Europe could learn a valuable lesson from the Mohammed cartoon controversy. They have labored to maintain goodwill with the Muslim masses. They have distanced themselves from the Great Satan and poured scorn on the Little Satan (Israel). They have tiptoed lightly so as not to offend the sensitive sensibilities of the Muslims amongst them. All this was done so that the Muslims would like them. Then a few small private EU newspapers printed cartoons of Muhammad (see above) that offended the extraordinarily thin-skinned Muslims (who are conversely unfazed by the demonically murderous acts of their coreligionists) and in an instant the "like" evaporated. Muslims in the Middle East are now chanting "death to Denmark!" and "death to France!" In Briton, extreme Islamists have issued a fatwa calling for the murder of all persons publishing the likeness of Mohammed. Middle Eastern leaders are issuing statements that the publication of the pictures will result in more terrorism - a kind of pre-justification for the inevitable violence that will result if Europe does not snuff-out free speech with respect to Islam.
On the other hand, papers in the United States have published some of the images and many popular blogs have reprinted the images (and added new creations a great deal more offensive then the originals) yet the Muslim anger over the images is directed at the EU nations. Why? Because “like” doesn’t last. Its based on whimsy. Respect and fear last.
As I said in my post “Liked or Respected?” below:
“We should seek instead to be respected and, to some extent, feared. Respect (and fear) lasts; feelings of affinity don’t. For an example of how quickly “like” changes to “dislike” recall how quickly the world began to turn on the US when we invaded Afghanistan after 9/11, one action that no one can doubt was absolutely essential and justified.”
The United States is more respected and feared than the EU nations because we have shown a willingness to dole out pain to those who threaten us and to take casualties to see our will done.
The EU has invested all of its efforts in seeking the approval of very volatile people. Despite all their efforts, the Muslims have had another capricious mood swing. Now all their efforts to date are for naught. The Muslims have determined (correctly) that the European desire to appease is not based on a deep embrace of Islam – but instead based on a fear of Islam. They have turned on the weak ones they do not respect or fear.
And in all their efforts to appease the Europeans lost the respect of and weakened their relationship with a powerful friend (the U.S.).
The Europeans face a clear an unavoidable choice. Do they learn the lesson and seek to be respected (and perhaps somewhat feared) by the Muslim masses by, in the least, rejecting all pressure to muzzle criticism of Islam. Or, do they fail the test (again) and accommodate their new master’s wishes – and set the precedent for future failure to come. I wish them the best. They are on their own now.
The addition of the cartoons to this site is not intended to show support for the creation of offensive images. I can imagine that it does hurt a Muslim to see the images as it hurts Christians to see degrading images of Christ. The world could do with a lot less offense. But, it is important that people be able to criticise all religions (an all things) without fear of loss of liberty or life. It is even more important that no religion be protected from criticism more than any other. To allow such a thing would be to begin to establish a world religion. I think that is the goal of Islamists and it must be resisted.
Muslims must learn to tolerate the criticism if they wish to coexist with the western world. If they do not wish to coexist....