Blanket coverage of controversial cartoons…

THE Blanket started its serialisation of the cartoons of Mohammad a few hours ago with a profile of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ali also has an article on the site, defending the right to offend. Slugger contributor Mick Hall and Barbara Muldoon of the Anti-Racism Network disagree with the decision to publish.

  • Leonard

    Just because you have the right to insult another person’s faith, doesn’t that mean you have an obligation to exercise that right.

  • TAFKABO

    On the contrary.

    The moment someone threatens you with death if you dare to excercise a right, is precisly the time you have an obligation to excercise that right.

    As for any religion that feels it has to express its right to tell me I shall be tortured for eternity in the afterlife,simply for not accepting their view of things?
    I rather think I have right to respond in whatever manner I see fit.

    Great article by McIntyre, slightly marred by the bizzare anti Americanism at the end.

  • When does the exercise of the right to offend become provocative and self-defeating?

    I think that Anthony McIntrye and The Blanket have clearly passed that point, and I have seen no threats to either him or it up to now.

    If something happens to them now, they only have themselves to blame.

  • Alan

    This is a foolish thing to do.

    If the cartoons were anything more than puerile there may be some value in printing them. If they made anything more than a vacuous point about turbans, bombs and conscious stereotyping they would have a meaning.

    Why do we make a virtue of parading these ephemeral, racist images ? Surely press freedom is made of sterner stuff?

    Alan

  • aquifer

    “If something happens to them now, they only have themselves to blame.”

    No the instigator of violent and coercive acts is to blame, and it is the duty of all states to protect their citizens by suppressing him as efficiently and humanely as possible while maintaining democratic rights.

    Relieving our dependence on Arab oil would also be appropriate, as they should have the right to withhold it.

  • THF: “If something happens to them now, they only have themselves to blame.”

    Oh dear. As I alluded to in my piece (*bong* self-aggrandizement!) are you going to blame Robert McCartney for getting himself murdered? As (perhaps) said something to offend on of ‘the boys’?

    The whole debacle over these cartoons just seems to me that (some! standard non-grouping-everyone-together disclaimer. *sigh*) Muslims have no concrete faith in their religion. A stronger faith would just have ignored it. Or explained why they see this as worse than the Holocaust.

    If they are seen as purile, then why not just go meh and carry on with your life. Which is what the great swathes of Christians do to denigration of their saviour.

  • ingrammartin

    Hi,

    MrMc is a brave man, it is one thing taking the Ra on but these are not teddy bears these are fanatics.

    That said in our society we have that right to free speech as they feel they have to blow themselves to bits.

    Martin

  • Francis

    McIntyre loves himself so much its unreal. Publicity is all he ever wants. He doesn’t care about being different from everybody else. It’s just me, me, me. Like a two year old child when a new baby has just arrived in the family. Attention seeking asshole.

  • J McConnell

    So lets see. It’s not that representations of the prophet are sacrilegious, it’s that all representation of humans or animals are sacrilegious. Might encourage idolatry you know.

    Last time I looked Middle Eastern newspapers were full of photographs and cartoons of people and animals. Sounds sacrilegious to me. And it seems that some of the Shia take this image business so seriously that at the holy shrines you can buy devotional cards with nice pictures of the prophet and various memorable members of his family…

    As far as I can make out this all started when a Danish editor decided to publish some very mild cartoons to prove that the creeping dhimmitude of Europe was just some neo-con myth. Some Danish immans were outraged, some Middle East papers published the cartoons, and not a lot happened.

    Some of the Danish immans were so outraged that they then decided to tour the Middle East parading the 12 original mild cartoons – and a few extra fake cartoons. The 3 faked cartoons, unlike the original 12 cartoons, *were* deeply insulting to Islam, and were deliberately designed to be so.

    So the only sacrilege committed here was that committed by the Danish immans when they forged the three incredibly insulting fake cartoons.

    And the only outrage here should be at the supine response of the British and Irish press to this deliberate piece of slander by the Danish immans.

