Is Cartoon Clash like Racial Discrimination
The chronicles of satirical cartoons of the Danish magazine [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jyllands-Posten] and protests of some Muslims in reaction to these cartoons has brought up the question as to whether the root of all these conflicts is the discrimination against Muslims in the West, like the discrimination against blacks in America which the Civil lefts Movement at the time of Martin Luther King dealt with? In my opinion, it is not so, and these discussions create a wrong analogy to justify the Islamists.
Let's return to the main discussion. Is discriminating against some Islamic beliefs similar to racial discrimination against blacks? Let me bring up an example. Stoning the adulterers or killing of the apostates of Islamic beliefs. These are criminal beliefs. Now if one with the language of satire, like using the humorous cartoons, ridicules these beliefs, this is the least one could do about them. These are criminal beliefs. In my opinion, those who have these kinds of beliefs not only should be barred from being a judge, but should not even be allowed to be in the jury, and taking such actions about them in the Western countries, not only is not discrimination, but I see such actions to be correct measures, that I hope with the growth of secularism in the Middle East, we can see similar measures in response to those kinds of Islamic beliefs.
Are the above beliefs Islamic? This is what every Muslim and Muslim leader should respond to. Unfortunately at the time of the death fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the majority of Muslims for whatever reason, many because of fear, kept silence. As a result, as long as a Muslim has not rejected death because of heresy, stoning, or amputations and the likes, those others who call these “real” Islam, become the de facto spokespersons of Islam, and continue promoting such criminal actions as Islamic law, and speak for all Muslims. This is as if in the West, burning at the stakes of those considered as heretics, as happened to Giordano Bruno, was common place in the name of Christianity, and Christians remained silent about it being a Christian practice or not.
In fact, religious discrimination is when a person simply because of not having the religion of the majority in the West, namely for not being a Christian, to be treated with bias. But if one is believing in a religion that prescribes the sacrificial killing of a virgin girl for the start of the rain season, one can no longer say that disrespecting that religion by others, is religious discrimination. When Islam sees it left to kill the one who has exited Islam, even in the form pronounced by the likes of Ayatollah Montazeri, who says if the exit is accompanied with hostility towards Islam, killing morted is justified, again this belief is a criminal belief, and it does not make sense to reproach those who make disrespectful cartoons, trying to depict such criminal beliefs. Again this is the least that can be done to oppose such criminal anti-human lefts beliefs.
Is it OK to make cartoons of Prophet Mohammad because of such beliefs in Islam? The reality is that unless some sect of Muslims gives a different report about the beliefs of Mohammad, when all Islamic currents say that Prophet Mohammad, just like most Muslims today, not only did not renounce these actions, but prescribed them, what does one expect the world to believe about Prophet Mohammad’s views. If with regards to Jesus there is the story of the saving of a prostitute from stoning, and him saying that the one among you who has not sinned to cast the first stone, with regards to Islam, its scholars even deny this action of Jesus, and say the action of stoning is the order of Prophets, Mohammad included. Thus, until the time the Muslims and their leaders tell us that Mohammad and Koran are against such atrocities, viewing Islam as responsible for such criminal actions, is not wrong, and the cartoons are based on this sad reality of the Muslim world.
As far as the assassination and terror of their opponents, I know that the majority of Muslims condemn those actions and many times have announced their positions in the Western countries. Therefore the cartoons related to those areas of Islamic beliefs do not correspond to the facts and are misguided.
In summary, equating the religious discrimination and racial discrimination is wrong. Religion is made of a series of beliefs and if some of them are criminal beliefs, those beliefs should not be respected, and all the talks of cultural relativism [http://www.ghandchi.com/314-Vision.htm] are justifications of those religious crimes.
At the end, let me mention an issue. In my article about Islam and Globalization I explained in details why at the global level we are facing such sad situation with regards to Islam [http://www.ghandchi.com/437-Geography.htm]. In here, I would like to write about confronting the issue in the West.
Today the U.S. State Department said that to promote democracy in Iran, it has requested $75 million from the Congress. As it has been noted by many Western authors, Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), is one of the main pillars of all the invasions of Islamists against freedom in the West [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IranscopeNews/message/6867] from Salman Rushdie threats to today’s cartoon protests. And these same authors say countries such as Saudi Arabia do not allow a church to be built in their country and the same article mentions two Christian Pakistanis who were trying to build a church in Saudi Arabia, were beheaded.
This same Saudi Arabia and IRI spend billions of dollars every year for the Islamist cultural invasion of the West. In response, the whole U.S. budget for promoting democracy is going to be $75 million, which is the price of just any mansion, that many of these Saudi or Iranian Islamists live in. And it is not clear what percentage of this minuscule budget will be spent on promoting secularism. With such a financial support of secularism, it is not surprising why the cultural invasion of the Islamists is succeeding, and the West instead, is compelled to do military confrontation in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the cost last year exceeded $82 million for just the Iraq insuregency, and this year's estimates are between $50 and $120 million.
It is noteworthy that IRI publications were among the first to ridicule the $75 million U.S. budget to promote democracy, because those publications, contrary to the Iranian opposition who take from their family and children, year after year, to talk for democracy in Iran, the paid IRI journalists, who have their hand in the costs of professional journalism, know the expense of real cultural work, and it is not possible to bring down the cost of living of the contributor and his/her family, a contributor whose educational level is required for real high quality cultural work, to one tenth of their ordinary income from ordinary jobs, and still expect to be successful for such cultural undertakings.
In fact, all these years, the likes of Forouhars have been feeding the tree of freedom and secularism in the Middle East, with their countless sacrifices, whether with their money or their life. I hope the Western countries to wake up and see what kind of cultural invasion they are facing instead of being fooled by cultural relativists. What the spokesmen of cultural relativism [http://www.ghandchi.com/232-CulturalRelativists.htm] are doing is the same as what the ancestors did when they justified and appeased Hitler and Fascism year after year, until fascism conquered the whole of Europe [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IranscopeNews/message/6867]!
In my opinion the budget that comes from the oil of Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the financial expenses they readily incur to promote the most retrogressive Islamist beliefs, needs a serious cultural confrontation, by secular forces and the Western states, or else they will be defeated in this front. Terrorism is not the cause, it is the effect, and it is not the effect of the discrimination against Muslims in the West, but it is the result of enormous expenditures of some Middle Eastern countries to keep their religious-political regimes and they use the discrimination discussions to justify themselves, when a Jew is not allowed in Saudi Arabia or in a UAE Sheikdom, even just to travel, let alone to be able to live there, and they mislead the world by talking of religious discrimination, to justify themselves, and with such slogans, the likes of Nelson Mandela and India's leftists keep supporting the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Hoping for a Federal, Democratic, and Secular Futurist Republic in Iran,
Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher
February 15, 2006