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← [UPDATE-07-Jan: commentary by Russell Blackford] Prejudiced Danes provoke fanaticism

[UPDATE-07-Jan: commentary by Russell Blackford] Prejudiced Danes provoke fanaticism - Comments

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 1 by mordacious1

Now that I've had my Fruit Loops, I can get on with my day. This woman basically is saying, "Don't call them terrorists or they will kill you and it will be your fault".

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:07:00 UTC | #428389

flying goose's Avatar Comment 2 by flying goose

I think Danes are a little suspicious of religious people."

I wonder if that has anything to do with their most famous philosopher?

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:08:00 UTC | #428391

The CDM's Avatar Comment 3 by The CDM

Disgusting. For shame, Ms. Holm, for shame. The fanaticism of free speech. Bollocks.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:09:00 UTC | #428392

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 4 by rod-the-farmer

As a Canadian, I believe the correct technical term in the UK for an article like this is 'bollocks'. Read the many comments to the original article. Very few indeed support this twit. Or is there a female version, twitte ? Note my careful avoidance of the mildly profane.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:10:00 UTC | #428394

ShavenYak's Avatar Comment 5 by ShavenYak

Oh cool, the "blame-the-victim" strategy, favorite of rape apologists everywhere. *rolls eyes*

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:11:00 UTC | #428395

flying goose's Avatar Comment 6 by flying goose

I have to say that I am in two minds about this.

People are free to do what they like and Kurt Westergaard has done nothing wrong here. However pragmatically if I were to meet a well armed thug on the street, I think I would do my best not to provoke him. However wrong the thug's subsequent behaviour might be, I would be along time dead.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:15:00 UTC | #428397

ggab7768's Avatar Comment 7 by ggab7768

I don't know what else to say. This is just foul.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:17:00 UTC | #428400

bertie wooster's Avatar Comment 8 by bertie wooster

This article epitomises exactly what is wrong with Britain and the Western world. People such as this 'Guardianista' seek to counter barbarism with masochistic, grovelling, self-hate and apologies. The Danes, like the rest of us have very good reasons to be suspicious of religion, especially the poison that is islam.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:18:00 UTC | #428401

Freethinker15's Avatar Comment 9 by Freethinker15

What a stupid woman!

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:23:00 UTC | #428402

PrimeNumbers's Avatar Comment 10 by PrimeNumbers

Can we first just point out that it is not the cartoonist's fault, and they haven't done anything wrong.

The article is pure "appeasement" and that's indeed what has us in this situation in the first place, when people with mad and demonstrably dangerous beliefs are told that they're ok to hold them, and indeed we'll even protect their beliefs from any and all criticism. And indeed, such appeasement must stop.

As an atheist I'm happy enough to stand up to any attack on my lack of belief in god(s) and rationally argue the case without threat of violence. Unless theists can all rise to the challenge (as many can judging from internet discussions) and discuss their beliefs without resorting to violence, they going to have to develop a really thick skin.

But really, that's the key to living in peace and harmony - a really thick skin. Time to develop one now.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:25:00 UTC | #428403

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 11 by Chrysippus_Maximus

Flying Goose, what does Kierkegaard have to do with this, exactly?

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:25:00 UTC | #428404

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 13 by Steve Zara

She makes a valid point. To an extent.

The actions of those fanatics who threaten and kill are inexcusable. They must be condemned in the strongest terms.

But that does not excuse those who decide it is fun to insult others.

Instead, they saw in it a defamatory and humiliating message: Muslims are terrorists. Humiliation is a devastating feeling

Absolutely right. It is.

There need not be a wrong and a right side here. Just because we utterly condemn the fanatics does not mean praising those who insult, unless that insult is for very good reason.

What we should not do, though, is place the blame on the fanatics on those who provoke. People have personal responsibility for their actions.

So overall, she is very wrong. But it is not a simple matter.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:29:00 UTC | #428407

flying goose's Avatar Comment 12 by flying goose


I was just contrasting the Modern Danes with Kierkegaard and noting the irony of it.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:29:00 UTC | #428406

F_A_F's Avatar Comment 15 by F_A_F

From the original article:

There are 87 men in Denmark with the name Kurt Westergaard and all of them now have police protection. Four months later, suicide bombers attacked the Danish embassy in Islamabad, injuring 30 and killing six. Al-Qaida took credit for the attack, claiming it was retaliation for the cartoons and the 700 Danish troops in Afghanistan. In October 2008, two men were convicted in Danish courts of preparing a terrorist attack.

