Logomachon






Clearing the Fog
in the
War of Words

 

   
  logomachy--1. A dispute about words. 2. A dispute carried on in words only; a battle of words.
logomachon--1. One who argues about words. 2. A word warrior.

   
   
   
 

2006-02-07
 

Tribalism and its discontents--2

The Brussels Journal has been following the affair since the cartoons were published.

Their latest is that the Danish imams who first demanded an apology, forced by the government, if necessary, have begun to try to sound a bit conciliatory.

Meanwhile, today the Wall Street Journal Online provides more details [requires subscription] of how the Danish Muslims took the cartoons to the Middle East, especially Egypt.

I am wondering how people have reacted to being asked to review these blasphemous drawings. Were they really that outraged? They are rather in the position of crusaders against pornography: How do they know so much about dirty stuff? In this case, how many in the angry mobs have actually seen the cartoons?
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Tribalism and its discontents

I have to admit that I am slightly of two minds about the uproar over the Danish cartoons of figures representing Mohammed. Wouldn’t it be something if Western Christians showed a tenth of that indignation at the insults heaped upon Christianity in popular culture? Mobs with firebombs outside the offices of the Anti-Christian Litigation Unit and Americans for the Separation of Church and State? Perhaps blackshirts from Opus Dei could pack the audience at offensive plays, such as one featuring Judas buggering Jesus. At the blasphemous scene, they would storm the stage, trash the set, and smack the actors and crew around. Then the papist bully boys would stream out the back door, scattering credit and Equity cards and cell phones all over Manhattan.

But to imagine such sectarian outrage is to realize that it wouldn’t—couldn’t—happen. That is not the way our society does things, and Christians are firmly of our society. (There is a bit of irony in the fact that a UK Islamic group, the Al-Muhajiroun (The Defenders of the Messenger Jesus) issued a fatwa against the author of the gay Jesus play. The group’s leader “criticised Christian leaders for not taking stronger action against the production”.)

The riots, bombings, and killings stirred up by the cartoons around Islam are one more indication that Islam is not ready for prime time.

Apart from its being only what we expect from Muslims, though, there are some peculiar things about the current frenzy. A Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten, published the humorous or satirical cartoons like this one here last October
when a Danish author complained that he could find no-one to illustrate his book about Muhammad. Jyllands-Posten wondered whether there were more cases of self-censorship regarding Islam in Denmark and asked twelve illustrators to draw the prophet for them. Carsten Juste, the paper’s editor, said the cartoons were a test of whether the threat of Islamic terrorism had limited the freedom of expression in Denmark.
There were a few headlines and protest statements, and the matter fizzled away. Such indifference is not surprising. The prohibition against making images of Mohammad is a Moslem tradition, not a Koranic injunction. In early days, Mohammad was depicted both full-face and with his face obscured.In modern times, Mohammad has been depicted many times in European publications without stirring so much as a grain of sand. There was even this French comic book.

What is different this time is that in December, Danish Muslims distributed the cartoons throughout Islam. With that fine attention to detail and truth that Islam enjoins upon its adherents in dealing with the kufir, they added a few particularly scabrous sketches that had nothing to do with the Danish dozen.

The mass demonstrations and assaults erupted at the end of January. This timetable helps explain the curious fact noted by Mark Steyn:
Even if you were overcome with a sudden urge to burn the Danish flag, where do you get one in a hurry in Gaza? Well, OK, that's easy: The nearest European Union Humanitarian Aid and Intifada-Funding Branch Office. But where do you get one in an obscure town on the Punjabi plain on a Thursday afternoon?
It’s a good question. One answer is that the mass protests have been under preparation, including the provision of the Danish—or at least, Scandinavian—flags, for some time.

What ought we to think of this possibility? Either the Muslim street is as irrational and violent as we have long known, or they are not but are easily led by organized provocateurs, which does not improve our opinion of them. Both possibilities reinforce my opinion that we are at war with Islam. Not necessarily the religion itself (see point 8), but certainly the culture informed by Islam and the myriad tribal mores that it binds tightly to the people unfortunate enough to live within the dar al-salaam, the “house of peace”. The Islamofascists and their jihadist tools that we are actually trying to kill are nurtured and sustained by the masses of Islam. The masses may lack the jihadists’ high pitch of murderous fervor, but they have the same Koranic tenets, the same totalist worldview, and the same ambition to bring all the dar al-harb, the “house of war”, under the dark cloak of Mohammad.

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