Yet another stupid column in the The Guardian today, which is nicely dealt with by Chris. Redundant though the following may be, the thing made me so cross that I thought that I may as well put the boot in too.
It comes to us from one Sarah Joseph, whose well-covered headshot you can see on the left. You can imagine which side she is about to take on those cartoons?
The battle is set, of religious extremism versus freedom of speech. These are the lines drawn, or so we are told, in the escalating tensions worldwide surrounding the printing of images of Muhammad in Denmark and elsewhere in Europe.
No, we are not told that; that is what they are.
Although the media is only now picking up on this story, my inbox has been receiving messages about these cartoons for weeks. The messages range from high-pitched to very thoughtful, but not one of them says, "Yeah, whatever ... "
Well, for starters, perhaps you should drop into The Kitchen from time to time, Sarah; you can see a "Yeah, whatever..." reaction here. Furthermore, I would imagine that, as the editor of Emel, a Muslim-oriented lifestyle rag (no doubt featuring such stories as Headscarves Are The New Black and Oranges Wrapped In A Towel—How To Beat Your Wife Without Leaving A Bruise As The Prophet Commanded), your correspondants on this issue may well conform to a certain type of person, with a certain type of belief and opinion. Would I be right on that? Presumably, the "high-pitched" messages are calling for a jihad, and the "very thoughtful" ones favour a more measured
There's no apathy surrounding this issue. This is because of the love felt for the prophet and religious norms in Islam.
Well, that's nice. Perhaps I can understand the upset that these cartoons have caused now; still, it's all water under the bridge, eh? We can just get along, yeah? No, young Padawan, for that is not the Muslim way.
But also because it feeds into profound feelings of disempowerment, fear and insecurity among Muslims that Europe would do well to understand. In Britain, we should realise that Muslims here will be angry if the pictures are gratuitously published in British papers - not just because of the insults to Muhammad, but because it makes them feel disempowered.
That's right! The Muslim way is the classic veiled (pun intended)—and not so veiled—threats! Yay! Glad to see that those have made an appearance.
Still, I feel terrible about the Muslims feeling disempowered. Perhaps they could do what the rest of us do and just knuckle down, work hard and hope to better themselves through the traditions that we have in the infidel West?
Protesting is the only way to regain some self-respect.
Apparently not. Is protesting really the only way that Muslims can gain self-respect? Seriously? I mean, admittedly, if I was part of a fucking mediaeval, woman-oppressing, Jew-hating piece of shit cult like that of Islam I would probably feel that I needed to gain some self-respect. I might start by having a shower to try to wash off the grime of belief, and then I might actually question whether I really wanted to follow the 1400 year old prognostications of a paedophile bandit who claimed that a supernatural being told him the precise way in which you were allowed to beat your wife.
But then, I'm rational. Oh, and I've got some self-respect, of course.
First, the easy part. Any depiction of Muhammad, however temperate, is not allowed.
Brrzzzzzzzzzp! Thank you for playing Sarah, but I'm afraid that you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Via the P-G, here is a nice long piece demonstrating exactly how wrong you are, Sarah.
There are but a few images of him in Muslim history, and even these are shown with his face veiled.
Brrzzzzzzzzzp! Whoops, sorry, Sarah; you are wrong again (see above article). You really aren't doing terribly well today, eh? Never mind, let's see if we can glean anything more from your entertainingly turgid claptrap.
So there is hurt and anger, and the messages I receive reflect that. In response, they suggest different approaches. One is through lobbying: distributing the phone numbers of the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the Danish ambassador, Denmark's parliament and everything else Danish, and urging Muslims to make their feelings known.
In this country, I am sure that you could count that as harrassment, but we'll leave that aside.
We also have the boycott approach - "the only language the west understands" - listing every Danish product that one can buy.
Fuck me, I bet the Danes are quaking in their boots at the idea that Muslims might boycott their bacon. Haaaaang oooon...
I also get messages from the great optimists, suggesting we use the controversy to explain the real nature of Muhammad, who returned insults with kindness.
Or invasion. Whatever.
I have also been receiving other messages.
These'll be the ones containing the death threats, right?
These are the most worrying, and the ones of which Europe must take note. These are the messages of resignation. The messages that discuss exit strategies.
Excellent! This is really good news! Bugger off.
