassem, where the pain of the 1956 massacre still touches many families directly, there are echoes of the broader debate in Israeli society--from the vantage point of the victims. They insist that despite the new teaching in Israeli schools, Israel still has not done enough to address its actions.

"Admit it!" said Jamal Freig, 63, who survived the massacre by hiding under a truck as his fellow villagers and uncle were raked with machine-gun fire. "Say, 'We're sorry!' Ask for forgiveness. I don't want any compensation money."

Yet Freig, who was 19 at the time of the massacre, acknowledges that he is more in demand than ever to tell his story to classes of Jewish students and other groups around Israel. "The Jews I meet, especially this year, they're ashamed," he said.

That contrasts with Israel's attitude toward the massacre for at least 20 years after it took place, when it was all but ignored. At the anniversary of the killings each year, Israeli security agents arrested the handful of political activists in Kafr Kassem to ensure no one would commemorate the event too loudly.

When, in the late 1970s, Israelis began discussing the massacre more openly, the emphasis was usually on the Supreme Court decision that had allowed the troops involved to be punished for following an illegal order. But few are aware that the 11 soldiers and officers held responsible for the murders were all swiftly given amnesty; none served more than three years in prison.

And the massacre is not treated in the broader context of Israel's treatment of its million-strong Arab minority, even though that is how Israeli Arabs and Palestinians tend to see it.

These days Kafr Kassem is a scruffy village of 15,000 plagued by many of the economic and social ills of other Israeli Arab communities. Drugs are a problem, and so is land; residents say the government confiscated much of their farm land to build a high-tech industrial park on the edge of the village.

In the village itself, the massacre 43 years ago is the focus of more attention than ever. Many families name their children after a relative who died in the shootings. Each year on the anniversary, Oct. 29, black flags are strung along the streets and schoolgirls wear black disks in their hair. In the village schools, a haunting, locally produced video dealing with the massacre is shown to pupils as young as 3 and 4.

Aziza Taha, 51, was 9 when the massacre took place, and she describes in chilling detail watching the death of her 11-year-old cousin, Talal Issa, who, with blood gushing from a bullet wound in his chest, was dragged indoors where he died in his grandfather's arms.

Tears still well up in Taha's eyes when she tells the story. "It hurts in my heart," she said.

Washington Post researcher Eetta Prince-Gibson contributed to this report.
(reply to this comment
From exister
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 07:13


Fair enough, clarity is always a good thing, and I am perfectly willing to be crystal clear about the things I consider worth fighting for.

The minute anyone starts telling me what can and cannot be freely expressed in the press then that's when I reach for my revolver. I didn't say I will fire it or even point it yet, just hold it and tenderly caress it for now while watching intolerant fanatics torching European embassies and Islamic religious leaders regurgitating fatwas. While they take a break from their pillaging for evening prayers I may meticulously clean my revolver and load it in preparation for the day when such fanatics bring their violence to my doorstep, and then my dear revolver will hit prime time.

Quick history lesson. How do you think most of Northern Africa and parts of Europe became muslim several hundred years ago? Islamic expansionism! Islam is a religion that has at its very core the principal of subjugating foreign nations and forcing them to worship Allah. Christianity isn't much better in this regard, and when the Fundamentalists are at my door trying to impose Christian Fascism on me they will get the same treatment as the muslims.

As I have said many times before with regard to dealing with the cult, I am not concerned with the question of whether or not any of my positions are right in some greater universal sense. Ultimately there is no right or wrong. This fact will become particularly salient when the Sun stops burning and our planet becomes a cold, dead lump of matter. What I am concerned with are the principals that I have espoused, for whatever reason, in order to make the curse of my existence tolerable. Freedom of expression and freedom from the effects of other people's misguided, magical religious thought processes are two such principals and for these freedoms I am willing to kill and die.