  • lineout

    as someone who couldn’t care less about any religion, about mohammed, about offending holy people or sexist, religious bigots, i don’t really care who runs these cartoons and who doesn’t.

    *lineout*

  • bo’shank

    think the guys and gals at the blanket will be hiding under blankets when the islamofascists get a whiff of this!

  • TAFKABO

    Nonsense.

    The cartoon have been published widely in France, in many newspapers, but most noticably the meftwing satirical ragCharlie Hebdo.Charlie hendo devoted a whole issue to insulting the prophet,and the only difficulty they encountered was printing enough copies to satisfy demand.
    Caving in to threats is the one sure way to ensure they continue and escalate.

    As for the Blanket.A lot of people pay lip service to the notion of free speech, but McIntyre has a track record of giving a voice to anyone and everyone.
    Fair play to him.

  • Animus

    The Danish paper commissioned the cartoons – it wasn’t merely a case of printing something that was already out there. Only 12 people responded to the call with cartoons. Obviously the editors of the rightish paper hoped to stir things up and get a row brewing.

    I am not religious either, and have equal contempt for all of them. However, that does not extend to going out of my way to provoke anger.

    TAFAKBO – most religions hold the view that you will burn in hell if you don’t follow them, but does that mean individual members are knocking on the door to tell you, personally?

    Also this thread shows how easily people are confused by moderate Muslims and suicide bombers. Islam wouldn’t be the fastest growing religion in the world if its members were all killing themselves. Most Muslims just get on with life, and it’s discouraging to see people wilfully ignore this fact.

    As for McIntyre – he’s a bit late on this one isn’t he? How brave to run the cartoons after the hubbub has largely died down. Must not have had any other stories on the go.

  • TAFKABO

    TAFAKBO – most religions hold the view that you will burn in hell if you don’t follow them, but does that mean individual members are knocking on the door to tell you, personally?

    Sometimes yes, when I lived in Northern Ireland they would knock on my door, and if I had told them to fuck away off,after suggesting I would burn in hell for eternity, it would be me that was seen as the one causing offence.
    But mostly I just heard it being screamed into my ears as I walked through Cornmarket and the like.
    Occasionaly you would see them guldering it on television.

    I find them annoying, but I accept their right to be annoying in a free society, all I ask is the same in return.

    As for Moderate Moslems versus fanatics, it is precisely because I believe most Moslems are just the same as me that I think we can press the issue on free speech and expect the majority of them to understand and accept our fondness for it.

  • Harry Flashman

    It astonishes me how many people on the left of the political spectrum are falling over themselves to condemn the newspapers that commissioned and published these cartoons, see above where the little Danish newspaper is referred to as “rightish” as if that denotes some form of sinister agenda (by the way is Salman Rushdie some form of closet fascist as well?).

    You know for decades the so called liberals have been hammering us over the head with their sacred belief system, and finally we’ve all gotten aboard. We all now accept that women have an equal place in society to men, we agree that gays should not suffer discrimination, we are signed up to the idea of religious toleration, we now understand that if the BBC wants to mock Christ with “Jerry Springer the Opera” or New York art galleries put on “Piss Christ” art exhibits then us ol’ squaresvilles have just gotta accept it daddy oh.

    So it has come as a huge shock to discover that when sixteenth century religious fanatics who believe in the subjugation of women and the murder of homosexuals attack the right to freedom of expression and threaten the murder of artists who mock their religion that the only people manning the ramparts in the defence of Voltaire and the Enlightenment are crusty oul’ die hard reactionary stick in the mud tories like me!

    You lefties really are a bunch of wusses aren’t you?

    – Harry Flashman –

  • ‘Publication’ of the cartoons on the internet is neither big nor clever at this stage, not least because you are making public something that is already in the public domain anyway. The ‘I’m Spartacus!’ kick you might get from republishing them must have dwindled somewhat by now.

    If he’d devoted time and resources to producing a set of collectable laminated prints of the cartoons, perhaps stored in a delightful gilded casket with engravings inspired by early Islamic art, then I might be tempted to admit a smidgen of begrudging admiration.

    Hugh Green.

