Friday, February 03, 2006

Mohammed Cartoons

While papers across Europe have republished the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed, British papers have not followed suit. The Times instead provided a link to the images off-website and included an editorial explaining why they were not joining in-

To present them in front of the public for debate is not a value-neutral exercise. The offence destined to be caused to moderate Muslims should not be discounted.

They then likened the cartoon linking Mohammed to terrorism as "incendiary". No mention of the many calls for violence against Infidels in the Koran. They then added-

The Times would, for example, have reservations about printing a cartoon of Christ in a Nazi uniform sketched because sympathisers of Hitler had conducted awful crimes in the name of Christianity.

It's news to me that Nazism was conducted in the name of Christianity. Shame on them.

The Guardian and The Telegraph also provided off-website links to the cartoons while the Daily Express and the Daily Mail do not.

The Guardian defended their position by arguing -

Every newspaper in the country regularly carries stories about child pornography, yet none has yet reproduced examples of such pornography as part of their coverage.

The Sun, the top British tabloid, also did not provide a link and in their thinly disguised editorial (by Muslim journalist Anila Baig) on the fuss they said-

To have ANY picture of the Prophet would be proclaimed blasphemous but one that ridicules and insults is, obviously, highly offensive.

It’s hard in today’s increasingly secular world to put this into context. But imagine someone making fun of your parents or someone you hold very dear and then multiply it a million times. This is how Muslims feel, as if they have been personally attacked.

They even questioned why the original cartoons were reproduced, adding in the paper's real editorial piece their reasons for not printing the cartoons-

"the cartoons are intended to insult Muslims, and The Sun can see no justification for causing deliberate offence to our much-valued Muslim readers."

So much for freedom of speech in Britain. Only the TV news programmes offered fleeting glimpses of the cartoons in images of the papers in which they were printed. And Muslim groups in Britain have generally slammed them for it.

The press here, it seems, don't have the nerve to print the cartoons. It seems like the Muslim sensibility trumps freedom of expression in the UK.

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