Clear enough for you?(reply to this comment

From a naughty kid
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 10:42

Someday you are going to have to bend me over a desk and teach me a thing or two.(reply to this comment
From Ne Oublie
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 03:43

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

I recognise that the lack of context in my question may have prejudiced your response, however I found your response noteworthy. Judging by what you said above, you consider the right to randomly insult what another holds dear to be worthy of depriving others (who are likely to be members of the insulted party) of their right to life.

In this context, I find it hard to reconcile your criticism of the current war in Iraq, which was fought (granted amongst other reasons) to remove a dictator who severely restricted his citizens' rights - including that of speech.(reply to this comment

From dollface
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 05:35

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
I'm not going to get into the whole Iraq war debate as I think that subject has been covered plenty. In response to your comment though I would say that the difference between the 2 situations is as follows: In Iraq, the US has gone into someone elses country (rightly or wrongly) to fight 'oppression'; in this whole cartoon saga - the article was published in Europe (a different continent), in a non-muslim/non-religious country,that holds freedom of expression probably about as sacred as Muslims hold their religion and yet Muslims are jumping up and down trying to dictate what can & cannot be said & what can & cannot be printed clear across the globe. Maybe this point is not so poignant to those in the US as yet - but we feel the implications of this whole saga clearly in the UK. We have laws that are being passed to limit our freedom of speech under the guise of 'religious tolerance' & protecting the feelings of the Muslim minority - but in protest of the cartoons Muslims can walk through the streets of London dressed as suicide bombers, holding placards saying 'All who oppose Islam should be beheaded'. These are more than hypothetical/exaggerated statements which all of us have been guilty of from time to time - we have had suicide bombers blow us up in London & we have had our country men beheaded by these extrimists - but drawing an 'insensitive cartoon' far outweighs all of that.... obviously!(reply to this comment
From Phoenixkidd
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 05:55

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

They should throw all those veiled people in Jail for the night and then check their ID's. They could all be suspects to the London bombings. Better yet--Ship em all back to the hell holes from whence they came. (reply to this comment

From Ne Oublie
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 05:56

Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

My comment was in response to exister's claim that his freedom to publicly insult religious symbols was worth going to war for.

My intention in asking the question was not to comment on the war in Iraq (exister brought that up), but rather to identify exactly what it was which he held in religious-like esteem. Surely, in keeping with his views that any beliefs should be open to intellectual challenge, he welcomes the opportunity to discuss the benefits and implications of anything he holds so dear.(reply to this comment

From AndyH
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 10:02


I am quite fond of my freedom to insult religious symbols. i.e. Jesus is dead and he sucks satan cock in hell!! God bless America!(reply to this comment

From ohh really
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 19:00

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(
Your intellectual challenges are often boring but always senseless.I know that simple as it my be, that you do not know where you stand.What is your point(ever)?(reply to this comment
From exister
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 07:09

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Certainly everything is open to intellectual challenge. Perhaps your definition of intellectual challenge needs a little tuning, though. Is burning European embassies an intellectual challenge? Is looting and rioting an intellectual challenge? These sorts of actions are a clear indication that these fanatics would eagerly come to my home and deprive me of my life for not genuflecting in the general direction of Mecca twice a day, and in that event I would feel more than justified in relieving them of their lives first.

My adherance to my freedom of expression may seem petulant and arbitrary to you, but here in America (especially in pre-Bush America) we have a tradition of drawing a line in the sand and stating inequivocally "this line you will not cross," and then killing those who do. This behavior may seem offensively "John Wayne" to you, but as I recall it has gotten you Europeans out of a pickle or two in the past and judging by your current demographic trends it may save your necks again in years to come. Anglo-American unity anyone? (reply to this comment

From Ne Oublie
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 10:20


I was by no means refering to those demonstrations when I suggested intellectual challenge, and nothing I have said so far should be interpreted as agreement with either the agenda or methods of those demonstrators.

Surely you are not suggesting that an insulted party is thereafter precluded from counter-insults? The very freedom which you defend of being able to desecrate their religious imagery is that which enables them to in turn insult you for what you've said.

