The Muslim Uproar Over the Muhammad Cartoons

There are two parts to this analysis of the situation, and both are essential to gaining an understanding of what is going on.

  1. A guest article asks a number of foundational questions and highlights some important aspects that are mostly neglected in the discussion of this affair.
  2. Documentation, background information and further commentary on the issue.

The Christian Institute for the Analysis of Islam

Is Islam Above Criticism?


Al-Maqdesi & Solomon

Much is being stated regarding the boycott of Denmark because of a cartoon drawing allegedly depicting the prophet of Islam.

The crisis began last September 2005 when Jyllands-Posten, a Danish Newspaper, published cartoon drawings one of which depicted Muhammad as a terrorist. Subsequently these very cartoons appeared in a Norwegian daily, too.

Soon there were demonstrations of protest by Muslims in Denmark and number of Islamic countries against the publishing of the cartoons.

However, last week there began a series of reactions in Arab and Islamic countries protesting against the publishing of Danish drawings. For example, on 30 January 2006, a number of armed Palestinian stormed the offices of the European Union in Gaza demanding an apology from Denmark and Norway.

Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Denmark and Libya followed likewise. The Libyan foreign ministry issued a communiqué stating that Libya had decided to take economical measures against Copenhagen as protest for the failure of Danish authorities to take any measures against the Newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

The Syrian foreign office issued a strong worded statement denouncing this prolonged offence against both Arab and Islamic communities. The statement added that Syria calls upon the Danish government to take the necessary steps to punish the culprits and to see that such offences are not repeated in the future.

In Jordan the Danish ambassador was summoned by Abdallah Al-Khatib, Minister of foreign Affairs to express Jordan’s protest. While the Egyptian Parliament called upon its government to withdraw its ambassadors from Denmark and Norway, and the Hezbollah in Lebanon described the drawings as a grave offence to Islam.

Along the same line significant number of Kuwaiti religious scholars called upon the members of the Kuwaiti parliament to see how to put an end to such offences against the feelings of Muslims.

The Arab foreign ministers denounced the Danish government for its refusal to take any action against the newspaper, expressing their disappointment with the European Human Rights organizations that have in their view failed to take a firm pro-Islamic position in this case.

On the other hand, hundreds of Kuwaitis demonstrated in front of the Danish consular offices demanding an apology from the Danish government to apologise to all the Muslims, calling to stop the insult to their Prophet and the Islamic religion as well as encouraging the people of Kuwait to boycott all Danish products.

In Yemen the protestors demanded the boycott of both Norwegian and Danish products until such time they apologise for the publishing these offensive pictures of their prophet.

While in United Emirates Muhammad Bin Nakhyara A’zahiri the Minister of Justice, Islamic affairs and endowments criticised the drawings depicting the prophet as an immoderation and excess of all acceptable intellectual norms and in no way it could be regarded as freedom of expression as stated by the Danish authorities.

Almost everywhere in the Gulf businesses have withdrawn Danish products from their stores and major outlets in Saudi displayed notices stating ‘we do not sell Danish products.’

People all over the Arab World wrote messages encouraging each other to boycott Danish goods.

Why such a severely escalated reaction by Arab and Islamic countries to some cartoon drawings? Despite the regret and apology expressed by the Newspaper.

Logic must be challenged with logic, and reason must never be allowed to be silenced by the sword and violence of corporate punishment, a boycott of products of a country or a withdrawal of ambassadors and the burning of flags..

This kind of suppression of freedom of expression has no place in the free Western society.

What is ridiculous yet disappointing, those zealots for Islam think that they would punish the West by imposing a policy of corporate humiliation and starvation in order to demand respect for Islam gagging all and every voice of opposition.

Our question to those who are demanding the boycott of Danish and Western goods is – what if the West were to cut them off from supplying their products, aid, security and protection, both medical and technical expertise, deny educating their children, and cut off their protection security!

Why this bias to what has happened in Denmark and the refusal to see or hear what the mass media in the Arab and Islamic world has and continues to publish and broadcast in offensive and insulting lingo and the undermining of the rights of Jews, Christians and their religious beliefs? Shouldn’t justice and injustice be the same for all?

Do we understand by this reaction and peppery response of the Arabs and Muslims towards the cartoon artist that anything that might offend or vilify a certain religious group would be punitive!

If the true reason behind the rage and the reaction of the Muslims is their concern for equal respect of all religions and its icons, then shouldn’t the Jews and the Christians be entitled for the same reasons to be enraged and file an international law suit against the Qur’an for its incitement against the Jews and the Christians, and their humiliation propagated by it?

Could his majesty, the King of Saudi, clearly state to the Westerners generally and Danes particularly, both required to respect Islam, who is it that sura 1:7 is referring to "on whom Allah has bestowed his wrath and those who have gone astray".

