The most upsetting thing to me about this whole cartoon fiasco is how some fundamentalists in the Arab world have decided to react to the offensive cartoons – caricatures which were drawn by Europeans on a different continent — by venting their anger against their fellow Christian-Arabs!
While the controversy continues to snowball, some extremists have and continue to harass Christian Arabs in places like Iraq, the Palestinian territories, where gunmen distributed a pamphlet at the European Union Headquarters threatening to harm churches, and most recently Lebanon, where demonstrators there threw stones at houses and churches in the Christian neighborhood of Al-Ashrafyeh! My good reporter friend who was there to cover the protest informed me that sectarian tensions in the country are very high, with Christians terrified and ready to take up arms.
This is terribly alarming! Besides Lebanon, I cannot remember hearing about significant sectarian incidents while growing up in the Middle East. As a Christian-Arab, I never thought I would live to see the day when Christian-Arabs are looked at with suspicion by their fellow Arabs for acts perpetrated by Westerners in another part of the globe! But then again, while I was growing up, the world was a different place and extremism was never so prevalent, so omnipotent.
My honest opinion is that the fact that there are people burning down embassies and bringing violence into the picture, all in the name of Islam, works against the Muslim community as a whole. Not only that, they work against the whole Middle Eastern community as their actions only fuel the image of Middle Eastern (in the West basically synonomous with Muslim), as violent, terrorists and extremists. Do these people really believe that the Western world will look at them with in a good way? Do they really think that their fellow men and women who live in the West will be treated better when they burn down embassies? Do they actually believe that the common man believes the Imans’ in Sweden, Denmark and Norway who say that Islam is a peaceful religion when there are images showing how flags and embassies are being burnt down?
I have Muslim friends and I have never really reflected much over their religion. To me it’s just that – a religion. A belief same as any other. Some take it more serious than others, but to me majority of the fundamentals in all religions are similar.
As I’m not religious myself I do admit to finding some people a bit too extreme when they interpret religion by the book, but that goes for all religions. I believe in everyone’s right to have a religion and practising it, but I don’t want anyone to force their religion on me, neither through actively missioning it to me, nor through forcing me to live by someone elses rules and regulations. It’s my choice and mine alone.
At the same time I also believe that if you live in a country that officially holds another religion, beliefs and values etc, then you have to adapt to that society. If I moved down to the Middle East I would have to adapt to the way of living out of respect for the culture and country. Same goes for people living in e.g. Sweden. Therefore I don’t think it’s right to demand an excuse for anything but the fact that the debated caricatures can be deemed offensive. The publication in itself is the right of a democratic country that does not hold Islam as it’s official religion.
The same way that Christianity is being caricatured, royals and politicians along with it, so should one be able to publish drawings of Islamic characters (caricatures or not). The main issue is that the images in themselves may be offensive, which I can understand the Muslim society is may find them. But there is no way anyone can, or should, decide if a non-Muslim country can publish drawings of Mohammed, Jesus or Buddha.
Boycott Danish goods. I’m all for that. That shows a stand point. Protest, but do it peacefully. Don’t burn down embassies, flags and start riots, because this will only undermine the rest of the world’s view of Islam and the Middle East. Middle Eastern people living in the West are already under lots of pressure, and I’d rather not see them being victims of more due to some extremist idiots (pardon the language) loosing their temper and putting their innocent country men to shame.
Perhaps I should also mention that no Swedish paper has published the above mentioned drawings. The Swedish papers have deemed it unecessary as the Editors do find them offensive in themselves. All the Editors of the biggest Swedish papers have officially said along the lines of; “Why should we publish something that we never would have published in the first place? Just to show solidarity? That’s not necessary, but we do belive in Freedom of Speech. The images are bad, and should never have been published, but it is still the democratic press’ right to publish it if the Editor makes that decision.”
Fadi, I take it you are addressing the other Firas who said
In any case, you are absolutely right, this attacking of Churches is just insanely ignorant. This is not the way we have lived together for hundreds of years.
