Comic Outrage

This week people have been doing more agonizing than laughing at newspaper cartoons. Not just Muslims, but now America's military forces — and the rest of us who support our warriors — are disgusted by a cartoon. Specifically the cartoon  drawn by Tom Toles and published in the Washington Post making light of an amputee recovering from battle wounds.

Beyond being repulsed by cartoons, the two movements have nothing in common. Here is the statement sent by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Washington Post:

We were extremely disappointed to see the Jan. 29 editorial cartoon by Tom Toles.

Using the likeness of a service member who has lost his arms and legs in war as the central theme of a cartoon was beyond tasteless. Editorial cartoons are often designed to exaggerate issues, and The Post is obviously free to address any topic, including the state of readiness of the armed forces. However, The Post and Mr. Toles have done a disservice to readers and to The Post's reputation by using such a callous depiction of those who volunteered to defend this nation and, as a result, suffered traumatic and life—altering wounds.

Those who visit wounded veterans in hospitals have found lives profoundly changed by pain and loss. They also have found brave men and women with a sense of purpose and selfless commitment that causes battle—hardened warriors to pause.

While The Post and some of its readers may not agree with the war or its conduct, these men and women and their families are owed the decency of not having a cartoon make light of their tremendous physical sacrifices.

As the joint chiefs, we rarely put our hand to one letter, but we cannot let this reprehensible cartoon go unanswered.

The letter is signed by the Chairman, Marine General Peter Pace, and all members of the JCS.

Do you notice any differences from the Islamic reaction?

First of all, consider that the JCS and our military possess overwhelming physical force, yet nowhere demand anything.

Not an apology, not even any assurance of future compliance with their sensitivities. In fact, the JCS recognize the right of the Post to publish whatever it wishes. The JCS instead point out the pain the Post and Toles have inflicted, and asks them to contemplate the demands of decency and refrain from making light of physical sacrifices.

No boycotts, no withdrawal of military resources from the Post, no beatings, no bounties placed on the head of Tom Toles, no threats at all. If the Washington Post has augmented its security arrangements, it is news to me.

The world of Islam turns on Denmark

The contast could not be greater, as all the above sanctions have been brought to bear on Jylllands Posten, Denmark and Danes, including two reportedly beaten in Saudi Arabia, and death threats against some of the cartoonists.

European, but so far no American newspapers have reacted to the threat by republishing the cartoons. One brave French editor has been fired for publishing the Muhammad cartoons:

Under the headline "Yes, we have the right to caricature God", France Soir ran a front page cartoon of Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian gods floating on a cloud.

It shows the Christian deity saying: "Don't complain, Muhammad, we've all been caricatured here."

The tradition of appeasement runs deep in France.

So far the Spanish, Italian, German, Norwegian and Danish editors who published the cartoons retain their jobs, as far as we know. But The Tocqueville Connection reports that Tunisian authorities have seized, France Soir. Here is a cartoon in the Jyllands Posten depicting the newspapers which stand with it.

And so far as I know, no Jewish, Christian or Buddhist groups have raised a stir over France Soir. Does anyone expect anything different? Islam seems to play by different rules, which place Islam above all others.

The campaign against these images

There is considerable evidence that a campaign was mounted to inflame the Islamic world against Denmark by certain imams located in Denmark.
From the Copenhagen Post:

PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen lashed out at extremist Muslim leaders in Denmark on Thursday for speaking with two tongues in the on—going row between the country and the Muslim world.

Rasmussen said imams' positive comments in Danish about the recent days' thaw in the dispute over newspaper Jyllands—Posten's publication of 12 caricatures of the prophet Mohammed had been undermined by statements made in Arabic to the media from Muslim countries.

'We have clearly noted that in certain situations, some people are speaking with two tongues,' Rasmussen said after meeting the parliament's foreign policy committee. 'The government watches what news and information is circulated in Arabic countries very closely so we can catch false stories and correct them immediately.'

Rasmussen was referring specifically to an incident in which controversial imam Abu Laban said to television station al—Jazeera that he was happy about the Muslim boycott. Later in the day, Laban said to Danish television station TV2 that he would urge Muslims to stop the boycott immediately.

'If Muslim countries decide to boycott, and if Muslims feel that it is their obligation to defend the prophet, then that is something we can be happy about,' Laban said to al—Jazeera.

Other leading imams have also been accused of misleading Muslims outside of Denmark about the situation.

Earlier this week, imam Abu Bashir appeared on BBC World showing a caricature of Mohammed with a pig's snout and ears to representatives of the Arabic League. Bashir falsely claimed that the caricature was one of the 12 Jyllands—Posten drawings.

