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An Average Iraqi

An Average Iraqi is just a fictional character whose....well, fictional. I will use this character to make a comparison between him and real human beings like myself or any one else.

Name:Hassan
Location:Baghdad, Iraq

My name is Hassan Kharrufa. I am a 20 year old Iraqi student. I study civil engineering at the Department of Building and Construction at Al-Jami3a Al-Taknologia (The Tecknology Univirsity), Baghdad, Iraq.

Iraqi Bloggers BiographyUpdated November 11

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Cartoon Controversy

     I do not think there is a need to tell you the whole story; most of you know it by now. So let us get into it.
Muslims has and will always be, very sensitive in matters considering Allah, their holy book the "Quran", and the prophet Mohammad. Muslims consider it "haram" �means forbidden in Arabic - to offend anyone of those three. They will take it as a BIG insult when they are offended, or made fun off. The problem is, they sometimes react in violence.


     I have to say that when I heard about them, I was afraid that this might explode the situation here in Iraq. The irony in this is that Iraqis dealt with the problem peacefully. With all the violence around me, I have not heard of any violent action done in Iraq because of these cartoons.


     However, most Iraqis now � including me- are not having anything to do with Denmark anymore. Iraq is officially not importing from Denmark anymore, anything with the labels "Made in Denmark" is being dropped out. I have to note something here, that even the most Anti-Americans in Iraq, will buy American products, but not Danish products, to show you how big an insult that is for Muslims. I have to say that I am proud of the way we handled this matter, peacefully.


     Unlike some of the other Arab countries. Here I want to say that I am 100% against the burning of Denmark embassies, and any violent action done to them.


     I must point out here, that Muslims do not only cherish Mohammed, but all the other prophets as well. We name a lot of our children after the Arabic names of Jesus, which is "3esa", and "Mosa" for Moses.



Note: This post has been emailed to my Email List subscribers

55 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Danish government and Danish companies had nothing to do with this, why punish them? With freedom of the press you may get offended. Is it possible to have a debate about Islam with this type of sensitivity? I guess these are just cultural differences but I find this about the Middle East so frustrating. I too am very religious person.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Jack Bennett said...

Hassan, I think you picked the right way to deal with your anger. While I don't believe Denmark should be punished for the idiocy of one of its secular newspapers, if there is to be any response its a peaceful boycott. Violence accomplishes nothing and just defeats the argument. Personally I've read too many articles on the matter not to think that all the riots and violence are mostly political and not really religious. As you say Muslims did not respond with violence in Iraq and where I live (in NY City) there must be over a million Muslims living in the metropolitan area and we have had zero riots or burning or violence as well.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Hassan said...

Anon,

Muslims are boycotting the WHOLE Danish system for believing that it is allright to insult Muslims in that manner.

Yes, cultural differences is what caused the mayhem. However, yes it is possible to have a debate about Islam, regardless of the sensitivity, just as long as the debate does not include insulting the Prophet, or the holy book, and surly God.

Dear Jack,
It is nice to see that for once, Iraqis did not respond to an insult by violence, even with the fact that such insult is probably the strongest insult you can do to a Muslim.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Chinese are burning Qurans for fuel.

(Hey, I am just trying to fix our trade deficit.)

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Don Cox said...

I think the peaceful response in Iraq shows that Iraqis are more mature than some people in other countries. ___Do you realise that referring to Jesus as a "prophet" is highly offensive to Christians?

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Im Chele In [dot] LA said...

...hmmm this is all very strange to me...
aaaaaaaah
this all seems so over board to me..
Educate us in the ways we do things wrong..
Don't bomb us and kill us..
Teach us...........

8:43 PM  
Blogger Edward Ott said...

Nice article. i have given up danish cookies which is hard cause they taste so good, but i am sure even if the danes don't notice my waistline will.

salam

2:57 AM  
Blogger Maya said...

Hi, Hassan:

To shove a debate unto a people in disrespect, I agree with you, is unnecessary and callous. I am glad to hear that the Iraqui's have found a way to counter this offense with dignity. Violence belittles the cause.

5:38 AM  
Anonymous Steve R said...

Hi, Hasan.

New reader.

On the one hand, I hate to see you punish all Danes for what some do. It's kind of like blaming all Moslems for 9/11.

On the other hand, I do the same with Hollywood movies. I refuse to give them my money because they offend me. We call it "voting with your feet" (or dollars, or dinars, etc.) It makes your point and you don't have to murder anyone.

