This issue is just getting out of control, and it’s bringing out the worst in both Western and Middle Eastern society.
We have all seen the terrible reactions, both politically and emotionally motivated, in the Middle East. Riots, tear gas, burnings, and even death.
The reaction in the West has been less overt, but in a truly passive aggressive manner, more insidious. We have seen indignation, stubbornness, and outright greed.
None more so than at the Western Standard here in my fair country.
Today, the publication ran the disputed photographs in it’s pages. According to the publisher, Ezra Levant.
Early this morning, 40,000 copies of the Western Standard magazine, of which I am publisher, rolled off the presses.
In our magazine’s news judgment, you can’t properly report [the Prophet] story without showing the cartoons. So we’re publishing eight of the cartoons. As far as I am aware, that makes the Western Standard the first large-circulation publication in the country to reprint them.
Congratulation Ezra, I’m sure you’ll get a few more dollars out of that stunt.
He goes on to say:
As our readers will see, most of the cartoons are innocuous; several nothing more than stylized portraits, including quite a handsome one.
This is where the publisher truly shows his ignorance. It is not we who are offended by these images. It is not we who are rioting in the streets. It is not we who are burning down western embassies in a somewhat misguided attempt to make a statement.
It doesn’t matter if the “portraits” are “handsome” or not… especially when it only takes one showing the Prophet with a bomb for a turban on his head to truly insult the masses.
Ezra’s opinion of “innocuous” is quite useless in fact, because he is not Muslim nor has he claimed to have consulted anyone of Muslim faith or upbringing.
If he even did the most minimal of googling he could see quite clearly that:
#1 The Koran does *not* forbid the depiction of the Prophet
#2 Other teachings which fall under Islamic Law do limit depictions of nearly all creatures and beings, not just the Prophet and his apostles… yet many of these taboos are not practiced in modern Muslim society
#3 The Islamic (mainly Sunni) Scholars at Universities in Saudi Arabia do forbid any depiction of the prophet
#4 The head cleric in Lebanon does forbid any depiction of the prophet, “good” or “bad”.
“Out of respect for the prophet, we don’t want him shown in a manner that doesn’t befit him,” said Amin al-Kerdy, head of Islamic Affairs at Dar al-Fatwa, Lebanon’s highest Sunni Muslim religious authority. “We believe he was perfect in looks and morals, so we need to preserve that perfection.”
Does that sound like an infringement on Freedom of the Press and expression?
Not really. What it sounds like is a different culture, with a different definition of respect.
If I decided to carry a swastika to a Veterans parade on Remembrance Day, I wonder what the reaction would be?
Do I not have a right of free speech? Is that not my right?
Of course it is… but my own common sense and respect for the feelings of my friends and neighbour would dictate that I would not do such a thing.
These cartoons are no different. Printing them in the first place was misguided and a little naive. Not apologizing for them after the strong reaction has been a shame. Republishing them in the name of “freedom of expression” is at best opportunistic and greedy and at worst bordering on inciting violence and hatred.
Hopefully the Muslim community of Canada has the ability to force the Western Standard to retract this article and apologize. If they do not, then I fear Canada as a whole has taken a step towards being part of the global problem, rather than part of the solution as we are often so proud to claim to be.