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Boycotting the Slip Inn?
G'day. Irfan Yusuf is a regular Webdiarist. His last post was Jetlagged analysis on upcoming 60 Minutes show. Irfan gives us now his Ozzie Mozzie perspective on 'that cartoon'. Princess Mary, what do you think? Hamish.
by Irfan Yusuf
That’s it. I’ve decided once and for all. In a show of Islamic solidarity, I will not drink at the Slip Inn. After all, a Danish newspaper published 12 nasty and offensive cartoons. As a result, I refuse to drink at a pub which has anything to do with Denmark.
There’s just a few problems. I’ve never been to the Slip Inn. In fact, I don’t even know where it is. Further, I doubt Islamic solidarity could be shown by drinking anything stronger than a Diet Coke or orange juice.
But the way some Muslims (including a large number of undemocratic dictatorial Muslim governments) are behaving, you’d think the Muslim world will soon be a pastry-free zone.
Yes, it is true that the neo (or should that be pseudo?) Conservative newspaper in Denmark decided that a good way to support racist immigration policies was to upset 1.2 billion Muslims across the planet. It seems that conservative politics in some Western circles boils down to little more than provoking a civilisational war.
(In which case, don’t be surprised if some dimwitted neo-Con papers published in Australia by Americans also jump on the cartoon bandwagon.)
Now we are all told that publishing these cartoons was about freedom of speech. Really? Try publishing something questioning conventional historical accounts of the Holocaust. Imagine what would have happened if the paper wrote and published an article claiming that only 5,999,999 Jews were massacred by the Nazis and their allies.
Or try doing what Professor Bernard Lewis did. Try writing something questioning the Ottoman massacre of Armenians during the early part of the 20th century. Good luck if French prosecutors or even some private litigants don’t hit you for a hefty fine or even a jail sentence.
Hiding Prejudices Behind Free Speech
It seems that in modern Europe, free speech allows you to offend and upset some people but not others.
Personally I think many Muslims are overreacting to the whole cartoon thing. I’ve written as much on my blog and submitted to the usual mainstream newspaper suspects on both sides of the Tasman. You can find a summarised version of it also written up (with suitable links) on the blog.
But then I decided to read what Yasmin’s mum had to say. Yasmin’s mum (or Umm Yasmin in Arabic) is the closest person I’ve met to a Muslim feminist wearing a headscarf. Her analysis of the Danish situation makes compelling reading.
I should also mention the arguments raised by Danish Muslim Svend White. In an insightful analysis, Mr White provides some important background information on the political motivations of the newspaper.
It seems that many neo-Cons are trying to deliberately provoke an international Muslim response. Perhaps before neo-Con publications across Europe started reprinting the cartoons, most Muslims would never have associated Denmark with anything other than Lego, pastries and ice cream.
Of course, now the offending newspapers have realised that they might have provoked a group substantially bigger than the small disorganised rabble that makes up Europe’s Muslim communities. Heads are beginning to roll. The cowards are getting nervous. Already the editor of one French newspaper has been sacked.
The cartoons are part of a broader attempt by neo-Con media to provoke and anger Muslim audiences. It is impossible to generalise about any newspaper or indeed any media empire. But the fact is that the choices some op-ed editors make to publish (and in many cases, not to publish) reflect on the pet prejudices they present as “mainstream opinion”.
In Australia, some newspapers are prepared to print articles by Daniel Pipes which state that the best way for a nation to deal with Iraqi terrorists kidnapping its nationals is to lynch its Muslim minorities. Other newspapers publish articles claiming that Muslim cultures teach young boys to rape white-skinned women as a right of passage.
Hardly 70 years ago, similar claims were being printed about Jews in Europe. Within a decade, free speech turned into a free-for-all of xenophobia.
Yes, there are people in Europe and Australia that want us all to declare war on our Muslim neighbours and countrymen and women. There are people who think that supporting Christianity or conservative values or Judeo-Christian ethics involves offending and insulting as many Muslims as possible.
But then some Muslims often don’t do themselves any favours either. Yes, Mr White is correct in his analysis when he says that people have the right to economically punish any nation or company that offends or insults them. But since when do cartoons published in a near-Nazi newspaper represent official Danish government policy?
Further, what benefit does boycotting all Danish goods bring? Are there proven financial or ideological links between the newspaper and ice cream manufacturers or Lego?
Mr White rightly speaks about the racist tone of much conservative political rhetoric in Denmark and other parts of Europe. Yet surely attributing the idiocy of a few neo-Con newspapers to all Denmark would in itself constitute a kind of racism.
Some Muslims say that their protests are being done to protect the honour of the Prophet Muhammad. But does the honour of a historical figure honoured and loved by almost a quarter of the planet need protecting? And is it not demeaning to the great man’s honour that we take seriously the rants and ravings and scribblings of pseudo-conservative nutcases?
And what makes me want to laugh and cry simultaneously until the halal cows come home is how popular ignorant sentiment is being manipulated by undemocratic corrupt Muslim dictators, generals, kings and emirs. These are the same pack of thieves who steal and squander the resources of their people. They throw anyone they deem a threat to their regimes into prison, abusing every human right known to man.
When it suits them, these Muslim rulers treat their subjects like slaves. Now they have the hide to stand up and declare their love for the Prophet when that very Prophet condemned their oppression in the strongest of terms.
A good reason for Tasmanian Muslims not to boycott all things Danish is the presence of that spunky Tasmanian Princess Mary. And I hope Prince Frederick doesn’t mind me stating for the record that Mary is so spunky, she would easily win a look-alike competition.
What makes Mary look so fab is that she bears a striking resemblance to a supremely gorgeous Muslim lass I was seeing last year. Sadly, that liaison didn’t travel very far. Ah, the pain of unrequited love! Or as they say in certain parts of Bondi, stuff shut.
Yes, the above two paragraphs really make little sense. What does Princess Mary or some crazy woman resembling her have to do with the work of a neo-Nazi cartoonist? Similarly, what does Lego, Danish pastry or the EU have to do with it?
When Muslims boycott all Danish goods, it might make a strong economic statement. But it makes about as much rational sense as my boycotting the Slip Inn.
Surely there are better ways to respond than burning flags and rioting. This sort of behaviour should be left to inebriated and stoned surfies at Cronulla beach. Or to those crazy Middle Eastern crims that the NSW Police allegedly cannot touch because they are used to stack out Bankstown Young Liberals.
Or was that the Lakemba branch of the ALP? Who cares. It's all the same people anyway!
Now it's your turn to comment. Go on. Tell us what you really think...