Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad : the controversy goes on

Before I go to sleep, a quick update: the editor in chief of Jyllands-Posten, Carsten Juste, has written a public apology [english, arabic] for the offending cartoons of Prophet Muhammad published by his newspaper last September. While the cartoons have been reprinted by several European newspapers, the Editor-in-chief of the Frech daily France soir has reportedly been fired by the newspaper's owner, Egyptian magnate Raymond Lakah.

I now have to go to bed. More to come tomorrow. In the meantime, you are welcome to post any thoughts or comments you might have :-)

Update - Friday, Ferbruary 3, 2006
[I had written this update yesterday, but for some reason it did not get published :( - sorry for the inconvenience]

The uproar over the offending cartoons now has spread to most of the Islamic world (click here for a slide show on protests that took place in Asia). In Gaza, gunmen burst into hotels in search of westerners to take as hostage, reports the Associated Press. For its part, the U.S. State Department has condemned the drawings and urged for tolerance. And while Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said EU leaders have a responsibility to "clearly condemn" insults to any religion, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy with his usual, despicable arrogance said that he preferred "an excess of caricature to an excess of censorship".

On the religious side, Sheikh Youssouf al-Qardawi has issued a statement calling on arab countries to put pressure on the Danish government so as to ensure that such insults do not take place again in the future. On the other hand, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has issued a statement calling on muslims to react to these odious caricatures which debase our most fundamental beliefs. The statement acknowledged that the actions of a devious minority of extremists have given non-muslims a very bad picture of Islam, and has provided the bigots with an excuse to distord the truth and bash this religion of peace and justice. I personally found this last statement to be very balanced, as it did not shift all the blame on the West, but put part of the responsibility on the muslim extremists as well.

And last, but not least: two opinion pieces I found interesting. The first one is by a western political activist, and the second one by a Syrian diplomat. Happy reading!

Second Update - February 7, 2006

So now, after angry rioters have set the Danish consulates in Beirut and Damascus ablaze, in an ironic twist of events it incumbed to the Syrian and Lebanese governments to present their apologies to the Danish people, not the other way around.

Today, an iranian newspaper has indicated that it will hold a contest on cartoons about the holocaust, to see whether the West can uphold the same standards of freedom of speech in its attitude toward this historical event as it did with the offending cartoons. I think we already know what will the reaction of the west be, one that is full of contempt and hypocrisy.

And, according to Jihad al-Khazen, these same muslims who are reacting so violently to these cartoons have missed out when it came to reacting to the organized campaign of islamophobic propaganda waged against them and their governments in the West. Muslims: waaaaaaaaaaaake upppp!!!


slix said...

Thank you for the update...I hope it will relax people...

Anyway I have a question: Why muslims don't feel concerned when "They" publish cartoons/jokes of Jesus, Mary and even God ?

As I know Islam doesn't make "difference" between prophets...all of them are choosen by Allah and should be respected.

Al Malih said...

Good Question Slix!

I will try to answer you.

First, it is true that we share with our christian and jewish brothers some believes such as the Vergin Mary, Jesus, Moise, Johanas,...and above all the father of the monotheism Abraham.

And since these are common to all of us, and icons of the prophetes is allowed in Christianity and not considered balsphemous, and since they have known Mary, Christ, and Abraham long before us, the new comer cannot make rules in these matters...and especially rules for others. This is almost like make a Fatwa that is directed to christians. We cannot tell christian that alchool is HARAM...because according to them this is ok.

Dealing with issues like these, ISLAM has a generic ruling:


Hold people responsible for things they hold themselves responsable for.

We could suggest to them that is not respectful to do that...and belive me I did it many times and people were convinced...I remember the vice president of our company had an action figure of Jesus that curses When I talked to him he throw it away.

The important is tu use gentle, non-violent ways to promote your hounorable idea does not need force to get will make it's way through.

slix said...

Thank you al malih for your answer...

I agree with you to a certain point...because this way of considering Islam dissociates it from the other prophets...who belongs to Islam too..

Yes we don't have to tell them how they should behave with their religious icons...but we still have the right to express our shame when (in the majoity of the cases, the authors do not care neither about christianity nor about jewish, or they are simply atheist) they ridiculize and make hurting jokes on Jesus, Mary or even God...(even God !) there are many examples...and no one has never said loudly: Allahouma inna hada mounkar...

aya said...

Salam a tous,

Depuis que j'ai vu ces cartoons je n'arrete pas de me poser la question suivante: pourquoi nous sentons-nous offusques, scandalises par ses caricatures du Prophete? Serait-ce parce que les occidentaux ont manque de respect a notre Prophete ou parce que nous refusons que les autres nous critiquent a travers lui ou les deux???

Franchement j'y ai reflechi. Et je peux vous dire que, venant de musulmans semblables a ceux que je cottoie tous les jours, ces manifestations ne sont vehicules ni par amour au Prophete, ni par le sentiment d'etre outrage par l'autre!! C'est une reaction purement arabe qui emane d'une cecite totale imposee par une volonte incroyable de ne rien savoir, ni de rien comprendre dont les musulmans ont fait preuve depuis des siecles!!!

Ne soyez pas etonnes svp par mon attitude. Je vais vous dire pourquoi. Apres, vous avez le droit de me contredire.

Franchement, avez-vous jamais essaye de connaitre votre Prophete? Avez-vous jamais ete tente de le decouvrir par vous-memes et sans demander aux medias ni au fqih? Personnellement, j'ai essaye. D'abord en lisant le Coran sans aucun tafsir, juste comme ca, j'ai etait emerveillee par toutes ses qualites parfaites! Ensuite, j'ai pris les tafsirs...puis le boukhari et mouslim... j'etais choquee... scandalisee... Y'a-t-il moyen de manifester? Pas question. On ne critique pas un sa7i7. Cela pourait vous condamner a jamais. Mais entre nous ca m'est egale!