Aren’t they the Jews and the Christians?!

Would the Muslims kindly inform the West and the Westerners who are required to respect Islam? Who is it that is being referred to in sura 7:176, "his similitude is that of a dog, if you attack him he lolls out his tongue or if you leave him alone he still lolls out his tongue that is the similitude of whose who reject our signs"?

Isn’t this a corporate reference to the Jews?

And then few verses further 7:179, states "many are the jinns and men we have made for Hell, they have hearts they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like Cattle nay more misguided for they are heedless."

Again all Islamic expositors and their manuals say that it is the Jews that are being referred to here.

Not only as dogs, cattle but now donkeys as per sura 62:5 "the similitude of those who were charged with the Mosaic Law but who subsequently failed in those (obligations) is that of a donkey which carries huge tomes. Evil is the similitude of people who falsify the signs of Allah. And Allah guides not people who do wrong."

"As if they were affrighted asses", sura 74:50

"those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath those of whom some He transformed into apes and swine" sura 5:60, godless and iniquitous as per Sura 2:59, 5:25,47; unjust and transgressors, Sura 5:45; hypocrites, 63:8; apostates, 9:30, 4:155, 171; polytheists 9:28,30. And they are the ones who corrupted and tampered with the Scriptures, 2:75ff, 4:46, and 3:78; worshipped their leaders as gods, sura 9:31; spread corruption on earth, 5:33,64.

How can respect of the other - meaning the non-Muslims - be achieved when the Qur’an depicts them with most humiliating terms?

Is it out of respect that the Qur’an describes the non-Muslims as profane; sura 9:28 "O ye who believe, truly the pagans (non Muslims) are profane so let them not after this year of theirs approach the sacred Mosque." Thus Mecca remains exclusively an Islamic city, non-Muslims barred.

The Qur’an declares the Christians have been declared as apostates for their belief in the divinity of Christ by the Qur’an. So, based on this, would it be appropriate for the USA to confiscate and censor all the Islamic books and arrest whosoever of the Muslims reiterates that? If the USA were to require Muslims to delete or abstain from publishing the verses of the Qur’an that declares Christians to be apostates, what would be the reaction of Muslims?

How would they describe the USA?

As stated above, the Qur’an declares the Jews to be monkeys and swine and that they worship Ezra … so would it be appropriate for the Jewish State to arrest Muslims with the charge of incitement of racial and religious hate and forbid them publishing and distributing Islamic books or the Qur’anic verses that despise the majority in the Jewish State?

How can the Muslims demand from others to respect Islam and their beliefs and their religious icons while the Qur’an commands the humiliation and the killing of non-Muslims for simply not embracing Islam as their religion, Sura 9:29?

The publishing of cartoon drawings has been regarded and taken as an affront to Islam, how would they describe the Qur’anic injunctions that incite Muslims towards hate and murdering the other, i.e. the non-Muslims?

Can his royal Majesty, the king of Saudi Arabia, state to Westerners generally and to the Danes particularly of whom it is required to respect Islam that all Muslims are required and commanded by Allah in the Qur’an to hate all the Jews and the Christians of the World?

"O ye who believe do not take the Jews and the Christians as your friends … 5:51

Who are these Jews and Christians that the Qur’an forbids the Muslims taking them as friends? Were they the Jews and the Christians of the time of the Prophet? Or are they the Jews and the Christians of every age and every generation past, present and the future?

If the application of this injunction was limited only to the time of Muhammad; then does that mean it is no longer effective and applicable for our time and generation?

But if it is effective now and today would that not mean it is to be seen as a direct incitement of hate towards the Jews and Christians?

Could it be then that because of this verse as a basic and fundamental factor the result is a very poor relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims?

Don’t the Muslims know the continued petitioning of Allah daily and especially on Fridays, a cursing that is pronounced from the pulpits of Mosques on the Jews and the Christians:

O Allah may you make the apostates against each other and the polytheists against their likes and bring out the Unitarians from them safely, with their spoils, O Lord of Worlds, O Allah. May their women be widowed, may their children be orphaned, may their blood freeze in their veins, may their food be stuck in their inner testines. O Allah, destroy them make their miseries strong among them, O Allah grant us victory over them, O Allah send your punishment on them, bring division in the midst of their union, scattering them, disseminating their numbers. O Allah, grant us victory over them. O Allah may their snares be slaughtered and be scuttled within themselves. O Allah show us your power. O Mighty One and the Vanquisher, O Allah show us in them a dark day as in the day of A’ad and Thamud. O Allah, quake the earth under their feet, O Allah empower venomous creatures over them and send hail storms over them as you did over A’ad and Thamud and deliver them as captives in the hands of your believing slaves and humiliate the polytheists and, O Allah, lift up the banner of Islam …

Why is it right and legal for Muslims to criticise, denounce, slander and vilify all other religions in any way they choose, particularly the Jews and Christians? However, if one were to respond by examining Islam critically the Muslims would consider that an abuse and vilification of Islam and would demand an apology, and even after the apology is given there will be no guarantee that the culprit would live.