9:11 AM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

Hi Hassan,

Good post. Really. Yours was one of the most reasonable I have seen.

"just as long as the debate does not include insulting the Prophet, or the holy book, and surly God."

Well, that's kinda like demanding that people surrender the debate before beginning it, isn't it? :)

I don't think Religion should be discussed, myself. We have different religions, and will never see any religious issue the same way. Such debates can only end with insult, intentional or otherwise.

For instance, Don Cox is right. Christian's consider Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God. The Christ. Not a mere prophet.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Wade said...

Hassan, you are right that your approach, which seems typical of most Iraqis, is less idiotic than many fellow muslims. Unfortunately it's still pretty stupid !

Ask yourself this: In how many countries do you think there is not at least one newspaper or group or person that wants to criticise or make fun of Muslims, Islam or Muhammed? Well with the possible exception of the various muslim countries where such feelings are punishable by imprisonment or death the answer is zero. So in that case should you refuse to buy the goods or receive aid from all these countries, just because there is someone who is saying something you don't like? The reason that people feel good about Danish goods is that for most of them it's no big problem.
They can buy French or German or New Zealnd buttre or milk instead (except taht the cartoons were also published in these countries too), The Iraqi minister (of transport?) who has manfully refused to accept Danish and Norweigan aid can swagger around feeling proud of himself, knowing it will only be a few Iraqi people directly effected by the aid projects that are effected. You can live without that new Lego set for your younger brother I'm sure. Of course those diabetics who rely on insulin are going to suffer (Denmark is the world's biggest producer by far), but generally it's not too much of a problem.

If you really want to boycott goods in solidarity with your muslim brothers, then it's completely, stark raving mad to focus on Denmark. Why are there muslims in Denmark in the first place to worry about being offended by their newspapers? Answer, because Denmark has had a relatively tolerant and non racist immigration policy. The imam at the bottom of the efforts to internationise the crisis was infact expelled from United Arab Emirates because he was preaching inflamatory hate filled speaches, however Denmark let him in and because it has a constitution guaranteeing free speech. If you want to look around for anti Islamic countries start with China. They have brutally suppressed their own muslim population. The trouble is no one outside the country knows much about what goes on because the Chinese Government strictly controls what news is allowed to circulate. Don't believe me? Well try making friends with a Chinese via Skype of MSN messneger and then see if they can access this Blog site. They cannot because the Chinese governmnet bloacks them as it wants to control the minds of its own people and stop free access to news.

However if you REALLY want to boycott the countries giving muslims a bad name then you may have to look a little closer. How about Saudi Arabia? Why do you think this controvercy blew up in February 206 when the cartoons were first published in Denmark in September 2005 and reprinted in Egypt in October 2005. Answer: the Hajj Beciuse of the 250 pilgrims which were crushed top death, the Saudi clerics wanted to start something that distract criticism from islamic countries of their own responsibility for this tragedy. So they descided to escalate this controvercy, withdrawing ambassadors and preaching in Friday prayers. Then the Iraninas stepped in as they are keen to get arab suupport for their plans to develop Nuclear weapons,and the Syrians who want to distractpeople from their assasinationof Lebanese politicians.

Dont be manipulated by these people. You have thre freedom to think for yourself.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Hassan said...

Anon,
.......

Dear Don,
Although I know that Christians do not look at Jesus as a Prophet, but I did not imagine it can be an offense to call him like that... Sorry.

Dear Chele,
Doing my best.

Edward,
Way to go, keep up the good work hehe.

Maya,
I am glad we are on the right track here.

Steve,
Welcome to my little blog, I hope you are here to say hehe.
I am glad you chose the 9/11 example. Do you realize that unlike the Denmark, Muslims actually condenmed the attaks?? Muslims put their differences aside, and refused Al-Qaida. Muslims proved they do not agree with what a few of them are doing. That is what we want from Denmark, to condemn those cartoons.
Oh and one more thing. It is Hassan not Hasan, :) hehe.

craig,
I do not think every debate HAS to include insults, do you? Are you saying that there is no way we can have a relegious debate that does not include calling Prophets and Gods names? If not, then I must have misunderstood your comment.
Oh and as I told Don, I did not know that Christians considered it an insult to call Jesus as a Prophet, sorry about that.

