Friday, February 03, 2006

Freedom of Speech is as sacred as God!

Many in the United States may not have noticed the uproar that has been occuring in the Muslim communities in the Middle East and Europe over 12 cartoons by 12 Danish artists that were published in the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands Posten. For those of you who have missed this news story in an effort to keep up with the Jennifer, Brad, and Angelina triangle, here is an article from the Boston Globe to give some background.

Events have since exploded with protests in every major country in the Muslim world, as well as Europe. Certainly the printing of these cartoons was insensitive, but the thing that Middle Eastern Muslims miss is that even if the Government of Denmark (and subsequently Norway, Sweden, France, Germany, Spain, and Hungary) wanted to censor or sanction the newspapers that printed these articles, they could not do so.

I have looked at signs held by protestors around the world threatening death, destruction and mayhem on Europe in general and Denmark in particular as punishment for these acts. The funny thing is, as Muslim people complain about being racially profiled based on the actions of extremists. So too do these protestors profile Europeans and hold an entire country, a continent even, accountable for the actions of 12 cartoonists and the editorial board of the Jyllands Posten.

Since this outcry, protests have spread around the Muslim world and Europe, culminating in a day of protests to coincide with Friday prayers. Jyllands Posten has posted a letter to the Muslim world, which succinctly summarizes their position (that no offense was intended, but to point out the importance of free speech and free expression). I respect the newspapers right to publish any material that they deem appropriate or newsworthy, but what did they honestly think was going to happen?

Freedom of Speech is sacred to people in democratic countries. Our right to say, print and draw anything we want is absolutely sacred and 100% off limits for compromise. If Muslims truly want us to respect their beliefs and that which they are passionate about, then that respect must be met with mutual respect for the Freedoms that we hold dear. Not all in the west endorses the printing of these cartoons, but we do recognize the right to print them.

This incident clearly shows that which separates us. We hear President Bush give speeches filled with bilge, where he discusses our common values. Clearly, we do not share that many common values, and until we do; can I just say… lets ramp up that alternative energy initiative and cut off the oil money that funds the fanatical elements in these societies.

My commentary is this; if you believe in freedom of speech, and freedom of expression on the whole, go out and buy some Danish butter and cheese and stand united with our friends and family in Denmark!

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