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Monday, 24 May 2010

Dead man with beard threatens World Cup – shock, horror!

There’s more fury over the depiction of a chap from a few centuries ago who had a beard and is now dead.

And it’s even threatening the World Cup in South Africa, we learn from Christian Science Monitor, which doesn’t reproduce the cartoon by Zapiro, which appeared in the South African paper the Mail and Guardian.

“Coming just 20 days before South Africa hosts the World Cup soccer matches,” says the paper, “the Mohammad cartoon – which is much gentler than those published by Dutch and Danish newspapers or even by the American TV program South Park – has raised the spectre of a violent reaction in South Africa from extremist groups who see themselves as defenders of the Islamic faith. One alleged Al Qaeda leader, arrested in Iraq, claimed to have been planning attacks against Danish and Dutch fans because of cartoons of Mohammad printed in their countries.”

Muslims are of course jumping up and down, screaming, shouting, moaning, not realising that, if they just weren’t so damned precious about who draws their big man, people might not do it, except possibly for illustration purposes.

You’ll have heard, no doubt, about “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”* on Facebook, sparked by threats by a radical Muslim group against the creators of the US TV series South Park for daring to depict this beardy guy in a bear suit. It was bound to get Muslims twitching, of course, but it was done to tell the world that the West won’t be bludgeoned into self-censorship.

Let’s be straight: your humble blogger respects people’s right to hold religious beliefs, even if he doesn’t respect the beliefs themselves. And he doesn’t believe we should just ridicule a religious figure for the hell of it. But it has to be done if you’re making a point about freedom of expression.

Anyway, Mohammed is a historical figure, and is as much everyone’s to do with as they will as, say, Richard the Lionheart or Abraham Lincoln is. The fact that some people revere him as some sort of religious figure is nothing to do with us. To make us respect his image (not that anyone could know what he looked like, anyway) is to make us part Muslim. Christians don’t expect Muslims to revere Jesus in the same way, or pagans ditto the moon goddess.
* Looks as if Facebook have removed this, so the link doesn't work – certainly when we last tried it, which was 10 August 2010.

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