wade,
Well, where do I begin..
I have to say that I read the last part of your comment to my family, and they all laughed about it. It simpley sounds...absurd. Not saying you are absurd in any way, just what you wrote does not seem logical at all.
First of all, the Hajj accident happen every year, do you know that or not?. Too many people at too little space.
Iran has been having trouble with it's nuke program for a while now, don't you think that it would have arizen this controversy a LONG time ago if what you are saying is true?.
As I said earlier, we are boycotting to make pressure on the Danish government to condone and refuse these cartoons, because as you know, if they don't, does not that mean they are satisfied with it, if they are satisfied with it, then we are not satisfied with them. People need to know what is right and what is wrong.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad Iraq did not react the same way others did. Violence is no way to solve anything, it only makes matters wrose. I feel the cartoons are very disrespectful. However, I am also torn between the disrespect and free speech. And after reading your comments, I have to make one of my own.

Maybe this will give another outlook. I am Christian and I am NOT offended that Muslims call Jesus Christ a profit. Why? Becuase I know what I beleive in my heart and no one can change what I beleive. Just as no one can change what you beleive in your heart. I am more offened that you apologized for what you beleive (that Jesus Christ is a profit). You should never have to apologize for what you beleive. That is why we have free speech and why God gave us a mind of our own.

But I do think that the media pushes the boundries with free speech. There are many things on the news that I get offened by and I either don't buy that paper or don't watch that news station. It may not seem like much but it's enough for me. Everyone has to decide for themselves how they handle those situations and if you feel you need to boycott the Danish for yourself personally than do it.

3:38 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Hi Hassan
How are you ?
On the last 2 days there was 2 explosions in front of your university.Are you Okay ?

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Steve R said...

Hassan,

Sorry about the mispelling. I suspect that as someone who tells the world what he thinks, you have probably been called worse.

Actually, I was unaware that any but a handful of Muslims had condemed the 9/11 attacks. The images that stuck in my mind were of Palestinians and Pakistanis dancing in the streets.

I admit that the few I have heard of have had a hard time getting "face time" in the media over here (and apparently over there, also). The media does not make a habbit of publishing voices of reason - on any subject. Perhaps you can help turn up the volume on those moderate voices.

I still support your right to boycott, but I think you are under the influence of some false assumptions. The government in Denmark does not control the media, or religion, and for the most part the people do not want it to.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

I'm impressed in the way that Iraq's are dealing with the cartoon stuff in a non-violent way.

Personally, if someone publishes something I believe to be offensive, I find out the names of the specific companies that advertise with that publication.

And inform them that I will no longer be purchasing their products, since they are the ones really paying the salaries of the people who offended me.

Targeting ALL danish companies, is a bit too wide, but on the right track. Almost all corporations will stop advertising in publications that print things offensive to their customers. This is simple business.
Of course, if all the advertisers for that specific Danish Newspaper stop advertising with them, they will go out of business. Problem Solved.

5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Choosing to intimidate a whole country because one if offended that a member in their society has offended your feelings is about as immature.

Your concept of a free society is not very developed if you wish to hold a government or a country responsible because someone within its borders did something you don't like.

Have a clue. Or better yet, stick to the repressive, backward culture that has produced nothing for the world except for death and conflict.

Holding a government responsible for what a citizen does as offensive is done in order to do what? Encourage the government to ban free speech? Discourage anyone from utilizing free speech that might offend a Muslim? Impose Sharia law in a free society?

It isn't going to happen. We won't stand for it.

8:54 AM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

"I do not think every debate HAS to include insults, do you? Are you saying that there is no way we can have a relegious debate that does not include calling Prophets and Gods names?"

Not everyone is mature enough to accept that other people have different beliefs, Hassan. Difference of opinion about religious matters has probably caused more deaths than anything else in human history. Why have the discussion, with somebody taht you already know that you will never agree with? There doesn't seem to be much point, and the potential for somebody to take deadly offense is enormous. Catholics and Protestants never resolved their differences 500 years ago, for instance. But Catholics and Protestants have pretty much "agreed to disagree" and that works pretty well. In my whole life I've only discussed Religion with a Catholic 3 times. And that's the way I like it :)

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

of course it is better to protest this in a nonviolent way. but honestly the boycott of danish goods still comes off as beyond absurd. it's not that the government actively agrees with the insult to muslims. it's that the newspaper did not break any law by being offensive, therefore the government has NO place to step it. it's the basic fundamental concept of a free and independant media (which doesn't exist in most parts of the M.E.)

