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Hugh and cry


Sadly, Hugh Hewitt has joined the ranks of Bill Clinton, the State Department and the BBC in condemning the Danish newspaper cartoonists:

The cartoons were in bad taste, an unnecessary affront to many of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, just as Joel Stein affronted the military, the families and friends of the military, and as Toles did the same to the wounded, and their families, friends and admirers. Of course each of them had the absolute right to publish their screed, and the Dutch (and now Norwegian) governments must reply to demands that these papers be punished with a steely refusal to be dictated to as to their culture of free expression and the protection of the vulgar and the stupid.

But don't cheer the vulgar and the stupid.

Sorry, Hugh. The cartoons aren't even close to the effrontery of Joel Stein or Tom Toles. The Islamists—who have been building their case against the cartoons for months—are simply using them to promote their jihad against the West.

As Robert Spenser points out:

Freedom of speech encompasses precisely the freedom to annoy, to ridicule, to offend. If it doesn’t, it is hollow. The instant that any person or ideology is considered off-limits for critical examination and even ridicule, freedom of speech has been replaced by an ideological straitjacket. Westerners seem to grasp this easily when it comes to affronts to Christianity, even when they are as sharp-edged and offensive as Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ or Chris Ofili’s dung- and pornography-encrusted Holy Virgin Mary. But the same clarity of thought doesn’t seem to carry over to an Islamic context.

It is Sheik Qaradawi and his followers—not the cartoonists and their editors—who deserve censure here.

Posted by Rodger on February 3, 2006 at 07:25 PM | Permalink


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