Cher lecteur musulman, ouvre ton sa7i7 et lit hadith par hadith et dis-moi si ce prophete qui y est decrit est reellement ton Prophete!!
Quelqu'un qui pisse debout, qui couche avec toutes ses femmes la meme journee,qui a ete ensorcelle au point de ne plus savoir ce qu'il faisait, qu'un sahabi voit completement nu devant la Ka3ba, qui entre chez une sahabya qui n'est ni sa femme ni rien puis s'endore sur ses genoux alors qu'elle lui enleve les puces de la tete, etc!!! Des puces?! Voila de quoi reflechir;)

Voila des siecles qu'on lit ses livres que personne n'ose condamner.
Moi, j'ai ose. Je condamne toutes ces caricatures du Prophete qui existent dans notre sounna depuis des siecles avant de condamner celles des autres. Je le fais par amour et par respect. C'est a mon sens la vraie manifestation a laquelle il faut se joindre. Toute autre chose n'est que pure hypocrisie.

P.S. Karim, pardon d'avoir encore une fois parle de facon explicite. Je sais que tu me comprends.

Al Malih said...


Tu as pose des questions, et au lieu d'attendre les reponses aux questions, tout de suite, tu a toi meme repondu!?

A ta question:

[avez-vous jamais essaye de connaitre votre Prophete? ]

Moi personalement, je te reponds que je ne fais que cela depuis 20 ans. Essayer de connaitre mon prophete, et ce Du3a est mon meilleur:

Oh Allah Fait moi conaitre ton prophete, car si vous ne me faites pas connaitre ton prophete, je ne peux pas connaitre ton HUJJA (le chemin, la preuve). Et je ne connais pas ton HUJJA, je vais etre egare.

Je sais que le prophete est parfait, et que meme le meilleur des SAHABA ne connaissait pas la valeur du prophete, encore Al Bukhari et Muslim qui n'ont jamais vu le prophete!

Le prophete lui meme a dit: "Oh Ali, il n'y a que Allah et toi qui me connait vraiment".

A ta remarque:

[Cher lecteur musulman, ouvre ton sa7i7 et lit hadith par hadith ]

c'est ce que j'ai fait il y a 16 ans. Et comme toi, j'allais vomir a certains Hadiths qui sont dans Al Boukhari et Muslim...

Mais dire que personne ne les critquent, veut dire que tu n'as pas beaucoup de connaissances dans ce peux t'envoyes au moins 50 livres (tous sous forme electroniques) qui parle de ces que dire Boukhari et Muslim are sa7i7 est TRES que la politique a jouer un role pour les rendre tres celebre..sinon Al YAQOBI, AL MASOUDI, MUSNAD AHMAD, etc. est au meme niveau sinon meilleurs que les deux Sa7i7.

[Voila des siecles qu'on lit ses livres que personne n'ose condamner.

Biensur qu'on ose les critique: Lit par example ATTIJANI ASSAMAOUI (Tunisian),..lit DRISS Al HUSSAINI (Un Marocain)...

ca ce n'est pas nouveaux...c'est nouveaux pour le profane, qui decouvre ses Hadiths pour la premiere hadith sont absolument faux, car ils sont contradictoires avec le Quran!

Et comme le prophete lui meme a dit:
"Si Il vous arrive un Hadith qui est contrarie le Quran, jete le [au mur]"...

De toute facon, ce que tu as evoque n'a rien avoir avec le caricature. On ne parle pas d'une critique academique, ou meme un livre qui a un peu de verite comme par example le livre de Bernard Lewis: "What's wrong with Islam"...

Nous n’avons pas manifeste contre ce livre. Juste un de nous, que Dieu le recompense, a ecrit un autre livre: intitule "What's right with Islam" pour repondre a Bernard Lewis...

Desole, notre "outrage" c'est pour l'amour du leur caricature etait fait "To offend Muslim" et les's le fait que les soit disant sa7i7 ne sont pas vraiment sa7i7 ne change rien a l'affaire....

And remember, secular or islamist, or whatever, we have to stick together against bigotry. Because bigotry starts as words, then you educate young people that hate Muslims, then these young will hurt us...and that moment there will be no time to tell him, "wait I am really not practicing Muslim"...just based on your ethnic group you will be lynched!

The Jewish people lived the same experience, and I respect them to stick together when it comes to bigotry!

Jallal said...

Slix, you raised a very important issue. Yes, we do have a problem here. Muslims feel less concerned when blasphemous (or not) depictions deal with other Prophets.

I think that the current controversy is more motivated by the bashing of the Prophet (pbuh) than by the caricatures themselves. The Danish newspaper has insulted the Prophet in the most disgusting way.

Without the bomb in the caricatures for instance, the controversy wouldn’t have been that hot, but there would have been a controversy nonetheless. Yet, most Muslims would watch the 10 commandments (which I did) or the Passion of the Christ without raising any reservations. Actually, the Shiites don’t forbid depicting Prophets (except Mohammed probably, but I’m not sure on this one). A couple of years a ago, I watched a very good series about Marie, Jesus, Yahya and Zakaria and all these figures were played by actors.

Now France-Soir and many other medias have decided to support the newspaper, under the principle of freedom of expression. This is what they say, not how they act in general. These medias are not coherent. They talk about freedom of speech or expression only when the subject is Islam. And the examples are numerous…

On the other hand, I find the reaction of many Muslims really exaggerated. Some were quick to burn the Danish and French flags. This is non sense!

