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The New York Times's editorial board has finally recognized what its readers have known for at least two weeks -- that the violent protests, riots, arsons and murders committed in response to the publication of editorial cartoons criticizing Islam and Mohammed are meant to intimidate dhimmis into silence:
With every new riot over the Danish cartoons, it becomes clearer that the protests are no longer about the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, but about the demagoguery of Islamic extremists. The demonstrators are undeniably outraged by what they perceive as blasphemy. But radical Islamists are trying to harness that indignation to their political goals and their theocratic ends by fomenting hatred for the West and for moderate regimes in the Muslim world. These are dangerous games, and they require the most resolute response.
It is not the West that is most threatened in this crisis. The voices of moderation in the Muslim world are the ones that are being intimidated and silenced. Those few journalists and leaders who have spoken out against the rioting have been vilified and assailed, and even jailed. According to a report by Michael Slackman and Hassan M. Fattah in The New York Times, 11 journalists in five Islamic countries face prosecution for printing some of the Danish cartoons, even when their purpose was to condemn them.
Note to Pinch and the folks at the Gray Lady: these protests were never about the caricatures themselves. These examples of lunacy have always been about silencing any criticism of Islam and Muslim societies, and have a direct philosophical relationship to other crimes, such as the murder of Theo Van Gogh and the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie. These men have been martyred (Van Gogh literally so) for expressing opinions and criticisms of Muslims and Islam. From the time of the first arson and the point when the first signs appeared demanding violence -- in other words, since day 1 of the protests -- the point has always been to intimidate non-Muslims into silence.
The Times cannot bring itself to admit this. Why? It would force the Times to recognize its role in the shameful surrender shown by the American media in not just refusing to publish the cartoons themselves, but also in their haughty rationalizations that they must remain sensitive to the icons of Islamic faith. They routinely fail to show this sensitivity to icons of other faiths, such as their reprint of the Ofili Madonna, covered in elephant dung and pictures of female genitalia. Nor did they scold the gallery that exhibited the artwork, and they staunchly defended the federal funding the exhibition received when then-mayor Rudy Giuliani wanted it pulled. They only care about sensitivity when the offended carry bombs, guns, and torches.
Even today, with its far-too-late recognition of the real issues involved in the Cartoon Wars, the Times has yet to publish the cartoons themselves so their readers can understand the context of the controversy. The Gray Lady then scolds Yemen and Jordan for charging Muslim journalists who did publish the cartoons for "giv[ing] extremists a dollop of legitimacy". They hypocrisy drips from this statement, seeing as how the almost the entire American media establishment did exactly the same thing with their fear-based refusal to publish the cartoons themselves.
Don't be fooled by this editorial. It signifies something worse than the pusillanimity shown earlier -- the Times admits they understand the stakes involved, and yet refuse to stand up to the Islamists anyway.Sphere It View blog reactions
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