Cartoongate, which took place September 2005 following publication in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten of 12 editorial cartoons depicting Mohammed, marked a great watershed: the start of the Western world's conditioning. Accustomed to unfettered literary license afforded by free press guarantees, the West has a tradition of unreservedly heaping criticism and spewing ridicule on religion. The West highlights obvious hypocrisies, questionable practices and controversial practitioners. That is, until Cartoongate.
Cartoongate ushered in a new standard of behavior that has had a chilling effect on free speech and expression when it comes to all things Muslim. The aftermath of the Mohammed cartoons incident established Muslims as a uniquely protected group to be effectively shielded from all critique and ridicule. Noteworthy is that this new Muslims-only standard mirrors the Islamic doctrine of shariah that confers superior legal and political status for Muslims in parallel with a subservient status -- dhimmitude -- for non-Muslims. Today, the West all too easily and habitually gives up freedom of speech by avoiding even the merest shadow of negativity when it comes to Muslims and, thus, imposing on itself dhimmitude and enabling our sworn enemies.
Yet, no faith has been immune from humiliating depictions and trenchant critique in the Western media. Hooked-nosed, hunch-backed Jews have been portrayed lusting after the blood of Arab babies and Israel has been depicted with Nazi imagery and barbed-wire graphics evocative of the death camps. Sacred Christian symbols and images have been desecrated, including crucifixes photographed in urine, the Virgin Mary splattered in elephant dung, and Jesus Christ receiving sexual favors. Responses have always been within the realm of what is expected and accepted in free societies -- letters to editors of various publications, censure from religious leaders, phone calls voicing disapproval to program sponsors, boycotts of exhibitions and other actions.
By contrast, protests were initiated across the Muslim world in February 2006 and escalated into violence that left more than 135 dead, several hundred injured and many buildings destroyed, including three Danish embassies. Because the Mohammed cartoons were first published in September 2005, the six-month delay in reaction led to speculation that the response was deliberately engineered, planned and calculated to achieve maximum impact on the non-Muslim world. It was reported and later confirmed through WikiLeaks that the violent protests were orchestrated by Syrian government officials who urged mosque preachers to incite Muslims with fiery speeches on the eve of the protests.
The extreme response was entirely unexpected because the cartoon references to Islamic terrorism were based on actual events. They represented a legitimate exercise of free expression. Muslims weren't singled out for discrimination; cartoons critical of other religions are frequently printed in newspapers and magazines throughout the Western world.
The unprecedented magnitude of the reaction to cartoons belatedly labeled blasphemous and Islamophic shocked non-Muslims in the West and had a chilling affect on them and the non-Muslim power structure. In a relatively short period of time, magazines and newspapers declined to reprint the cartoons. Language describing Muslims, Islam and Islamic terrorism was sanitized. Broadcast and print media were more closely scrutinized for their potential to offend Muslims. Astonishingly, a book about the Mohammed cartoons incident, "The Cartoons That Shook the World," written by a Brandeis University professor and published by Yale University Press, contained no illustrations. A Yale spokesperson admitted that the university feared inciting violence if the images were printed alongside the text.
The fear induced by Cartoongate prompted non-Muslims to self-police and enforce widespread censorship. From that point forward, a new standard was established that tacitly deemed Muslims and any aspect of Islam, even discussions about the contents of actual Islamic doctrine, beyond the pale. The West had been officially dhimmitized with respect to Islam and was now following the shariah mandate of Islamist supremacy and bending over backwards to avoid a repeat of the violence generated by the Mohammed cartoons.
To get a full sense of the impact of the violence, mayhem and murder orchestrated as part of Cartoongate, consider the response to Pastor Terry Jones' plan to burn the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. While Bible and flag burning are otherwise easily tolerated as part of the political protest scene in the United States, Jones was visited by the FBI and called by Obama's Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, after threatening to burn the Koran. Meanwhile, that same month, New Jersey transit worker, Derek Fenton, apparently inspired by Jones, actually lost his job with a decade's worth of seniority for publicly burning a Koran near Ground Zero!