Al Malih said...


you said:
[[On the other hand, I find the reaction of many Muslims really exaggerated. Some were quick to burn the Danish and French flags. This is non sense! ]]

I beg to differ on one part. Actually Muslims didn't react enough...for this is a serious issue...What is left to us: Our lands are are occupied, Our wealth is not ours any more, our honor is in the mudd (A Jewish is being showed in Morocco theatres f*cking a Muslim woman)...the quran flushed in the toilet...what is left, only our sacred prophet (pbuh) potrayed as a terrorist...

But I agree with you that reaction does not need to be violent! It has to be smart such as the boycott of Danish products...writing letters to politicians, ambassadors...etc.

It's time to learn the civic way on how to fight for our cause...

Jallal said...

Al Malih,

Actually, I was referring to the violent and fanatical behavior that happens every time this kind of controversy occurs. Burning flags is just ridiculous, in my opinion. It conveys, if anything, the image of Muslims who are fanatical and violent by nature, and who know only the language of violence as means of denouncing injustice.

As to whether Muslims have reacted enough, I don’t know at this point. But what matters here is the quality of reaction, not the quantity. Some European medias, like France Soir (actually most French medias) took the opportunity to “remind” us that in the West, there is such a thing as freedom of speech, and that that includes everything, even if the subject is God or Mohammed (pbuh)., and to “remind” us that freedom doesn’t exist in the Arab-Muslim world, etc, etc. Most politicians in the west are reacting by saying that freedom is a basic right in their countries and that they cannot do anything.

So basically, we should react to these claims. Boycott is clearly one of them, as it is also an action of freedom of buying a product or not. The other one, is to reply to these lessons’ givers but reminding them that they are talking of freedom of speech only when Islam is concerned. When somebody denies the happening of the holocaust, these very media would quickly jump and say that this is unacceptable as such statement does not respect the victims... When some youngsters of Algerian origin have booed the French national anthem at the Stade de France, a couple of years ago, everybody was saying this is unacceptable. There is no shortage of examples...

Muslims should remind these medias that they cannot fool anybody and that they are themselves acting with “tribal” attitude, since they talk of principles only when these please them. Muslims should also convey an image of confidence in their religion and not of loosing control only because some Danish and European media were looking for some sensations. Most important, Muslims should reclaim the essence of their religion, which is justice not revenge or the bias toward “us”. Justice means that the outrage should be the same whether the Prophet is portrayed as a terrorist, whether some hostage is slaughtered by some Muslim terrorists, whether Dhawahiri or Zarkaoui declare lawful the killing of innocent civilians. Muslims unfortunately (I’m not generalizing, obviously), have forgot the essence of their religion. In both cases, Muslims should feel their religion is bashed, not only when the culprit is the “west”.

aya said...

Salam a tous,

Al Malih, mon discours precedent s'adressait aux 90% des musulmans qui ne savent rien de ces caricatures dans les livres de la sounna ou s'ils le savent vivent avec sans problemes. Ceci dit je continue a croire que si l'image du Prophete n'est pas reevaluee dans la sounna de ces 90% des musulmans du monde, nous continuerons a voir le terrorisme se repandre et repandre cette mauvaise image sur l'Islam. Sinon nous meritons d'etre ridiculise!

Karim said...

Salam everyone,

I promised to write more today. So here I am. I am not going to comment on what has been said but raise a question of my own.(I by the way must say that I found all the comments very interesting, without exception.)

My question has to do with the boycott of Danish products that is going on in Gulf countries. I will mention that I have profound misgivings about this boycott. I think Islam is very clear in its refusal of collective punishment. It therefore does not seem reasonable to me that a company selling dairy products should be punished for caricatures published by some newspaper, on the sole reason that the dairy company and the newspaper happen to belong to the same country. I am all for boycotting the newspaper, for flooding its offices with letters, its fax machines and phone lines with calls of protest. But to boycott a whole country doesn't seem right to me in this case. (Of course, there are other cases when a boycott seems appropriate, but here I am not sure this is indeed such a case.)

Thoughts? Comments?

Al Malih said...


Jallal, it seems that we agree. Because what you wrote is exactly my point. As for the freedom of speech I add what the Jewish Leader said, it has its limits: If I enter a theatre and say "Fire Fire!" (even if there is no fire, strictly speaking that's freedom of speech)...but if my freedom of speech causes a stamped and people get killed should the society put me in prison or not? Cleaver example, from the same people that defined freedom of speech 100 years ago...!

I venture to challenge Karim:

The first mistake you made is that you equated Boycott of products as punishment!

Now be carefull: "Not buying" is not the same as "not selling". So when Iran (or Iraq before) is under embargo, that's collective punishment because you deprive people that have money and needing milk and medicent from buying for "not buying" Danish products and buying Swiss products, is the basic foundment of freedom...Nobody is punished except that the export of Danish government is reduced, which should make them be more sensitive to the people they market to...

"Our message is: we are not cattle waiting to be feed...we go hungry until you curb your bigots from hurting us" the mean time we are buying Swiss, we like them better ...

Very just and civilized...sometimes when you do justice, it is inevitable that there will be collateral damage...

Take this example:

A man that make a big fraud, is found guilty, then send to all his 5 kids + the wife have no means to in a sense they are also punished...collective punishment ??!

Al Malih said...


Je crois que tu as rate l'essence de pourquoi on ne veut pas que l'ocident ou autre, de montre notre prophete comme un terroriste:

D'abord c'est sacre pour nous. Comme pour certain pays, un morceau de tissu (le drapeau) devient sacre, tout le monde le respecte...parce que d'abord:
1- En le respectant, on veut respecter les gens qui ont choisi ce drapeau comme symbole.
2- En le respectant, on demande aux autres de respecter nos choses sacre.