Surely this is an issue with a seemingly enormous portion of the muslim population who see that violence and murder are an appropriate way of solving a problem?

Amazing that some writers can still create drivel like this and see it as a reasonable argument.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:30:00 UTC | #428410

Eric Blair's Avatar Comment 14 by Eric Blair

The issues at stake here have been discussed previously but it’s worth saying again that one can defend the right of the cartoonists to produce their work and newspapers to publish them without condoning this particular approach to social relations.

The cartoons were readily available on the Intranet and, besides being offensive, offered no perspective on the issue on Islam or Muslims in Western Europe. Showing support for the beleaguered cartoonists and newspapers, and for free speech, did not require re-publishing the cartoons.

We now know that the purpose of the cartoons was pretty much to see what Muslims would do in response, and to their discredit, in almost all quarters they responded predictably – that is, as terrorists and apologists for terrorists. The fact some fanatics are still seeking “revenge” is regrettable and highlights the ongoing need for vigilance but, again, isn’t unexpected.

I suppose it is worth knowing that this is the type of world we now live in, though had I been a newspaper editor at the time I would have declined to re-publish the cartoons. There was no particular reason to continue offending a community just to highlight how easily offended its members are.

This is not to suggest that any group has a right not to be offended, just that there is no need to repeat and compound the offense simply to remind them that they don’t have such a right.


Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:30:00 UTC | #428408

root2squared's Avatar Comment 16 by root2squared

The cartoon issue is really a no-brainer. People who get offended by words, symbols, or cartoons have to grow up and fight back using the same tools. Not whine like a baby and threaten violence.

In addition to suppressing thinking, we can safely say that religion also prevents people from becoming mature, civilized adults.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:35:00 UTC | #428412

gurkuda's Avatar Comment 17 by gurkuda

Comment #447055 by flying goose

I would agree with you If Kurt Westergaard lived in Saudi Arabia. The fact that the cartoons were published in Denmark, however, changes the game entirely.
If the thug, you mentioned, threatened you in your own house, you would be less reluctant to avoid him.

As for the article, the fact that she perceives Denmark's 'suspicion' as a shortcoming, speaks for itself. I wonder if the current events will make them less suspicious.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:36:00 UTC | #428413

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 18 by Nunbeliever

Who the heck is this woman? Is it allowed to be this stupid. Well, the only comfort is that I could not find one single positive comment beneath the article on Guardian's homepage.

I would like to bring to your knowledge Nancy Graham Holm that the exchange rate between dollars and Saudi Arabian riyals is 4-1! And please buy a one-way ticket.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:37:00 UTC | #428414

Graham's Avatar Comment 19 by Graham

'Bad taste' maybe, but 'cruel'? 'Aggression' is usually used to describe an act capable of significant harm. The author is belittling the term by liberally applying it to the production of poor quality satire. I wonder how spiritually skilled a person is who takes offense at such adolescent humour?

It could be argued that it is not religion per se that is being satirised by the cartoons, but the idolatry of a very masculine anthropocentric religious avatar. Isn't idolatry something which the Abrahamic religions reject? I suspect that in drawing attention to this hypocracy the cartoons have unintentionally made a serious spiritual point.

I seem to remember reading that human images have been frowned upon in Islam in order to prevent idolatry. Making such a fuss about an image turns it into an idol and seems to go against the spirit of Islam.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:39:00 UTC | #428415

Dave Porter's Avatar Comment 20 by Dave Porter

"Danes fail to perceive the fact that they have developed a society deeply suspicious of religion."

What they have correctly perceived is that societies run by religions are exceedingly dangerous.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:45:00 UTC | #428416

paul fauvet's Avatar Comment 21 by paul fauvet

Does Holm never read the Guardian? Is she entirely unaware that it publishes the work of the most scatalogical cartoonist in Britain, Steve Bell?

For decades Bell's cartoons, sometimes brilliant, sometimes painfully unfunny, have "offended" the conservatives, New Labour, the Royal Family, the police force - pretty much the entire British establishment.

Bell's work is much more savage that anything that appeared in Jyllands-Posten. But strangely enough, no axe-wielding maniacs have ever tried to break into his house.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:47:00 UTC | #428417

Sciros's Avatar Comment 24 by Sciros

Agggh lying biach!! That cartoon could have been of anything, it doesn't fucking matter. Islamic leaders made up all sorts of crazy shit about it and willfully incited violence against the Danish artist.

Asshats like this are an embarrassment to the guardian.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:53:00 UTC | #428420

flying goose's Avatar Comment 22 by flying goose


Unfortunately the world is not that large any more.