Can it really be that critique of others is a virtue, an allowed action, halal and even obligatory for the Muslims but a vice and forbidden or haram for a non-Muslim?

Why don’t we look more closely into what led to these cartoon drawings...?

Art, as we know, is a subjective perspective of what one perceives from one’s point of view: What the cartoonist saw was the butchering of innocent people according to the Shari’ah, torture and assassinations by human bombs, car bombs. Suicide missions whose victims were and continue to be innocent men, women and helpless children. Indiscriminate killing, no distinction between military and civilian, old or young, man or woman, including babies, chopped heads, burnt bodies, human flesh fragmented, screaming children, wailing women, and all this in the name of Islam and the victory for Muslims.

We ask those who desire to punish the West by boycotting its products who is truly responsible for the marred image of Islam, not only in the West but worldwide? Aren’t they those who kill and maim in cold blood, aren’t they the followers of Islam?

Who was responsible for the bombing of New York, Madrid, London, Riyadh and Cairo, … and the list can go on and on.

One wonders, who is the real culprit who imparted this image of Islam? Is it the Danish cartoon artist or the Muslim Mujahedeen?

After all this, do the Muslims still have the audacity to demand from others – the non-Muslims – to respect Muslims and Islam?

What justification and right do they have to object and demonstrate and demand that this is not freedom but an offence and vilification of Islamic sanctities?

2 February 2006: This above article was submitted to Answering Islam, the responsibility for its content remains with The Christian Institute for the Analysis of Islam. In order to make this current events commentary available when it is most relevant, i.e. at a time when the discussion is raging all over the world, we decided to publish it immediately. This made it impossible to verify and document/reference every detail of the statements found in it, something we usually try to do. If the reader finds factual errors, please contact us so that we can correct them.

Cartoons and Consequences

The following list of links categorizes articles relevant to this discussion.

Why would anyone be surprised? — essential background information

Similar recent events

Victims of these riots whom hardly anyone is talking about

Documentation and commentaries on the cartoon outrage

As of 3 February 2006, Google lists already more than 200,000 articles on the web about this issue!

The obvious irony is that without those protests merely a couple of thousand Danes would have seen the cartoons. Because of the Muslim uproar, millions of people all around the world are now discussing these cartoons as well as the intolerant attitude of Muslims.

What is the real issue here?

Talking about offending the feelings of Muslims seems to miss the point, however. The issue is something altogether different. Why did those protests only become a world wide uproar FOUR MONTHS after the publication of those cartoons, and after the newspaper had already apologized?

The central issue in Islam is power, not feelings. Some Muslims realized that this matter could be a fantastic platform to force Western countries to submit to Islamic rules and to restrict freedom of speech in regard to free discussion of Islam.

As recognized by some commentators (Fabricated cartoons worsened Danish controversy, second half of this article, The Lies of Danish Imams, and The Cartoon Hoax even reveals the source of one of the fake cartoons, cf. Lying in Islam), a delegation of Danish Muslims toured the world distributing a booklet with the allegedly offensive cartoons. However, they added several further fabricated cartoons which were much more offensive than the original ones. Why? In order to engineer an outcry that simply wasn't happening spontanously.

"In other words, this was indeed a campaign, planned by important members of the Islamic world’s power structure, intended to force Denmark to comply with Sharia requirements. A new norm, that a western nation would conform to Sharia regardless of its free expression tradition, would be on the way to being established." (Source: Comic Outrage)

It is questionable whether the issue ever was "offensiveness", but today the issue clearly is power. Will newspapers and broadcasting companies, organizations and even governments cave in to Islamic pressure and give up freedom of thought and freedom expression? Will Europe and America become an Islamic colony where citizens are no longer able to speak their mind without fear of Muslim reprisals?

Freedom is what we have to stand up for. If we do not defend it, it will be gone.

Besides a Muhammad Cartoons Blogburst, some bloggers have created their own collection of Muhammad cartoons to protest the Islamic attempts to restrict their freedoms, e.g. Thomas the Wraith. His cartoons have not impressed me too much, but he has some sharp observations in his blog entries, e.g. many Muslims are apparently dying to get offended!

This whole uproar is staged. Muslims are constantly looking for occasions to get offended so that others will have to apologize to them, i.e. acknowledge that they have wronged Muslims/Islam (cf. these articles: 1, 2). Making others apologize to you, that is power.