Le Koran nous inderdit d'insulter les choses sacres des autres peuples pour qu'on leur donne pas l'occasion d'insulter nos saranites...

AL BOUKHARI et MUSLIM n'a rien avoir ici. Presque 90% des muslmans savent qu'il y a des milliers de Hadith qui ne sont authentques...c'est pour cela qu'il y des ecoles de Hadith...les gens ont menti sur le prophete pendant sa vie...c'est tres facile de mentir apres sa mort...Mu'awia donnait de l'argent au createurs de Hadith?!

Le probleme avec Al Boukhari et Muslim c'est qu'il y a des Oulamas (principalement Sunni) qui considerent que tout les Hadiths dans ces livres sont authentques..mais il y a d'autres ecoles d'islam qui ne reconnaissent pas ils ont leur propre livre de Hadith qui, des fois coincide avec Al Boukhari et Muslim et d'autre part non....

Je ne vois vraiment pas le lien...

Je suis d'accord que nous Musulmans on doit purger notre histoire et la relire...mais cela ne donne aucunement le droit aux autres de nous riduculer...

Ce n'est pas dans la charte de l'ONU qu'on dit: chacun a le droit de vivre avec dignite, quelque soit sa couleur, sa religion, son ethnicite...

Meme si on est des gens de l'amazon (primitives)...on a droit au respect...

Desole on ne merite pas cette compagne de bigotrie, de Islamophobie, qui peut degenere en un holocauste contre nous (les immigres d'europe et amerique)...

Aya, be aware of what you wish for...

Karim said...

Al Malih,

You have a point when you make a distinction between an embargo and a boycott. Still, I find it rather surprizing that you deny that a boycott is a form of collective punishment.

Now, when you say:

"Nobody is punished except that the export of Danish government is reduced, which should make them be more sensitive to the people they market to.."

just tell me: what does the Danish government have to do with all this? Did the editor of Jyllands receive orders from the government to publish these cartoon? I personally do not see why the Danish government should have any responsability in this. The sole and only parties that should be held accountable in this whole affair are the cartoonists and the editors of the magazines which published the cartoons. Period.

Now, the owner of this dairy company which sells dairy products in Iraq can be the most friendly person toward muslims (for the sake of argument, he can even be a muslim operating out of Denmark). Now, tell me: why should this person suffer a 1.2 million dollar loss per day, because of some foolish act of provocation and bigotry committed by a journalist with whom he has no relationship whatsoever?

"Very just and civilized..."

Sorry, to me this is a totally unwarranted statement, and a boycott of all Danish products is totally unjustified in this case and very unjust. As I said before: in my opinion, those who did the offense should be held responsible, and nobody else.

"sometimes when you do justice, it is inevitable that there will be collateral damage..."

You realize that you are using the same kind of argument as the neocons here? They said the same thing about the innocent victims of the war in Iraq, which they presented as "necessary collateral damage" that is worth suffering for the sake of "doing justice", in their case removing a ruthless dictator (Saddam Hussein) from power.

"A man that make a big fraud, is found guilty, then send to all his 5 kids + the wife have no means to in a sense they are also punished...collective punishment ??!"

I find your example to be quite inappropriate and, I am sorry to say, rather misguided. For in your example, it was the actual culprit which was punished, not somebody else. In the case of the cartoons, it was not the actual culprits (the cartoonists and the newspaper editors) which were punished, but somebody else. Did the editors of Jyllands suffer any loss as a consequence of the boycott? I don't think so. Paradoxically, the boycott punished people who have nothing to do with the cartoons, while not doing any harm to the real culprits. For your example to apply, the boycott needs to have been directed first and foremost against the actual culprits, which it unfortunately was not.

Now, example for example: suppose a moroccan newspaper writes something that is deemed deeply insulting to the people of, let's say, Spain. Would you accept that Moroccan farmers have to pay the price of a journalist's folly if the spaniards decide to boycott all moroccan exports? I personally wouldn't.

ayoub said...

Quand j'étais dans un musée à Istanbul, j'ai vu des objets du Prophete qu'on mettait en avant, ses sandales, ses cheveux, son sabre et une description détaillée.

Avec la controverse et cette insulte envers les musulmans à travers le Prophete (même si elle n'est pas la première), je me suis reposé cette question : "ne Faudrait il pas humaniser le Prophete (saws) ?"


Karim said...

Qu'est-ce que tu veux dire au juste par "humaniser le Prophete" ? Peux-tu stp nous expliquer ce que cela voudrait dire concretement, dans le contexte particulier de la publication de ces caricatures ? Merci d'avance.

Al Malih said...


Although you had raised so many suspicions about my arguments, none of them hold any truth. Also the way you sliced the example of collatorel damage is really unjust.

The fact that the neo-cons misused the argument does not mean that the argument is wrong... "KALIMATU HAQIN URADU BIHA BATTEL"...

Just as Imam Ali said, if the truth was presented 100% pure, people would follow it. If falseness was presented 100% pure, people will avoid it...but truth is mixed with falseness...

Neo-cons are not "cons" [French sense] they are very smart people that mix truth and falseness to perfection, that's why they fool so many...

"Only the culprit is punished..."

This means you didn't understand the example at all!!!
I am talking about the 5 kids and the wife that are left without means to survive...they may go homeless, they may go hungry...did not the punishment of the culprit also expanded to its immediate family?! of course yes.

