February 2, 2006
Comic OutrageBy Thomas Lifson
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:
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.
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.
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.