When a journalist or cartoonist is about to have something published that involves religious criticism do they ever get scared? Does their fear center on the possibility of receiving an enraged email response or are they more afraid of an explosive snail mail? It might just depend on which religion the newsman is castigating.
Two big stories on religion in Denmark came out within a few days of each other this week. The stories show very different outcomes of journalistic criticism when it comes to Christianity and Islam. Three days after Christmas the second largest Danish newspaper, Politiken, argued that “Obama is, of course, greater than Jesus.” A few days later, just after the new year, that same paper broke the news that the Danish police shot and wounded a Muslim man trying to kill a cartoonist for a controversial drawing he did four years ago of the Islamic Prophet Mohammad.
In September of 2005 a small Danish paper published 12 comic drawings critical of Mohammad. One of the more contentious drawings was done by Kurt Westergaard, who drew an image of Mohammad with a turban that looked like a bomb.
In a few months the images were discovered by some Muslim leaders who turned around and made sure followers of Islam the world over saw the pictures. (Side comment: I’m not sure why showing offensive pictures to millions that only a few thousand had seen was considered a good and holy thing to do. If you show me a disgusting picture I would encourage you to tear it up. I certainly wouldn’t think the proper response would be for me to show the picture to everyone I knew.) The outrage was immediate, passionate, and often violent. It began with the burning of Danish flags but expanded to Danish diplomatic offices in Beirut and Damascus being set on fire. The cartoons were used as motive for at least dozens of killings in Pakistan, Libya, and Nigeria.
Westergaard was a major target for Radical Islam and millions of dollars were promised for the Muslim Jihadist who killed the cartoonist. This week he (and his small granddaughter) were attacked by 3 young Muslim men. Thankfully Westergaard and the girl were able to hide out until police showed up to the rescue. CBS news did a brief report on the event.
Attacks on people for alleged disrespect for Islam, The Quran, or Mohammad is sadly far too common. World Magazine recently reported that in Pakistan,
“thousands of militants looted and torched more than 100 homes in a Christian neighborhood, killing at least eight people. The reason: They heard rumors that Christians had blasphemed Islam.”
Similar aggression and destruction has happened in Turkey, India, Indonesia, and all over the world. All this death and bloodshed was done in the name of defending Islam against those who would say anything negative about the Crescent and Star.
Compare this to the Christian world’s reaction to mockery of the biblical worldview. At most, people know there may be a verbal backlash or boycotts, but there is never a concern that there would be attempted murder. There will be no Christian militants sneaking into the home of Politiken authors for saying Obama is greater than Jesus. But imagine the outcome of an article that argued Obama is greater than Mohammad.
Fundamentlist, Radical Islam has been compared countless times by the mainstream media as being equal to fundamentalist and devout Christianity. NewsReal has reported on some of those examples in the past (like when Chris Matthews said the Religious Right resembles the Taliban.) However, this week, thanks to Denmark, we realize the folly of that argument Islamo-facism is at war with Western culture, and it’s time that our leaders begin to realize that.
All religious followers would be wise to follow the teachings of Jesus (even if they think Obama is greater):