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Cartoons, Violence, and the Prophet Muhammad February 7, 2006

So, we were stoked to start hyping up Olympic snowboarding today, but this whole business of cartoons and violence has gotten us too fired up not to comment.

For those of you who have been living in a remote snow yurt, there has been much ado lately about a set of political cartoons that were originally printed in a Danish newspaper in September of 2005. The cartoons, which were reprinted recently in several other western newspapers, show several depictions of the prophet Muhammad, including one where he sports a bomb labeled with the Islamic creed in his turban. (You can check them out here.) Apparently, the Koran strictly forbids any visual depiction of Muhammad, just like the White family prohibits any visual depiction of Shaun’s face.

Ski Dubai.  Not Pictured:  The Prophet MuhammadLook, we can respect that Muslims don’t want people running around willy nilly publishing photos of Muhammad. Last month, we were given video clips of Muhammad learning frontside lipslides at Ski Dubai, but we showed proper restraint. We can wait until the dude at least learns how to 270 on, for sure.

But, for reals, the widespread, violent reaction that has escalated in the past few days has been ridiculous, and quite frankly, really fucking scary. Protestors in Syria and Lebanon burned down Danish and Norwegian embassies, and several people in Kabul were killed in violent clashes — all because of a dozen or so cartoons.

What needs to happen is this: Muslim peeps in the east AND in the US need to get their own shit together and stop worrying about what is happening with the rest of us non-Muslims. We don’t come over to the middle east and cause all kinds of a ruckus and demand that they accept our cultural norms. Er, wait a minute, maybe we do, but you get our point. If some western newspapers want to print cartoons that you consider uncool, then don’t buy the newspapers, or better yet, write a few strongly worded letters. Wanton destruction and death over a few cartoons is just plain childish.

Look, maybe we have grossly misunderstood the issue, but the principle at hand is pretty simple. Muslims believe it’s blasphemy to visually depict this guy, but the rest of us don’t. Muslims also aren’t down with beer drinking or the public display of hot, partially clothed women… does it give people the right to torch a US embassy when the next SI swimsuit edition is published? Should irrational fanatics burn down the US Capitol building because Bud Light won the Bud Bowl?

We don’t think so. Got comments? Post ‘em below, or send us mail, bitches.


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