All that fuss and religious condemnation over those Swedish and Danish cartoons depicting the holy prophet Muhammad, the historical founder of Islam was supposed to settle down ages ago, but due to Jihad Jane’s merry attempt and failure at recruiting jihad fighters to assassinate the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks has unfortunately provoked the good old controversy of the Muhammad drawings. In Islam, whether it’s Sunni or Shi’ite or any other branch, it is considered a huge insult to Muslims to idolize or draw Muhammed’s personal figure. Obviously the series of drawings showing Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body slapped the followers of Islam in the face back in 2007. This is not the first occassion to have sparked intense conflicts as the picture to the right prompted riots across the Islamic countries which unfortunately killed approximately 49 people.
Reactions from the Islamic world surpassed normal anger and outrage at these cartoons and hit rewards up to 100,000$ were even issued by extremist groups for Lars Vilk’s head. A huge issue emerged between the Western world, specifically the media, and the Islamic populations on the subject of freedom of speech and how far it should be limited when concerning the areas of sensitive religions like Islam.
It sounds utterly silly when you’re observing the situation from further away, but at the same time it’s understandable because everyone in this world has each of their own culture and the believers of Islam specifically feels that their religion as part of their culture was just seriously insulted by a cartoonist over in the Western world. The situation becomes all irky and political once the spokesmen of Islamic governments step in and start to stamp such cartoons as “hateful” while the other side insists that it is simply the freedom of expressing oneself, the debate can go anywhere from that point.
The Swedish cartoonist Vilks stated that the cartoons were simply being satirical and were not created for political purposes. Since 2007, he has received a rather decent amount of death threats and has prepared himself for cases when trespassers come to try to kill him at his house. After Jihad Jane’s arrest for conspiring to murder this venerable, 64 year old cartoonist, seven individuals (4 Males, 3 Females) in Ireland were arrested for also plotting the murder of Lars Vilks.
Western media has defended the right to the freedom of speech or expression that although these cartoons may undoubtedly offend many in the world along with the reactions toward it that the cartoon is now one of the numerous, modern icons of freedom of speech. Numerous artists, after these sketches of Muhammad were released, were inspired to do the same by drawing more depictions of the Prophet Muhammed leading to strained debates between the two sides.
I concur with the defendants of freedom of speech, no matter how offending the products may be one cannot simply crush a basic human right to express oneself in order to perserve simply one part of a culture. Freedom of speech is vital for the progress of society and ultimately humanity, without the security of this one right all other rights and privileges tumble down as news, art, books, and actions are restricted to venture into new areas. What then is left of a culture’s progress, for that matter, what remains of culture?
There are entire websites, blogs, books, movies like WhyWontGodHealAmputees, lolgod.blogspot, Religulous and so on devoted to mocking or skeptically criticizing the numerous religions of today’s world.There are also governments condemning religious actions, and certainly many artists out there poke fun or deliver a message about any religion and everything else in the world. What is offensive to one culture isn’t to another, yet unfortunately even in the 21st century we still see examples of extreme vows to harshly punish those who break “holy” laws and the misunderstanding of each other’s culture.
Swedish newspapers have begun to reprint the 2007 sketches of Muhammad once again, which will more than likely provoke even more dangerous responses from those of the Islamic world who are against it. Yet the Swedish newspapers have claimed that the cartoonist Vilks “is not alone in this conflict” as the Western world will also more than likely stand by him once again.
- Authored By: Anonymously Yours