Since American commentators don't dare to do it

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by nosarcasm, Feb 7, 2006.

  1. nosarcasm
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    nosarcasm Active Member

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    :happy2: now they bring in the German editors to comment for them.


    From The Washington Post

    Tolerance Toward Intolerance

    By Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff

    Tuesday, February 7, 2006; Page A21

    Last week the publication I work for, the German newsweekly Die Zeit, printed one of the controversial caricatures of the prophet Muhammad. It was the right thing to do.

    When the cartoons were first published in Denmark in September, nobody in Germany took notice. Had our publication been offered the drawings at that point, in all likelihood we would have declined to print them. At least one of them seems to equate Islam with radical Islamism. That is exactly the direction nobody wants the debate about fundamentalism to take -- even though the very nature of a political cartoon is overstatement. We would not have printed the caricature out of a sense of moderation and respect for the Muslim minority in our country. News people make judgments about taste all the time. We do not show sexually explicit pictures or body parts after a terrorist attack. We try to keep racism and anti-Semitism out of the paper. Freedom of the press comes with a responsibility.

    But the criteria change when material that is seen as offensive becomes newsworthy. That's why we saw bodies falling out of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. That's why we saw the pictures from Abu Ghraib. On such issues we print what we usually wouldn't. The very nature of the discourse is to find parameters of what is culturally acceptable. How many times have we seen Janet Jackson's breast in the course of a discussion of the limits of family entertainment? How many times have we printed material that Jews might consider offensive in an attempt to define the extent of anti-Semitism? It seems odd that most U.S. papers patronize their readers by withholding cartoons that the whole world talks about. To publish does not mean to endorse. Context matters.

    It's worth remembering that the controversy started out as a well-meaning attempt to write a children's book about the life of the prophet Muhammad. The book was designed to promote religious tolerance. But the author encountered the consequences of religious hatred when he looked for an illustrator. He could not find one. Denmark's artists seemed to fear for their lives. In turning down the job they mentioned the fate of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, murdered by an Islamic fundamentalist for harshly criticizing fundamentalism.

    When this episode percolated to the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, the paper's cultural editor commissioned the caricatures. He wanted to see whether cartoonists would self-censor their work for fear of violence from Muslim radicals. Still, the European media ignored this story in a small Scandinavian country. It took months, a boycott of Danish products in the Arab world and the intervention of such champions of religious freedom as the governments of Syria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Libya (all of which withdrew their ambassadors from Copenhagen) for some European papers to reconsider their stance on the cartoons. By last week it was not an obscure topic anymore but front-page news. And it wasn't about religious sensibilities as much as about free speech. That's when the cartoons started to show up in papers all over Europe.

    Much of the U.S. reporting about the fracas made it appear as if Europeans just don't get it -- again. They struggle with immigration. They struggle with religion. They struggle with respect for minorities. And in the end they find their cities burning, as evidenced in Paris. Bill Clinton even detected an "anti-Islamic prejudice" and equated it with a previous "anti-Semitic prejudice."

    The former president has turned the argument upside down. In this jihad over humor, tolerance is disdained by people who demand it of others. The authoritarian governments that claim to speak on behalf of Europe's supposedly oppressed Muslim minorities practice systematic repression against their own religious minorities. They have radicalized what was at first a difficult question. Now they are asking not for respect but for submission. They want non-Muslims in Europe to live by Muslim rules. Does Bill Clinton want to counsel tolerance toward intolerance?

    On Friday the State Department found it appropriate to intervene. It blasted the publication of the cartoons as unacceptable incitement to religious hatred. It is a peculiar moment when the government of the United States, which likes to see itself as the home of free speech, suggests to European journalists what not to print.

    The writer is Washington bureau chief of the German newsweekly Die Zeit.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/06/AR2006020601258.html
     
  2. nosarcasm
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    nosarcasm Active Member

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    The proud exception seems to be the Philadelphia Inquirer.




    Protesters at Philadelphia Paper Ask It to Apologize for Cartoon


    By JULIE BOSMAN
    Published: February 7, 2006
    The Philadelphia Inquirer became the first major American newspaper to publish any of the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad on Saturday, prompting a small protest outside the newspaper's offices yesterday morning.

    Skip to next paragraph

    Forum: Western Europe
    About two dozen demonstrators, holding signs reading "No to Hate" and "Peaceful Protest for Religious Tolerance," dispersed after about an hour. The organizers said they would be back on Friday unless they received an apology.

    Amanda Bennett, the editor of The Inquirer, said the decision to publish one cartoon came after several days of internal deliberation. The editors drew on the newspaper's history of publishing stark images that some readers find offensive, she said, including a grisly photo of civilian contractors who were burned to death in Falluja, Iraq, in March 2004.

    When it became clear that the caricatures were becoming "more, not less, newsworthy," Ms. Bennett said, the editors decided to publish the cartoon on Saturday so that readers would be better informed about the controversy.

    "There's been a whole history of newspapers publishing things that people would find controversial and offensive," Ms. Bennett said. "My view is that we need to publish it for a good news reason, we need to publish in context and we need to explain to readers why we did it."

    One small New York daily, The New York Sun, published two of the cartoons last Thursday. The paper's editor, Seth Lipsky, hung up on a reporter on Monday when contacted for comment. The cartoons have been widely circulated on the Internet.

    Other major American newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune, did not publish the caricatures. Representatives said the story could be told effectively without publishing images that many would find offensive.

    The Inquirer chose a cartoon depicting Muhammad with a turban in the shape of a bomb. The newspaper also provided a link on its Web site, philly.com, to all 12 of the cartoons, which were posted on the Web site of Michelle Malkin, a conservative syndicated columnist.

    A leader of the protest, Asim Abdur-Rashid, an imam with the Majlis Ash-Shura, a group of mosques in Philadelphia and the surrounding Delaware Valley, said he had learned about the cartoon's publication on Saturday when a friend showed him a copy of the newspaper. At a monthly meeting of local imams on Sunday, Mr. Abdur-Rashid suggested organizing a protest.

    "It was a thing of disrespect," he said yesterday when reached by telephone. "They knew the sensitivity of the cartoons because of the reaction that has taken place around the world."

    Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, said that despite The Inquirer's decision, he had seen restraint on all sides of the issue within the United States. "I think The Inquirer's move was the exception that proves the rule," Mr. Hooper said.
     
  3. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I agree with the editor. I think the cartoons were knowingly going to cause the Muslims to react, but that is what editorials are supposed to do. Perhaps it wasn't 'the best decision' to publish back in Sept. or Oct., but done is done.

    The reason the others came out and republished had little to do with the cartoons, but rather the boycott, recalling of diplomats, and threats against the Danes. That is what 'allies' are supposed to do. The US State and MSM are letting the West down.
     
  4. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    The MSM is notorious for letting us down and I wouldn't expect them to lift a finger to help but what would be the consequences of the US state department openly attacked a religion?
     
  5. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Let's see they could have just strongly stood for free speech or condemned those that were advocating violence, leaving 'religion' out of it.
     
  6. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    How can you condemn Islamic clerics and leave religion out of it? I'm seriously looking for options that are viable as opposed to repetative posts about how screwed up the muslims are and the fact that the enemy of the world right now seems to be a religion presents a problem. Are we going to tip toe around it again and pretend it's something different?
     

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