Neither Laban nor Bashir were available for comment.

UPDATE:

The Counter—terrorism blog reports

One issue that puzzles many Danes is the timing of this outburst. The cartoons were published in September: Why have the protests erupted from Muslims worldwide only now? The person who knows the answer to this question is Ahmed Abdel Rahman Abu Laban, a man that the Washington Post has recently profiled as 'one of Denmark's most prominent imams.'

Last November, Abu Laban, a 60—year—old Palestinian who had served as translator and assistant to top Gamaa Islamiya leader Talaal Fouad Qassimy during the mid—1990s and has been connected by Danish intelligence to other Islamists operating in the country, put together a delegation that traveled to the Middle East to discuss the issue of the cartoons with senior officials and prominent Islamic scholars. The delegation met with Arab League Secretary Amr Moussa, Grand Imam of Al—Azhar Sheikh Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi, and Sunni Islam's most influential scholar, Yusuf al Qaradawi. 'We want to internationalize this issue so that the Danish government will realize that the cartoons were insulting, not only to Muslims in Denmark, but also to Muslims worldwide,' said Abu Laban.

On its face, it would appear as if nothing were wrong. However, the Danish Muslim delegation showed much more than the 12 cartoons published by Jyllands Posten. In the booklet it presented during its tour of the Middle East, the delegation included other cartoons of Mohammed that were highly offensive, including one where the Prophet has a pig face. But these additional pictures were NOT published by the newspaper, but were completely fabricated by the delegation and inserted in the booklet (which has been obtained and made available to me by Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet). The delegation has claimed that the differentiation was made to their interlocutors, even though the claim has not been independently verified. In any case, the action was a deliberate malicious and irresponsible deed carried out by a notorious Islamist who in another situation had said that 'mockery against Mohamed deserves death penalty.' And in a quintessential exercise in taqiya, Abu Laban has praised the boycott of Danish goods on al Jazeera, while condemning it on Danish TV. [emphasis added]

In other words, this was indeed a campaign, planned by important members of the Islamic world's power structure, intended to force Denmark to comply with Sharia requirements. A new norm, that a western nation would conform to Sharia regardless of its free expression tradition, would be on the way to being established. Let a few more small nations succumb and someday a United States Supreme Court Justice might cite such behavior as a precedent in a decision.

In fact, images of Muhammad are found in the Islamic tradition, and are even aavilable in Iran today.

Blogger Carib Pundit very helpfully directed me to the Mohammed Image Archive,  which proves beyond any reasonable doubt that images of the Prophet Muhammad have been made in various parts of the Islamic world for centuries, and, indeed, that images continue to made and sold on the streets of cities in Iran today. As religious icons.

Sharia reaches out to Bologna, Italy

Perusing the images, I found one that I had seen before, in the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna, Italy. You will need to scroll down slightly more than halfway through the Mohammed Image Archive to see two close—ups of the fresco in the Basilica showing Muhammad being tortured in hell.

I made a point of visiting the Basilica when I learned that it was under threat of being blown up, for the crime of housing the picture of Muhammad in hell. Locating the fresco in question took some doing. It was behind a locked gate, and could be seen only from the side, with very little light shining on it. A visit to the Basilica's gift shop found no postcards or souvenir books displaying the famous painting on sale. The owner suggested that we look for the comprehensive multi—volume history of Bologna's great art in various bookstores if we wanted an image to bring home to America.

An afternoon spent prowling the book shops of Bologna did not yield a single copy of the particular volume of the art history series. All the other volumes in the series were in stock, but the publisher was, curiously, not selling any more copies to the bookstores.

Only when my family and I returned to the Basilica and told the gift shop manager that we hadn't been able to find the art history volume which he suggested, did he take pity. He opened a drawer in his desk and pulled out a postcard containing the forbidden image. We had passed the test and were allowed to carry the forbidden image.

Global Sharia has already worked its magic in Bologna, a beautiful Medieval city with a strong Catholic heritage. The city, with its own sad experience of terror, has virtually capitulated in practice. Yes, the Basilica remains intact, for now. But the most controversial art it contains is obscured and made difficult to view, even in a reproduction.

The cartoon incident is no comic matter. Step by step, a dedicated group, numbering in the unknown millions, plans to impose Sharia everywhere. They have already succeeded to a degree that would have been impossible to imagine only a few decades ago.

Hat tip: Vasko Kohlmayer, Sally Vee

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker.

