Singapore, Denmark: On Those Cartoons

Singapore-based bloggers share their thoughts on the Danish cartoons controversy. Read The annotated budak, Singabloodypore, and Sadiq Alam for a variety of viewpoints.

1 comment

  • Salaam

    A problem arises where individuals feel it is their duty to punish those who offend their religion. Things become very subjective. Some may consider a comment offensive and others not. Some may understand satire and see humour others may not. People can get falsely accused and punished.

    One of the Danish cartoons for example portrayed a radical mullah in Denmark who is disliked among many Danish Muslims for bringing trouble upon them. He is the one whose face appears on the cartoon of the muslim with a bomb in his head. So things get ridiculous if someone is punished because the person doing the punishing wrongly accuses someone of drawing Mohammed when they were drawing someone else.

    Any law prohibiting the mocking of religions or certain religious groups would be problematic for other reasons as well. Mocking Jews and Baahais in Iran for example would become illegal but it is doubtful that the present regime would enforce that law. Then Islam would be diminished because people in the west will wrongly but perhaps understandably blame the religion for this hypocracy of the government.

    This is why I think it is a false debate which has been hijacked by extremists on both sides. A law banning criticism of other faiths would be abused by extremists. More senseless deaths. Much better for religious leaders to urge their followers to not take the bait. If you respond you invite further criticism by reacting.

    Ive always believed Allah can defend himself and it is self defeating to go around punishing people for not complying with your ideas and beliefs. This is a recipe for disaster and Islam will get an even worse reputation in the West.

    People in the west will not give up the right to speak freely. If you stop idiots from saying offensive things its a slipperly slope to authoritarian and totalitarian rule. You end up with laws where people get gaoled for criticising the president etc… People get oppressed and treated unjustly.

    I realise these ideas are a long way from being fully adopted in the Middle East but if people complain about their governments being authoritarain they need think broadly about what kind of society they want to live in and whether they really want to curb freedom of speach.

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