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Another day; another cartoon; another controversy:
A cartoon by award-winning satirist Jonathan Shapiro in The Mail and The Guardian weekly newspaper on Friday shows the Prophet grumbling to a psychiatrist about the furore in the Muslim world created by a Facebook page called Everybody draw Muhammad Day.
“Other prophets have followers with a sense of humour!” the turbaned, bearded figure, who is stretched out on the psychiatrist’s couch, complains.
The newspaper editor defends his decision to publish the cartoon in what is a wonderful quote:
My view is no cartoon is as insulting to Islam as the assumption Muslims will react with violence.
To me, this assumption seems more insulting — but hardly anything offends me, so I’m not the right person to compare. So I make this question open: What do you think is less insulting?
1. Portraying Muhammad in a cartoon.
2. Not portraying Muhammad, but replacing it with the South Park style “Censored for fear of extremist Muslims”.
I don’t want to bring in Everybody Draw Muhammad Day here. I maintain it is in bad taste, but I will defend its right to exist.
They seem to know their way around words. The HC merely said such a marriage was void under the Islamic marriage law, which makes sense … except one bit — of a separate Islamic marriage law.
Of course, my opposition assumes that at no point in the future would I be in a situation where I’d want to have two wives. If that ever happens: Islam, here I come.
Another Islam-cartoon face-off, this time in Canada :
In the cartoon, a Muslim woman is depicted in niqab from top to toes, with the slit space for her eyes shown in jail bars and a lock.
The background to this cartoon is thus :
The controversy erupted after the Muslim woman Naima Atef Amed, a mother of three who is a new immigrant to Canada, filed a petition with the human rights commission in Quebec province for violations of her religious rights two weeks ago.
But the director of the college – CEGEP de Saint-Laurent – in Montreal said they tried to accommodate the woman’s demands by allowing her to wear the niqab, giving her the front seat and letting her make her presentations from the rear of the classroom with her back to the class so that boys male students didn’t see her.
Matters came to a head when the woman asked male students to move away from her and refused to sit with them around a U-table for conversation skill development classes.
This is “a distasteful way of showing the cartoon and of showing the lock – the woman is locking herself. Why is he (cartoonist) advancing those ideas again and claiming this would inspire debate?” said Montreal Muslim Council leader Salam Elmenyawi on the news network.
Frankly, I don’t mind if this leader stops with ranting on television. In fact, I welcome debate. But if a fatwa comes along, the cartoons (not the actual cartoons) must be reigned in.
I don’t have an issue with women wearing the burqa, as long as it is of their own volition. But I suspect that is true of all women. Given a chance, a majority of women — especially the ones in countries like Canada, United States and U.K. (even in Islamic nations, I daresay) — would prefer to do away with it. And if women are being forced, it is wrong and the law has every right to intervene.
As time passes, I believe that rational thinking will be the dominant way of life. As for religious conservativism (and individuals who are holding dearly to the most basic religious beliefs), a line from The Dark Knight sums it best : You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villian.
I came across this excellent satire.
Cartoon via CHUP.
A muslim model drinks beer in public so obviously, she’s gotta be caned. This, no one disputes. What I found funny is the statement by the said model’s father :
“We accept the caning sentence. My daughter is ready to be caned. She has been reading Holy Koran to give us strength,” her 60-year-old father Shukarno Mutalib said.
I am pretty sure the preamble of the Koran makes its purpose clear, and strength while caning is somewhere at the top. If so, more power to the holy book.
Imagine all this when Malaysia is supposed to be a moderate Islamic state.
How do I know it is moderate ?
Because they use a light cane.
I wish BDSM had appeared before the Sharia law was written; they would’ve called caning Unislamic and problem solved. Heh.
No sarcasm or humour here.
India’s largest Islamic organization, The Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind, has come out openly against terrorism in the name of ‘jihad’. Of course, it would be naive to expect any outcome from this, but I see it as a start nonetheless. And if you have already made up your mind to write something in the comments section below, the Andhra government admitted to wrongly arresting 21 Muslim youth in the Hyderabad blasts. More such incidents mentioned at an IBNLive blog. Looking at the rate of conviction, there is surely a problem there. A problem which might even fuel the larger issue. On the subject of tougher terror laws, what use is a bigger gun if you are hitting the wrong targets ? Is it just to create fear in the minds of people who are already fearful ? The ones who have taken the path of terrorism have kind of already gotten rid of fear.
Decoupling the police and the media might help this, as we saw in the Aarushi murder case. The media seriously needs to stop stalking the police when on duty. I don’t mind digging a field full of pits, and providing wrong tips about children falling in them. Self-imposed restraint is supposed to be one of the pillars of free press, but in the age of competitive news, toughler laws might be the only way out.
The most heartening statement I have read in quite some time comes from Maulana Mahmood Madni, a leader of the above organization and a Rajya Sabha MP on the recent ‘Hindu terrorism’ :
“For the last so many years, when terrorism has been linked to Islam to malign Muslims, we have been opposing the association strongly. How now can we resort to a similar tactic and blame another community for terrorism?”
