Friday, February 03, 2006

The Prophet Cartoons

NOTE: I closed the comments for this post. The mission of writing this post is complete. I wanted to show that, in this world, you need to be diplomatic to win friends. That's why I quoted The Vatican and The State Department. I also linked to the two most reasonable bloggers I read daily.

I know the majority of my readers believe in freedom of speech but still see these cartoons as offensive. That doesn't mean the cartoons should not have been published.

They're like me. They know there was a better way for all parties to handle the situation. Unfortunately, these are the silent majority, who never comment on my blog and only correpsond by e-mail.

I've been following the reaction to The Prophet cartoons published lately in a Danish and other European newspapers with disbelieve. The situation is rapidly going from bad to worse. Who's right and who's wrong? It's lost in both sides' insistence to further escalate the clash of cultures, civilizations or whatever they call it. I'm certain the Middle Eastern Christians will be the ones to pay the highest price in the near future.

I respect people of other faiths AND I definitely don't agree with people who disrespect other people's beliefs. That's where I stand.

I'm glad The Vatican shares my opinion. ANSA reports:

(ANSA) - Vatican City, February 3 - The Vatican has criticised the Western media over its publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad which have inflamed spirits in the Islamic world. Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, the head of the Vatican's department for Eastern Churches, called in an interview published on Friday for more respect to be shown towards the Islamic world .

"Western culture must find a limit to its goal of making freedom an absolute (value). We too, here in Europe, should rebel against the idea of mocking religious symbols," he told Corriere della Sera, the country's best-selling daily .

"Freedom to satirise which offends other people's feelings becomes prevarication," the cardinal added .


The State Department shares the same view. The Boston Globe report:

"These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims," State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper said in answer to a question.

"We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable."

American Muslims welcomed the U.S. position, although it stopped short of urging American media not to republish the cartoons that include depicting Mohammad as a terrorist.

Cooper said he had no comment as to why the United States chose to pass judgment in a dispute that ostensibly does not involve America.

But the United States, which was founded by immigrants fleeing religious persecution, has previously spoken out against publications offensive to believers of other faiths.


I doubt the American media will publish any of these cartoons in the name of "freedom of speech." I hope I'm right this time.

I read what's written on other blogs regarding this subject. Only two bloggers seem to see the big picture. It's amazing because they're two of my favorite bloggers, Mad Canuck and Liam. Make sure to click on their links and read their posts.

I said earlier that Middle Eastern Christians will be the ones paying the highest price as a result of this clash of cultures. The Independent newspaper reports:

Mahmoud Zahar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, visited a group of Christian nuns and clerics yesterday at the Holy Family School to reassure them after the Latin Church, a small congregation based in Jerusalem, had also received threats. He unequivocally condemned the threats against foreign nationals. " We are not accepting any aggression against foreign institutions whether EU or American, or against any other group, foreign or Palestinian," Dr Zahar said. He said some Palestinians had already boycotted Danish goods and Hamas wanted them to continue protesting by "legal means".

He told the Christian group "you are our brothers who live side by side with us along with the foreigners who come to serve this community". He said that Hamas's armed wing would offer protection for the Christians until such time as an incoming Hamas government could reform the security services and provide official security.

Earlier, Manuel Mussalam, a priest of the Latin Church in Gaza, delivered an emotional appeal to Dr Zahar after the church received a fax that he said had come from "Fatah gunmen and the Soraya al-Quds". He said: " They threatened our churches in Gaza. We will not be threatened. We are Christians, yes, but Palestinians first."


Good job for both sides of the conflict. It's getting worse by the minute.

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