  • Animus

    Yes, saying rightish did make it sound sinister. Ha ha.

    The “liberal belief system” really amuses me Harry. Didn’t even Jesus say that people were equal, even, gasp, women? Is is not more a case that people have finally caught up with Jesus than a liberal belief system has been imposed? Even Jesus probably would have laughed at Jerry Springer – most of the complaints were made on behalf of people eager to be offended, but unable to see the programme.

    I still maintain that commissioning cartoons to merely to cause offence was a stupid thing to do, a disrespectful thing to do. That doesn’t mean I would ban their publication. All of these freedoms we have are based on using them sensibly and considerately. What is the point of deliberately pissing people off just to show you can?

    TAFKABO – I agree wholeheartedly you should be able to tell religous nuts who come to your house to f**k off, indeed, I have (more tactfully) delivered the same message myself. But I wouldn’t publicly denounce all Christians for the actions of a few. In the privacy of my own home, I would be a bit harsher, but that’s private life.

  • Jacko

    Harry Flashman at 11-36 AM sums it up well.

    Why have Muslims never been as exorcised over the numerous atrocities committed in the name of their religion as they have over a few cartoons?

    Notable, as well, is the distinct lack of tolerance for other religious beliefs in Muslim-controlled countries.

    Well done, The Blanket.

  • DK

    Slight update – the Danish newspaper commissioned the cartoons to raise the debate about a bunch of other Danes who were frightened off from illustrating a children’s book about the life of Mohammad. Not just for the hell of it.

    I’m with Flashman here – here is my cartoon of the prophet:

    mm
    mmmm
    o o
    L

    wwww
    ww

    DK

  • Busty Brenda

    Did I hear correctly this morning on the radio that the Muslims are going to protest in Belfast?

  • Busty Brenda

    post 20 was from me busty brenda lol Is there to be a protest at these cartoons in Belfast?

  • TL

    This is no longer newsworthy. What is the point? Is he doing it because he ‘can’? I addressed this point in my letter to the Blanket last week:
    http://lark.phoblacht.net/TLFLTR050306.html
    Check it out if you are so inclined.
    TL

  • Busty Brenda

    Isn’t it a bit late in the day to be re-opening this?

  • Jacko

    Tara LaFreniere

    Just read your letter to The Blanket.
    It is based totally on a false premise.

    You miss, or deliberatly ignore, a vital point: no-one is talking of “absolute” freedom of expression.
    Besides, legally such freedom is not permissible – at least in the West.

  • TL

    Absolute freedom is exactly what is at point here… that is relative of course, as J P Sartre never could quite outline absolute freedom and he spent more time on the project in recent history than anyone else…. however, if you feel that your freedom is such that you can act in a way that causes violence etc… you lapse into the area of feeling your freedom is without bounds.

  • TL

    #25 was my post…
    TL

  • Leonard

    “The moment someone threatens you with death if you dare to excercise a right, is precisly the time you have an obligation to excercise that right.” – TAFKABO

    As Trowbridge H. Ford pointed out, no-one has threatened The Blanket, so your argument is void.

    But let’s examine the logic of it: you will find that, for example, that if you insult a man’s wife in a bar, he will most likely threaten you with violence if you do not desist from the practice, irrespective of your right of free speech. According to your reasoning, you are now imbued with a profound moral duty to continue insulting his wife. So, in your eyes, you are transmogrified from a base swine into a defender of free speech.

    Indeed, let’s test both your logic and your commitment to your supposed moral duty to offend others: take it for granted that if you walk up to a skinhead in a street and insult his ideas about race, he will most likely refute your challenge with a swift head-butt. So, do you implement your moral duty routinely in such a manner, or do you prefer to do it over the Internet where you are at a safe distance from the violent consequences of your actions? If so, your moral authority is severely constrained by your cowardice.

  • TL

    My letter is dealing with the media and their responsiblities. Not with skin head or drunks in bars. I believe that Editors and publishers have responsibilities beyond the rest of us when reviewing the impact of their material.
    So your anaology is false.
    (ps…who is writing as the glitch is not showing the author?)
    TL

  • TL

    I missed that first part…no wonder your logic confused me.
    TL

  • Jacko

    “… however, if you feel that your freedom is such that you can act in a way that causes violence etc… you lapse into the area of feeling your freedom is without bounds”.

