A few cartoons worth a great many words on blog sites

ON BLOGS

February 12, 2006|By TROY MCCULLOUGH

The so-called Cartoon War is claiming new casualties by the day. Stones have been thrown, embassies have been burned and lives have been lost. Can this all really be the result of the publication of a dozen caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a few European newspapers?

The vitriolic and venomous fight is playing out online as well. Bloggers are marching steadfast into the fray.

"Is the `Cartoon War' the tipping point in the cultural war between the West and the Muslim zealots?" asks geosciblog (geosciblog.blog spot.com). "Is this where Europe finally sees the Stone Age mentality of Islamist reactions to things that offend them? Will they finally see what we have been fighting actively since 9/11?"

More to the point, Brain Burst (brainburst.id.au) defends the caricatures: "Provocative? Yes. Offensive? Undoubtedly. Worthy of publication? Absolutely."

The Black Kettle (theblackkettle. blogspot.com) agrees. "As a Christian whose faith is subject to cheap and false accusations by a media that rarely tries to hide its contempt for Jesus Christ, I can understand the outrage and fury of those Muslims who feel their religion has been desecrated by some Danish cartoons. Nevertheless, for some of those same Muslims to demand that secular organs extend the same deference and respect to their religion as they are compelled to do is absurd."

Author Dented (orgdotnews.live journal.com) notes that "Arab newspapers regularly publish cartoons with hateful and bigoted depictions of Israelis and Jews. Do we burn their embassies?"

I Hate Peas (ihatepeas.org) is among the many blogs to cite this paragraph from a Daily Telegraph column by Charles Moore that calls into question the spontaneity of some of the protests: "Who built up the stockpile [of Danish flags] so that they could be quickly dragged out right across the Muslim world and burnt where television cameras would come and look? The more you study this story of `spontaneous' Muslim rage, the odder it seems."

Dyab Abou Jahjah, in an essay on the Arab-European League Web site, sees hypocrisy: "People in Europe are not allowed to do a free historical examination of the Second World War and the holocaust and freely express an opinion on it that is different than the dominating dogmatic line. Any attempt to have deviant historical examination of the holocaust will earn you the title of revisionist, anti-Semite and a jail sentence."

The Face of Muhammed (face-of-muhammed.blogspot.com), a blog that appears to have been created in response to this mess, pulls no punches: "It is suddenly coming to our attention that Islam is not, cannot, and will not be integrated or assimilated to the values of freedom and democracy. Islam is not only a religion; it is a totalitarian and expansionistic political ideology."

Cold Coffee (coldcoffee.wordpress. com) takes a broader view: "I don't think it's the fault of the Jews, the Muslims, the Christians or any other divisible group. We all have a part to play in getting along with the people we share the planet with. No matter what we believe, who we love or what we look like, we're all still human; we have the same heart. It's disappointing to see that simple fact being increasingly ignored in favour of extremist partisanship."

How true.

troy.mccullough@baltsun.com

Listen to Troy McCullough's podcasts on baltimoresun.com/onblogs.

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