Of course if a Moroccan news paper offended all the spanish people, or their religion, and we stood there doing nothing, then if they boycott our products, Moroccan farmers have to go the Moroccan government and hold it responsible for not managing the crisis!

By boycotting Danish products, we use the only legal tool we have to make pressure on all Danish to curb their bigots....

Al Malih said...

The Danish government could have curbed this very promptly by issuing an appology, but instead look at what the foreign minister said:

''Now it has become more than a case about the drawings: Now there are forces that wants a confrontation between our cultures,'' [New york Times]

These same Danish government that found guilty of torturing Iraqi and pissing on them!

This is a neo conservative government that since it took power is calling for confrontation! incident after incident!

This is what you are defending...they are probably worse than the cartonist himself.

Karim said...

Al Malih,

"I am talking about the 5 kids and the wife that are left without means to survive...they may go homeless, they may go hungry...did not the punishment of the culprit also expanded to its immediate family?! of course yes."

Well, in this case, it was the actual culprit who was punished. It is true that his family will suffer as a consequence, but what is taking place now with this boycott, which dit not inflict any harm on the actual culprit, is very different.

You basically are saying: someone has committed a big mistake. Well, because we cannot get to him, let's punish his cousins, or his neighbors, whose sole fault is to be living on the same street as the culprit! Is that your idea of justice?

Other than that, you are in grave error by thinking that I am defending the Danish government, or anyone else for that matter. I am talking from principle. If the Danish government was found guilty of torturing Iraqis, then we should say plainly and clearly that this is what we want to punish the Danish government for, and not mix issues (so far, I have seen nobody linking these boycotts to the actions of the Danish government in Iraq - am I wrong?). Because, as far as the drawings are concerned, technically speaking the Danish government has absolutely nothing to do with them. The editors at Jillands did not receive orders or permission from the Danish government to do what they did. And if the muslims think their Prophet has been the subject of a calumny, the Danish government did not deny them the right to take the matter to court, as is usually done in cases of libel.

As Ayoub has mentioned, this is not the first time the Prophet pbuh has been insulted. When Salman Rushdie wrote his Satanic verses, Imam Khomeiny did not ask that british goods be boycotted. I know that the fatwa of Imam Khomeiny was very controversial and it still is, even among muslims, and I should say that I don't totally understand it. But I think that even opponents of the fatwa would have no problem admitting that it was infinitely more just than the current calls for a boycott in one important respect: it singled out the author (Rushdie) and the editors of the blasphemous book, and didn't call for a boycott of for the punishment of anyone else.

As for legal venues to establish justice, I think you are wrong by saying that the boycott is the only legal tool we have. On the contrary, there are many other legal venues through which muslims can show that they care about their Prophet, while at the same time not engaging in any act of collective punishment. Had the muslims directed their wrath against the editors of Jyllands and not against some dairy products company, I would have found absolutely nothing wrong with it (even if, in the process, some "collateral damage" had been incurred by some third party which is innocent).

Jallal said...

Whatever the opinion we might have regarding boycott, it should apply not only to Denmark but to many European countries including France, Spain, Denmark, as well as New Zealand, etc., which had some of their medias republishing the caricatures. One might argue the Danish newspaper holds more responsibility since it is the source of the controversy. But this is balanced by the fact, that even getting aware of the indignation and outrage of Muslims after the incident, the others decided to publish again the caricatures. So we are talking here of boycotting (or not) a large number of countries.

Second, can the governments of these countries be hold responsible of what is happening? Of course, they didn’t ask for publishing the caricatures, so they were not liable at this point. Nonetheless, these governments took at best, the following stance: “Freedom of expression is sacred in our countries, but we hope the media to act responsibly”. This means that, officially, if another media publish new caricatures or articles bashing the prophet, these governments will still wave the banner of freedom of expression as the reason why they cannot forbid such defamatory pieces. Muslims find this position from the governments unacceptable. So here, there is confrontation between the “Sacredness of Freedom of Expression” vs. “the Sacredness of Respect”. These European governments basically backed their medias. So I do hold them responsible now. Especially, when I find that the French government, for instance, lacks the minimum of coherence. Look what happened when the French national anthem was booed in “Stade de France” in October 2001 by some youngsters of Algerian origin:

“Les députés se sont prononcés jeudi à l’unanimité pour instaurer une peine de six mois de prison et 7 500 euros d’amende pour les outrages au drapeau français et à la Marseillaise. Cet amendement au projet de loi pour la sécurité intérieure a été pris à l’initiative d’un vice-président de l’Assemblée nationale Rudy Salles (UDF), qui a rappelé l’émotion suscitée par les sifflets qui avaient accueilli l’hymne national au Stade de France, à l’occasion du match amical France-Algérie, le 6 octobre 2001 et de la finale de la Coupe de France, Bastia-Lorient, le 11 mai 2002.”

Just incredible, isn’t it! Freedom of expression is sacred, they said… How beautiful!

Regarding the boycott, I’m, personally, for a selective one. Muslims can simply make it known that any company (belonging to one of these countries), not wanting to be boycotted, should issue a statement making it clear that it is against the publishing of the controversial caricatures. As simple as that.

Al Malih said...


I do not know what hard is in understanding the example which applies perfectly to the situation:

At least you agree that the Newspaper is the culprit.

News paper = The fraudulent guy in my example

Diary companies = 5 kides + wife

and I repeat it is OK to boycott any product without any reason, the Danish will not die of hunger...


here is an other example of one weight two measures:

Ahmadi Najad said that the holocaust is a myth (although I do not agree with him)...this is pure freedom of speech and many historians had said (David Irving, Garaudy etc.) that the holocaust is over exagerated...

