Roundup: Denmark, Mohammed cartoons, and Muslim riots

Okay, with a little bit of luck I'll be able to get through this without my Rock-Solid Operating System (TM) giving me another spinning beachball or unexpected quit. Grrrr. (When is Vista coming out?)

City of Brass gets out the soapbox with this magnificent post: There is no insult to Islam.
"Islam is infinite. They can burn the Qur'an, or insult the Prophet SAW, or outlaw the hijab. But they can never erase the delicate calligraphy of Deen upon the muslim's soul. Our religion is infinitely greater than the sum of their scorn, and as such we have no opinion on their insults as they matter, in the end, not even the tinest whit."

INDC Journal: Those Mohammed Cartoons
The right is full of people that like to boil down the complexities of the war against Islamic radicalism into a much simpler fight than it is, paradoxically agitating for a war of civilizations by continually maligning an entire religion, while ostensibly claiming support for neoconservative policies that attempt to strategically diminish Islamic radicalism by democratizing the larger Muslim world, effectively turning them against the radicals in their midst. Which is why, whenever Islamic radicalism raises its ugly head, you get several hundred right-wing pundits mocking President Bush's description of Islam as a "religion of peace" in the headlines of their blog posts, like a pack of chortling magpies apparently unable to recognize that it is not in our nation's or President's interest to attack an entire religion of a billion people, but rather quite the opposite, in service of the strategic foreign policy aim of ushering the greater Islamic world into a pluralistic 21st Century. Talk the walk, and all.

Red State: On Cartoons and Conservatives
This could have been what some people call 'a teachable moment,' in fact, were it not for the perplexing responses by the American right, even from usually-reliable conservatives. People like Michelle Malkin, who can usally be counted on to expect a certain amount of dignity and respect in our culture, are waving around the cartoons like they're wonderful things to see, while not showing much recognition of how hateful they really are. She's not alone, either. I just single her out because I read her site every day.

I understand the logic, and the reasons, for this 'blogburst,' but I think the enthusiasm is misplaced. We can celebrate freedom without holding up the worst of it as an example. We can even go farther than that, and condemn trash when we see it, while we mutter to ourselves that tolerating it is the price of freedom.

We can show solidarity with the Danes, in support for western values, without endorsing and integrating the 'art' at issue. These cheap scribbles, drawn up by a smirking 'artist' for the shock value, aren't worth the paper they were printed on. I think it'd do us more good if we remembered that in discussing this issue.

As appealing as it is, we can't fall into the trap of supporting the enemy of our enemy. The fact that the radical Islamists don't like these cartoons, doesn't imply that these cartoons are something that should be celebrated. If we want to celebrate somebody, how about paying tribute to Theo Van Gogh and Hirsi Ali, for making more honest portrayals of the worst of Islam, without slamming the whole, varied Islamic tradition in the process?

Hugh Hewitt: A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Humankind
The cartoons were in bad taste, an unnecessary affront to many of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, just as Joel Stein affronted the military, the families and friends of the military, and as Toles did the same to the wounded, and their families, friends and admirers. Of course each of them had the absolute right to publish their screed, and the Danish (and now Norwegian) governments must reply to demands that these papers be punished with a steely refusal to be dictated to as to their culture of free expression and the protection of the vulgar and the stupid.

But don't cheer the vulgar and the stupid.

There are hundreds of thousands of American troops deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the globe among Muslim peoples who they are trying to befriend. The jihadists like nothing more than evidence that these troops represent a West intent on a new crusade and a new domination of Muslims. Idiot cartoonists make our troops' jobs more difficult, and the jihadists' mission easier.

Aziz at Dean's World: Jesus H. Christ!
I have many observations on it, but the only two that really matters are 1. that people are free to do what they want, and 2. actions have consequences. What few commentators on the topic seem to appreciate is how these two facts form a feedback loop.

You can print, say, or draw whatever you want. Just don't be surprised when - and let's frankly admit this - the people you are deliberately trying to provoke conclude that you're a complete jafi. A jafi, whose soaring rhetoric about freedom and respect for Islam and the sacredness of the cause to bring liberty to the middle east as a grand antidote for tyranny and oppression, just came off looking a lot less sincere. A lot less.

Go to the links, all of them, for the complete posts.