Opinion: A confession..
I've got a confession to make. I'm not impressed by Vilks' artwork, and his Mohammad as a dog cartoon makes me uncomfortable. Why? The obvious reason might be because I'm pro-Islamic (thanks MI5!!), but it's a bit more complicated, actually.
On Sunday I posted a news story about the cartoon in question. A Dutch news-site used the cartoon to illustrate a story about the plot to murder Vilks. The cartoon was later removed, and the site claimed this had nothing to do with Muslim pressure.
I recently started posting more pictures on my blog, and so I thought of posting a picture of this cartoon. But I didn't, for several reasons:
1. It makes me uncomfortable
2. It can be found quite easily (Google 'Vilks' and it will come out on top)
3. As part of my post, I linked to several news-sites which posted the cartoon and kept it up
I expected an onslaught of readers who would attack me for my hypocrisy. Surprisingly, only one did.
Unless I miss some deep meaning in it, the cartoon itself is an insult. There are many, many cartoons on the net of Mohammad, all drawn with one express purpose in mind: to insult. I don't see a problem with them being posted online, or used as illustrations for news stories, editorials and cartoons. But, that does not mean I have to do so, either.
Lars Vilks drew this cartoon in response to the Danish Mohammad cartoon. I'm not a big modern art fan, so maybe I can't appreciate it as much as it should be. A couple of Swedish galleries decided this cartoon does have artistic value, and that it should be exhibited. However, they later realized the 'security' implications, and kicked Vilks from the exhibition, fearing Muslim riots. At that point, it stopped being a stupid cartoon and became a symbol for Muslim censorship. Vilks wrote an opinion column and published his cartoon in the press, to make a point, and that of course led to protests and threats.
The point was made, though not the point that anybody claiming 'Islam is peace' wants to make.
After the news broke about the Muslim Jihadist plot to kill Vilks, several Swedish newspapers re-published his cartoon. They did not publish it in order to illustrate anything. They published it to make a point. The same happened in Denmark after the first plot was uncovered to kill Kurt Westergaard, the famous Mohammad cartoonist. Though after the famous axe attack, Danish newspapers did not republish the cartoons. Surveys show that the Danes are tired of this 'point making' as well.
Norway had its own Mohammad cartoon crisis, a few weeks ago, when somebody posted a link to a cartoon showing Mohammad as a pig on the PST Facebook page. The story was published in Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, together with the cartoon in question. Dagbladet didn't publish it to make a point, they published it in order to report about it. Strikes and threats of course followed.
Recently, the Tundra Tabloids discovered that the OIC published that very same Mohammad cartoon in their 'Islamophobia report'. The Danish media picked it up, followed by the Norwegians, and the OIC quickly removed the offending cartoon from their report.
But that only shows that they simply don't get it. The reason every Mohammed cartoon becomes a news story is not because they have any intrinsic value. It's because groups like the OIC make them into a story. It's because of the public outcry by offended Muslims and the constant threat of terror attacks (which so far were luckily averted) coming to 'avenge' and 'protect' Muslim honor. Europeans are not stupid. They realize that when a guy draws a cartoon it could be insulting. They might even understand the protests against it. But they also see that only response to continuous murderous attacks against cartoonists is silence from the Muslim community. Shouting 'Islamophobia!' is not going to make that go away.
'Muslim Jihadist plot' should be much more insulting than 'Mohammad is a pedophile'. Should be.
One wonders why a link posted on a Facebook page becomes top headlines and reason for concern in Norway. The answer is because Muslims all over the world made sure it would be. The fact that the OIC themselves published the cartoon just highlights their hypocrisy. But the basic hypocrisy in this issue is that this story even made it into their 'Islamophobia report'.
In the past I didn't publish many pictures on my blog, due to technical difficulties. I'm now trying to change that, and that might change my attitude towards what I post as well.
I post a lot of things I don't agree with, and I might also post pictures I don't agree with. For some reason, the 'let's see who can insult Mohammed more' type of cartoon, turned me off. I didn't feel like making a point. But, depending on circumstances, I might post such pictures in the future. If Dagbladet would have removed their story or image, for example, I would very probably have done so. If Vilks would have drawn his cartoon today, I might have posted it. I've posted various cartoons in the past on this blog.
But, frankly, I would prefer newspaper stop publishing cartoons to 'make a point' and instead do what they're supposed to be doing: report the news and serve as a platform for diverse opinions, in both cases, using the imagery necessary.
Jyllands-Posten write that the Islamists achieved a 'quarter' of a victory. But if Jyllands-Posten writes an entire 'how it unfolded' article in several languages and don't even dare show what cartoon they're talking about, it seems to me that the Islamists won 100%.