Saturday, January 2, 2010

Danish cartoonist attacked with axe

In defense of free speechFrom The Wall Street Journal:
A Somali man was charged with two counts of attempted murder on Saturday for an attack on a Danish artist whose 2005 cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad ignited riots and outrage in Muslim countries, authorities said.

The 28-year-old Somali man with ties to al Qaeda broke into Kurt Westergaard's home in Aarhus, Denmark, on Friday night armed with an ax and a knife, said Jakob Scharf, head of Denmark's PET intelligence agency. ...

The Danish cartoonist remains a potential target for extremists nearly five years after he drew a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad along with 11 others that were printed in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

The drawings triggered riots and protests in the Muslim world, and Danish and other Western embassies in several Muslim countries were torched a few months later in 2006 by angry protesters who felt the cartoons had profoundly insulted Islam. Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.
Free speech should be defended, even when it is offensive to some. Non-Muslims should not be bound to an Islamic prohibition against visual depictions of the Prophet Mohammad.

If Muslims don't like the stereotype of being suicide-bombers, then they should collectively and vocally object to such tactics (as many Muslims in the U.S. do). If a cartoonist depicts an ethnic, racial, or religious group as being violent and that group reacts with violence, then they are simply reinforcing the stereotype.

Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King achieved their goals by making their opponents appear violent. Muslims are desperately lacking their Gandhi.

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