    But that is exactly the point. In the West freedom is not without bounds.
    Laws on defamation, racism, incitement etc. abound already and are strictly enforced.

    The real questions are these: Do we avoid offending only those who can and will resort to extreme violence?
    If that is the case, are only the weakest fair game, then?
    If not, why special dispensation for Muslims and not all religions?
    In any case, why religious belief and not other beliefs?
    How do we define and measure “offence”?

  • TL

    I am speaking of freedom within the law. Just because it is legal doesn’t mean it is correct or advisable. I can’t answer your definition question directly… I’ll say it is like porn… I can’t define it but I know it when I see it. If there is a powder keg, like current east west relations, responsible media must take that into consideration. We must remember, no one with a head on their shoulders would print an anti-Semitic cartoon in a mainstream media outlet. Why? We know why! There are times when the pulse must be taken, and observed. The responsiblities I speak of are more vague and abstract, which is what makes it difficult…yet no less important.

  • TL

    As William James said, everything must be considered in as full a context as possible. Context is critical.

  • Jacko

    TL

    At last, you’ve got it right.
    Context is critical.
    The Danish cartoons did not come from thin air. The context was and is of countless acts of extreme violence committed in the name of a religion without a word of protest from other adherents of that religion.
    Indeed, if anything, numerous Islamic religious and political leaders have encouraged and celebrated that violence.

    In that context, the cartoons were saying “this is how your religion is now viewed”.
    If the violence had been committed by Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Hindus or whatever, in the name of their religion and fellow believers had not protested, then similar cartoons would be justified.
    The same applies to any grouping who does not protest whenever atrocities are committed in its name.
    Silence speaks volumes – particularly when one contrasts the outrage that greeted the cartoons with the virtual silence that has always followed Islamic outrages.

  • TL

    Right, I knew where the ‘toons came from, but what I questioned was the wisdom of having a smoke next to the powder keg. More than anything I was speaking to the future, asking media to consider what has transpired when they are faced with similar situations.
    Also, I wanted to add, that I have the utmost respect for The Blanket and Anthony Mc. I just don’t think the ‘toons are newsworthy anymore. The conversation can continue, but publishing them is a day late and a dollar short.

  • Jacko

    “… what I questioned was the wisdom of having a smoke next to the powder keg”.

    Which brings us back to one of my initial questions: Do we only avoid offending those who can and will resort to extreme violence?

    I say no.

    The vacuum left by Muslim spokesmen (its always men in that case) not railing against those murdering in the name of their religion was filled by the cartoons.

  • heck

    I have to agree with mr mcintyre in this (and–shock horror-martin Ingram)

    Freedom of speech should be something we all -republican and unionist-should defend.

    However I do see a level of hypocrisy in the west’s reaction to this –David Irvine is in jail in Austria for publishing something as equally offensive and this is also wrong.

    And let us not forget Honest Tony and the labour fascists and their “glorifying terrorism” legislation. I guess they want to put me in jail for going to the pub on a Friday night and singing the “broad black brimmer” or the “boys of the old brigade”. I am sure loyalists are as offended by that as Muslims are at the cartoons.

    You have probably noticed from my comments on this site that I seldom differentiate between the activities of state and non-state organizations. (I see not moral difference between provo activity in Nor Iron and Honest Tony’s actions in Iraq.)

    Likewise I see no difference between Muslims breaking embassy windows and burning cars to protest these cartoons and Austria putting Irvine in jail for something as equally offensive.

