February 7, 2006

What the Islamic Militants Need to Hear

What the (fucked up)Islamic Militants Need to Hear
February 7, 2006; Page A27

In response to the Feb. 4 "Editorial Board: Europe's New Dissidents" by Daniel Schwammenthal:

In its violent response, militant Islam has once again shown itself to be a contemporary iteration of the fascism and totalitarianism the world has suffered in the past. After 9/11 and 7/7 this is not surprising. What the Islamic militants must hear from the West is that freedom of the press and freedom of speech are non-negotiable.

If Muslims wish to protest cartoons, they can write to the newspaper, boycott its advertisers, demonstrate in the streets. But if Muslims wish to participate in the community of nations, they need to know that tolerance and civil acceptance of views differing from their own (which at times may ridicule or offend) is a fundamental prerequisite.

Alfred N. Garwood
Benson, Ariz.

First, I recall that when outraged Christians (peacefully) protested alleged works of art they found offensive (e.g., images of the mother of Christ smeared with feces, a crucifix immersed in urine), the American and European media marginalized the offended ones, calling them narrow-minded and intolerant. Where are these voices now?

Second, I hear and read repeatedly that the "vast majority" of Muslims world-wide abhor those who have hijacked their religion by advocating and perpetrating violence in its name. Why have we heard no denunciation of the referenced violent protests from these many millions of allegedly peace-loving Muslims?

Geoffrey C. Price
Austin, Texas

The cartoon fiasco is the most chilling story yet to come out of the world of militant Islam. The hypocrisy of members of a political faction who send suicide bombers to blow up the innocent in the name of Mohammed, and then have the nerve to take offense at cartoons of the prophet with a bomb in place of his turban is breathtaking.

This show of true colors was not a shrewd move on their part, given Western hyper-sensitivity to threats of interference with a free press. They would do well to take a long, hard look at the horror of their own real acts of brutality before issuing more threats to the European press about harmless drawings.

Further, the militants do a disservice to the majority of Muslims whose faith is more accurately expressed in the tolerant and compassionate view of Islam by Irshad Manji in her Feb. 4 editorial-page essay "Combustible Cartoons."

Margaret McGirr
Greenwich, Conn.

I'm a Danish journalist with Weekendavisen, a newspaper that has published Mohammed cartoons. The question about defending freedom of speech is a matter for the whole West, including the U.S. Therefore, I believe Mr. Schwammenthal should have mentioned that the U.S. State Department has criticized Jyllands-Posten, the magazine that first published the cartoons. Also, it should be mentioned that every major American network and newspaper have chosen to censure the Mohammed cartoons.

At least we have seen a lot of solidarity in Europe, where the cartoons have been published in major newspapers in 10 countries. Will the Wall Street Journal show a similar kind of solidarity?

Jesper Vind Jensen

All of us in the Western world who value freedom of thought and expression must unite. We should put aside our differences on many issues (e.g., abortion, gay rights, stem cells, right to privacy, NSA), because if we don't unite then those issues could someday be decided for us -- under Sharia law.

The Journal is to be congratulated for telling it like it is.


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