Monday, August 27, 2007

Another Muslim Cartoon Scare

American newspapers have entered into a new phase of self censorship today. The “Opus” comic that runs in many major newspapers was pulled from most papers this weekend, and won’t appear next weekend. What could cause the Washington Post and other papers to pull the comic? It has dared to, “… [take] a humorous swipe at Muslim fundamentalists.”

Fox News has a complete rundown of the story. While I don’t like, they are running the comic in its entirety. Salon deserves credit for this. You can view the comic at Salon and make your own decisions about just how scandalous this comic is. Apparently a running joke has been one of the Opus characters trying different religions. Last week, the comic poked fun at the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. I don’t remember hearing any outcry from conservative Christians, and I don’t believe I remember reading on Drudge that the newspapers were worried about the reactions of Christians to that comic.

The Washington Post had some initial concerns with the new installment of Opus. Being the responsible editors that they are, they decided to show the comic to some of the Muslim staffers to “gauge their reaction.” Fox News said that these staffers reacted “emotionally” so the Washington Post decided to pull the comic, and send a warning out to the other papers that feature the comic. When asked why the previous strip that poked at the late Reverend Falwell wasn’t also flagged, Writers Group comic editor Amy Lago said she didn’t think the readers would misunderstand the humor in it. Apparently, there are fears that Muslims might misunderstand the humor in the current Opus comic.

I believe this is a perfect example of the true nature of Islam in today’s world. While Islam may have once been the religion of peace, it is no longer viewed that way, and with good reason. Anyone who doesn’t remember the fiasco over the Dutch cartoons or The Satanic Verses can do a quick Google search for it. There are no other religions in the world cause this sort of reaction in Western papers . The very same papers that are nervous about “the Muslim reaction” didn’t even think about a Christian reaction to a comic. I would argue the editors wouldn’t bat an eye at a comic poking fun at any other religion out there (with the possible exception of man made global warming).

If Islam is going to exist with the Western world, it is going to need to coexist with it. This comic is very, very tame by Western standards. If Islam truly is the religion of peace, then people should be allowed to discuss it, or criticize it without fear for their lives. And if the Western media is still a place where ideas and news can be discussed, then it must stand up to cowards and tyrants who would bully the media from covering topics the bullies don’t like.


familyman said...

Amen! Er..I mean, right on! I'm with you on this one Andy.

I'm going to go a little off topic here and ask why you don't like Salon. (I've got to find something to argue with you about)

Jayne d'Arcy said...

I don't see a thing wrong with the cartoon and to be honest, I just don't get the emotional reaction. Here in the US comics are free to make fun of nearly anything. If you don't understand a joke, you've got a problem.

Andy D said...

Your comments (both for and against me are always welcome Familyman). I don't like Salon because they tend to be too far to the left in their coverage for me. However, they deserve credit for standing up to bullies here. I try to give credit where credit is due.

Thanks for the comment Jayne. I think you are correct and I believe people (Muslim or otherwise) who get to bent out of shape about comics do have a problem.

familyman said...

That's what I thought you might say Andy.

I think this is a big problem with the political discourse these days. If there is a forum like Salon that someone doesn't agree with, they disparage it, say it's no good, or say they don't like it.

The key to a healthy political discourse is to respect the other side's views.

We need to be careful to be clear that there is a difference between "I don't agree with you." and "I don't like you."

I rarely agree with you yet I like your blog.

Brandon said...

I don't see why this cartoon was deemed a problem, the European cartoon was much more potentially offensive.

Andy D said...

I don't think I ever disparaged Salon. I feel their coverage is very biased towards the left. If you are interested in that coverage, then Salon is the place for you. I don't read it because I don't like the coverage. I think that is a fair characterization of Salon and their covering. Do you think I shouldn't say that about Salon?

Andy D said...

I can only begin to imagine why this was deemed a problem. The only reason I can come up with is because it involved Islam.

familyman said...

Well, your blog is generally very biased towards the right. I often don't agree with your opinions, but I don't say I don't like your blog. I say I don't agree with it. There's a difference.

Andy D said...

I think that is a good argument. My problem with Salon is that they are so biased to the left that many of the articles I have read there are actually offensive to me. I feel like some of their reporting isn't reporting but is instead opinion pieces hidden as reporting. Here, I am up front that this blog represents my opinion. I also encourage people to disagree with me on this site. If I claimed to be a news reporting site, but my articles still had the slant they do, I think many people wouldn't like me either.

As it is, I think I only truly offend people when I talk about global warming.

Andy D said...


I check out Real Clear Politics once a day as part of my routine. They almost always have at least one article from Salon. Today, I decided to go check it out to see if I am doing them justice or not. Here is the article I read, and I actually enjoyed it. I felt the interviewer was being a little "aggressive" in a couple of parts, but I liked the article.

familyman said...

Wow, thanks for the link. I really enjoyed that interview. Bjørn Lomborg really makes some good arguments for his point of view.

One thing he said that really stuck out to me was this -

"There's a risk for virtually everything. But we are not well-guided in making judgments based on worst-case scenarios."

That is an incredibly important statement, not only as it pertains to global warming. I wish our leaders would take that sentiment to heart in all their decision making.

And I know what you mean about the Salon reports coming off as aggressive. But I really don't see that as a bad thing. Too often I watch as our political leaders and policy makers are thrown soft ball after soft ball by interviewers that allow their subject to do nothing but spew their talking points.

I think we need more aggressive reporters with opinions that differ from the people they are interviewing. That way you get to hear follow up questions that actually challenge the interviewee to defend their position.

Anonymous said...

any one who does not see the complete double standard here is blind. As a "free" country, we are nieve to the restricted ways of Islam. We should be afraid, all of teh 911 flyers were muslim, they did what they did in the name of their religion. What other religion of any kind in any other part of the world would do this, condon it and even hold up as honored martyr's. The answer is none, only muslim in this fundamental form is over the line. To compound this moderate muslim's do not condem the actions of of the fundamental extremeists. If the moderate muslims want to live in peace, they need to rise up against the radical, fundamentalist - otherwise they become part of the problem vs part of the solution. Religious freedom works because our forefathers had absolute trust for each other. Without trust, then it should not matter what religion or anything else for that matter, you are an enemy of our freedom, simple as that. They are using our freedom against us. The 911 flyers can't take flyign lessons in Iraq but they can here, what's up with that???