I'm sure that at least one such cartoon or offensive comment exists in some american blog or newspaper, yet you won't boycott the US. why? that would actually be difficult to do...

7:10 PM  
Blogger Mad Canuck said...

Hey Hassan,

A lot of Christians have very little clue about what Islam is about. They have no idea that Muslims revere Jesus as a prophet, or that they also reverse the prophets we Christians know from the "Old Testament" section of the Bible. I know I was surprised to learn this the first time I sat down with a Muslim friend to "compare notes".

I would not worry about offending anyone. If you offend someone by calling Jesus a prophet, that person probably does not realize that Muslims consider Jesus a prophet.

4:10 AM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

MC,

"If you offend someone by calling Jesus a prophet, that person probably does not realize that Muslims consider Jesus a prophet."

What about if we go one step further, Mad Canuck. Are you aware that Muslims do not believe that Jesus was crucified? And that he did not die for the sins of man, and that he was not resurrected?

Do you think that might cause offense, MC? Considering that Christianity revolves around those very concepts? This gets us back to the idea that muslims consider Jesus a mere prophet, whereas to Christians he is the Savior.

I still think it's best if people keep their religious beliefs to themselves. People get killed over this stuff.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Mad Canuck said...

Hi Craig,

Yes, I am aware of that difference, which is in essence the biggest fundamental difference between Christianity and Islam.

However, if one is content within one's own faith, one should be able to talk about others' faiths without anyone getting offended. Honestly, I think if people took more time to understand each others' perspectives, there would be less conflict in the world.

10:36 AM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

Mad canuck, you need to think about that statement you just made, and try to square it with the muslim outrage you've been blogging about.

What do you think would happen if a Catholic Priest pissed on a Quran, on cable news?

My answer: Lots of Christians would die.

What do you think would happen if an Imam pissed on a Bible on cable news?

My answer: nothing.

I don't want to discuss religion with somebody who might decide to victimize the innocent if they get offended by something I say. Your statements here seem to be directly at odds with other things you have said, recently.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Idril Mithrandir said...

Hi, I have just found this blog, and...wow! the amount of reason is amazing!

When I saw the news about the political images my jaw dropped! I was in absolute shock! When I heard about the planned retaliation depicting images of the Holocaust, my jaw dropped again!

To respond to the recent comments at the bottom of the page, MC you have an amazingly clear head, I must agree with what you are saying.

I don't want to ramble, but, every Sunday a group of college and career aged people gather, have dinner and hang out. This Sunday I am leading the discussion, and I have chosen this very topic! Hassan,, would you mind answering some questions I have? I know your probably crazy busy, but anything would be great!

I would like to leave you with a Christian prayer...well, it's actually the benediction which goes like this; May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

This is not meant to offend anyone, it's just a departing prayer.

Hassan, I would really like to get in touch with you.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Hassan said...

Idril Mithrandir,

Of course I would love to be in contact with you. You can either leave me your contact information, or Email me yourself.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Hassan,

I'm Danish, so you probably want nothing to do with me. I think that's a shame though: I have never done anything to ridicule people's faith, and I wouldn't.

We have loads of newspapers in Denmark, and some of them frequently write stories that offend me. This may lead me to A: Stop buying the newspaper; B: Write an angry letter to the editor, if I am sufficiently insulted.

But to target an entire nation because of what one newspaper editor decides to publish is immensely silly, in my honest opinion.

You want an apology, well, more than 20.000 Danes, including myself, signed a letter at www.anotherdenmark.org saying that we are sorry that people's feelings were hurt and our national reputation was damaged. We state that we distance ourselves from cartoons like these, since they work against the cause of tolerance and understanding. I believe in tolerance, and in not judging a whole segment of the world population on the actions of a few. Consequently, I don't judge all muslims on the basis of the actions of extremists, and I expect other sensible people not to judge me on the basis of someone who happens to share my nationality, or faith, or eye colour!

My husband works for a dairy making cheese, which used to be sold in the Middle East. Many of his colleagues may be fired because of this. They haven't anything at all to do with that newspaper, so it's hard to see what you accomplish - except furthering the alienation between us.

We actually HAVE a clause against "blasphemy" in the Danish law. It has been used ONCE in the last century, in 1938, and never since. Some foreigners have argued that it would be illegal for a Danish newspaper to make cartoons that ridicule any other religion, such as christians or jews, but that is in fact not true at all. In Denmark you can pretty much say anything without going to jail. People are allowed to DISLIKE you for doing it, of course. I dislike these cartoons, and I think it was very silly to publish them. But being angry at someone doesn't mean that the person you disagree with is a criminal.