  • TL

    I hear you Jacko, we can’t make one group ‘off limits’ because they are prone to violence, or only ‘pick on the weak’… But serious thought must be given to what messages we send. It wasn’t just the crazy violent people who were offended, it was average, kind, peaceful Muslims…Muslims who disagree with terrorism and have spoken against it. I read one or two papers from the middle east everyday, and you see not just the nutty ones, but the mainstream believing the western world believes them inferior. If comes back to taking the world pulse.
    I think we must agree to disagree on this point.
    TL

  • heck

    the 3.58 post was me

    heck

  • baslamak

    “The Danish cartoons did not come from thin air. The context was and is of countless acts of extreme violence committed in the name of a religion without a word of protest from other adherents of that religion.
    Indeed, if anything, numerous Islamic religious and political leaders have encouraged and celebrated that violence.”

    jacko

    You are so wrong here, countless political and religious leaders of nations whose main faith is islam have time and again condemned violent acts such as 9/11. Indeed from Turkey to Morocco, Saudi Arabia to Iran, islamic scholars and imams, plus political leaders have said such atrocities have nothing to do with islam and must be condemned by all. It is not that they are not condemning these outrageous acts, it is just you are either not listening, or perhaps you are, but feel they are being impertinent when they also point out what lays behind some of these attacks, i e the sheer hypocrisy and double standards of US and EU foreign policy in the Middle-east.

    I am not saying one justifies the other but I am suggesting we in the west should consider one of the most every day things in life, i e cause and effect. I was in Turkey when the 9/11 suicide bombers struck, I was walking down the street in an average sized Turkish town when I noticed a small crowd gathering around a TV in a cafe. As I passed by someone beckoned me in to come and watch, this was just prior to a plane crashing into the tower.

    I guarantee you these people reacted in much the same way as Im sure people did in London, Washington or Paris. That is in shock, horror and a sick feeling about all those innocents who and that very minute were being murdered. In hindsight I would also say there was a real feeling of fear for the future, as we all seemed to instinctively understand that from that moment our lives would change.

    I would add this stereotyping of members of the Islamic faith as supporters of terror, if it continues will drive them into the arms of the Islamic extremists. Surly there is a lesson to be learned from the north about what happens when you push people into a corner from a position of superiority.

    Post by baslamak

  • Jacko

    baslamak
    “… when they also point out what lays behind some of these attacks”.

    A lesson we certainly have learnt in the North, as you put it, is that a short condemnatory line followed quickly by “but” and then a diatribe of justification is no condemnation at all.
    Why no marches of protest against those killing innocents in the name of Islam?
    The only imams and Islamic political leaders any of us hear are those preaching hatred, glorifying mass murderers, and threatening more violence.
    It is for moderate Islam to take its religion back from the extremists.

  • TAFKABO

    As Trowbridge H. Ford pointed out, no-one has threatened The Blanket, so your argument is void.

    The Blanket was threatened, as we all were by the thousands of demonstrators across the world who made it plain what they would do to anyone who dared to speak against their wishes.
    It is against this backdrop I think the cartoons mut be published and republished.

    But let’s examine the logic of it: you will find that, for example, that if you insult a man’s wife in a bar, he will most likely threaten you with violence if you do not desist from the practice, irrespective of your right of free speech. According to your reasoning, you are now imbued with a profound moral duty to continue insulting his wife. So, in your eyes, you are transmogrified from a base swine into a defender of free speech.

    A totally spurious analogy.
    We are talking about satire of an ideological movement, a legitimate form of protest and healthy provocation for thousands of years.

    Indeed, let’s test both your logic and your commitment to your supposed moral duty to offend others: take it for granted that if you walk up to a skinhead in a street and insult his ideas about race, he will most likely refute your challenge with a swift head-butt. So, do you implement your moral duty routinely in such a manner, or do you prefer to do it over the Internet where you are at a safe distance from the violent consequences of your actions? If so, your moral authority is severely constrained by your cowardice.

    This is where your argument really falls apart.Firstly, you know nothing about my personal life and what I have and haven’t done, or been prepared to do.
    As it happens, I’ve been involved in anti racist work, and I think that kicking the shit out of fascists is a proud British tradition that it would be a shame to lose.

    But this is all by the by.
    I’ve no wish or means to authenticate my resolve on this forum, and you have no way of refuting my claims, so why even get into that line of reasoning?

