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Feb 03 2006

Offensive, Shmoffensive

An email I received says my blog and the reprinting of the caricatures of Mohammad are insulting and offensive. Of course they can be offensive to those who feel their strongly held beliefs or their representatives are being ridiculed.

But so what?

Whilst we may all sometimes be offended by some things, it is religion and the religious that are offended all of the time.

They alone seem to have a monopoly on being offended, saying their beliefs are a no go area, and silencing all those who offend. The problem is exacerbated because of the political Islamic movement. Generally, someone like Mel Gibson might just seem like a wacko who has produced a really lame movie but Islamists do it with bomb scares and threats in Europe and of course hangings and assassinations in countries like Iran where they are in power.

The email says most people in Europe are condemning the caricatures; I don’t think they are. Most believe it is a right to print them, especially since such a right was one that was fought for and won primarily against the church several centuries ago. Rowan Atkinson, the Life of Brian and so on are all testimony to that. That anyone has apologised is more a testament to the fear the political Islamic movement instils rather than an attempt to rectify a mistake made. That is also why all the positive emails I have received speak of the courage that is needed to print the caricatures. Why printing caricatures needs courage speaks volumes about the reactionary movement that is making the lives of millions, primarily in the Middle East, intolerable. This right wing movement kills, it maims, it humiliates – with Islam as its banner – and we are not even allowed to ridicule.

The email says Mohammad is sacred to many and shouldn’t be ridiculed – but I am sorry, he is not sacred to me. Why must I only be allowed to speak of that which does not offend others? If that were the case, there wouldn’t be very much to say. No one sets out to offend individuals – I know I certainly don’t – but the problem is that the religious are offended by practically every 21 century human value! In any case, nothing is sacred to me except the human being.

What I find most interesting from the email I have received, though, is how selective such opponents are. Religion, including Islam, considers a woman as worth half a man, gays as perversions, extra marital affairs as punishable by stoning to death, and so on and so forth but it is a few caricatures that are offensive!

I suppose this is the topsy turvy world we live in and why I will not stop speaking out against it.

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