Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Exporting our intolerance and censorship to Europe!

Although I am on vacation and away from the region, I just cannot keep my mouth (and keyboard) shut about the Danish Cartoons fiasco.

First of all, I am against offending people for offense sake, but for anybody who lived in the West (especially western Europe), freedom of expression is sacrosanct, not religion and prophets and texts, freedom is sacrosanct.

This freedom did not come easily, the Vatican (and to a lesser extent other churches) was a dominating presence that strangles any questioning of its dogmatic view. Newspapers had to battle this influence and many people went to jail for the offense of mocking a cardinal, a pope, and occasionally Christ!

As the values of democracy and human rights became the de facto religion of Europe, religious texts, figures, and practices came into a multitude of criticism, and that at times took the form of mockery, no religion suffered this as much as the local dominant one, Christianity, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Disciples, Apostles, and so on were mocked non-stop. The cross, the ultimate Christian religious symbol became a fashion statement devoid of any significance.

The church tried to fight all of these trends, but the civil society won, and rightly so, to censor the freedom of expression in the name of respecting religious sensitivity was deemed unacceptable, Christ simply has to turn the other cheek, so to speak.

That brings us to the Danish Cartoons, I was disgusted by the Arab reaction, not because it rejected the cartoons, which is a right, but how it was non-discriminating, and ignorant in the way it expected the state (Denmark) to control it media the way they do in the Arab World.

In the Arab World eyes, each Dane (and later Scandinavian) became responsible. Not only we don't understand the other, we project our own (rather ugly) image on it -the way a journalist is jailed for critiquing another Arab leader for example-.

The Western world is expected to censor itself when it comes to our values and beliefs, how ridiculous! If the Danish Prime Minister is unable to stop the newspaper mocking Jesus, he should not be able stop that being done to Prophet Mohammed, just because we are offended!

I think that the Arab World should take a serious look at itself before start criticizing others for intolerance, our textbooks and media is full of extremely xenophobic and religiously intolerant speech, and the answer is not in censoring the West, it is in opening up freedoms at home.

My point simply, is that we Arabs are always choosing to be more emotional than rational, and in the case there was a failure to distinguish what is in poor taste from a Western attack on Islam, prudence people!


At 12:29 AM, Anonymous ahmad Humeid said...

the size of hatred being fanned across arab blogs is staggering. the newspapers are full of ad of companies diassociating themselves from denmark. it's horrible damaging this is.. depresseing.

At 1:12 AM, Blogger Desert Pundit said...

Agreed, I can't help but being apalled at the reaction. Unfortunetly, this will re-inforce preconceived ideas about the nature of Islam and Muslims.


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