Ironically, Muslims living in the West continue to freely and publicly discuss their plans to overthrow Western governments and replace Western law with shariah. This kind of seditious speech is ostensibly tolerated under the umbrella of free speech. In reality, it is truly fear from the trauma of Cartoongate that has led to the level of appeasement and dhimmitude in evidence today. In a sense, the West has been psychologically conquered by the de facto imposition of supremacist Islamic law.
Several recent examples in Europe and the United States further illustrate this phenomenon and the degree to which it is practiced to appease and anticipate Muslim sensitivities and treat them as a protected, elevated group. Such accommodation further reinforces Islamic doctrine that assigns a superior stature and preferential rules and treatment of Muslims over non-Muslims or dhimmis.
In December of 2010, Spanish National Police were asked to investigate a geography teacher in Spain who discussed the climate in a region of the country favorable for serrano ham production. A Muslim family of a student in the class contacted the police and the national court to complain that it was against their son's religion to hear about ham. They claimed their son had been suffering greatly since the incident, unable to sleep or attend school as a consequence.
It is unfathomable that a Jew, Christian or a practitioner of any other religion would act in this way and demand special consideration. Even a kosher observant Jewish child would be expected to adapt to the surrounding non-Jewish world. In all likelihood, any concerns would be dismissed, perhaps ridiculed, and the parents would be told to toe the line or find another school. The fact that the complaint was lodged in the first place and then taken seriously speaks volumes.
In 2006, a Franklin County, Ohio, children's services caseworker had a federal lawsuit filed against her and the agency she worked for because the caseworker had discovered, three years earlier, that a child in her care was being beaten for being a "bad Muslim," according to a report given by the victim's own sisters. Rather than receiving praise for saving the child from further harm, the caseworker was accused by the child's mother of violating the rights of the family by mentioning the family's religion in her report, although it was the direct source of the conflict. The Muslim child in question had actually been stripped and beaten by his father. Quite certainly, if a Christian family had beaten a child for not adhering to the tenets of Christianity, the outrage in the media against Christianity would have been palpable and the family's belief system would have been closely evaluated. Instead, in the Ohio case, the caseworker has had to fight for nearly six years in a case which is still ongoing in the federal courts. It is a lawsuit brought against her because she told the truth in her report about a situation involving Muslims and it demonstrates, again, how authorities bend over backwards to take seriously accusations of little merit brought forward by Muslims.
In February, at the University of Central Florida, a taxpayer funded university, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Muslim Student Association used student activities fees to host an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Siraj Wahhaj. Wahhaj has promoted polygamy, excused stoning, stated that he would like to see Shariah law replace the U.S. Constitution, and has testified as a character witness for convicted terror mastermind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. At the UCF MSA event, police were brought in to protect Wahhaj and to prevent the news media from filming. When a student in the audience asked a question about Islamic shariah law, the police forcibly removed him. Surely, if a Muslim student asked a question about the Bible at a Jewish or Christian event, no action would be taken (nor would one be expected) against the Muslim student. This again illustrates the special status afforded to Muslims and the willingness of non-Muslims to assume dhimmi status.
Muslims are by far the world's largest practitioners of religious discrimination. Their supremacist, imperialistic and sexist positions are specifically spelled out in the Koran and Sunnah. They are increasingly clamoring for special rights, privileges and considerations within Western societies that are unavailable to the same degree to any other group. Ironically, in many Muslim majority countries, non-Muslims lack freedom of religion, freedom of speech or basic human rights. Non-Muslims have no potential for redress of grievances nor do they receive equal consideration under the law. An organization for Christians analogous to the MSA would be banned at a Muslim university.
Cartoongate was the nemesis for the free and open exchange of ideas so cherished by the liberal democracies of the West. The fact that the Western world has readily succumbed to fear-induced suppression of expression rather than fight the attempt to undermine the founding principles of liberty and equality, doesn't bode well for the future of the free world. Since the Cartoon riots, the very nature of our existence has been dramatically altered and we have unwittingly accepted the supremacy of shariah law and assumed our relative positions as dhimmis.