I admire him just for consistency of view, sorely missing all around, in every political party, every religious organization and in most individuals who click on a “Comments” button.
P.S. : Keep the comments civil in case you want a discussion on this topic.
Maybe the supporters of Free and Open Source Software geeks might vote for the BJP this time around : Link
BJP announced its goal to become one of the most high-tech political parties in the next two years, and free and open source software (FOSS) will play an essential role in this project. BJP plans to use CentOS as its server operating system and Ubuntu on desktops.
Some of the innovative uses of Linux that probably appealed to the BJP :
-> You can come out with your own distribution of Ubuntu and call it Hubuntu.
->Mass mailing program for “We want POTA back”, integrated with an RSS reader subscribed to a news website which uses machine learning to detect a bomb blast in news items (which of course will be countered by Shivraj Patil’s own Muhahahaha “” spam mailer directed at the terrorists, which obviously will change its UI automatically 5 times daily !!).
-> You can hack into the kernel and make it crash if the user is away from his PC on Valentine’s day.
-> Integrating the POTA package into the kernel (I have no idea what I am talking about).
-> When you try to install Islamic software, prompts the message “You do not have enough sense or privilege to install this software. Please contact your local RSS leader”. NOTE : Do not confuse between RSS reader and RSS leader.
-> And lastly, but most importantly, the brightness levels of your monitor will be set to a very low value and you would not be able to change it till the elections. Their way of saying “India NOT shining”.
Wouldn’t it be totally cool see cyber warfare between our political parties someday !
Link by Salil.
P.S. : Of course, most of the above points have nothing to do with FOSS or Linux, but what the heck.
In a completely unexpected move, the BJP has taken serious objection to the use of the word “Hindu terrorists” for the recently arrested Hindu terrorists in the Malegaon and Gujarat mosque blasts. It must be hard to accept for someone who always assumed that terrorists were born with a tattoo on their hand which said “Mera mashab ….. hai”.
Respected Mr. Sinha,
Change the words majority to minority, Hindu to Muslim, and read back the article aloud to everyone.
Although the readership here has been dismal, I am happy that atleast the Islamic clergy follows this blog religiously (no pun please, I don’t want a fatwa against me). Although they have taken immediate offense to the world’s most prolific man mentioned here, and the usual fatwa, jail and call for death has been issued.
About the religious events that take place yearly :
The Hindus visit the Amarnath shrine and the Kumbh Mela.
The Muslims visit Haj.
The MNS visits the railway examination centers.
The attack on the railway examination centers has now become as old as the Amarnath yatra. Why doesn’t someone have the sense to change the centers or provide security !
Ask anyone their opinion on why the riots broke out in Orissa and Karnataka. While just a few would attribute it to fanatics/fundamentalists/assisted terrorists, most of them would probably go and and explain to you the way Christian missionaries were wrongly converting tribal and poor people to Christianity (wrongly in this sense means by giving them food, education and medical supplies). This is how a fellow student here was explaining the incident to an American a few days ago. I have a few questions, and would appreciate if you can try to answer :
1. The missionaries get a lot of funding from outside India. They distribute texts that mock Hinduism in many ways. They convert people by giving them some basic necessities of life. Agreed and I condemn them for this form of exploitation. But if not for the Christian missionaries, how long would the government even take to realize there are people inhabiting those tribal areas ? How long would the government/Bajrang Dal/RSS take to provide the same help ?
2. As far as I know, the Christian missionaries have not engaged in violent activities (the murder of the Swamiji in Orissa has been claimed by Maoists). When the terror strikes are said to be in retaliation of incidents like the Mumbai/Gujarat riots, we are quick to condemn them, even though it is a form of violence for violence. Then why do we not condemn a form of violence against non-violence equivocally, if not even more aggressively ? (and not blabber on about the cause of the issue, viz. conversions) On that note, if tomorrow there is a terror attack which claims to be in retaliation for this incident, whom would you curse for your feeling of insecurity ? This switch to a violent form, in a chain of actions, is what is most dangerous according to me, because the chain never returns back to a non-violent form.
3. Assuming conversion is the main issue, why is it that we perceive Christiantity to be a bigger threat than Buddhism ? Kandhamal has about 40,000 more Christians from 75,000 in the last 10 yrs. But there are conversions where lakhs of people convert to Buddhism in a single day, where the vows include “I shall have no faith in Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara nor shall I worship them. (ditto for Rama, Krishna, Gauri, Ganpati)” and “I do not and shall not believe that Lord Buddha was the incarnation of Vishnu. I believe this to be sheer madness and false propaganda.”
Is it just because Christians are easier targets than the Dalits in such huge numbers ? Is it just because they are not as violent ?
4. Now for the basic underlying issue. If you think religious conversion is fundamentally a wrong thing, none of the religions would have survived today if not for large scale conversions (and that includes Hinduism, Buddhism and every religion you can think of, all you need to prove it is induction).
5. And lastly, why do we have this general perception of Muslims as terrorists and Christians as converters ?