Saturday, February 04, 2006

The cartoon scandal - trolling1 writ large

The Muhammad cartoon scandal has been big news.

Many bloggers seem to have embraced the cartoons with relish including our own Commentary. Other bloggers have pointed out that freedom of speech means the freedom to attack Islam, and claim that the fallout from the scandal provides justification for Muslims to be removed from Europe if possible.

In my opinion, Muslims have fallen straight into the trap set by the Danish newspaper, by reacting in a predictable way. Instead of tactfully dealing with the issue, they allowed it to be blown out of proportion, and gave the Danish newspaper and closet racists an opportunity to play the role of martyrs to free speech.

You will note that I said that Muslims have reacted in a "predictable way". The faux outrage of those who claim to be surprised when Muslims are offended by their prophet being portrayed as a terrorist, is either disingenuous or hopelessly naive.

The cartoons were obviously printed as a deliberate provocation.

1 Troll: definition (Trolling is also free speech)

Update: This sums up my feelings about the whole business: If newspapers have the right to offend then surely their targets have the right to be offended. [via]
Update 2 (2006/02/06): It appears that the same Danish newspaper refused to publish drawings lampooning Jesus Christ in 2003, on the grounds that they were "offensive and not funny" [via].