Rushdie 2.0?

Does the whole “Cartoon” controversy strike anyone else as a bit familiar?

Now don’t get me wrong: I was a rather callously non-religious non-political whelp the first time this came up with Salman Rusdie over his Satanic Verses. It took me quite by surprise. I mean I knew a tad about Islam, and Muhammad from school, and I knew tinkering with his story in any way would surely seem irreverent to the faithful. Sure! Like making Pope jokes, or speculating on the nature of Jesus’ relationship with Mary M. Right? A few laughs, some stern words perhaps, maybe some shouting from some pulpits.

Oh no.

People have to go and place bounties. People have to start burning books, bookstores, offices and hotels, and starting riots, stabbings… Wow. And the fatawa lives on, reaffirmed in 2005 by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – the spiritual leader of Iran. Though I’ve yet to hear any new ruckus, Salman surely started something.

And so it continues.

“The debate should be about the respect for religion and the respect for religious beliefs…” – Dr Yaacob Ibrahim

And this time it seems to have spiralled into something unbelievable. Is the publishing of (questionably) defamatory cartoon images worth the lives of 10 people? More? Is this ire justified? Does it speak to a deep misunderstanding (or worse) of the Muslim community and religion? Or is it simply expedience: a touchstone for erupting religious and social dissatisfaction?

Everyone is clamoring for a “peaceful resolution”, but just what needs to be resolved? Are we talking about a global lack of respect for religion? A flagrant disregard of decorum? Or does it go deeper? Is this the final straw that broke the… well you get it.

All I really know is that an awful lot of people are being hurt, killed, and disenfranchised over pen & ink and expression.


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