05 February 2006

More Madder Muslims

Just caught the tail end of a debate between Christopher Hitchens and some fast-talking young Muslim academic whose name I didn't catch. The Muslim fellow used the by now familiar technique delivering his spiel, an irritating admixture of "Islam is a religion of peace" and post-structural gobbledegook about "The Other," so loudly, rapidly and incessantly that at times Hitchens was reduced to interjecting, "Nonsense" in deeply sonorous tones every time his opponent took half a breath.

But thanks to the intervention of the moderator, Hitchens was able to get a few crucial sentences in before the Islamo-babble swept over him again. His most important points, I thought, were something to the effect of, "There are hundreds of millions of us to whom your self-proclaimed 'prophet' is no such thing," and "People of every religion or lack of religion routinely have to contend with having their beliefs or non-beliefs insulted. Why should Muslims uniquely have the right to be free from being offended?" (Neither of those is anywhere near an accurate quote, but I hope they convey the gist of what Hitchens was saying.)

Then a news bulletin came on, reporting that 15,000 screaming savages (erm, "religious protesters") had laid siege to the Danish embassy in Beirut and were in the process of burning and looting it. I use the word "savages" advisedly, as I've been frequently lectured by cultural relativist friends (read, in most cases: recent university graduates) about the perniciousness of terms like "barbarian" or "savage" when used to imply that certain civilisations or cultures were superior to or more advanced than others.

But "savage" hardly seems too strong a word to describe people prepared to destroy and kill on no other basis than a pen-and-ink drawing that most of them have never even seen. Which reminds me of the question that has been dogging me these past few days: if it's illegal/profane/whatever to create likenesses of Mohammed, then how does anyone know what he looks like? And if nobody knows what he looks like, then how does anyone know the character in the offending cartoons is supposed to be him? Of course if most of the Western media weren't so cowardly and would reprint the cartoons instead of merely talking about them, maybe I'd know the answer to that.

Unfortunately, most of the Western media, and most Western politicians as well, are too busy kowtowing to the Islamic nutters to approach this crisis with any sort of objectivity. In the past few days I've noticed that news articles and editorials have begun routinely referring to "the Prophet Mohammed," or simply "the Prophet," as if it were a matter of established fact. Sorry, but as Hitchens forcefully pointed out, he's not my prophet, nor that of about 5 billion other people. Christians believe Jesus to be the Son of God, but he's rarely if ever referred to as such in the mainstream media, nor should he be: it's a matter of faith, not of fact.

So why are the media and politicians bending over backward to kiss the asses of fanatic Muslims? I think it's pure Chamberlain-esque appeasement, the deluded notion that if we're nice to them, they'll leave us alone, or at least stick to picking on someone else. History amply demonstrates that this doesn't work, and unless liberal, secular democracy finds within itself the strength and courage to stand up for its most cherished principles, whether or not it offends the theocratic fascists of the world, we're in even bigger trouble than I thought we were.

1 comment:

Jesse said...


Here are the offensive cartoons, in full.