To push the analogy further, always a problem, if ones neighbour got driven to violence every time you listened to Kylie Minogue, you might decide the Kylie just wasn't worth listening to any more. Perhaps you might find other ways of increasing his tolerance levels.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:53:00 UTC | #428418

Jeremy Anglesea's Avatar Comment 23 by Jeremy Anglesea

Freedom of speech is a core value. No ammount of offence can ever merit censor.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:53:00 UTC | #428419

carbonman's Avatar Comment 25 by carbonman

The cartoons insulted a belief system not only undeserving of the merest shred of regret but utterly deserving of unreserved condemnation. Islam is disgusting. It is a perversion of developing minds and a direct fast track to mediaeval savagery.

A belief system is not a person. Beliefs held simply because of birth or geographical location are not respectable.

Besides, beliefs can be private and the rest of us need never know about them. Once voiced, or wailed from minarets, or bombed suicidally into innocent bystanders, beliefs become assertions and deserve to be questioned. Even ridiculed. No holds barred. If they be rationally defensible, let them be rationally defended. But let us find a better way of insulting those beliefs than by shielding them patronisingly from criticism or satire.

As some posters have said, those who disagree with the satire of the cartoons are free to respond in kind.

I am disturbed by the creeping, pernicious acceptance of Holm's arguments apparent in some posts here.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:54:00 UTC | #428421

amuck's Avatar Comment 26 by amuck

One commenter over at the Guardian site (Nancy Graham Holm was raked over the coals and rightly so) stated that the Jyllands-Posten had the right to publish the cartoons.

I think it goes farther than that, as a custodian of free speech, they had a duty publish them.

No idea is above criticism, and the more aberrant the idea (religion in general, islam as the most dangerous to civilization), the more public the rebuttal must be.

It's too bad that most other western publications were and are too gutless to publish them.

Continued re publication in many journals would remove the focus of islamic extremists from a single newspaper.

This would normalize the depiction of muhammad (the mythological, genocidal, epileptic and pedophilic one from the 7th century) and perhaps allow "moderate" muslims to start criticizing their religion in public.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:57:00 UTC | #428423

Graham's Avatar Comment 27 by Graham

Can 'freedom of speech' become an idol in itself?

Optimum freedom is a complex thing and isn't the same as unrestricted freedom only for the loudest and the strongest. That way leads to the tragedy of the commons.

Ideologies are so 20th centrury ;o)

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 20:02:00 UTC | #428426

glenister_m's Avatar Comment 28 by glenister_m

Ironically South Park did an episode where they showed the correct response on both sides to the Mohammed image issue. 'Family Guy' intended to have Mohammed appear on the show, the Muslims threatened retaliation if he did, after a lot of worry about the retaliation they eventually did show Mohammed, and the Muslims retaliated with a cartoon of Bush and other Americans getting pelted with sh*t.

What a stupid article though. I suppose the Americans should go on a rampage whenever protesteers (American or otherwise) burn the U.S. flag...

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 20:05:00 UTC | #428427

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 29 by rod-the-farmer

Re post 13 by Steve Zara

Arrgghhh (grimace/cringe).

Instead, they saw in it a defamatory and humiliating message

Sorry, I beg to differ here. That would be flat out wrong. If someone accuses ME of being a mad bomber, I could not in a month of Sundays claim to be humiliated. Humiliation is simply not a word that can be associated with an accusation of this particular type of criminal behaviour when I have not committed any. A public accusation of child abuse, using my name directly, perhaps, but not being a mad bomber. And of course, no specific muslim was so named. The mere depiction of a bearded person in a head covering is somehow supposed to directly equal Mohamed ? I don't think so.

Defamed, perhaps, but then I might wish to prove that I personally am not a mad bomber. It would be easy enough to prove that any group to which I belong does not contain mad bombers. Humiliation is just another way to escalate the disagreement beyond the rational, typically adopted by those whose list of arguments has been depleted. I note that Mohamed himself did not appear to take offense personally.

You say there is more than one side here. Fair enough, the cartoons may in some quarters be considered as being in poor taste. But those who do must understand there are a great many around the world who think muslim = terrorist.

The cartoons may well be in poor taste, but until & unless someone can fairly describe them as inaccurate, I think you would have to admit they stand on firm ground.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 20:08:00 UTC | #428429

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 30 by SaintStephen

No shortage of idiots who studied at UC Berkeley, with at least one magnificent exception.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 20:14:00 UTC | #428431