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Cartoons and Islam

untitledThis would be funny if it wasn't tragic.

Cartoonists draw Muhammad with a bomb in his turban (see the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy) or driving an rental truck containing a bomb (the cartoonist's original image is apparently gone from the internet) and a bunch of islamic-folk go positively postal.

Um, we're talking about cartoons here. Death threats are an over-reaction, to put it mildly.

OK, so maybe it's just some wacko marginal fringe - every religion has them. Certainly the Arab and Islamic folk I have met all seem very decent. (Yes, I know not all Islamic folk are Arab - but we're talking about stereotypes here.)

The foreign ministries of eleven Islamic countries demanded action from the Danish government, and Libya eventually closed its embassy in Denmark in protest after the government refused to censure the newspaper or apologise.

If true then it's not just the fringe/wacko element here. Clearly someone is unclear about the concepts of free speech and censorship (or perhaps are simply hostile). This is also disturbing.

Taken by themselves, the cartoons poke fun at the image Islam presents to the rest of the world. They could be interpreted as poking fun at our stereotypes of Islam. But the reaction only confirms and validates the stereotypes.