Caught in a pincer movement

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 6, 2006

Category: Tolerance

This entry was posted on
Monday, February 6th, 2006
10:58 am and is filed
under Tolerance.

This is an interesting post that attempts to interpret the cartoons from a Danish perspective. Be warned that it stretches in places… particularly with the ‘that bomb in the turban is an orange’ theory.

This post at DailyKos does a lot to explain the timing of the suddenly widespread outrage.

Both of these links come via this post at just another Cranky Little Blog, which brings to light a point that I’ll get onto to in a mo…

Observer – A few bad cartoons are no reason to fall out: Both sides are spoiling for a fight on this one and there is a fair amount of unattractive posturing. When push comes to shove, I have to say that I would take a lot more notice of the outrage in the Middle East if I had not come across dozens of anti-semitic cartoons published in the Arab press. The striking part of Arabic Jew-baiting is that it is as prevalent, nasty and dehumanising as it ever was in Nazi Germany. Newspapers published in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Oman and UAE all use demonic images of stereotypical Jews (big nose, black coat and hat and laden with money bags) pulling the strings behind the scenes in US politics, buying political influence and spreading death, terror and disease. Josef Goebbels would have felt quite at home reading these newspapers. They are unacceptable and would, if published here, cause an outrage equal to last week’s, but this does not seem to have occurred to the Muslim spokesman or clerics that I have heard on the subject. I am not sure if there is an equivalence between racism and blasphemy, other than in effect, but I do know that we both have to move towards each other on these issues.

Now, back to that point, initially raised by The Religious Policeman (permalink is borked, sorry, but there’s an earlier and equally interesting read here if you need a landmark to start from):

The official reaction of British officialdom – precisely nothing! – illustrates how successful we have been over the years in getting them to accept the “Principle of Asymmetry”. In other words, we use their sense of “fair play”, “multiculturalism”, “democratic values”, and of course their guilt feelings, against them, so that they restrict their own freedom of action, but are very lax when dealing with the Muslim, for fear of offense or violent reaction. This of course confuses and demoralizes the ordinary person-in-the-street, and weakens their resistance to the onward march of the Ummah.

Well, I wouldn’t say precisely nothing. I’m sure that action will be taken now The Scum are engaging in some pre-trial by media with some ‘name them and shame them’ fun: Above are the faces of hate that shame the religion of Islam. Contorted with anger and preaching violent revenge, they have insulted millions of decent people in Britain with their vile actions. All the fanatics have achieved is to show their hatred of democracy and free speech. Today The Sun calls on its readers to name and shame them.

Heh. This brings to mind this Sun editorial from Thursday 2nd Feb that I neglected to blog at the time: The Sun is not printing in full the cartoons that have caused uproar in Europe and the Middle East. We have two reasons. First, the cartoons are intended to insult Muslims, and The Sun can see no justification for causing deliberate offence to our much-valued Muslim readers. Second, the row over the cartoons is largely a manufactured one. They were printed first in a Danish dispute over free speech. The Sun believes passionately in free speech, but that does not mean we need to jump on someone else’s bandwagon to prove we will not be intimidated. It does seem ridiculous, though, that mayhem is breaking out over a handful of cartoons. Can we all get real.

Yes, let’s do get real. Let’s begin with the phrase “The Sun can see no justification for causing deliberate offence to our much-valued Muslim readers”…

Perhaps this sensitivity to their many, many Muslim readers is the reason why there has been no Page 3 editorial on this subject yet…


There’s a more comprehensive report on the actions of our moral guardians here.

Let’s move on now, as there’s a fight underway, and the clear priority for any responsible political body is to gain ground…

Talk Politics – Follow the white rabbit: And of course, dear old Jack Straw is pushed out front and centre to make just the right kind of placatory noises to suit the occasion, while, behind the scenes, the spin doctors are already working overtime to figure out just how much political capital they can make out of TV news footage of brown-faced people with placards demanding that those who mock Islam should be ‘butchered’ and chanting about ‘Bin Laden coming’ for the government’s next run at forcing through some more crappy, illiberal, authoritarian anti-terrorist legislation – let’s face it, you can bet your arse that all this is going to come up when the government have to try to get last year’s anti-terrorist legislation, with its appalling ‘control orders’ renewed.

Well said. Now, onto other ground-gainers…

The Sun – ‘Bomb’ nut: I’d do it again: (Omar) Khayam, a building student from Bedford, told the Sun last night: “I’ve done nothing wrong.” Amazingly, he added: “I wasn’t trying to appear like a terrorist at all. Yes I was on the protest but I didn’t even carry any placards or shout any slogans. I can’t believe all the attention that I’ve received as I didn’t consider it such a big thing. I admit that it may have appeared in a bit of a military style and a bit provocative but that’s not illegal in this country.”

Guardian – Arrest extremist marchers, police told: Protesters in London who carried placards threatening suicide bombings and massacres in revenge for the Danish cartoons satirising the prophet Muhammad are to be investigated by Scotland Yard and could face arrest. Metropolitan police are considering the options after the demonstrations at the end of last week. A flurry of cross-party calls by MPs came at the weekend to pursue those responsible on the grounds that the threats were an incitement to murder. The slogans, written in the same style and in similar black felt-tip pen ink, urged Muslims to use violence. A protester was also photographed wearing a garment resembling a suicide bomber’s jacket. The man, Omar Khayam from Bedford, said he had no regrets about his style of dress, telling the Daily Express: “I didn’t go there to cause anyone any harm. I went along just to attend a protest. Yet I have been branded a suicide bomber overnight. Did I say, ‘Kill Jews?’ No. Did I have racist signs on me? No. So why this reaction?” He went on: “Yes, I would do it again to make a point. I could have gone along and held up banners or something, but this made the point better.”

1. Dear Omar… I beg to differ. This is precisely the kind of thing that’s bound to be misinterpreted and used as collateral by both of the parties that have hijacked your religion for political purposes.. even if you left the house that day aiming to look ‘merely military’. I’m not arguing with your point (which remains unclear) or your right to make it, but I think your judgement is lacking.

2. If an arrest is to be made over the offending placards, the police should start with the one person who created them.

CuriousHamster – Pens and Swords: Be aware, however, that the extremists who took part in those protests knew exactly what they were doing. They most definitely do want to create a clash of civilisations. The central pillar of the strategy is an attempt to deliberately provoke Western society in order to generate a response which can then be represented as a hatred of all Muslims. This response, they hope, will alienate moderate Muslims and leave them with no choice but to support the extremists and their clash of cultures. This is the same strategy used by bin Laden and his supporter. It is the central motive behind the attacks on New York. The aim was to generate Western hatred and suspicion of all Muslims which the extremists can then use to their advantage. Those who proclaim that the extremists at the protest on Friday represent the views of most Muslims will be playing into their hands. It’s not true but if you say it often enough, it might be one day. Those Muslims who are reacting in an extreme fashion are behaving outrageously. It’s almost enough to make me bring out the gimp and make some offensive images myself. But that, as I said, would be just what the extremists want us to do. I for one, have no intention of playing ball.


  1. Simon Maxwell says

    Something occurred to me today: what do you do if you happen to be a Danish Muslim extremist? Chop your own head off?

  2. Manic says

    Yes, because all Danes are idiotic cartoonists… in much the same way that all Muslims are terrorists.:o)

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