Would Jesus Do?
-- -- Picture this: A cartoon of Jesus, with his pants down,
smiling, raping a little boy. The caption above it reads “Got
Catholicism?” Or how about a picture of a Rabbi with blood dripping
from his mouth after bludgeoning a small Palestinian boy with a
knife shaped like the Star of David—the caption reads “The Devil’s
I wonder if people around the world would just
consider this free speech? Of course, some would condone or agree
with one, two or all three, while others would say “it’s free
speech,” although they “find it offensive and in poor taste.” But do
you honestly think media outlets such as the BBC, Le Monde, or any
media outlet in Copenhagen would pick up these cartoons? The outrage
would begin instantly and advertisers would pullout. Yet, those in
Denmark and their supporters around Europe call it freedom of speech
to have a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed—who is not supposed be
depicted to prevent idolatry according to clerical interpretation of
the Koran—with a turban shaped like a bomb on his head.
The double standard the West has set for the
rest of the world is disgusting. We live in a foolish bubble where
we think we are free to say or do whatever we want without
consequence. I remember watching Saturday Night Live when Sinead
O’Connor ripped up a picture of the Pope. The furor was enormous,
which led to NBC receiving a 2.5 million dollar fine by the Federal
Communications Commission. Imagine if it was a picture of Jesus—the
US Congress would have made the Teri Schiavo intervention look like
Where are the pictures of the dead soldiers,
the dead women and children in the Western media? Some governments
won’t allow it and other media outlets just fear the backlash. When
I need journalistic honesty, I have to turn to Al Jazeera, why is
that? One cannot even deny the Holocaust in Europe, question 9/11 in
America (unless you want the Ward Churchill treatment), but the West
claims they’re all about free speech.
It is no coincidence the Israeli/Palestinian
conflict is grossly pro-Israeli. It is no coincidence that you never
heard the full quotes of Iranian president Ahmadinejad’s comments on
Israel and the Holocaust—no matter the basis. And it is no
coincidence that Arab analysts who are against the war in Iraq, the
occupation of Palestine, and America’s “war on terror” are
insufficiently represented in the European press.
So what are Muslims to do? Violence is out of
the question—that would be “an overreaction.” So why not boycott?
That would be a mistake as well, according to the European Justice
Commissioner Franco Frattini who stated, “Calls for boycotts or for
restraints on the freedom of the press are completely unacceptable.”
What Frattini meant to say is that Muslims should choose capitalism
over faith. Maybe the European Union will clarify through a
cartoon—Mohammed selling the Koran for ten bucks in a Danish pawn
shop. But boycotting is a friend of the West. However, they more
conveniently title it “sanctions.” I’m sure we all remember the
500,000 Iraqi women and children that died because of the UN
boycotts on Iraq after the first Gulf War.
Is Europe is willing to continue this new trend
against boycotts? Will the European community call on Israel to show
Paradise Now in non-independent theatres? It’s the only way to stop
the boycott of Palestinian freedom of speech. Will the European
Union resume aide to the Hamas-led Palestinian government tomorrow?
Since Hamas’ call for the destruction of Israel is protected under
the clause of freedom of speech and the group stopped suicide
attacks 18 months ago, it only seems logical.
If Denmark, Norway, France, Germany and the
rest of Europe believe in the freedom of speech, it should include
all instances and all religions. These nations are carelessly
defending their hypocrisy and reinforcing the double standard that
alienates Muslims and desecrates the Muslim faith, under the guise
of free speech. I guess only one question remains for small
Norwegian Christian newspapers like Magazinet that reprinted the
cartoons: What would Jesus do?
*** Remi Kanazi is
the primary writer for the political website
www.PoeticInjustice.net. He lives in New York City as a
Palestinian American freelance writer and can reached via email at
(In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational purposes.
Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the
originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House
endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)