Incidentally, we have 5% muslim citizens in Denmark, and you might notice that they are not part of all the rioting and silliness. In fact, I've talked to many and they are all sensible people, who can disagree with a newspaper publication without making it an issue of foreign policy!

Well, thanks for not burning any embassies and flags, I guess.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A question about depicting the prophet:

Study of world religions is a compulsory high school subject i my country (yes, that one you want nothing to do with...) We also learned a bit about Islam, although I know my knowledge of your religion is quite poor. Now, this is what my teacher told me, and I would like to hear if you consider this to be wrong: She said that the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, wanted his followers to praise God rather than create a person-cult using himself as an idol. In order to ensure that he was not raised to the status of an idol, and that praise was instead directed at God, he made the prohibition against pictures. This was my understanding. In this context, the hysteria about some silly and inconsiderate drawings in a newspaper seems even more pointless: The journalists certainly didn't attempt to create religion icons of a forbidden nature - rather, they tried to provoke, test taboos or whatever.

My point is just that according to what little I learned about Islam, the POINT of prohibiting pictures of your prophet was completely unrelated to the current mass hysteria. Maybe I am wrong?

Also, I sometimes watch South Park, an american cartoon which is shown on cable tv in many countries across the world. They have an episode called "Super Best Friends", where Muhammad is not only drawn, but animated, and shown on screen for several minutes. Why does this not offend nearly as much (apparently) as some newspaper drawings in Denmark? Surely, there is a much better tradition for limiting the freedom of the press in the US, and consequently it would make more sense to hold THEIR government responsible for what is permitted to enter the media? Maybe you ought to boycut THEIR products, because South Park has drawn (and animated) Muhammad (and perhaps also because of other minor things like Abu Ghraib and the hundreds of illegally detained muslim prisoners at Guantanamo?)

I somehow feel that Denmark is the wrong main target here?

Best regards,
Mette Hansen

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Hassan.

First I will say that I'm danish. That way you can choose whether you will read the rest or not.

Thank you for explaining your point of view on the cartoons. For the majority of danes religion is something very private and we don't talk so much about it.
I found your blog in my effort to find views from the moslim world different from the one I got from the media.

Maybe you would be interested in knowing that
- the newspaper is private, it's not owned or controlled by the government
- the other newspapers in Denmark have not printed the cartoons
- the newspaper has an apology on their web site www.jp.dk
- the PM has adressed the issue
http://www.statsministeriet.dk/Index/dokumenter.asp?o=7&n=0&d=2498&s=2
(in english)

Best wishes for you and your family
from Denmark

12:20 AM  
Blogger grayey1 said...

It is my understanding the offensive cartoons about Christians and Jews and their faith are quite commonplace in the middle eastern newspapers. That seems to delight the readers. If bombs and muslims were not so closely connected the cartoon would have been meaningless. Also, the Danish Inmans were angry about not getting permission to build a large mosque in Copenhagen and so went to certain countries and stirred and orchestrated the trouble with the acquience of the Governments. Rioting in the Middle East is government sanction recreation, or they slaughter the rioters, as you know. To bad you will be missing those good danish products, Next time you have an earthquake, you can refuse the danes help, which we will be offered faster than your fellow arabs, and then you can riot later in thanks

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My only advice for the Danes is to stop being an apologist. If the muslim world stop buying your products, look for a new market. The world has to move forward and not continuing to "kowtow" to the muslims everytime they feel offended. This time is catoon, next time it could be cheese, when will you learn to stand up for yourselves?

5:19 PM  
Anonymous AD said...

Hi Hassan,

First of all, kudos for your blog!

This is my first visit, and I found your entry and the responses that followed very interesting.

Personally, I think this cartoon issue is very complex and has to be looked at from different angles in an attempt to be “analyzed”:

1. Religion

The most “obvious” angle…or is it?

While I definitely believe that all religions (and beliefs in general!) should be respected, I also believe that religion is, and must remain, a strictly private affair. As one of the posters already stated, people should just agree to disagree on this private matter.

Yes, religion is dogmatic, and followers are told to follow the “laws” laid down by their religion. However, we must not forget that religion is also subject to interpretation, which is why some people are more moderate in their religious beliefs and others more adamant.


