Imagine yourself returning to secondary school. Inside the chemistry lab, a pupil is on the verge to combine two chemicals together but the teacher sees this, runs across the room and grabs him from the shoulder. She says: No, you don't do that, you will cause an explosion. But because the pupil thinks highly of himself he thinks: Sod it, I'm gonna do it anyway, nothing is gonna happen!
What does happen though?
The lab is on fire, flames spreading everywhere and the entire school building is evacuated. Well-done school pupil. 'You git'.
It was exactly this sort of thinking that the journalist of the Danish newspaper had wanted to achieve; to know what the reaction may cause among Danish Muslims in Denmark.
' Well, Danish journalist with a pint of Carlsberg, (or maybe a few empty glasses on his news desk) you've managed to strike a nerve. A nerve of some billion people worldwide'.
I blog and I really enjoy it but I am not a student of journalism neither politics but as far as I can remember, cartoons found in newspapers usually arouse a satirical laugh or chuckle. But when I saw these images in the German newspaper, Die Welt; I did not find them amusing at all but rather insulting. If I did, I would not be online writing this entry and the world would not be in questioning what is right or wrong.
The Times summed up the situation very nicely and I quote: “The Times would, for example, have reservations about printing a cartoon of Christ in a Nazi uniform sketched because sympathisers of Hitler had conducted awful crimes in the name of Christianity.”
I think The Times is holding the line between freedom of expression and stirring racial hatred. They hesitate to publish such images.
I just wonder how the West would respond if the above quotation were true. EU ministers would be staying up all night, their doors locked, laptops open, instant messaging away to colleagues of parliament, as well as to other European counterparts, expressing their dismay with emoticons. As soon as a few hours have passed, the West would express their bitterness and anger - the world audience watching with interest.
It makes perfect sense to suggest that if these caricatures reach the Islamic world, where countries like Palestine, Iraq or North Pakistan are unstable as well as irrational, then it is not surprising to expect an irrational and fanatical response.
I condemn the burning of the Danish flag and an attack on the Danish embassy but I do sympathise, especially if their role models like mothers, fathers, teachers, doctors, brothers or aunties etc have either been shot by the enemy, missing or attacked by the wrath of Mother Nature. If victims have survived this tragedy, in need for a new role model, as well as mental and physical rebuilding, they will turn to their faith of Islam which would embrace them as well as provide hope and determination. Suddenly to their complete horror, they see cartoon images of ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as a terrorist or suicide bomber.
Have everyone forgotten the victims of the Tsunami? They too are Muslims and it is wise to assume that their self-confidence is probably shattered, courtesy by the Danish newspaper.
If we all take a crash-course in learning to adapt to an environment without economic growth, destroyed homes or living in tents in minus temperatures, I wonder, if we would react the same way?
But in this matter of controversy, the West needs the East and vice versa.
The first steps of rebuilding that trust have already taken place. The Newspaper responsible for this nastiness, has made a sincere and through apology in English as well as Arabic.
The majority of rational, respected and affluent Muslims should accept this apology and move on.
For me, the feud is over.