Sunday, October 14, 2007

Swedish cartoonist goes into hiding over cartoons lampooning Islam

I was watching Headline News today, and it amazes me the contrasting stories. First you have the Foo Fighters who have released a new album. Surprise, surprise, the new album contains lyrics critical of President Bush and the world on terror.

Perhaps instead of whining about the president, the Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Bob Seger, et al, should start calling attention the outrages of radical Islam. But then, that would be to acknowledge that Muslim extremists are every bit as dangerous as what conservatives say, and that’s too hard to swallow. The easy way out is to trash a president in a country where freedom of speech is alive and well.

Freedom of speech isn’t as free in other countries. Sometimes it comes with a stiff price. A Swedish cartoonist named Lars Vilks has had to go into hiding over his artistic expression. We remember how back a year or so ago 12 Danish cartoons satirizing the Islamic prophet Muhammad resulted in massive Islamic protests that left many dead. Vilks told Headline News that he wanted to make a statement about artistic freedom, so he drew a cartoon of Muhammad with the head of a dog.

The results are predictable. Swedish police have told Vilks he’s not safe at his home, and he has moved to an undisclosed location. The hatemongerers of Al Qaeda have offered a bounty for Vilks’ death, a la The Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie. Al Jazeera reported in September that Iraq’s Al Qaeda leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, in a statement called for the deaths of Vilks and his editor, Ulf Johansson in a statement:

“We are calling for the assassination of cartoonist Lars Vilks who dared insult
our prophet, peace be upon him, and we announce a reward during this generous
month of Ramadan of $100,000 for the one who kills this criminal. The award will
be increased to $150,000 if he were to be slaughtered like a lamb.”

Lars was shown on HNN checking under his car for explosive devices. He told the network that he remains defiant and unapologetic.

It’s really sad that such a story is now such commonplace that it took a month for it to get widespread attention. In a world where the Christian faith is almost reflexively ridiculed and where Arab nations frequently publish anti-Semitic cartoons, Christian Science Monitor reported that art galleries in Sweden refused to display Vilks’ work. Back in August, the Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda printed one of his cartoons this past summer.

Apparently, the Islamic extremists were upset because black dogs are viewed as evil incarnate into animal form; if any dog licks a container, it must be washed seven times.

Moral of the story: while radical Islam feels it at 100% liberty to offend, threaten and terrorize the world, nobody, absolutely nobody, had better dare to so much as make fun of it. What hypocrisy, and it sickens me that the world refuses to recognize the danger of radical Islam and react accordingly. Seems to me that reacting with violence and death threats proves Vilks’ point in his art.


Stephen said...

These Muslims cannot take a joke or any criticism of Islam. It is sad that they appear to be brainwashed into condemning media they do not understand. Their leaders say jump or burn a flag and they blindly follow without thinking for themselves. No wonder people call Islam a backward religion.

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Richard Zowie said...

Thank you for your thoughts, Steve. Best, rz

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Muslims Against Sharia praise the courage of Lars Vilks, Ulf Johansson, Thorbjorn Larsson and the staff of Nerikes Allehanda and Dagens Nyheter and condemn threats issued by Abu Omar Al Baghdadi and the Islamic State of Iraq. Muslims Against Sharia will provide a payment of 100,000kr (about $15,000) for the information leading to capture or neutralization of Abu Omar Al Baghdadi.

Muslimer mot Sharia berömmer Lars Vilks, Ulf Johansson, Torbjörn Larsson och övriga anställda på Nerikes Allehanda och Dagens Nyheter för deras tapperhet och fördömer hotet från Abu Omar Al Baghdadi och Islamistiska Iraq. Muslimer mot Sharia betalar 100 000 SEK (ca 15 000$) för information som leder till gripande eller oskadligörande av Abu Omar Al Baghdadi.

Muslims Against Sharia

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