The row over a Danish newspaper publishing twelve images of Mohammed is getting more heated. People are chanting “Death to Denmark” in Pakistan. Ambassadors are being recalled. Scandanavians are being told to evacuate the Middle East. A French news paper, France Soir, republished the images as a statement of solidarity… and the editor got fired as a result.
Time for another Mohammed Comic, then.
It should be noted that not all, not even a majority, not even a large minority of Muslims are engaged in threats against non-Muslims who create images of Mohammed. Indeed, an independent Jordanian newspaper chastised extremists, asking “What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony in Amman?”
Nevertheless, this reactive movement is speaking for Islam, is being buoyed by large crowds, has resulted in broad boycott compliance, and has been promoted by the official actions of a number of governments. That makes the movement a serious threat, not only to the individuals who publish an image of Mohammed, but to free expression itself. The only non-violent defense against such a movement is the continued exercise of the variety of free expression being threatened, without apology.
Speaking as someone with no religion looking from the outside in, this all looks really embarrassing. Is it really a good idea for a religion to treat its prophet as a weak, coddled baby in need of a ferocious mama bear? Is it really?