I’ve held off comment on this since outcry has thus far been confined to Pakistan and Iran. However, now that the OIC conference has gotten involved and the news is being discussed in the Arab press, I guess I should write something about it. Sequels are never as good as the originals, and I don’t expect this to get the same play as the Jyllands Posten affair. I predict the level of outrage to get about as high as fall-out from the Rushdie knighting.
Personally, I don’t know how I feel about this whole issue. I guess I find the pictures a little tasteless, but most of all boring. I mean, big deal…so, you draw a picture of Mohammad and the Muslims get pissed off…why is that so interesting? I totally support Vilks or any artist’s right to draw whatever they want, and I understand their desire as artists to be provocative…but by now, cartoons like this aren’t provocative, they’re just rude. And for those who aim to teach the Muslim world about freedom of expression, there are much more constructive ways to demonstrate what it means to freely express thoughts…If Jefferson took the same sort of tact as Vilks and Rose, then his Declaration of Independance would have just said “F*%# You George!”…not quite the same is it?
BTW…this Lars Vilks guy is not right in the head…he’s one of those Ladonia nuts, which explains a lot. The cartoons can be found on Vilks’ personal blog.
JEDDAH, 31 August 2007 — The Organization of the Islamic Conference yesterday condemned the publication of a blasphemous caricature of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by Swedish artist Lars Vilks in the Nerikes Allehanda newspaper.
The Swedish daily published the drawing, part of a series by Vilks, last Friday after art galleries had declined to display it. The newspaper argued the publication was in the defense of free speech.
OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu strongly condemned the newspaper for publishing the blasphemous caricature and said that this was an irresponsible and despicable act with mala fide and provocative intentions in the name of freedom of expression. He said the caricature was intended to solely insult and arouse the sentiments of Muslims of the world.
Ihsanoglu said: “The international community was well aware of the serious impact of such publications that were globally felt during the controversy that was created by the publication of similar cartoons by a Danish newspaper last year.”
He called on the Swedish government to take immediate punitive actions against the artist and the publishers of the cartoon and asked for their unqualified apology. He also called on Muslims to remain calm and to exercise restraint.
Earlier, Pakistan condemned the publication of the caricature, calling it offensive and blasphemous. “Regrettably, the tendency among some Europeans to mix the freedom of expression with an outright and deliberate insult to 1.3 billion Muslims in the world is on the rise,” the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“Such acts deeply undermine the efforts of those who seek to promote respect and understanding among religions and civilizations,” it said.
The Swedish charge d’affaires was summoned to the ministry and a strong protest lodged with him, the ministry said. – AN