And yes, there are Fanatics out there fueling the fire. You should have seen the video on BBC. They had Muslim clerics trying in vain to prevent the sacking of the Danish Embassy in Beirut.
In other clips, I saw the clerics getting physical with some of the protesters, trying to prevent acts of violence.
But they failed. Which goes to show that this is hardly a religious issue but a political one.
I hope Muslim authorities are able to effect control on these stupid cumpissvinegar-filled youth who obviously are just as likely to blame their socio-economic woes on their governments as anyone else.
^ sorry correction:
Arabs lived in the region for centuries until the islamic faith spread from Arabia up to Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq and the rest.. what I’m trying to say is that Islam (properand its core) has never worked against christianity or christians.. Arab muslims are no different than Arab jews or Arab christians… its just too bad that the world is really missed up today for any of us to realize that!
Learn your history!! we the chrisitan Arabs are the first arabs!! Muslims in the Middle East are arabs who were christians, jews or idol-worshipers, who then became muslims!!
Stop doing and saying things that make things worse!! it’s not an arab vs arab thing, it’s a moderate vs. fanatic debate!
Danish queen opposes Muslims?
Commentary from an Iraqi Christian blogger:
“The Danish constitution says: “The law prohibits publicly disseminated statements, which threaten, insult, or degrade persons based on their religion.”
It seems not to include Islam and Muslims, but it seems to include only Jews on anti-Semitists attacks in Danish society (several cases during last years).
There are most certainly more Muslim Danish citizens than Jew citizens.
In April last year the queen of Denmark was quoted by the Telegraph newspaper as saying that we (Denmark) “should show our opposition to Islam”.
She said: “We are being challenged by Islam these years — globally as well as locally. It is a challenge we have to take seriously. We have let this issue float about for too long because we are tolerant and lazy. We have to show our opposition to Islam and we have to, at times, run the risk of having unflattering labels placed on us because there are some things for which we should display no tolerance.”
Well, the Queen Margaret got what she ordered – a real challenge. If you play with fire you get in a hot situation. The Danish government got only interested in the issue when Muslims started their Danish product boycott.
The boycott began fast to hurt Danish economy and reputation. Now they are sorry, ashamed and frightened.”
The Arabs are out of control, “enjoy being out of control”, and will stay “out of control” until we send them to me their VERSION of a God at the bottom ot the garbarge dump they all belong in!! I believe Adolfh Hitler was ahead of his time, and would soon have put the “rag heads” on his welcome list to various locations now famous in Jewish history fiction.
It will take a strong hand to put this house in order, unfortunetly the Western culture of USA, and their European followers dont remember the “Iron Boot”. They desire political correctness and other useless measures.
My, my “firas”. Natasha is talking about sectarian strife. Thanks for adding to that strife. You want to go back 2000 years and talk about who or what is an Arab?
Who said 3alam fadhyeh? Absolutely right.
Next, the Assyrians will call on all Arabs and Persians to leave Iraq and Iran. Maybe the aboriginal peoples around the world should start complaining too.
I have a few points to say…maybe the arabs took the whole issue to an exaggerated level by torching the various embassies and what not but i dont blame them at all what bother me most is the fact that in the western world particulary canada and the US when one equates the star of david with the swastika they are considered Nazis or anti sematic or when you draw a rather offensive pciture of a black person you are called a racist but when one draw pictures of the prophet what are we supposed to say nothing and just adhere to freedom of speech. I know for a fact that if an arab or muslim country would discuss anything to do with jews, israel, the holocaust we are anti semites or Nazis such is the case with Iran and denying the Holocaust, the entire world condemned iran for that but isnt that freedom of speech as well..
Natasha! When we stop calling ourselves Arabs we’ll live on our land!
We were here first!When Muslim invaders came we fought them (yeah I know about what they BS us with the Omar agreement thing)
The upcoming years are not easy!But we shall survive!
I am really sorry to see this happening, it contradicts each and every Islamic teaching there is.
“how some fundamentalists in the Arab world have decided to react to the offensive cartoons…”
I really respect you for saying the word some.