Thursday, 16 February 2006

fragile islam

by now there will be few people who have not heard of the “great outcry” in muslim nations decrying the publishing in a danish newspaper (and now others) of some cartoons depicting the prophet muhamed. some muslims claim that the mere depiction of muhamed is blasphemous and an insult to islam, though the existence of depictions of him in muslim and arabic culture makes this slightly unbelievable. it is true that in islam, like judaism, the creation and worship of “false idols” is proscribed so treating a picture or statue as a holy object would indeed be blasphemous.

many in the muslim world claim, more credibly, that these cartoons insult their religion, degrade their culture and vilify them. this is to some extent true but there are ways to deal with this in a robust civilised society that do not involve rioting, flag burning, death threats and hysteria.

so why are the reactions to these cartoons so extreme. are they really that insulting? i think not. rather, this reaction is a symptom of the fragility of most muslim and arab societies who have for hundreds of years, been blaming others (usually jews) for all their social ills. it is time for some muslim introspection on the sorry, messed up culture they have created and a move toward its reform.

it is not the liberation from and respect of the west that they seek, but a liberation from their own self reppression and the self respect that comes with making that change. until there exists a majority muslim culture that is free of the shackles of fundamentalism and ignorance, we will have a society that would rather lash out and even kill, than face their own inadequacies.

1 comment:

r8thir said...

It took awhile for me to realize this blog existed. I like your style and I find your logic unpredictable.

Just kidding.

While I think your analysis of the situation regarding Islamic reaction to the comics is accurate (very accurate), I think far more likely than any meaningful introspection, is going to be a further move towards extremism.

I'm thinking this because, like you say, Islam has a nasty habit of blaming 'others' for its problems. As it happens, Islam has nothing but 'others' at this point in time.

I also think that, in regards to these cartoons; they were insensitive and provocative. Considering the Middle East's obsession with 'others', I'd say the publication of those cartoons is roughly comparable to insisting to a schizophrenic that his legitimate opinions are just as much delusions as his innate understanding that if he doesn't sleep under a styrofoam quilt, he will get cancer.