The International Writers Magazine:
revolutionaries never bomb buildings. - Dan Bern
Sordid Tale of Religious Extremism vs. Free Speech
And kill them wherever you find and catch them. Drive them out
from where they have turned you out; for Al-Fitnah (polytheism,
disbelief, oppression) is worse than slaughter. -
Just when you think
you've written about the dumbest, most illogically asinine subjects
known to modern man, this happens: Months ago some Danish newspaper
prints satirical cartoons depicting Muslims and their fancy prophet
Mohammad in a "bad" light. Initially, no one gives a shit.
Then riled up clerics take a fieldtrip around the Middle East with the
things, along with additional non-published heretical material to raise
the collective ire. Extremist Muslims, who need little motivation to
do so, predictably freak out. Threaten violence. Wreak violence big
time violence and destruction. And what are the predominant responses
to this whole pile of steaming sociological horse hockey and babbling
religious fanaticism? Defend the vicious protestors or bow to fear.
We truly are living in an age of enlightenment and intellect, I'll tell
Let me begin by respectfully stating that what Islamic loons do on their
own time with their own set of wacky dogma is their business. I have
been pretty consistent on this issue with Christianity, Judaism, Scientology,
Wicca, the Promise Keepers, the Branch Davidians, Jim Jones, those desert
hippies who worship The Burning Man, whatever. Believe what you will.
We're all proud of you. But what any of it has to do with a free press
or freedom of expression in purported free societies is anyone's guess.
Although who the hell knows what goes on in Europe these days, where
Muslims carrying a grudge against the British government can be deported
or some insanely illegal shit.
And as far as ultra-violent activity in the Middle East...well, who
really needs a cartoon for this to go down anyway. A stiff breeze and
a burp could buy you weeks of flag-burning, chant-addled frenzy in a
dozen theocratic monarchies. Let's face it, after awhile its white noise
and test patterns; the boy who cried riot.
Normally I wouldn't even get too crazy about this brand of raging stupidity
until it reaches these shores. But now we hear American newspapers are
backing down from printing the cartoon and network news organizations
are blotting out the images in its reports, despite the clear fact that
it is news big time news. And then there is the case of the United States
government, which, by the way, is on a well-documented mission from
God to spread freedom and enlightenment throughout the world, making
mind-bendingly goofy statements.
To wit: Our State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper: "These cartoons
are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims. We all fully recognize
and respect freedom of the press and expression, but it must be coupled
with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this
manner is not acceptable." Bullshit.
How is it that Christian icons and Jewish Biblical Characters are fair
game in print, film, music, art, comedy, and not Mohammad? Because we
don't know shit about Islam and are infinitely afraid all Muslims are
crazy or this confused white bread government of ours has depicted most
of the Islamic world as radical hate-mongers of freedom, while also
conveniently passing lip service to the "normal and peace loving
members of Islam"?
Honestly, who cares if Muslims are offended? Boo hoo. Get a helmet.
Have we gone complete off the rails with this religion crap now? We
have to quake because Muslims are pissed at their icons being battered
in art and/or satire? How about someone from the State Department getting
upset that apoplectic religious freaks are running amok over a goddamn
Of course this is another superlative example of why George W. Bush
should be sent to prison for using the United States military to now
force-feed the Middle East democratic ideals. We should have sent Snoopy
in as an emissary.
Here's the argument from the other side: Muslims are prohibited from
depicting or creating renderings of Allah or Mohammad in any way, good,
bad, or otherwise. It is an anathema to their customs and beliefs. Well,
once again, goodie for them. But what in the name of all that is holy
and idiotic does this have to do with the Danish Press or the French
Press or certainly the First Amendment laws of the United States of
Another salient question at this juncture might be: Were the people
who wrote, drew and/or published these cartoons even Muslim? If not,
what are we getting nuts about? What's next, everyone at the New
York Times is now forbidden to eat meat on Friday or the entire
editorial staff at the Washington Post has to be home by sundown
later that afternoon? Maybe we should let Billy Graham run NBC news.
Hey, I'm well aware that people who make the most noise and break the
most things get their way on this planet. This is business as usual,
like religious violence. The Crusades and the Holocaust are fine examples
of forcing religion on others and the persecution of religious cultures.
But have we learned nothing from their fanatical crimes? This is 2006.
Why are religious fundamentalists even allowed to debate this subject,
much less burn and pillage unchecked and then defended in the press?
I'm offended. How about that? I worship at the altar of free speech
and expression. And these lunatics are trampling all over it. But that's
not new. That kind of God reasoning for wreaking havoc on everything
is as old as it is crazy. But it doesn't make it right, and it is even
less right to apologize or give into virulent oppression. Believe what
you want. Fine by me. But keep it to yourself.
Of course I have my doubts 90% of these maniacs give half a fart about
Mohammad anyway. How many of those conveniently enraged fuckers stealing
televisions and ransacking grocery stores during the Rodney King riots
had even heard of Rodney King?
© James Campion Feb 13th 2006
The Executives New Clothes
James Campion- Iraq Papers1
Iraq Papers - Part Two
War & Politics
Papers Part Three
Song and Dance
Papers Part Four
Iraqi Papers Part V
of the FCC
James Campion- the gory truth about Arab politics
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