Then all Europe and Amerique started shouting "Embargo on Iran"...

This is pure provocation! in a time where:

- The war in Irak is raging
- Abu Ghrib
- Flushing of Koran
- Pat Robertson comment
- Bill Grahams remark

in all this climat..they are telling us this is an isolated case!

We are not that stupid...this is an all for war..from a conservative movement in Europe: They have gain in Holland, Danemark and now Germany....+ the neo cons in washington...the neo cons start looking a lot nicer to the European bigots.

Karim said...

Al Malih,

"News paper = The fraudulent guy in my example

Diary companies = 5 kides + wife"

In your example, the criminal person goes to jail (as a just retribution for his crime), and as a consequence of this just punishment, the wife and kids starve.

In our case, the wife and kids starve (the 1.2 million daily loss of the dairy company), but the actual criminal is still free and has not been punished (as no loss whatsoever has been suffered by the newspaper as a consequence of the boycott).

So, I for my part do not see why you have such a hard time understanding my objection when I say that the comparison you are trying to make is inappropriate (because the analogy breaks down at the level of the retribution of the offender - to whom nothing whatsoever happened in our case, as opposed to the offender in your example who did receive his just retribution).

I would like to emphasize here that I do not deny the fact that these attcks on Islam and its symbols are recurring with an alarming frequency. This does not mean, however, that muslims can use this as an excuse to depart from the standards of justice that their religion has set forth for them.


I like the idea of a slective boycott that you are talking about. I think there is a lot more justice in it than in the kind of indiscriminate boycott that some of our leaders are calling for against Danish companies. The reason I like this concept is that, by using it, muslims could turn a crisis such as this one to their advantage by showing that they are fair and balanced, and thus earn the respect of friend and foe alike.

slix said...

It's a very good point Karim..I totally agree with you

Al Malih said...


you said:

[In our case, the wife and kids starve (the 1.2 million daily loss of the dairy company), but the actual criminal is still free and has not been punished (as no loss whatsoever has been suffered by the newspaper as a consequence of the boycott).]

The actual criminal already feeling the heat, otherwise they would not publish that phony apology... People in the Arab world do not live in Danemark to sue the news paper...the only relationship they have with Danemark, is when they need butter, they go to the shop, they have the choise:

Today I go Danish, French, or Swiss...

They would tell themselves, for the love of my prophet (pbuh), I go Swiss, for those Danish people did nothing to curb their bigots...

The Danish people if hurting enough will eventually bring their wrath to the news paper...after loosing 1 billion dollars...

These people worship the mighty dollar...when it hits the pocket, Justice will be brought to the news paper, by the Danish...

I do not feel a tiny sorry for any Danish Comapany at all.

Besides, it's our money we can do whatever we do with it...the best solution is actually learn to make our own butter!

Even Allah, destroyed entire twons because they did not stop their bigots! So, is devine justice not just enough?!

The one who hurts the camel of Saleh, was only one person...but Allah destroyed the whole city...

The West is doing the same foolish man of ours did what he did on 9/11 and two countries of ours are destroyed, and we are still paying!

So I do not understand this sophisticate humanism that you are preaching to a people under attach from all sides, with no army or regime to defend them, other than the lay men in the street...they do their best...without institutions to guide them, these are doing miracle:

The Foreign Minister of Danemark is asking to meet with the Muslims leaders...The Norvegian officials had meet with Sayed Fadl Allah, Qabani...and so one!

Al Malih said...

As for Jalla's idea, although it is a noble solution, it is unpractical to all these boycott are lead not by well established institution (our the Jewish do), but simple people with no organizational skills...they have to rely on very simple message:

Boycott products labeled "Made in Danemark"...

Do not expect an Arab lay man to keep in his head the names of 20 or so companies...

Besides we have tried selective boycott and if not enforced by government as was the case in had no effect, while in the middle east for 40 years they didn't drink Coke (they drunk Pepsi instead) Morocco, we never boycotted Coke, or Ford...we just called BedFord...

Foulla said...

as usual,very interesting debat..thank u Arab observers;)

Al Malih said...

Here is another thing that comes to mind:

Currently in the US many people are voluntarily starting compaign to boycot product "Made in China" stickers read:

"Keep jobs in US, don't buy Chinese!"

Is this punishment for China?!

No! Because the americans have their reason not buying products "Made In China"...

As my father would say:


We are attcked from all sides: Terrorists and the Western bigots...we become paralyzed...we become scared to the point that we cannot boycot a product from the West...a fundamental right...for fear to offend someone and label us of violent...

Damn you BNL!

Jallal said...

@Al Malih,

As I said before, you shouldn’t talk of boycotting Denmark only, but of Boycotting most of European Countries. Denmark was easy. Think now of the whole Europe! Add to that the US, of course, because of the Iraq war, and add all of its allies in that war (Japan, etc). So what’s left?

As to selective boycott, of course blindly boycotting is a lot easier, but doesn’t stick to the standards of justice according to ethics or Islam as Karim said. We could do it of course, as it is a matter of freedom that doesn’t disrespect anyone, but this is not the best that can be done according to the ethics of Islam. The key word of Islam is Justice. Selective boycott could be a better solution since it allows boycotting a company known to help Israel enlarge its settlements for instance, a company persisting in putting ads on France Soir, and so on. Without boycotting whole countries.

Yes, you can evoke Saleh, and other stories but we don’t know for sure the whole story, and second, the Koran says “La taziro waziraton wizra okhra”, and this is the Islam that we know.


Thanks for passing by.

aya said...