The messages that question the very future of Muslims in Europe.
If Muslims will not accept the principles by which we live—one of the most fundamental of which is the concept of free speech—then Muslims will either have to leave, or conquer us and bring down our institutions. Which one do I favour, I wonder? Oh, yeah; bugger off.
Why such hand-wringing over a few cartoons?
Search me, but I would guess that it's because many of you Muslims are over-sensitive, superstitious idiots.
The key is in the images themselves: Muhammad with turbaned bomb, Muhammad declaring that paradise had run out of virgins for suicide bombers...
I can see that those may cause offence, but so what? We're still going to allow them to be printed. That's what free speech is about.
... Muhammad with sword and veiled women.
Are you saying that, while he was out and about conquering, Muhammad* never used a sword (the correct term for this type of sword is scimitar, by the way, Sarah)? Not offensive surely? And I would have thought that showing the women without veils would have been considerably more offensive still, eh?
Muhammad in every Orientalist caricature. Muhammad as a symbol for Islam and Muslims. These are the stereotypes that, as Muslims, we face daily.
My heart bleeds.
The looks on the tube, the suspicion, the eyes on the bags we carry.
Now, I wonder why that would be? Is it because the current Muslim weapon of choice is the suicide bomb packed in... oh... bags? Do you expect people not to be wary? And if they weren't dead, I'm sure that the friend that you lost in the 7/7 bombing, would also be pretty fucking wary too.
There is no denying the feeling of being pushed against a wall, of drowning in the stereotypes that abound. This is no way to live, and it is certainly no springboard for making a major contribution to the society you live in.
Off you go then. Admittedly, the market for Sarah's Muslim lifestyle magazine (101 Ways To Wear Your Yashmak, Dhimmied!—How Best To Ensure That Your Pointless Meandering Are Printed In The Left-Wing Press) is going to shrink but, hey, trees deserve lives too, you know.
The messages to my inbox of resignation, of fear, come with good reason. Some countries that have reprinted the images - Spain, France, Italy and Germany - have a nasty history of fascism.
France? Well, yes, but only because they collapsed like an overdone souffle; to give them their due, they didn't implement it themselves. As for the others, well, that really was some time ago now. They are, unlike almost every Muslim country, functioning democracies at present.
Just last week we had Holocaust memorial day. The Holocaust did not occur overnight. It took time to establish a people as subhuman, and cartoons played their part. Does Europe not remember its past and the Nazi propaganda of Der Stürmer?
Yup, it featured a lot of cartoons characterising the evil Joos as a sinister, all-embracing, planet-raping secret society controlling the nations of the world through money. Much like those that regularly appear in Muslim newspapers.
Now the great shape-shifter of fascism seems to have taken on the clothes of "freedom of speech".
What?! Where the fuck did that come from? How, in the name of fuck, did you get from a stringent, dictatorial regime noted for its micro-management of the popular media as a means of control, to free speech? Oh, I see: we are all fascists deliberately oppressing the poor Mooselimbs through the power of cartoons.
Can you leave now, please, you appalling piece of shit. Not content with whining about "self-respect", now you are accusing every government in Europe of being fascist because they refuse to stop newspapers printing images of your prophet. There's a limit to how much horseshit I can take.
Go on, fuck off.
If these cartoons were designed to provoke Muslim fundamentalists, maybe they have done more to reveal the prejudices of Europe. Europe has a history of turning on its minorities. Will that be its future too?
Ah, right; because, of course, there is absolutely no persecution of minorities, such as Jews or Chirstians, in Muslim countries, right? Churches being burned down, Christians being murdered for being Christian: that definitely does not happen. OK? 'Kay.
Seriously, Sarah, I mean it: fuck off. Go and live in Iran, or Saudi, or one of those other immensely popular emigration destinations; you'll have a captive audience for your piece-of-shit rag there an' all. Or, at the very least, stop hawking your worthless opinions to newspapers that should know better; I really hope that Al-Guardian paid no more than a penny for your thoughts.
Anyway, all things considered, if you cannot live with our traditions and way of life, including the principle of free speech (and free media), I'd really rather that you just fucked off, to be honest.
* By the way, can we sort out the damn spelling of this man's name, please? If I were Muhammad, I'd be more annoyed that no one can spell my name right than that someone had drawn some caricatures of me.