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The Islamists Can Give It, But Can They Take It?

The Great Cartoon Controversy

by Sal Rosken
February 8, 2006

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The Islamists Can Give It, But Can They Take It?

The twelve cartoons, published by the Danish Newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and republished by newspapers in several other countries, and on internet sites around the world, depicted somewhat satirically the ancient historical figure whom the Muslim people allege to be a prophet of God.  The cartoons did not advocate violence against Muslims, nor incited Non Muslims to expel, exterminate, or subjugate Muslims, but rather held a mirror up to Muslim society to show it's propensity for the use of violence, intimidation and subjugation.  The message of the cartoons, while critical of the strictures and unrestrained fanaticism of Islam, fell far short of the measure used in free civil societies to determine when Free Speech is abused for the purpose of Hate Speech and advocating the use of violence against others.

The rhetoric of Muslim clerics, Muslim newspaper columnists and Muslim political leaders advocating the "wiping of Israel off the map", the extermination and beheading of the "infidels" who do not share in the belief of Islam, and the demonizing of the West as the "Great Satan" make the cartoons of Jyllands-Posten seem rather pallid, even insipid by comparison. 

The ridiculous spectacle of Islamic mobs torching the embassies of Western governments, which have no control over the newspapers publishing the cartoons, only serves to confirm that 1400 years of the practice of fanatical Islam has left large portions of the 1.5 Billion Muslim population unprepared for life in the Modern world, and incapable of exercising the restraint and responsibility required for living in a democratic, free, pluralistic society.  The argument that Islam is incompatible with democracy has been given no greater boost than the image of foreign embassies being burned by mobs of Islamic believers, who are unwilling and unable to reflect upon their own intolerance, and how that intolerance is perceived by others in the world.

During the past 1400 years, in which the Muslim people stagnated in their hermetic insularity, the West painfully, slowly and at great cost of human life and suffering achieved a society and culture which values, above religious superstition and alleged prophets, the principles of Freedom, Democracy and the Separation of Church and State.  No amount of hysterical fanaticism or threatening intimidation by inflamed Islamic mobs should cause the West to devalue, reconsider or apologize for the personal freedom from clerical and political subjugation it has long struggled to achieve.

Long Live the Jylland-Posten Cartoonists!

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Benjamin from New York, NY writes:
February 12, 2006
In response to Sal Rosken's article The Islamists Can Give It, But Can They Take It?

Mr Rosken's portrayal of the history of Islamic culture is grossly inaccurate. Rosken argues that people in Muslim parts of the world have been stagnated in their hermetic insularity for the past 1400 years. In fact, during much of that time, Muslim cultures were more pluralistic and tolerant than any in the Christian world. Jews, for instance, fled to Muslim countries to escape persecution by the inquisition.

Muslim society has contributed in no small way to the development of modern civilization. Muslim scholarship has produced notable advances such as the science of algebra. In addition, much of what we know of the classical world, which has given direction and inspiration to our modern society, comes from texts which were preserved by Muslim scholars (in the Christian world they were deemed heretical).

Fanaticism and mob violence are evils which have persisted throughout the ages. In is unjust, and just plain inaccurate, to claim that Muslim cultures are fanatic and insular by nature.


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