Salam a tous,
Al Malih,

"Desole on ne merite pas cette compagne de bigotrie, de Islamophobie, qui peut degenere en un holocauste contre nous (les immigres d'europe et amerique)"

I know, that's what matters more. It is not about the love of the Prophete.

Also Al Malih, I think that americans can boycott anything they want. When you say:

"Because the americans have their reason not buying products "Made In China"."

I think you should say that americans,... etc. have their own products to buy when they think of boycotting other's. But arabs, muslims in generals don't!!! Americans have the choice to be proud and we don't.WE HAVE NOTHING! That's why I said we deserve what happening to us from all sides.
If we really love Muhammad, we should change our selves begining by not being too emotional . Burning a flag or an embassy is being too emotional, I think, and can still reenforce the idea of that we are terrorists.

Karim, I just can't stop thinking of ِAmr Ibn Koulthoum vers:

ألا لا يجهلنّ أحد علينا ** فنجهل فوق جهل الجاهلين

Mon Dieu, he was so right!

Al Malih said...

Take a look at this news:,,1703500,00.html

No Comment

Al Malih said...


I do not agree that we have nothing! we still have our dignity, and we still have so many wonderful people like you, Karim, Jallal, Flix, or others that care about their people and want to do something to change the many energy and people that are ready to give their life to save the situation, if they have found a good leader...not a one that either hand them a bottle of wine, or another that hand them a belt to explode themself.

Criticizing the arab culture need not be seen as hating is because we love these people and we know that in their heart these are better than the westerners...they are to hold themselves to high standards, even though they cannot succeed, for they have cumulated so many grave it is time to pay.

But this should not be time to surrender, it is time to review and rebuild, it is time to work, humbleness and less chanting...many nations in the past had lived difficult times just to emerge even stronger...

We are still a proud nation and we will IN CHAA ALLAH emerge even stronger!

As for the verse:

ألا لا يجهلنّ أحد علينا ** فنجهل فوق جهل الجاهلين

What it means is that: If someone make war to us, we will show him a war that will be more than what he started.

Because JAHL
in Arabic means also HARB (WAR)...

That's why: Abou Sufian Ibn HARB was called Abu Jahl.

If JAHL meant what you think how come the strongest man in Quraich call himself Abou Jahl?!

Our problem is we are left orphan...nobody is taking care of real leaders, either corrupt sell out or terrorists!

Karim said...

Al Malih,

"car stickers read:
"Keep jobs in US, don't buy Chinese!""

So what? The fact that a slogan appears on car stickers does not mean that it's right. There are so many car stickers out there that support the war in Iraq. Do these stickers make the war in Iraq any more legitimate? I don't think so.

"we become scared to the point that we cannot boycot a product from the West...a fundamental right...for fear to offend someone and label us of violent..."

There is nothing I hate more in this kind of debate, apart from heckling and harassment, than when someone claims to have the ability to read in other people's minds. Now let me ask you this: where on earth did you come up with the idea that anyone here is taking the position he or she is taking for fear to offend anyone or to be labeled terrorist? When are we going to learn the basic principles of healthy debate and not engage in this kind of fruitless speculation?

"So I do not understand this sophisticate humanism that you are preaching to a people under attach from all sides, with no army or regime to defend them, other than the lay men in the street...they do their best...without institutions to guide them"

I said it yesterday, and I will repeat it again today. My concerns about this issue of boycott stem from a question of principle. And, when I am talking about boycott, I am not talking about the freedom of choice of individual consumers, like you seem to understand. An individual consumer has the inalienable right to buy whatever kind of product he wants or refuse to do so: he is free to choose. This kind of individual action is unlikely to deliver any real "punishment", as it will usually be statistically averaged out, and will hardly be felt. What I am talking about is the concerted, organized boycott effort that some muslim leaders have called for or threatened to use as a weapon to punish these offenses. This kind of organized effort may be very efficient in putting pressure on people and getting them to abide to your rules. However, you have to ask yourself whether your goal is to punish the offenders in any available way, even with heavy "collateral damage" as you euphemistically put it (which may only earn you new enemies, and create even more problems in the long run), or to exact justice in a fair and measured way and to change people's misconceptions about Islam and make new friends in the process.

I personally am for the second method. Of course, you can argue (as you did in the paragraph I reproduced above) that we lack proper leadership, that the arab masses are not that sophisticated, etc. While I do agree with you that a selective boycott may impractical to implement with the current status of muslim mentality (ignorant, intransigeant, and vindictive), I don't think this is a legitimate reason for us to acquiesce to whatever the "masses" deem appropriate means of protest, and not even be able to discuss and express points of view that differ from those of the majority.

"That's why: Abou Sufian Ibn HARB was called Abu Jahl."

I don't think this is right. Abu Sufyan and Abu Jahl are two different people. Abu Jahl was a man of the tribe Makhzum by the name of Amr b. Hisham, also known as Abu al-Hakam b. Hisham. He was killed in the battle of Badr. (See Martin Lings, Muhammad, p. 149).
Also, he didn't call himself Abu Jahl: it was the muslims who started to call him with this name. According to Lings, the name means "father of ignorance", and was due to the fact that the man had ruthless manners who was "ready to take revenge on anyone who opposed him."

Other than that: thanks for the article in the Guardian. When I saw the link, I in fact thought that you found evidence that the dairy products company had funded these cartoons, or something of that nature! :))) Well, what to say? These editors are hypocrites. But we knew that from the beginning, with all the examples that Jallal gave, and that you yourself provided us with...

Al Malih said...


mmmmh...that's a lot of wrath for an opinion and was not meant any way as a personal attck...that was my perception about how the whole community is acting (2 extrems!) ...

A moderator with a sensitive skin...mmmh, I wonder how many traffic you will generate!

