Thursday, February 09, 2006

Who Offends Islam?

A cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist bomber is certainly highly offensive to all those Muslims who have rioted, burned, and killed in recent days in protest against such cartoons.

In retaliation for the publication of these cartoons, Iranian officials have launched a contest to encourage the drawing of cartoons mocking the Holocaust and its murder of six million Jews by the Nazis in World War II. The pain and outrage inflicted on Jews by these cartoons, they believe, will be comparable to that inflicted on Muslims by the earlier cartoons. Already, a cartoon has been published by the Arab European League depicting Hitler in bed with Anne Frank and telling her to put that in her diary.

The Iranian officials do not appear to be very intelligent. They do not seem to realize that they are helping to build a record that will cause still more ridicule of Muhammad. To the extent that their contest is promoted in the name of Islam and the teachings of Muhammad, the set of cartoons after theirs will quite reasonably show the Prophet joining with Hitler in the murder of Jews. For exactly that is what the Iranian officials and all the imams, sheiks, muftis, ayatollahs, and others who add their endorsement will have taught the world to believe is part of Islam.

Which must be more offensive to anyone who might truly esteem the Prophet? Nonbelievers humorously depicting him as a bomber, presumably in ignorance of his actual teachings, or the leaders of his own religion, seriously and in full knowledge of what they are doing, depicting him as approving the actions of one of the most evil and murderous human beings in the history of the planet?

Talk of offense to Islam! To whatever extent there may be anything of value in the religion, those who are offending it are not newspapers in Copenhagen or anywhere else in Europe or in America. The offenders are in the Middle East, and in Mosks around the world, thick in the ranks of the Muslims themselves. And their offense is in every bomb they hurl or urge to be hurled, every murder they commit or urge to be committed, against innocent victims, in the name of Islam. They are the people responsible for the Danish cartoons, which were merely a depiction of the repeated example their behavior gave of the teachings of Islam and its prophet.

It’s one thing to be a lunatic or a gang of lunatics. It is much more when the lunatics are able so closely to associate themselves with an institution as to make any distinction between them and that institution extremely difficult or impossible. This is what the lunatic element has done to Islam. Those taking offense at the view the world is coming to have of Islam need to start, unfortunately at the risk of their lives, to decisively break the grip of the lunatics on that religion.

This article is copyright © 2006, by George Reisman. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce and distribute it electronically and in print, other than as part of a book and provided that the author’s web site is included. (Email notification is requested.) All other rights reserved.