This week people have been doing more agonizing than laughing at newspaper cartoons. Not just Muslims, but now America's military forces — and the rest of us who support our warriors — are disgusted by a cartoon. Specifically the cartoon  drawn by Tom Toles and published in the Washington Post making light of an amputee recovering from battle wounds.

Beyond being repulsed by cartoons, the two movements have nothing in common. Here is the statement sent by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Washington Post:

We were extremely disappointed to see the Jan. 29 editorial cartoon by Tom Toles.

Using the likeness of a service member who has lost his arms and legs in war as the central theme of a cartoon was beyond tasteless. Editorial cartoons are often designed to exaggerate issues, and The Post is obviously free to address any topic, including the state of readiness of the armed forces. However, The Post and Mr. Toles have done a disservice to readers and to The Post's reputation by using such a callous depiction of those who volunteered to defend this nation and, as a result, suffered traumatic and life—altering wounds.

Those who visit wounded veterans in hospitals have found lives profoundly changed by pain and loss. They also have found brave men and women with a sense of purpose and selfless commitment that causes battle—hardened warriors to pause.

While The Post and some of its readers may not agree with the war or its conduct, these men and women and their families are owed the decency of not having a cartoon make light of their tremendous physical sacrifices.

As the joint chiefs, we rarely put our hand to one letter, but we cannot let this reprehensible cartoon go unanswered.

The letter is signed by the Chairman, Marine General Peter Pace, and all members of the JCS.

Do you notice any differences from the Islamic reaction?

First of all, consider that the JCS and our military possess overwhelming physical force, yet nowhere demand anything.

Not an apology, not even any assurance of future compliance with their sensitivities. In fact, the JCS recognize the right of the Post to publish whatever it wishes. The JCS instead point out the pain the Post and Toles have inflicted, and asks them to contemplate the demands of decency and refrain from making light of physical sacrifices.

No boycotts, no withdrawal of military resources from the Post, no beatings, no bounties placed on the head of Tom Toles, no threats at all. If the Washington Post has augmented its security arrangements, it is news to me.

The world of Islam turns on Denmark

The contast could not be greater, as all the above sanctions have been brought to bear on Jylllands Posten, Denmark and Danes, including two reportedly beaten in Saudi Arabia, and death threats against some of the cartoonists.

European, but so far no American newspapers have reacted to the threat by republishing the cartoons. One brave French editor has been fired for publishing the Muhammad cartoons:

Under the headline "Yes, we have the right to caricature God", France Soir ran a front page cartoon of Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian gods floating on a cloud.

It shows the Christian deity saying: "Don't complain, Muhammad, we've all been caricatured here."

The tradition of appeasement runs deep in France.

So far the Spanish, Italian, German, Norwegian and Danish editors who published the cartoons retain their jobs, as far as we know. But The Tocqueville Connection reports that Tunisian authorities have seized, France Soir. Here is a cartoon in the Jyllands Posten depicting the newspapers which stand with it.

And so far as I know, no Jewish, Christian or Buddhist groups have raised a stir over France Soir. Does anyone expect anything different? Islam seems to play by different rules, which place Islam above all others.

The campaign against these images

There is considerable evidence that a campaign was mounted to inflame the Islamic world against Denmark by certain imams located in Denmark.
From the Copenhagen Post:

PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen lashed out at extremist Muslim leaders in Denmark on Thursday for speaking with two tongues in the on—going row between the country and the Muslim world.

Rasmussen said imams' positive comments in Danish about the recent days' thaw in the dispute over newspaper Jyllands—Posten's publication of 12 caricatures of the prophet Mohammed had been undermined by statements made in Arabic to the media from Muslim countries.

'We have clearly noted that in certain situations, some people are speaking with two tongues,' Rasmussen said after meeting the parliament's foreign policy committee. 'The government watches what news and information is circulated in Arabic countries very closely so we can catch false stories and correct them immediately.'

Rasmussen was referring specifically to an incident in which controversial imam Abu Laban said to television station al—Jazeera that he was happy about the Muslim boycott. Later in the day, Laban said to Danish television station TV2 that he would urge Muslims to stop the boycott immediately.

'If Muslim countries decide to boycott, and if Muslims feel that it is their obligation to defend the prophet, then that is something we can be happy about,' Laban said to al—Jazeera.

Other leading imams have also been accused of misleading Muslims outside of Denmark about the situation.

Earlier this week, imam Abu Bashir appeared on BBC World showing a caricature of Mohammed with a pig's snout and ears to representatives of the Arabic League. Bashir falsely claimed that the caricature was one of the 12 Jyllands—Posten drawings.

