Saturday, February 04, 2006

Islamic Tolerance

When given the chance Muslims all over the Middle East continue to prove that Islam is a religion of peace, love, and tolerance.

Thousands of Syrians enraged by caricatures of Islam's revered prophet torched the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus on Saturday — the most violent in days of furious protests by Muslims in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

In Gaza, Palestinians marched through the streets, storming European buildings and burning German and Danish flags. Protesters smashed the windows of the German cultural center and threw stones at the European Commission building, police said.

Iraqis rallying by the hundreds demanded an apology from the European Union, and the leader of the Palestinian group Hamas called the cartoons "an unforgivable insult" that merited punishment by death.

Pakistan summoned the envoys of nine Western countries in protest, and even Europeans took to the streets in Denmark and Britain to voice their anger.

At the heart of the protest: 12 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad first published in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten in September and reprinted in European media in the past week. One depicted the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse. The paper said it had asked cartoonists to draw the pictures because the media was practicing self-censorship when it came to Muslim issues.

The drawings have touched a raw nerve in part because Islamic law is interpreted to forbid any depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

I for one, am glad to see that this newspaper decided to abandon the current politically correct modus operandi as it concerns Muslims and the religion of Islam. I do not however, necessarily agree with the way in which they went about abandoning their "self-imposed censorship". I would be very much offended if the tables were turned and the cartoon was depicting a negative view of my religion. Be that as it may, the fact that this paper published this cartoon as well as the defense of the freedom of press by most European leaders in the midst of this outrage is encouraging. Hopefully these events are a signal that Europeans are starting to see the light as it relates to Islamic fundamentalism.

At the very least it once again puts Islamic fundamentalism into the global spotlight. This was an opportunity for Muslims everywhere to peacefully denounce this offensive depiction and try to change the world view of the violent nature of the religion but instead they chose to perpetuate that view by threatening violence, kidnappings, and by burning embassies.

The Muslim world needs to come to the realization that non-Muslims are not bound by Islamic Law. With the exception of those weak few that seek appeasement, we will not surrender to or become prisoners of their Islamic fundamentalism. Non-Muslim countries should become united in the quest to impress upon the Muslim world that they can either become tolerant of others or suffer serious consequences.

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