A Muslim Response To Reprinting Of Cartoons

Rania Al Maiky, chief editor of the Daily News of Egypt, offered a critique of western newspapers which reprinted the famous Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed and argues the issue was not so much freedom of the press as a reflection of anti-Muslim feeling within the Western world. Maiky agrees the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 10, proclaims the right of freedom of the press, but it also is not an absolute statement since it refers to “duties and responsiblities” to society. “Therefore, freedm of the press is not absolute by law, a fact that consciously controls the dynamics of editorial decision-making. The Egyptian journalist believes Europeans have continually displayed insensitivity to the rights and feelings of Muslims about their religious heritage. “Why countries throughout Europe decided to reprint the drawings then, and why they’re doing it now, despie the unequivocal knowledge that by doing so they risk offending 15 million of their own citizens, is a question European Muslims have to confront everyday and one that the Western media must ask.”

Maiky believes the situation has played into the hands of a handful of authoritarian bigots who do not represent the feelings of the vast majority of Muslims in the world. It is clear, says the journalist, the cartoons have more to do with emotional feelings generated by the 9/11 attack and subsequent conflicts in the Middle East and the rest of the world. The small number of Muslims who behave in barborous ways has made the Western world respond in a manner that threatens the security and feelings of innocent Muslims. “In the bigger picture, Arabs and Muslims believe they have suffered for years under the double standards the West applies to them.”

Maiky charges liberals with adopting a pseudo heroic stance by posturing as defenders of freedom of the press and in so doing, have deliberately ignored the rights and beliefs of innocent Muslims. “It is regrettable that a tastelss provocation, no matter how insulting it was to some Muslims, had led to the loss of human life before and may escalate now, and that a simple exercise in common courtesy would be seen as a threat to the whole of Western civillization.”

  • journeyer58

    Rania Al Maiky: Hypocrite or ignorant? You choose. The rights and beliefs of innocent Muslims should not be ignored but neither should the proscription of one religion or belief system drive the rights including freedom of the press for all. In countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria and other radical Islamic countries, it is not uncommon for the editorial sections of their papers to portray Christians and Jews as animals and more specifically pigs and dogs. Both animals, which are unclean in the Muslim faith. Why are we supposed to respect the rights of those, who, by dint of their religious belief system, are opposed to the very notion of freedom of the press, the right to speak one’s mind without fear of a death sentence-look at Iraq-the sarcasm and parodying of one’s faith should not be denied by the people who are those in the extreme minority. We must in the West protect the right of Free Speech and the right to offend, even those with religious sensibilities. Theocracy, is a poor form of government, in America, we left that form of government behind with the English in the late 1700’s. There the monarch was the head of the church and could by reason of birth, say that, G-d was the sole reason that “We” are king. Yet the people who left had their own problems, the Puritans wanted to worship their own way and those who did not were damned to eternal Hell for not following the rule of the majority.
    We must not allow in America or the Western nations, anyone, anymore the right to be sole arbiter of what can and cannot be said. We, the people are the one’s who control the press, although under GW Bush and Co. this is stretching the point a bit. I, stand firmly with the men and women of the Danish press who are courageous enough to question the ideas that sensibilities need to be soothed and calmed, or by G-d there will be hell to pay. We must stand against the tyranny of those who would institute any type of theocracy, be it, Christian or Islamic.
    Do not allow those who would make a litmus test for any type of office in the US. Religiosity is not any reason to vote a person into office.

  • http://www.theimpudentobserver.com Fred Stopsky

    I agree with the gist of your comment. I do believe, however, there is a double standard since few American newspapers would publish cartoons depicting Jews or African Americans in negative ways. I believe that was a point being made by Maiky’s editorial.

  • CTK

    Back in the day, newspapers printed plenty of op/ed cartoons depicting black panthers in negative ways, and I myself have seen negative depictions of Joe Lieberman that marked him by his faith. If Muslims do not want to be depicted this way, then they should do something about their fringe elements, instead of proving the cartoonists right by immediately rioting and committing acts of violence. Perception is 90% of reality, and the truth is that Islam, a religion with no central authority, is perceived as violent, because those voices are speaking the loudest.
    As for double standards, so what? There are double standards within the Muslim world too. They all seem to want American military protection and American dollars, but their governments internally foster hate toward the USA and its allies.

  • http://www.theimpudentobserver.com Fred Stopsky

    I agree in the past it was common to print anti-Negro or anti-Irish or anti-Jewish caricatures. That era has ended. I support the right of newspapers to print the caricatures. I doubt if they would print caricatures that were blatantly anti-Jewish.