February 7, 2006
Secularist Stupidity and Religious Wars
By Pat Buchanan
and agitators are exploiting those cartoons of Mohammed to advance
a war of civilizations and expel Europeans from the Middle East
does not excuse the paralyzing stupidity of that Danish paper
in running those cartoons -- or the arrogant irresponsibility
of European newspapers in plastering those cartoons all over their
first broke last September, when Jyllands-Posten published
12 caricatures of Mohammed, including a lampoon of the Prophet
with a terrorist bomb as a turban. In the Islamic faith, any depiction
of the face of Mohammed is forbidden.
paper knew this. It published the cartoons to protest "the
rejection of modern, secular society" by Muslims. The cartoons
were thus a defiant provocation. And they succeeded.
East responded with a boycott of Danish foods and goods. But when,
in the name of press solidarity, Le Soir and Le Monde
in Paris, El Pais in Madrid and Die Welt in
Berlin republished the cartoons on page one, Islam exploded. For
this was an in-your-face declaration by the secularist media of
the European Union that it will exercise its right to insult any
God, any Prophet, any faith, whenever it so chooses.
lessons from these reactionary bigots," said Serge Faubert,
editor of Le Soir. "Just because the Quran bans
images of Mohammed doesn't mean non-Muslims have to submit to
however, is not a Danish soldier in the Shi'ite sector of Iraq.
Innocents will pay the price of his heroism.
State Department seemed to empathize with Muslim rage, stating
that "inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner
is unacceptable." But, within hours, State had retreated
to neutral ground: "While we share the offense that Muslims
have taken at these images, we at the same time vigorously defend
the right of individuals to express points of view."
As of today
the Danish consulate in Beirut has been burned, Danish embassies
have been stormed, and Danes are fleeing the Middle East. Europeans
are getting out of the West Bank, Gaza and Beirut, where mobs
are attacking embassies and Christian churches.
countries have recalled ambassadors from Copenhagen. People have
been injured and property destroyed in mob assaults as far away
as Indonesia. Relations between the West and the Islamic world
have been dealt another rupturing blow.
what? What was the purpose of this juvenile idiocy by the Europress?
Is this what freedom of the press is all about -- the freedom
to insult the faith of a billion people and start a religious
be that ignorant of the power of the press to inflame when Bismarck's
editing of just a few words in the Ems telegram ignited the Franco-Prussian
war? Did Europeans learn nothing from the Salman Rushdie episode?
Or the firestorm that gripped the Islamic world when Christian
ministers in the United States called Mohammed a "terrorist"?
governments are wringing their hands over the rage and violence
unleashed, but they seem paralyzed. What is the matter? Why cannot
they denounce press irresponsibility while defending press freedom?
Even friends of the West like Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, President
Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey have denounced
these cartoons as insults to Islamic values and deeply damaging
to Western interests.
Foreign Minister Jack Straw deplored republication of the cartoons
as "insensitive ... disrespectful ... wrong." But German
Interior Minister Wolfgang Shauble haughtily dissented, "Here,
in Europe, governments have nothing to say about which publisher
When it comes to what Germans are most sensitive about, Hitler
and the Holocaust, they are ruthless censors. British historian
David Irving has spent three months in a Viennese prison awaiting
trial on Feb. 20 for speeches he made 15 years ago in Austria.
Skeptics and deniers of the Holocaust are prosecuted, fined and
imprisoned in Europe with the enthusiastic endorsement of the
we all that different. Sen. Trent Lott was ousted as majority
leader for a birthday-party compliment to 100-year-old Strom Thurmond.
Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker was almost lynched for saying
he considers New York a social pigsty. There were demands that
Rocker undergo psychiatric counseling.
"speech codes" in colleges and "hate crimes"
laws to protect minorities from abusive remarks. But newspapers
that hail these codes throw a blanket of "artistic freedom"
over scatological art that degrades religious symbols -- from
putting a figure of Christ in a jar of urine to a "painting"
of the Virgin Mary surrounded by female genitalia and elephant
dung that hung in a Brooklyn museum.
happened in Europe is that the secular press, which loves to mock
the beliefs and symbols of religious faith, has now insulted a
deadly serious religion that answers insults with action.
2006 Creators Syndicate