Protesters right to be outraged

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The Article

Three cheers for the Muslim world. Three cheers for people who will not simply fall down and allow their most deeply held religious beliefs to be spat upon and treated as garbage.

Three cheers for people who will decry a cartoon whose sole purpose is to abuse and vilify one’s faith.

It is absolutely acceptable and even desirable to make fun of the Taliban, Osama bin Laden and many other fanatical Muslims and Muslim organizations. But when we are told that Mohammed should not be depicted and should certainly not be depicted in an insulting manner, perhaps we should listen.

Yes, of course, the violence, the arson, the hateful rhetoric, the anti-Semitism and the threats have been unacceptable.

But the Western media have, predictably, shown images of salivating mobs every night, yet not recorded many interviews with moderate, devout Muslims who deplore extremism but are viscerally angry at the insulting cartoons.

Why? Because such interviews would shake the comfortable stereotype the secular West has of all religions, not just Islam. Easier to film a screaming zealot than a highly educated Muslim cleric who desires peace and respect and understanding. Just as it’s easier to film a wild-eyed Christian kid with an agenda than a calm and brilliant priest with a doctorate.

Do remember, by the way, that the cartoons in question were originally published some months ago and the protests were controlled and reasonable.

It was only when the Danish and then Norwegian and French press ran wild with the thing that the Muslim world, yes, ran wild in response.

One of the most troubling aspects of all this is the reaction of so many Christians. They seem to think that the battle between western values and Islamic sensitivities places observant Catholics and evangelicals on the side of the West.

Not so. The West is no longer Christendom but the heartland of secular humanism and fundamentalist atheism. This is the West that regularly insults Christ, mocks Christianity and increasingly takes away the rights of genuine Christians to practise their faith.

A publicly funded museum featuring a picture of Jesus soaked in urine. Another with the Virgin Mary covered in excrement. A Canadian cartoon last year depicting Pope Benedict, whose father almost lost his life to Hitler and his gang, making a Nazi salute to Mary, the Mother of Christ.

Jesus portrayed in a play as a homosexual who has a sexual relationship with one of his disciples. Cartoons showing the Pope smiling as women and babies are killed. Endless television shows spewing forth horrible caricatures of priests, ministers and devout Christians. On and on and on, and then the execrable Da Vinci Code.

We hear Muslims saying, “They wouldn’t treat Jesus in this way.” They’re wrong, of course. Not because they are stupid but because they assume that a part of the world founded on the beauty of Christianity would not then be so disgustingly rude about Christ.

In other words, Muslims are as ignorant of the West and its intentions as are Christians who live here. Modern Western liberalism despises religion, and Islam and Christianity are equally in its sights.

In some ways it is shocking to see men, women and children outraged and taking to the streets to defend their religion against crude blasphemy. But in others ways it’s refreshing and delightful. I say again that violence is wrong, but that muscular protest against hatred is not.

Sorry, I cannot and will not join the ranks of the smug God-haters who refuse to understand a person’s love for their faith.

If you draw a cartoon that intends to offend, don’t be surprised when it has the desired effect.

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