Politics & Policy

Needed: Mature, Moderate Muslims

The cartoon rage is infantile.

“Grow up.”

This should be the civilized world’s two-word response to the staggering overreaction to those cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, first published in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. Its editors’ attempt to fuel debate ignited an inferno of Islamic rage that has consumed nearly four-dozen human beings, and counting. As Western embassies, fast-food shops, and even a statue of Ronald McDonald have gone up in Shiite and Sunni-stoked flames, what also has receded into the smoke is any sense of maturity among the rampaging, Hitler-praising Muslim mobs that have dragged this global outrage into its third week.

These fanatics are violent and deadly. But they also are infantile. Their unrestrained orgy of mayhem looks like a Romper Room full of homicidal babies screaming for fresh diapers at the tops of their tiny lungs.

These brats are acting out with no sense of direction, focus, or purpose. They have attacked American, Austrian, European Union, Italian, and Norwegian diplomatic posts. They also torched Danish missions in Beirut and Damascus, even though Jyllands-Posten is published privately, not by the Danish government. The paper apologized January 30 for the illustrations–five days before violence erupted. These monsters are utterly unburdened by the fact that, as Bishop Karsten Nissen of Denmark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church explained, the Danish prime minister “did not draw these cartoons. Our prime minister is not the editor of this newspaper. He cannot apologize for something he did not do.”

Living Up to Violent Stereotypes

Jyllands-Posten first published these images last September 30 beside an article on the Danish media’s self-censorship on Islamic issues. By December 18, the paper reported, it was “dealing with an avalanche of death threats against its staff.” Things obviously have gone far beyond mere threats.

So far, 45 people have lost their lives, either due to police crackdowns on destructiveness in the name of Islam or directly through mob murder. Muslim hordes burned down 15 Christian churches Saturday in Maiduguri, Nigeria. They also trashed and looted stores owned by Christians. Death toll: 16.

“Most of the dead were Christians beaten to death on the streets by the rioters,” Chima Ezeoke, a local Christian, told the Associated Press. Witnesses reported that the dead included a priest and three children.

This global march of the crybabies cost eleven people their lives in Libya Friday. An eight-year-old Pakistani boy died Wednesday after he was shot in the face during protests. Three demonstrators were killed February 7 when they used rifles and grenades to attack a NATO military base in Afghanistan.

Again, this and even more blood has been shed over newspaper cartoons. Militant Muslim tots set Italy’s consulate in Benghazi, Libya alight because Italian Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli wore a t-shirt on TV decorated with one of those Danish cartoons. A t-shirt!

This all sounds like a giant anti-Islamic tall tale concocted and disseminated by some secret cabal determined to undermine the pristine reputation of the Religion of Peace. But no. As if with titanium rods in concrete, these little horrors have reinforced every stereotype of Islamic hot-headedness. They have confirmed lingering suspicions that a disturbingly large proportion of Muslims just cannot express themselves with words rather than things that burn or go “boom.”

Even worse, prominent Muslims demand even more violence.

Pakistani imam Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi issued a fatwa Friday calling for the killing of the 12 cartoonists who drew these caricatures. Whoever murders these cartoonists will receive $25,000 from Quereshi’s mosque, $1 million reportedly pledged by a local jeweler’s association, and, as if this were The Price Is Right, a new car!

It would be far easier to respect Muslims’ gossamer sensibilities if these feelings were mutual.

Yes, it’s true. The whole world is watching the lethal behavior of a minority of the Muslim population. Thankfully, the streets are not filled with Earth’s 1 billion Muslims yelling for “Infidel” blood. In fact, Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has complained that “misguided and oppressive” Muslims have “projected a distorted and dark image of the faith of justice, love, and brotherhood.” Moderate Muslims have been far too quiet through this whole grim affair. They need to speak up loudly, clearly, and immediately if they want to see their faith retain even a whiff of its badly charred credibility.

Meanwhile, in the February 8 Wall Street Journal, Iranian-born author Amir Taheri exposed the lie at the center of this entire debacle: “There is no Koranic injunction against images, whether of Muhammad or anyone else.” As Taheri explains, when Islam came into contact with literally iconoclastic Christians ages ago, some Muslim scholars denounced the creation of images of the Islamic prophet. But Taheri sees these declarations as debatable human pronouncements, not the Word of the Divine.

Taheri further identifies eight well-known paintings, portraits, and miniatures of Muhammad created by Islamic artists. He says there are many more such examples, including medallions carried by Ottoman soldiers with the Prophet’s head stamped on them. Such works, Taheri says, are displayed in museums in Islamic nations, such as Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, and others in Bukhara, Uzbekistan and near Isfahan, Iran. Topkapi houses some of the 841 illustrations created for a 1595 edition of a book called Siyer-i Nebi, similar to this miniature that depicts the Prophet Mohammed after the Battle of Badr. (Also see Paul Marshall.)

Why, one wonders, are Iranian, Turkish, and Uzbek embassies still untouched?

One cannot take seriously even a syllable from the mouths of these juveniles after weighing their cartoon-propelled rage against the West’s relaxed response to Muslim debasement of Judeo-Christian religious symbols and sites.

‐Consider this blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon of a hook-nosed Jew riding Uncle Sam like a jockey on a stallion. Though published in Saudi Arabia in May 2002, it has yet to inspire Jews to organize into packs to demolish Saudi businesses.

‐Al Qaeda used an exploding fuel truck to demolish a synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia, on April 11, 2002. That bombing killed 19 people, namely a French citizen, four Tunisians, and 14 German tourists. Worldwide, Jews kept their cool.

