I love this ridiculous secular notion of “equal mockery” for all religions. It’s pretty clear that these cartoons are meant to “ease” the underlying tensions perceived within the Danes’ own society as well as from the proximity of Denmark to the Middle East.
It’s farcical. Some reasons why include:
- gross cultural insensivity. By extension of the Quran, Muslim identity lies directly in Muhammad. “There is one God, Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.” Putting his head on a stick, or a camel for that matter, is NOT going to be funny to them – not to say that they lack self-deprecation, but it comes out in arguably far less intellectual ways and arguably far more emotional ones.
- “equal mockery” is essentially a thinly-veiled pretense for mocking religions “of the Book”. Eastern religions are subject to close to nonexistant gainsay simply because a lot of people in the west don’t understand how their own senses of identity within one might relate.
- it tends to spawn more xenophobia.
In short, it’s a double standard that reveals some of the baser elements of secular humor – that of both narcissicm and self-preservation. In fact, FindLaw’s Julie Hilden has a good article articulating these points and more. Read it here.
So if you’re going to mock religions, do it on equal terms. Then maybe you’ll find out that, in fact, your underlying basis for why you find cultural insensitivity to be humorous will be changed.
via the Independent.
By Stephen Castle, Europe Correspondent
Published: 10 October 2006
Danes have been warned against travelling to a number of Muslim countries after the release of a video showing young members of an anti-immigrant party mocking the Prophet Mohamed.
Images drawn by members of the youth wing of the Danish People’s Party, and shown on television and the internet, were condemned by Islamic leaders in Egypt and Indonesia, threatening to reawaken the furore over cartoons published last year in Denmark.
The film was made by a group called Defending Denmark which said it infiltrated the youth wing of the far-right party for 18 months “to document [its] extreme right-wing associations”. It showed the junior members of the party, who appeared to have been drinking, holding a drawing contest during their summer camp.
One woman presented a cartoon showing a camel with the head of Mohamed and beer cans for humps. A second drawing showed a bearded man wearing a turban next to a plus sign and a bomb, equalling a nuclear mushroom cloud.
Yesterday the video was removed from the internet but not before it had provoked a diplomatic incident.
The Danish Foreign Ministry in Copenhagen cautioned its citizens against travel to Gaza, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.
In the past two days, “several Arabic media have published critical reports about the airing of the video from the Mohamed competition,” it said.
“Against that background, we urge Danes to use caution as the matter could possibly lead to negative reactions. The atmosphere and reactions can vary dependent on time and place. Danes should be aware of the local mood,” the ministry added.
Last September a Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten printed 12 cartoons portraying Mohamed, sparking a furious debate about freedom of speech. When the images were reprinted four months later in a range of newspapers, they triggered massive protests – some violent – from Morocco to Indonesia and a boycott of Danish goods.
In the latest row the Danish People’s Party has come under fire for failing to expel those shown on the video. The party’s leader, Pia Kjaersgaard, has defended the participants’ right to freedom of speech.
While the DPP is not part of the coalition of Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the government has relied on its votes to get measures through the Danish parliament.
On Sunday, Mr Rasmussen condemned the DPP youth wing, saying “their tasteless behaviour in no way represents the way the Danish people or young Danish people view Muslims or Islam”. In Tehran, Iran summoned Denmark’s ambassador to complain about the broadcast. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference condemned the cartoons.