Monday, February 13, 2006

Cartoon Controversy

Mohammed Cartoons And Freedom Of Speech
By Michele Goff

Well, we’ve finally joined the ranks of European newspapers infuriating Muslims all over the world……again. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran one of the cartoons recently; its editor explained that this is what newspapers do.

However, at the same time our own Secretary of State, while speaking in Europe encouraged those running the cartoons, as well as those angered by them, to refrain from more violence. When Palestinian gunmen are surrounding EU offices in Gaza and Muslims are protesting the world over perhaps it is time to listen.

Although several European newspapers have run the cartoons as an act of solidarity promoting free speech. Why have most American newspapers chosen to not run the offensive cartoons? We are certainly a country known for its freedom of speech.

Are we afraid of the consequences? We hope that’s not the real reason, we hope that we’re such a “land of the free” that we can somehow have sentiment for all of the different religions and ethnic backgrounds which live here.

Several European countries have accused Muslims of a double standard. Stating that they have no problem negatively depicting the Jewish faith. However, when one of the cartoons published is depicting a Muslim with a bomb in his turban one has to wonder if this has not gone a bit too far.

The cartoons are depicting all Muslims as terrorists, well, certainly we know that’s not true. In many European countries Islam is the fastest growing religion, causing strain and discontent between Muslims and those of secular faith. Many European leaders have stated that they find the cartoons in very poor taste. However, they also feel that Muslims must be less offended by the West and their ideas of, not only, freedom of the press but freedom of speech as well.

Some Muslims have stated that they feel the cartoons were published to depict them in a bad light, and not a representation of freedom of the press. Either way it is obvious that this will be a news story for years to come. Rather interesting that the media has become its own major story.

One can certainly see why Muslims the world over have a right to be upset by the published cartoons, but on the other hand, who better than the free press to write about their true plights? Who better to always have an interested ear?

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