‐In October 2000, Palestinian mobs capitalized on the withdrawal of Israeli soldiers who had guarded Joseph’s Tomb, a Jewish holy site, in Samaria. Two hours after the Israelis departed, hoodlums burned Jewish books, set furniture ablaze, and then demolished the tomb and an adjacent yeshiva, brick by brick. Security forces with the Palestinian Authority, who had agreed to protect the site, did no such thing.

Jewish riots have yet to erupt.

‐On April 2, 2002, 39 gunmen with the late Yasser Arafat’s Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade launched a 39-day siege at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, the spot where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born. The Muslim terrorists held hostage 30 priests, nuns, and monks, as well as 150 Palestinian civilians. After they were released, most of the terrorists returned to the Gaza Strip, where they were received as heroes. On May 15 it was reported that the shrine was scarred with bullet holes, splattered with cooked rice, and strewn with empty wine and liquor bottles, cigarette butts, and other rubbish. Catholic priests at the church said the Islamic thugs stole sacramental objects and used pages ripped from the Holy Bible as toilet paper.

Christian violence over this defilement of the reputed birthplace of Jesus never occurred.

‐Saudi Arabia, home of the Grand Mosque, is the Mecca of Islam. Its respect for other faiths stops there. It is illegal to observe non-Islamic religions in that absolute monarchy.

“The Saudi government desecrates and burns Bibles that its security forces confiscate at immigration points into the kingdom or during raids on Christian expatriates worshiping privately,” Ali al-Ahmed, director of the Saudi Institute in Washington, wrote in the May 20, 2005, Wall Street Journal. “Saudi Arabia bans the importation or the display of crosses, Stars of David or any other religious symbols not approved by the Wahhabi establishment.” Saudi anti-Christian bigotry can be fatal, al-Ahmed reports: “The Bible in Saudi Arabia may get a person killed, arrested, or deported. In September 1993, Sadeq Mallallah, 23, was beheaded in Qateef on a charge of apostasy for owning a Bible.”

Nonexistent Christian mobs, thus far, have left Saudi facilities untouched.

‐For their part, Buddhists did not detonate falafel stands after the Taliban used mortar shells to pulverize the world’s two tallest statues of Buddha, located in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in March 2001, about the time Osama bin Laden and his henchmen orchestrated their surprise attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. What a pity, by the way, that al Qaeda could not simply have mocked those American icons with pen, paper, and some zany captions.

These ongoing Islamo-fascist spasms indicate that the long twilight struggle against this enemy will be arduous and incredibly challenging. It would be nice if civilization simply could put these Islamo-infants back in their cribs so they could cry themselves to sleep. Alas, it will take much more than that–as Paris’s Le Figaro explained February 8 (in my friend Vance DeWitt’s translation)–for those “who want to modernize Islam to override those whose goal is to Islamize modernity.”

Beyond what American diplomats, soldiers, and spies are doing to win this war, the rest of us can help by standing with Denmark in its time of need. In hindsight, it might not look like such a great idea to have drawn the rather tame cartoons of Mohammed, such as the one below (and not the incendiary images of the prophet practicing bestiality that Danish imams included among Jyllands-Posten’s cartoons when they visited their Egyptian, Palestinian, and Syrian counterparts).

Action Items

However, in a free society, cartoonists should be free to draw what they want, even if some take offense. The duty of the offended is to behave like adults: Stop reading the offending publication, write its editor, boycott its advertisers, or peacefully picket its headquarters. Whatever second thoughts there may be about those cartoons, Denmark, its citizens, and its diplomats do not deserve the Islamo-slam they are enduring.

So, what can you do about this international outrage?

‐For starters, an online petition now features more than 35,000 signatures in solidarity with Jyllands-Posten’s journalists. You can sign it here.

Unfortunately, Denmark’s Washington embassy says there is no equivalent of the USO to assist Danish soldiers or veterans. So purchasing Danish products seems the most concrete way for free, civilized people to say “No!” to the Islamo-infants and stand with the citizens of Denmark, a NATO country with 522 troops serving in Iraq.

‐Buy Legos. Who knew those little plastic building blocks from Kindergarten were Danish? Share the joys of Legos with a kid today. You can buy them online here.

‐Buy Danish food. Denmark produces excellent hams, cheeses, cookies, and other delicacies. Many are for sale online here.

‐Buy Carlsberg Beer. This fine, light lager has cooled, refreshed, and relaxed beer lovers since 1847. I have enjoyed it through many memorable, and a few forgotten, moments over the years. Ask for it at your local tavern or retailer. Learn more about it here.

‐Canadian journalists at the free-market Western Standard have their hands full after republishing those Danish cartoons. While Canadian Muslims are free to be offended by the Calgary-based magazine’s editorial decision, their demands for retaliation by Canada’s Human Rights Commission go too far. Muslims have no more right to dictate journalistic content than journalists have the right to draft new chapters of the Koran and compel Muslims to chant them.

Free-minded people can support the free-market Western Standard in its fight for free speech by subscribing to it here.

“We have received a number of new orders from Muslim and Arab Canadians who said they were subscribing to support our freedom of the press,” says Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant. “They all say the same thing: ‘We did not come to Canada to have Sharia law follow us across the seas.’”

In a turn of events beyond fiction, 45 people are dead over some newspaper cartoons. If this is no clash of civilizations, nothing is. Whether the world’s grown-ups teach these pillaging pre-schoolers some manners will determine whether coming decades resemble Father Knows Best or The Lord of the Flies.

Deroy Murdock is a New York-based columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a contributor to National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


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