***scroll for updates…Danish soldiers attacked in Iraq while helping children***
The Cartoon Jihad continues:
Fresh protests erupted across Asia and the Middle East over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad on Monday, despite calls by world leaders for calm after Danish diplomatic missions were set ablaze in Lebanon and Syria.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed alarm and urged restraint but oil giant Iran, which is reviewing trade ties with countries that published the cartoons, vowed to respond to “an anti-Islamic and Islamophobic current”…
Furious Muslims once again took to the streets. One protester was killed in Afghanistan in clashes with police. Another person died at the weekend when flames forced him to jump from the burning Danish consulate in Beirut.
For Muslims, depicting the Prophet is prohibited by Islam but moderate Muslim groups, while condemning publication of the cartoons and bridling at what they see as provocation, expressed fears about radicals and militants hijacking the affair.
Speaking from Beirut, Omar Bakri Mohammad, leader of the Islamist group al Muhajiroon which is banned in Britain, called for the execution of those involved with the cartoons. “In Islam, God said, and the messenger Mohammad said, whoever insults a prophet, he must be punished and executed,” he told BBC radio by telephone.
Moderate Moslem groups and Western leaders condemned the weekend violence and calls to arms and called for calm. (Barcepundit parses the plea from Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.)
But Islamists are ignoring appeals to reason:
Waving fists, protesters chanted: “Down with Denmark. Down with Norway. With our blood we will redeem our Prophet.”
In Afghanistan, one man was shot dead and two injured in clashes between protesters and police. In the Afghan capital Kabul, hundreds of young men, many wielding sticks, marched through the city and attacked the Danish embassy with stones, smashing windows.
In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, protesters in four cities demanded that Denmark apologize. Police fired warning shots to disperse 300 hardline Muslims when they threw rocks at police during a protest outside the Danish consulate in Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya. About 300 protesters rallied in front of the Danish embassy in Thailand’s capital.
Four people have died in violent protests against cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad, following more than a week of demonstrations.
Three people died after police in Afghanistan fired on protesters when a police station came under attack, a government spokesman said.
In Somalia, a 14-year-old boy was shot dead and several others were injured after protesters attacked the police. Further protests have been taking place from Gaza to India, Indonesia and Iran.
Quick photo round-up of today’s demonstrations…
Muslim dissident Ibn Warraq has a must-read manifesto published in Der Spiegel over the weekend. Excerpt:
The great British philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty, “Strange it is, that men should admit the validity of the arguments for free discussion, but object to their being ‘pushed to an extreme’; not seeing that unless the reasons are good for an extreme case, they are not good for any case.”
The cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten raise the most important question of our times: freedom of expression. Are we in the west going to cave into pressure from societies with a medieval mindset, or are we going to defend our most precious freedom — freedom of expression, a freedom for which thousands of people sacrificed their lives?
A democracy cannot survive long without freedom of expression, the freedom to argue, to dissent, even to insult and offend. It is a freedom sorely lacking in the Islamic world, and without it Islam will remain unassailed in its dogmatic, fanatical, medieval fortress; ossified, totalitarian and intolerant. Without this fundamental freedom, Islam will continue to stifle thought, human rights, individuality; originality and truth.
Unless, we show some solidarity, unashamed, noisy, public solidarity with the Danish cartoonists, then the forces that are trying to impose on the Free West a totalitarian ideology will have won; the Islamization of Europe will have begun in earnest. Do not apologize.
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross at The Counterterrorism Blog has similar thoughts and puts the Danish cartoon controversy in context:
With all the attention that politicians and the media have devoted to the controversy generated by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten’s publication of twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, it’s important to understand this controversy in its proper context. Jyllands-Posten decided to publish these cartoons because it wanted to test what editor-in-chief Carsten Juste described as “an article of self-censorship which rules large parts of the Western world.”
