Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Culture of Violence in the Name of Religion

The pictures above are samples of cartoons printed in European newspapers, which are causing peaceful demonstrations throughout the Muslim world. However, peaceful protest is being usurped by violence and threats of violence. The drawings have touched a raw nerve in part because Islamic law is interpreted to forbid any depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.
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Thousands of Syrians enraged by caricatures of Islam's revered prophet torched the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus. xxx In Gaza, Palestinians marched through the streets, storming European buildings and burning German and Danish flags. Protesters smashed the windows of the German cultural center and threw stones at the European Commission building.
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"Any citizens of these countries, who are present in Gaza, will put themselves in danger," a gunman with ties to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party said Thursday, as he stood outside the European Commission's office in Gaza. Two masked men holding up their rifles flanked him. A leaflet signed by a Fatah militia and the militant Islamic Jihad group said the European Commission office and churches in Gaza could come under attack. If the European governments don't apologize by Thursday evening, "any visitor of these countries will be targeted," he said. If "non-believers" or other religious groups disagree with Islam they become targets of death. xxx The Palestinian group Hamas called the cartoons "an unforgivable insult" that merited punishment by death. Mahmoud Zahar, leader of Hamas, told the Italian daily Il Giornale the cartoonists should be punished by death. "We should have killed all those who offend the Prophet and instead here we are, protesting peacefully," he said. xxx In Santiago, the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Chilean Embassy in Damascus was torched but nobody was injured. xxx In the West Bank town of Hebron, about 50 Palestinians marched to the headquarters of the international observer mission there, burned a Danish flag and demanded a boycott of Danish goods. xxx A South African court banned the country's Sunday newspapers from reprinting the cartoons.
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There is some call to stop the violence by Islamic leadership but most of the outside calls are in criticism of the printing of these materials because they are offensive. Unfortunately the Vatican felt it necessary to put their spin on this issue, a group who has trouble taking responsibility for it's serious issues with pedophilia, which has run rampant for centuries throughout it's system. They are hypocrites.
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The issue here is freedom of the press, freedom of speech and how certain cultures and societies wish to express themselves in protest. As stated above most peaceful protests have turned to violence. Leadership of radical groups have called for death. These groups have called for the demise of Israel repeatedly over decades. They have participated in suicide bombing missions around the world, killing mostly innocent civilians. They have burned flags of free and democratic nations because our system and culture don't fit their mold.
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A Tom Toles editorial cartoon depicting quadruple amputee soldier with off- character depictions of Donald Rumsfeld published in The Washington Post on Monday and on its Web site has drawn a very rare and very strong protest letter to the editors from all six members of The Joint Chiefs of Staff. These were protests against bad taste but no one called for Mr. Toles to be killed. There were no calls to burn down the Washington Post. There was no flag burning only random comments of disgust for poor taste but noting the papers right to publish.
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The managing editor of a French daily that republished caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad has been fired, as debate over the drawings mounted among French Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The French are being intimidated so there is no debate when publishing a cartoon is trumped by violence or the threat of violence.
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The right to free press and free speech is well grounded in Democratic societies and this has been noted throughout the free world. Some, like Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard, claim these cartoons are anti-religious protests by Europeans. Although the Attic has great respect for Mr. Barnes we strongly disagree with his assessment. Mr. Barnes also noted displaying the Christian symbol of the fish with the words "Darwin" is making fun of Christianity. Maybe it's simply displaying the belief in evolution. Mr. Barnes provided dialogue, not a call for death.
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Democratic society allows for the right to peacefully protest, civil disobedience, freedom to accept or reject following a religion as well as freedom of speech. The key issue is tolerance. In a Democracy tolerance must be a part of the premise to enjoy and respect other views, no matter how offensive they may be. Calling for violence and death is not part our Constitutional right.
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All of Islam has a responsibility to condemn violence and threats of death. They should stand up to the militant factions of their religion and quit hiding from them. Without cleaning up their religion, Islam is supporting terrorism as part of their religion. There should be no double standard between Democratic freedom and a culture which supports the killing of Christians, Jews, Muslims and people of other faiths or no faith under the guise of religion. The radical fundalmentalists have no place in a peaceful and civil society.

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