Still, the ultimate goal is not to get just one apology over this issue. Too many apologies have already been issued regarding this, but the protests only increase. In the words of Mullah Krekar of Norway: "It does not matter if the governments of Norway and Denmark apologize, the war is on." (Source)

The goal seems to be to force the European countries to legislate against "insulting Islam", effectively forbidding to criticize the Qur'an, Muhammad, Islam and Muslims. That would be the ultimate victory. (The day after this was written, I find out that efforts are already under way: Islamic organisations want UN resolution against cartoons. Another author thinks aloud about the long term consequences, demands for such Islam protection laws in Britain, The Muslim Brotherhood's project for dominating the West.)

4 February: With the burning of embassies in various countries, things are getting out of control. Probably 95% of the Muslims now using violence have not even seen the cartoons. So, how were their feelings offended? By mere rumors? No, their leaders call on them to go on a rampage, and they follow the orders. Islam is showing its true colors. Paying some attention to detail, one can easily see how well-prepared those "spontaneous" protests really are.

Again, the Muslim masses have not even seen the cartoons, but they are incited to hatred, are instrumentalized in a strategy for a certain purpose. It will be up to informed citizens to hold their governments responsible to not give in to the argument from violence.

Shockingly, these are pictures from London, not from Gaza or Pakistan.

Are we prepared to suffer?

The coming days and weeks will show whether we have enjoyed our freedoms for such a long time that we do not know anymore that freedom has its price. Has our freedom made us so weak and soft that we rather give it up than fight for it? Will our governments and our people treasure freedom and stand up for the principles of a free society, or will they run scared, let the fear of suffering rule and put short term convenience and the appearance of peace above freedom and human rights?

Various assorted links, quotes and comments:

By publishing these cartoons, we are saying to the Muslim community in Denmark ‘we treat you as we treat everybody else’ -- Fleming Rose, Jyllands-Posten

This is the misunderstanding of Mr. Rose. Muslims do not understand respect to be treated as everyone else. They are not "everybody".

In nearly all Muslim countries there is no freedom to criticize and satirize the government. And it is absolutely impossible to question the religious authority of Islam. In stark contrast, in all western countries, America and Europe, the newspapers are full of carricatures of the governments. And also cartoons and critique of just about anything that is relevant in society, including religion. That is why we are free.

But this is the point. Muslims demand that they are NOT to be treated as everyone, but to be given special honor. The Muslims believe they deserve special treatment because their faith is true, and more than that, supreme.. That is hard for the West to understand, especially when Christians who make similar truth claims do not usually demand the state to protect them and their faith.

The Islamists demand no less than absolute supremacy for their religion--and not only in the Muslim world but wherever Muslims may happen to reside. That's why they see no hypocrisy in their demand for "respect" for Islam while the simple display of a cross or a Star of David in Saudi Arabia is illegal. Infidels simply don't have the same rights. (Source)

It is the totalitarianism of Islam that seeks to enforce its rules not only in Muslim countries but upon all of the world.

For example, an Internet Service Provider of Pakistan has put this announcement on its entry page:

BrainNET condemn the publication of insulting sketches about our Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and other Prophets in Danish and in some European Newspapers. BrainNET will try to block all websites containing these insulting sketches. In protest BrainNET is blocking all internet communication between Denmark and BrainNET network. We demand a written public apology by the Editors of all related newspapers and the Prime Minister of Denmark and other European countries and we demand for European law makers to amend their constitution and impose minimum death penalty for such offenders in the future. (Source, accessed 5 March 2006; underline and bold emphasis mine; in Pakistan, insults to Muhammad carry the death penalty)

This is what we need to first understand, and then resist, because agreeing to a banning of cartoons of Muhammad would only be the beginning. The demands will not stop until all of Islamic law is enforced everywhere. Giving in here would be a slippery slope, cf. Jest a Bit and Harvest Trouble, ‘Sensitivity’ can have brutal consequences, and Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism.

In most Islamic countries, Christians are not allowed to be public about their faith. But even in the West, where Muslims are still a small minority, they seek to remove one Christian symbol from society after the other, e.g. Away with Crucifixes, Crosses, and Christmas (although the examples listed in this article were not too successful yet, count on it that they will persist and increase the pressure wherever they see an opportunity). Again, Islam is about power. Islamic pressure groups will not rest until Shariah is fully implemented everywhere. Giving in to their demands, even in what seem to be small matters, will only encourage them to demand more. This Muslim tactic must be resisted from the beginning.

Maybe there is one good thing in this whole cartoon tragedy after all? The Islamists clearly overdid it this time and the tide may be turning, i.e. some of the changes that they had already managed to enforce upon Western societies may be rolled back, e.g. the decision that only halal foods were available for all school children in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Non-Muslims under Islamic Rule
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