Neither Laban nor Bashir were available for comment.

UPDATE:

The Counter—terrorism blog reports

One issue that puzzles many Danes is the timing of this outburst. The cartoons were published in September: Why have the protests erupted from Muslims worldwide only now? The person who knows the answer to this question is Ahmed Abdel Rahman Abu Laban, a man that the Washington Post has recently profiled as 'one of Denmark's most prominent imams.'

Last November, Abu Laban, a 60—year—old Palestinian who had served as translator and assistant to top Gamaa Islamiya leader Talaal Fouad Qassimy during the mid—1990s and has been connected by Danish intelligence to other Islamists operating in the country, put together a delegation that traveled to the Middle East to discuss the issue of the cartoons with senior officials and prominent Islamic scholars. The delegation met with Arab League Secretary Amr Moussa, Grand Imam of Al—Azhar Sheikh Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi, and Sunni Islam's most influential scholar, Yusuf al Qaradawi. 'We want to internationalize this issue so that the Danish government will realize that the cartoons were insulting, not only to Muslims in Denmark, but also to Muslims worldwide,' said Abu Laban.

On its face, it would appear as if nothing were wrong. However, the Danish Muslim delegation showed much more than the 12 cartoons published by Jyllands Posten. In the booklet it presented during its tour of the Middle East, the delegation included other cartoons of Mohammed that were highly offensive, including one where the Prophet has a pig face. But these additional pictures were NOT published by the newspaper, but were completely fabricated by the delegation and inserted in the booklet (which has been obtained and made available to me by Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet). The delegation has claimed that the differentiation was made to their interlocutors, even though the claim has not been independently verified. In any case, the action was a deliberate malicious and irresponsible deed carried out by a notorious Islamist who in another situation had said that 'mockery against Mohamed deserves death penalty.' And in a quintessential exercise in taqiya, Abu Laban has praised the boycott of Danish goods on al Jazeera, while condemning it on Danish TV. [emphasis added]

In other words, this was indeed a campaign, planned by important members of the Islamic world's power structure, intended to force Denmark to comply with Sharia requirements. A new norm, that a western nation would conform to Sharia regardless of its free expression tradition, would be on the way to being established. Let a few more small nations succumb and someday a United States Supreme Court Justice might cite such behavior as a precedent in a decision.

In fact, images of Muhammad are found in the Islamic tradition, and are even aavilable in Iran today.

Blogger Carib Pundit very helpfully directed me to the Mohammed Image Archive,  which proves beyond any reasonable doubt that images of the Prophet Muhammad have been made in various parts of the Islamic world for centuries, and, indeed, that images continue to made and sold on the streets of cities in Iran today. As religious icons.

Sharia reaches out to Bologna, Italy

Perusing the images, I found one that I had seen before, in the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna, Italy. You will need to scroll down slightly more than halfway through the Mohammed Image Archive to see two close—ups of the fresco in the Basilica showing Muhammad being tortured in hell.

I made a point of visiting the Basilica when I learned that it was under threat of being blown up, for the crime of housing the picture of Muhammad in hell. Locating the fresco in question took some doing. It was behind a locked gate, and could be seen only from the side, with very little light shining on it. A visit to the Basilica's gift shop found no postcards or souvenir books displaying the famous painting on sale. The owner suggested that we look for the comprehensive multi—volume history of Bologna's great art in various bookstores if we wanted an image to bring home to America.

An afternoon spent prowling the book shops of Bologna did not yield a single copy of the particular volume of the art history series. All the other volumes in the series were in stock, but the publisher was, curiously, not selling any more copies to the bookstores.

Only when my family and I returned to the Basilica and told the gift shop manager that we hadn't been able to find the art history volume which he suggested, did he take pity. He opened a drawer in his desk and pulled out a postcard containing the forbidden image. We had passed the test and were allowed to carry the forbidden image.

Global Sharia has already worked its magic in Bologna, a beautiful Medieval city with a strong Catholic heritage. The city, with its own sad experience of terror, has virtually capitulated in practice. Yes, the Basilica remains intact, for now. But the most controversial art it contains is obscured and made difficult to view, even in a reproduction.

The cartoon incident is no comic matter. Step by step, a dedicated group, numbering in the unknown millions, plans to impose Sharia everywhere. They have already succeeded to a degree that would have been impossible to imagine only a few decades ago.

Hat tip: Vasko Kohlmayer, Sally Vee

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker.