Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Denmark Cartoons and Moslem Moderation

With all the yelling, screaming, condemnations, riots and burning--there is a still, small voice that is slowly beginning to be heard.

It first started on February 5th at a simple website:
To the People of Norway and Denmark
We Are Sorry

In the middle of all the mayhem surrounding the Danish cartoons controversy, a group of Arab and Muslim youth have set up this website to express their honest opinion, as a small attempt to show the world that the images shown of Arab and Muslim anger around the world are not representative of the opinions of all Arabs. We whole-heartedly apologize to the people of Denmark, Norway and all the European Union over the actions of a few, and we completely condemn all forms of vandalism and incitement to violence that the Arab and Muslim world have witnessed. We hope that this sad episode will not tarnish the great friendship that our peoples have fostered over decades.

And this was done without sacrificing principles or betraying deeply held beliefs either:
We will note that we find the cartoons to be incendiary, insulting and very abrasive. We also take issue with the general stance of the Danish Newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which has a reputation for publishing inflammatory material. Yet, it would be wrong to take away their freedom of expression, regardless of how horrid their material is. We affirm our belief in freedom of expression and people’s right to express whatever opinions they hold. However, at the same time there is a need to realize that freedom of expression is a responsibility that should not be used to gratuitously insult people’s beliefs.
Read the whole thing.

This sort of thing appears to be catching on. It was reported on Monday by The Brussels Journal that
More and More Moderate Muslims Speak Out in Denmark

Dozens of Danish Muslims are joining the network of moderate Muslims, the Demokratiske Muslimer (Democratic Muslims). About 700 Muslims have already become DM members and 2,500 Danes have expressed their will to support the network. The initiative has caused anger among the Danish imams and their leader, Ahmad Abu Laban, who have referred to the moderates as “rats.” The imams feel that they are beginning to lose their control over part of the Muslim population.

Moderates such as Kamran Tahmasebi say they have had enough of fanatic Islamism and its intimidation of the Muslim immigrants in Denmark. “It is an irony that I am today living in a European democratic state and have to fight the same religious fanatics that I fled from in Iran many years ago,” Mr Tahmasebi says.
Abu Laban has his own problems--his efforts to stir up emotions in this case and in others is documented by Gateway Pundit here and now there are efforts to have him tried for treason--in part for starting the controversy and speaking out in favor of the boycot to Aljazeera while claiming to be opposed to it while in Denmark.

Meanwhile, The Brussels Journal reports that the Danish government is working with the moderate Moslems:
The Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, will be meeting the leaders of the moderate Muslims today (February 13) to discuss the cartoon affair. The Danish government has suspended all dialogue and cooperation with the Danish imams on the integration process.
Meanwhile, moderation is not limited to Denmark:
Uproar in the Islamic world over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad has prompted many in the Middle East to ask why Muslims have rarely mobilized to address other pressing issues such as democracy and human rights.

..."Why today we see all this solidarity to protest the cartoons…as if only these pictures had insulted the Prophet Mohammad," Ali Mahdi wrote in a letter published in Lebanon's left-wing daily As-Safir.

"Don't you think that injustice, torture, illiteracy and the restrictions on freedoms (in the Muslim world) are also considered an insult to the Prophet…who called for the respect for human rights?"

...Several Arab Web logs posted the cartoons and hosted online debates about them. Many left-wing and secular-minded Muslims also circulated the cartoons by e-mail.

"What is the use of getting angry for the sake of the Prophet when I have a thousand poor people in my neighborhood?" wrote one Egyptian blogger on his Web site "Justice for Everyone."

Osama Safa, head of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, offered a different perspective.

..."Most of the protests against the cartoons were blessed, if not organized, by the local governments, which encourage such acts as long as they don't touch on sensitive domestic issues," he said.

Osama Bin Laden's attack on the US created a backlash that has toppled 2 dangerous Moslem regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, leading to the introduction of democracy in both of these countries and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Could it be that Abu Laban's attack on democracy in general and Denmark in particular might have a comparable effect in energizing the forces of Moslem moderation?

o The Danish Cartoons and the Hijacking of Islam 2/9/06
o The Timing of the Danish Cartoon Riots 2/8/06
o Comparing the Danish Cartoons to Der Sturmer? 2/7/06
o Translation of the Danish Moslem Delegation Letter 2/6/06
o The Anti-Denmark Riots: Has Pallywood Gone Global? 2/5/06
o Cartoon Irony 2/5/06
o Denmark and the Cartoon Defense 2/2/06

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