As for Boycott:

I guess we are beating a dead horse here!

You are talking of ploitics in a Plato Republic...I am talking about real world politics, something that can make a change on the ground!

I still maintain that Boycott is the right response and bear fruit in future!

Whether Abu Jahl called himself that or Muslims call it that, the fact of the matter is that you are dead wrong on the poetry:

It is meant HARB (WAR)...not ignorance

Do your research!? and come back to me.

In Arabic we say:

JAHILA BI ACHAYI: Ignoring some thing.


JAHILA AL CHAYI: doing war on something...

BI (of) vs. ALA (on)....

Karim said...

Al Malih,

"that's a lot of wrath for an opinion and was not meant any way as a personal attck...that was my perception about how the whole community is acting (2 extrems!) ..."

If you meant the whole community, then you should have said it in clear terms. Without such a precision, I could not but assume that your indignation was meant for your interlocutors in this debate. Other than that, I never said that your speculation was a personal attack. However, what I did say is that you impute to people thoughts which are not theirs. If I were to do the same thing, I would tell you that the goal of those who engage in such kind of speculation is to intimidate their interlocutors into backing off from their initial views. I am sure that was not your goal, but that how such interpretations may be perceived.

"you are dead wrong on the poetry"

If you read what I wrote more carefully, you'll see that I didn't say anything about the poetry. All I said is that, in the example you gave, Abu Jahl was translated by Martin Lings, who held degrees in Arabic and Islamic studies and authored one of the best biographies of the Prophet, as "father of ignorance". In citing Mr. Lings, I have already done my research and given you my reference (complete with page numbers). Now, if you claim that Mr. Lings is dead wrong, you better give us your references.

Jallal said...

By the way, for the same reasons we were discussing, the initiative of the iranian newspaper of launching a contest for the best caricature regarding the holocaust is a big mistake et is totally innaceptable.

Al Malih said...

I am not sure if I can use Mr. Lings as a reference in this issue...

I give one thing, many people use the poetry in the sense of ignorance, i.e., if my ennemy is ignorant, I am ready to surpass him with ignorance....

But knowing Amr Ibn Kalthoum and his MUALAQA, it would be hard to belive that he meant ignorance...and the rest of the verses show that:

أَلا لا يَجْهَلَـنْ أحَـدٌ عَـلَـيْنـا، فَنَجهَلَ فوقَ جَهلِ الجاهِلـينَـا
وَنَعدو حَيْثُ لا يُعْدَى عَـلَـينـا، ونَضرِبُ بالمَواسي مَنْ يَلـينَـا
أَلا لا يَحْـسَـبِ الأعـداءُ أَنَّـا تَضعضعنا، وأَنَّا قَـد فَـنِـينَـا
تَرانـا بـارِزِينَ، وكـلُّ حـيٍ قَدِ اتَّخَذَوا مَخَافَتَـنـا قَـرِينَـا

It all talk about war, DARB = war.

crucivore said...

Karim, les bribes que j'ai compris du billet et des commentaires, vu mon anglais rudimentaire, ne m'empêchent pas de dire du point de vue qui est:
1. Oui ces carricature sont offensantes pour tous les musulmans.
2. Pourquoi aucun gouvernement musulmant n'a réagi avec vigueur à leur publication fin septembre 2005?
3. Pourquoi fallait-il attendre début février pour voir des masses déchainnées bruler des ambassades au lieu de manifester pacifiquement?
4. Fallait-il que le Hamas soit porté à la tête de l'Etat palestinien pour que France Soir et Charlie Hebdo les publie?
5. Fallait-il laisser Chirac bush et Israel même condamner cette publication, alors que nos gouvernants se taisent et lâchent les foules dans la rue ?

Autant de questions auxquelles je n'ai aucune réponse, sinon que nos chefs d'Etats auraient tous dû protester ensemble d'un même voix le jour de leur publication de ces carricatures et demander, sanctions, excuses et condamnation judiciaire des coupables.
Sans réponse cohérente, je privilégie la manipulation médiatique européenne d'une part et celle de l'homme de la rue musulman d'autre part.

Karim said...


Merci pour ton commentaire. Tes questions sont certainement tres pertinentes. Et c'est vrai, il se peut bien qu'il y ait pas mal de manipulation dans cette affaire. Le jour ou les masses musulmanes deviendront plus mures, on saura se faire respecter sans avoir a bruler quoi que ce soit.

Anonymous said...

Hallo I absolutely adore your site. You have beautiful graphics I have ever seen.

Anonymous said...

Muslims should respect all the prophets and the highest woman (Mary).
In answer to a comment - The honest truth is some muslims don't know much about Islam. Mary(Allah's belessings upon her) is mentioned more in the Quaran than the prophet Mohammed(pbuh).
I guarantee that some muslims think that the last prophet was the best however Allah makes no distinction between them. He only says that he was the best among you in conduct and you should strive to be like him in conduct.
It states in the Quaran that Mary is above all other women and she was a chaste woman.
By the way there was no such person as Jesus. His names in the old testament are (No sure about spellings sorry) Yeshua, Ishaw, Isaa.
I find it disgusting how some muslims used this as an excuse to murder innocent people (westerners). Islam does not say that - they shouldn't be doing it.
Good to hear that the cartoon has been withdrawn, but the damage has already been done. The void between the world and Muslims is growing due the faults on both fractions. I am a muslim myself by the way.

Anonymous said...

give proof of what you did say!!Why muslims don't feel concerned when "They" publish cartoons/jokes of Jesus, Mary and even God ?
Muslims never did that and they love jesus more then you all. we dont say the juses have been kiled by jews!!