The rioting and looting you mention are simply lawless behaviour and to use those actions to define a whole religious or ethnic group would be as misguided as using the looting which took place in the wake of Katrina, or the LA riots for the same purpose.(reply to this comment

Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 11:57

We have since learned that there was no such rioting as first reported in the American press after Katrina.(reply to this comment
From Ne Oublie
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 16:25

You may have noted that I spoke of the looting which took place following Katrina, and the LA riots - both of which ARE historically documented.(reply to this comment
From exister
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 11:52

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
True enough, but it is fairly plausible to use the actions of governments to define a whole ethnic or religious group, and Arab governments are seriously wondering why the Danish government did not shut down the paper that published the cartoons. This fact alone is a strong indication that Islamic culture as a whole is a threat to the freedoms that I hold dear. And don't come back with some absurd statement about how I should not generalize. If you were incapable of taking decisive action based on generalizations you would still be sitting on some cult toilet unable to decide if you should use 4 sheets of toilet paper or 3. As a social psychologist friend of mine once said, "stereotypes are huge time savers."(reply to this comment
From Ne Oublie
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 16:47

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Incidentally, generalisation is not the approach I had in mind, you misread me, my dear exister!

While I agree that in a democratic society the actions of a government can be broadly representative of the population (note I said BROADLY - god forbid I should be associated with Mr Blair or Mr Brown's policies! And I'm sure you'd just love to be defined by those of Mr Bush...) The same can hardly be said for the totalitarian regimes which rule most Arab nations.(reply to this comment
From exister
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 10:24

It's probably fair to say that most thinking people in America consider Mr. Bush to be only slightly less of a threat to their life and liberties than muslim fanatics.(reply to this comment
Thursday, February 16, 2006, 10:34

Better the devil you know eh! I guess both sides feel that.(reply to this comment
From Ne Oublie
Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 09:51


Interesting statement there, exister. I'm curious as to exactly how you define these freedoms which you hold in such high regard?(reply to this comment

From F%#king Muslims
Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 08:47

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(
WTF is wrong with these ass holes. They are going to destroy any shred of tolerance that people have for their bizzare religious practices and beleifs. I don't wish it on them, but if they dont find a way to peacefully coexist with the rest of the world they will find themselves under attack.(reply to this comment
From Phoenixkidd
Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 10:03

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
They have never been able to co-exist peacefully--Never. Their hatred for anyone else and any other religion lies just under the surface, look at all the countries that rim the muslim world, Everywhere from India, Indonesia, Sudan, Boznia & Serbia, West Africa. Muslim people burn churches every year in Indonesia, it happens so regularly it isn't even news. I don't particularily recall churches as sacred, but a place of importance to many people should be revered, You don't hear of Christians burning down mosques, else every fundamental, and crazed Muslim A-hole would be going hognuts just as they are over these cartoons!! Practically every country that has mixed Islam and other religion has confllict on a constant or near constant basis, because of these hoodloms vandalizing to the point of murder--ever heard of mercy killings?? happens all the time in the mid-east!!(reply to this comment
from Baxter
Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 18:54

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

I'm glad someone else borught this up; I was gonna write something on this, but of course there is always someone else who says it better.

These cartoons have pretty much been the centre of press attention for the past week. While I agree that the freedom of the press is paramount, I am not sure what some of these depictions were meant to effect. The very obvious aspects of Islamic practice aside, some of these cartoons have not really gone anywhere towards saying anything original on the subject. Would 'Life of Brian' have been an acceptable or prudent piece of work in an environment in which the Christian population of the world was experiencing not only religious but also political insecurity on the same scale as is presently experienced by the Moslem community of the world? Was it really necessary to publish these cartoons at any time? When is it NECESSARY to express oneself and one's sentiments simply for the purpose of doing so? I am at a loss to understand what these cartoons have accomplished, other than inflaming the feelings of a community already gripped in a siege mentality.