In other words, Juste contended that there is a real fear of being seen as criticizing Islam in large parts of the Western world, and that this fear has bred self-censorship. Juste is right on both counts. An article that I wrote for the Daily Standard back in November documents in some detail the trend toward criticism of Islam being met with threats or actual physical violence. Examples of this include Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa sentencing writer Salman Rushdie to death after publication of The Satanic Verses; the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh after he directed a film dramatizing the mistreatment of women born into Muslim families; the death threats directed against actor and Muslim convert Omar Sharif after he praised his role as St. Peter in an Italian TV film; Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali being driven underground by threats after admitting in a televised debate that she had left the Islamic faith; and Dutch painter Rachid Ben Ali being forced into hiding after one of his shows featured satirical work critical of Islamic militants’ violence.
These are but a few examples of a far broader trend toward speech crticizing Islam being met not with counter-speech, but with threats — and in extreme instances, with death. So Jyllands-Posten’s publication of the cartoons of Muhammad is best understood not as an attack on Islam, but as a reaction to this trend, and an attempt to dramatically reassert the primacy of free speech…
…When the U.S. State Department and British foreign secretary Jack Straw condemn the publication of these cartoons, it only demonstrates that they are either unaware of the threat to free speech — or else would like to pretend that it does not exist.
The fact remains, though, that the threat to free speech is real. Even in the West, people are threatened and sometimes killed for criticizing Islam. The Danish cartoons struck a blow against the resulting self-censorship. How we as a culture are able to weather the current controversy will say much about our understanding of the importance of free speech rights — and about our prospects of keeping these rights vibrant in the future.
Victor Davis Hanson has an exclusive piece over at the indispensable Real Clear Politics: “A European Awakening Against Islamic Fascism?” Intro:
Over the last four years Americans have played a sort of parlor game wondering when—or if—the Europeans might awake to the danger of Islamic fascism and choose a more muscular role in the war on terrorism.
But after the acrimony over the invasion of Iraq, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo, pessimists scoffed that the Atlantic alliance was essentially over. Only the postmortem was in dispute: did the bad chemistry between the Texan George Bush and the Green European leadership who came of age in the street theater of 1968 explain the falling out?
Or was the return of the old anti-Americanism natural after the end of the Cold War—once American forces were no longer needed for the security of Europe?
Or again, was Europe’s third way a realistic consideration of its own unassimilated and growing Muslim population, at a time of creeping pacifism, and radically scaled down defense budgets after the fall of the Berlin Wall?
Yet suddenly in 2006, the Europeans seem to have collectively resuscitated. The Madrid bombings, the murder of Theo van Gogh, the London subway attacks, and the French rioting in October and November seem to have prompted at least some Europeans at last to question their once hallowed sense of multiculturalism in which Muslim minorities were not asked to assimilate at home and Islamic terrorists abroad were seen as mere militants or extremists rather than enemies bent on destroying the West.
Read the whole thing.
Via ABC News:
Danish soldiers on patrol in southern Iraq came under attack but escaped unharmed, the Danish military headquarters said. Iraqis shot at the patrol on Sunday as the Danish soldiers gave first aid to a group of children injured in a traffic accident south of Al-Qurnah, it said. “They were shot at as they tried to help the children,” Colonel Henrik Sommer said. The soldiers shot back, withdrew from the area and took several of the children to hospital, he said.
Around 530 Danish soldiers are stationed in Iraq as part of a multinational force there, operating under British command in Basra, 550 kilometres south of Baghdad.
Hat tip: Alamo City Commander/All Things Conservative
Thomas Lifson at The American Thinker writes on the underlying crisis: the battle for moderate
It is quite understandable that caring, sensitive Westerners seek to avoid offending the religious sensibilities of any serious believers, Muslims included. Such empathy is normally a highly commendable impulse.
But acceding to the demand that those most willing to use violence be allowed to control the discussion and stifle debate, among infidels and Muslims alike, is a betrayal of not only the moderate Muslims, but of all those who hope someday to live in peace with an Islam that grants legitimacy to religious dissent and to the claims of other faiths.
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