I paused to read some news today and the first thing I read was this story. I had heard a whisper about the whole Danish cartoon thing before now, yet I had no idea it was being blown so out of proportion.
Okay, would I like it if somebody drew a picture that depicted Jesus wearing a turban in the shape of a bomb? No. But I would also probably laugh at the poor fool who drew the picture and shrug my shoulders. Such is life. There was a play made awhile back which depicted Jesus as a gay man who sleeps around. If that's not offensive to Christianity I don't know what is. Take the Mormon belief that Jesus traveled around the Americas and you've got some really weird affronts to Christianity. But Christians don't say things like this about people who offend our religion: “Whoever defames our prophet should be executed,” and "Denmark must be blown up.” Any Christian who rattles of a remotely extreme sentence is publicly humiliated for weeks on end.
This whole mess does not make Islam look like a happy religion. Freedom of religion is necessary, and each religion should allow for other religions to co-exist as well as viewpoints against their religions. Attacks on one's beliefs are to be expected. Many do not understand the faith of others, no matter what that faith may be. One journalist drawing a stupid cartoon should not send so large a portion of a religious sect into turmoil. After all, if that religion has truth in it then it will survive the stupidity of an offensive cartoonist.
I do not condone the drawing of offensive cartoons. I think it was very wrong of newspapers to print those drawings. However, I do not believe the answer to the problem is to kill the person who drew the picture and destroy their country. If anything, that gives weight to the nature of the drawing. It would be far better to point out why Islam is a peaceful religion by admonishing the newspapers that printed the picture and giving them reasons why their ideas are false. Tell people why the drawings are nonsense, don't threaten to destroy the entirety of Europe. After all, throwing one's cities into turmoil over a few offensive drawings is akin to the message pro-lifers send when they bomb abortion clinics.
Even so, some more moderate voices do speak in the crowds and it is good to hear them:
"Al-Sistani, who wields enormous influence over Iraq’s majority Shiites, suggested militant Muslims were partly to blame. He referred to 'misguided and oppressive' segments of the Muslim community and said their actions 'projected a distorted and dark image of the faith of justice, love and brotherhood.'"
EDIT: Here is the link to the Danish cartoons that started it all. I include this for clarity's sake, not for any malicious reason. I know that the media in the U.S. will refuse to reprint these cartoons anywhere, and I believe that people should know the whole truth of the matter. Here, also, is a link to another blogger who paid closer attention to detail than I or most others. If my posting of these links makes you suddenly want to kill me and destroy my cities (not that I have cities yet) please pick up your telephone, dial the operator and ask for the nearest psychiatrist in your location. Then go see that person. Thanks.