First posted on my short-lived blog Tharwalizations.
Ever since the Danish Cartoon Controversy, a spate of alarmist articles and reports on Islam and the Muslim communities in western societies appeared in various newspapers and journals across the world, all warning against the danger posed by Islam as such and all asserting that Islam as a faith is inherently violence. Continue reading
The violence that followed the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed in several European newspapers has raised questions about European models of social integration and underscored that their debates at home can have dramatic implications abroad. The story has also raised questions about freedom of the press and self-censorship in the media. In a world threatened by a clash of civilizations, does freedom of the press include the right to offend the most sacred beliefs of others? In a time of fundamentalist terrorism, can we allow violence and the threat of violence to determine the content of our speech?
To examine these issues, the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution and the Heinrich Böll Foundation hosted a panel on The Mohammed Cartoons: European Society and Freedom of the Press. Commentary was provided by Ammar Abdulhamid, Visiting Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy; Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, Die Zeit; David Ignatius, The Washington Post; and Claus Christian Malzahn, Der Spiegel. The briefing was moderated by Philip Gordon, Director of the Center on the United States and Europe.
The boycott against Danish goods by righteous believing Muslims all over the world, albeit hardly justifiable on any logical ground in this case, does, nonetheless, signal an interesting development that should in principle be encouraged.
For while we need to point out that resort to this procedure in this case may not be correct, the method itself, we should notes, is a very legitimate, effective and downright civilized manner for expressing discontent – one that is far superior morally and tactically to rioting and arson. Continue reading