    You’re essentialy arguing that appeasment is the best course of action in a given situation, I disagree.

  • TAFKABO

    Post of 8:04 was by

    ~~TAFKABO~~

  • Biffo

    Jacko

    “Why no marches of protest against those killing innocents in the name of Islam?”

    Why try to make all muslims responsible for actions of a minority?

    Were there mass protests in Europe when news of the massacre of thousands of muslims in Srebrenica 10 years ago became apparent? After the Dutch peace-keepers stood by and let it happen.

    Are you saying we all condoned that atrocity because we didn’t go out on mass demonstrations?

    I don’t know about you but I don’t feel responsible.

    But I am old enough to remember the Shankill butchers operating in the part of town I live in.

    They cut the heads of their victims because they were catholics, in the style of the insurgents in Iraq.

    Would it have been right at the time to publish a cartoon in the Irish news portraying, say, Martin Luther or protestants in general, all of them, as knife wielding psychos?

    Then refuse to apologise, then refuse to talk to protestant representatives, then explain to them that “this is how your religion is now viewed”.

    Crazy stuff.

  • Biffo

    The 10:18 post was posted by

    Biffo

  • Harry Flashman

    Biffo

    If a newspaper had actually run a cartoon showing Martin Luther as a murderer would protestants have been justified in going on a violent rampage and murdering people? No of course not, so why do you not hold Muslims to the same standard? Why are Muslims given a bit of a pass if they act like maniacs when Christians who behaved in the same way would be totally condemned by you?

    This is why I get annoyed when people accuse the cartoonists of racism. It’s so stupid because for a start Islam is not a race but more to the point people making excuses for Islamist nuttery are the ones who are being racist, they, unlike the Danish cartoonists, are the people who are saying that the norms of modern social behaviour don’t apply to Muslims, I disagree. I believe that Muslims are fair game for being lampooned in just the same way as Orangemen and Cathoilc priests and indeed as I am.

    As regards your Srebrenica analogy, as I recall the Dutch government was forced to resign in shame over its handling of the massacre. Maybe you didn’t notice the Kosovo war in 1999 but it involved a grand coalition of mainly non-muslim nations led by the US and Britain bombing the shit out of a Christian European nation in order to protect the Muslims of Kosovo. They did so because mass popular pressure in their home nations was demanding that an end be put to Serbian aggression. When you can point to similar incidents in the Muslim world then I’ll accept your analogy.

    – Harry Flashman –

  • DK

    Recently Iran’s biggest newspaper ran a competition for the 12 best cartoons about the Jewish Holocaust – in the name of “free speech” (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4709380.stm).

    The cartoons themselves are on http://www.irancartoon.com

    Haven’t seen any mass Jewish protests anywhere. Even thought the holocaust was an actual incident of racism, while the cartoons are merely the denigration of a religion. In fact, the Israeli press agency has re-published them.

    This suggests to me that the problem isn’t the cartoons, but rather a struggle within the Mulslim world as to the direction the religion should go in. All we see are the shouty elements, but beneath them there is a lot of work going on in human rights and free speech etc.

    The cartoons will be a weapon for the repressive elements of moslem society, but it is a double-edged sword: Once the initial violent responses have died down, people will ask “was it worth it”. Bit like here.

  • DK

    That last post 08.36 was from DK

  • Jacko

    Biffo

    “Why no marches of protest against those killing innocents in the name of Islam?”

    As I think you well realise, the above was to mark the contrast in reaction from Muslims to butchery in the name of their religion on one hand and a few cartoons on the other.
    I don’t quite remember the Shankill Butchers claiming their actions in the name of any of the Protestant religions, or being promised a heaven-load of virgins for their actions, or being lauded from the pulpits – but tnen, I might have missed all of that.

  • The fact that these provocative cartoons have repeatedly appeared in the press, and on the internet removes their publication from any argument about freedom of speech, and the media.

    It has now just become a red flag – what Anthony McIntyre and The Blanket are mindlessly engaging in – to piss off all Muslims. Only madmen, who care nothing about the consequences of their actions, would engage in such activity at this crucial juncture.