On the other hand, perhaps it is important that modern and liberal Moslems get used to what the rest of the religious world has pretty much gotten used to -criticism through the medium of humour. Then again, if these criticism had been conveyed by mainstream media in countries whose populations were Moslems (as 'Life of Brian' was produced in a country whose population was supposedly Christian), then perhaps we might judge it differently. A nation like France publishing these cartoons, and then standing by its professed position of freedom of expression (with the record that France has demonstrated for repression and restriction) seems a bit absurd.

Not unacceptable;perhaps impertinent.

(reply to this comment)

From Phoenixkidd
Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 10:05

Perhaps not pertinent, considering the vandalizm's in France. BUT PULEEZE a cartoon. Your regularly see God, Saint Peter & Jesus in Cartoons BIG DEAL!! Get with the times muslims!(reply to this comment
From Baxter
Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 13:44

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

I certainly appreciate that, but rarely if ever do you see Jesus depicted as picking up a gun and killing Bosnian refugees, or wearing a cassock raping an alterboy. There is certainly an enormous scope for criticism, without knowingly inciting the vulnerability of an enormous and already insecure community. Some of it seems fair, but some of it seems quite redundant. Is suicide bombing funny? Is the suppression of women funny? How much of the problem is solved via these cartoons?

(reply to this comment

From exister
Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 09:09

Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

What is this a fucking pity party for those poor, religiously insecure muslims? While we are at it let's feel sorry for that poor, insecure Catholic church in the Middle Ages who felt the need to burn people at the stake in order to neutralize threats to its cultural hegemony. And let's not forget to feel oh so sorry for the National Antisocialist Party of mid 20th Century Germany, who, bless them, felt so threatened by the Commies that they exterminated millions of "undesirables."

No one is publishing offensive cartoons in Arab countries, and it is supremely offensive to me that muslims feel entitled to dictate the media content of western civilizations. Even worse, Arab governments can't seem to grasp the fact that western governments cannot just shut down newspapers at will.

I would sooner have my government turn into a mushroom cloud laying motherfucker than have a single letter of western press be dictated by backward savages.

Hundreds of millions of people across the world can be classified as religious fanatics, and current members of The Family count among them. Might does not make right and their sheer numbers do not lend them an ounce of "rightness." Trying to make nice with these zealots by legitimizing their intolerant world view is the first step on the path to subjugating your mind to them. Wake the fuck up! They don't want to get along with you, they want to mentally enslave you!

P.S. Burn more fossil fuels! Once they are all gone the money you spend at the pump won't be funneled to the cause of bombing more buildings in 100 years and these muslim fanatics will be too busy tending their goat herds to bother complaining about cartoons of "The Prophet."

Drive, drive, drive!(reply to this comment

From steam
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 14:23

I understand the concept and emotion behind your statement and agree in a generality with the overall premise. But you intimated that you would support nuking whole countries and regions. This statement may have been hyperbole, however such weapons would inevitably take many innocents,) and you risk entering the same mindset as the terrorists who consider all westerners worthy of destruction and are ready to take down civilians (I would say women and children because that is more commonly used to enhance the understanding of the injustice, but innocent men deserve just as much concern). I welcome a reply from from you (someone I consider a thinking individual).(reply to this comment
From Lance
Sunday, February 12, 2006, 15:15

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Where are the MLK's and ghandi's of the muslim world? I would really like to hear from the peace makers and Philosophers and not from the demagogues. I agree with this article in the spirit that it was written -that free people have a right to be offended; that the muslim world really doesn't get it! Is it not enough to have an intolerant neighbor, living twenty feet from you? Or Do people ACTUALLY get billigerent over something so obsuscurely written thousands of miles away, in a different country; a different culture, and a different agenda.

When will this culture recognize the importance and the NEED for satire, and take a good hard and long look at itsellf and stop expecting the rest of the world to cater to them out of fear of offending those easily offended arabs, who may or may not kill the next person who winks. When are we going to call a spade a spade and barbarism barbarism?

The west gave up the crusades centuries ago. Extreme islam however looks toward it as a right of passage.

Religious fanatics are the last accepted hate mongers -who can justify their racism by holy text. It's a terrifying concept and should not under any circumstances be respected as a matter of ones beliefs. (reply to this comment

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