2. Riots / Violence

No religions support or promote violence, so these terrible events should not have, and certainly did not, take place solely in the name of religion. This in itself gives us food for thought…

Further proof, many Muslims all over the world did NOT take part in any form of it over this, as your post also demonstrates, Hassan.

3. Politics

Unfortunately, religions are becoming (once again), important political vehicles. Which, in itself, is not surprising, as all religions are dogmatic and exert a strong “moral” power over their followers. Politicians all over the world (including the US!) are hopping on the bandwagon, and use religion, interpretations of religion and references to God to legitimize what they do, either directly or indirectly.

As soon as religion is attached to government in ANY way, it looses its “innocence” and becomes a vehicle for power and pitching people against each other.

Apart from the obvious indecency of this, it makes me even angrier, because it blurs the line between religion and politics for many religious people, who come to believe they are acting in the name of religion, but are in reality just feeding the political machine.

So people of ALL religions must be responsible, and see this for what it is, and refuse to let their beliefs be exploited for political means! That, I think, is also a big part of what it means to be a “good” Muslim, a “good” Christian or a “good” Jew, etc.

From what I understand, religions are supposed to promote tolerance. People claiming to be religious must examine if the leaders they support (politicians increasingly so and others) are acting in the “true” spirit of religion.

The riots and violence that took place in certain countries were most certainly either instigated and/or tolerated by the leaders of those countries. Religious outrage was used as a political vehicle.

As one of your other posters already stated, I also believe that this was a carefully orchestrated political maneuver, disguised as religion. I am not saying there wasn’t genuine outrage from a religious standpoint; I just believe that it was channeled for political means.

3. Free speech

For the record, I support free speech. I believe that everyone should be able to express their opinion, whatever the means, without having to fear the consequences.

It gives you the right to be critical or supportive (!): of beliefs, of opinions, of people, of governments, of religions…

Cartoons and drawings in general are form of expression. As we have all heard, a “picture is worth more than a thousand words”. Thus, they are frequently used in all kinds of media (of course, I can only speak for “Western” media, as it is all I know).

Over the course of events, non-Muslims have come to understand, if they didn’t already know, that depicting Mohammed is a terrible offense to Muslims.

Suddenly, not only the CONTENT of the cartoon was an issue but the MEDIUM used was as well.

What follows is a conflicted personal analysis:

- Concerning the content of the cartoon, I agree with other posters who say that it is wrong to lump all Muslims in one category, that is, to sum it up according to the cartoon, as being violent or supporting violence (just as it is wrong to lumps all Danes in one category, or Americans, or anyone for that matter).

- However, if you support free speech, you have to admit that it is an opinion that was expressed and everyone should be free to disagree or agree with it.

- And there are Muslim extremist groups promoting violence, even if they are marginal and not supported by moderates or the mainstream.

- Concerning the medium, i.e. the drawing, I am tempted to say that religious sensibilities should NOT be taken into account, otherwise that would constitute censure, and thus no free speech.

So what is my personal conclusion concerning the cartoon? I find it unfortunate that the criticism of the content expressed was lumped together with the medium used to express it.

***That being said, I’d like to comment on one of the posters (Anonymous) who said, “…it's the basic fundamental concept of a free and independent media (which doesn't exist in most parts of the M.E.)”:

We must not forget that media, and information in general, is a powerful tool, coveted by those in power. Therefore, it is not always as “free and independent” as we would care to believe, “even” in the West. Take a look at mainstream American media, for example. The government has its close ties to all major networks / media, some more than others. Anonymous, is this your concept of “free and independent”? Well, it certainly isn’t mine…***

Sorry for the long post, but that’s my 2 cents.

Best of luck to you and your family, Hassan. May peace come to your country very soon.

AD, agnostic American living in Switzerland.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Hassan. I am a twenty-three year old female currently living in New York City, but I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia as my father worked for Aramco. Although this comment comes a long time after the actual posting, I just stumbled across your blog while reading the New York Times and wanted to add a comment.

It is my opinion, that while violence is definitely an unnecessary and unfortunate reaction to the cartoons published in Denmark, the emotions of Muslims all over the world is understood. I think, however, that many may be misunderstanding their disdain for the cartoon itself. I do not think it actually has anything to do with freedom of speech. It is my opinion, and feel free to correct me here, that it was more the image of Mohammad and putting a face, or idol, to represent such a prophet which upsets the Muslims around the world. I do not think had the cartoon omitted the picture and simply published the words themselves that it would have had the same effect. Do you agree?

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^

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