But all this might be chalked up as merely a sort of jarring cultural or religious misunderstanding, needing mainly a big dose of the patience, tolerance, and dialogue so many world statesmen have been urging — were it not for the violence, and the credible threats of violence. Palestinian gunmen have stormed the European Union offices in Gaza and threatened to kidnap Scandinavians and Germans. Mobs have attacked and torched the Danish embassies in Beirut, Damascus, and Tehran, with assaults for good measure on the embassies of Norway. The Danish cartoonist, his newspaper, and others who have published the cartoons have been getting bomb threats and death threats. Iran’s Holocaust contest is no joke not simply because it is sick — which it is — but because it is accompanied by Iran’s building of nuclear bombs, teaching and funding of terror, and officially announced plans to annihilate Israel.Read it all.
And check out Jonah Goldberg's latest:
The quotation marks around the word "religious" should say it all. We're not talking about "religion." We're talking about a specific religion — Islam. Does anyone truly think that the burning of Danish embassies and calls for the "slaughter" of those responsible by Muslim protestors have really taught the BBC or the New York Times to be more polite to evangelical Christians or Orthodox Jews? Does anyone really think that Arabic newspapers — often state-owned — are going to stop recycling Nazi-era images of Jews as baby killers and hook-nosed conspirators because they've become enlightened to the notion that words can hurt? Considering that an Iranian newspaper just announced a contest for the best Holocaust cartoon, the odds seem slim. Besides, why belittle the Holocaust in response to something a Danish newspaper did? (Partial credit given for the answer: "It's always useful to pick on the Jews.")(Sorry for two out of NRO, but I am a lazy blogger)
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But the issue of "offense" is a distraction too. Let's assume that the publication of the cartoons was motivated entirely by a desire to offend Muslims — or at least some Muslims. How does that change the way we should view events now? If I needlessly offend my neighbor, shame on me. If, in response, he burns down my house and threatens to murder my entire family, who cares what I said in the first place?