Benign Cultural Conflict or Incitement to Terrorism?
This presentation addresses issues regarding the January/February 2006 publication of several offensive cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad. The cartoons, originally published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Postenin in 2005, received little attention until they were reprinted in early 2006 by several newspapers including two Jordanian tabloids. Some (but not all) of the cartoons present derogatory caricatures of the Prophet, while others are not pejorative; however, Islam forbids all depictions of the Prophet Mohammad (as well as the other Prophets including Jesus) and most Muslims consider these images blasphemous.
Radical Islamic fundamentalists have used this incident to provoke increasing tensions between the West and Islam. Riots have broken out in the Middle East and other Muslims countries, and angry protests have been staged in London, Paris, and other European cities. The extremists have called for attacks on the West in defense of Islam. The Western democracies generally have two responses; the governments uniformly condemn the cartoons as being in 'bad taste,' while an increasing number of independent newspapers have reprinted the cartoons as a statement endorsing free speech. Undoubtedly the publication of these cartoons will continue to be exploited by radical Islamic fundamentalists. In countries where blasphemy is a criminal offense and a free press does not exist, the populace are likely to consider this further evidence of a Western attack against Islam and to justify terrorist attacks against the West.
Click here for the PowerPoint presentation (3.36 MB).
Warning: This presentation contains images that may be offensive to conservative Muslims. The images are included here for informational purposes only, and progressive Muslims are invited to view them in order to decide for themselves the nature of the offense.