06 February 2006

Cartoon Jihad

You may have noticed that there is a Cartoon Jihad taking place in Europe over some cartoons published in Denmark that insulted the global Jihaddicts (aka the Bastard Jihad, because their violent jihad is illegitimate, even under Islamic Law).

This is more than a series of violent protests calling for the blood of Westerners. This is war against one of the core values of the West: the right to engage in political expression. You see, the cartoons were meant not to insult God or the Prophet, but to insult the Jihaddicts themselves. In response, the Jihaddicts commit idolatry by failing to distinguish between what insults them and what insults the object of their devotion. Perhaps this is because they do not actually worship God, but rather they worship their own desires and rages, from which they produce an idol of their imaginations.

The cartoon insult was a political expression. And even if it were also a religious expression, one other thing can be said about it. Freedom of expression, including religious expression, and especially political expression, is a core value of Western Liberal Democracy. And this is not the first time it has been attacked.

The first time (in this wave) was when the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie, who had written The Satanic Verses, a novel which does tweak some cultural sensitivities of Muslims, but mostly which insults Khomeini. Now the attempt by a head of one state to have a law-abiding citizen of another state murdered, is an act of war. Fundamentally, it was an act of war against the West itself. That was the moment when Britain, Europe, the United States, and even Latin America should have banded together, invaded Iran, and deposed the regime. (Ah, but the moment has passed. War is no longer an advisable way to deal with Iran, mostly because peaceful paths have become available with the current generation of Iranian people, and they deserve exploration.)

Another core value, not just of Western Liberal Democracy, but of humanity in general, is fairness - a sense of balance. Why is it that these Jihaddicts can become so enraged when anyone engages in political speech against them, while at the same time, the Jihaddicts utter all sorts of calumny against Jews, Christians, Israel, America, Britain, Europe, and the West in general? They are also at war with simple fairness, because they want the world to work their way.

Well, besides core values, Western Civilization has a derived value: You do not have the right never to be offended. Because if you have that right, nobody else has any rights. In the functioning part of the world, you have the right to give offense, and sometimes the duty to receive it.

We in the West (Muslims included) must stand up for our rights. To fail to do this would be to accept dhimmitude (second-class status, powerlessness) in the emerging global society. It would also sell out Islam, an otherwise noble religion, to its extremists.