Michelle Malkin states that her site has been the subject of a DoS attack because she has published the cartoons as has zombietime. [FWIW they are not alone, this site has been the subject of DoS attacks because of my Danish cartoon page, although (and not criticisinng Michelle or her hosting company) since my hosting provider and I both understand TCP/IP and everything related, the only time the site was off the air was when we were literally attempting to serve millions of genuine visitors on a bandwidth budget that expected hundreds - you want DoS proof internet sites call us ]. This is almost as counter productive as the banners in London, Pakistan or wherever with their slogans about "Behead the cartoonists" or "Free Speech is Western Terrorism". If the Islamists wish to convince the rest of us that their religion really is one of peace then they probably need to work on their PR skills.
I understand that these abusers of Islam are a minority, although one that seems to be distributed through most of the Islamic world, but that doesn't stop me from thinking that they should be restrained and denounced by their co-religionists. Let me be clear I have no problem with demonstrations or marches or people boycotting Denmark, or even, arranging trade sanctions against it or the EU or anywhere else, indeed it seems to me that this is the hallmark of reasonable protest. I think it is misguided protest but I don't see why people who feel strongly should not do it. Others may feel that my boycotting of Sony becuase of their DRM attitude is just as misguided. Where I have a problem with these so-called defenders of Islam is that they seem to prefer to use violence and coercion rather than persuasion. As Flemming Rose - the editor of the Jyllands Posten - wrote in the WaPo recently:
One cartoon -- depicting the prophet with a bomb in his turban -- has drawn the harshest criticism. Angry voices claim the cartoon is saying that the prophet is a terrorist or that every Muslim is a terrorist. I read it differently: Some individuals have taken the religion of Islam hostage by committing terrorist acts in the name of the prophet. They are the ones who have given the religion a bad name.
What gets me even more annoyed about the Islamic world, at least as portrayed here in the West, is that people seem more concerned by the depiction of Muhammed than about the hundreds of deaths in man-made disasters in the middle east over the last few months. Firstly there was the annual carnage during the Hajj when, as every year it seems, hundreds of pilgrims were crushed to death in stampedes and more killed when a hotel collapsed beforehand. Then there was the 1000 or so Egyptians who died when their ferry sank. Then there is the ongoing mess that is Iraq, the plight of the Kashmiris who lost everything in the earthquake in October, regular attacks on Christians in Nigeria, Pakista, Indonesia and (on Shias too for that matter) and so on. Somehow it seems that none of these are more important than the dishonour and/or blasphemy of 12 Danish cartoonists. I think that sort of attitude - if it is the real attitude and not that invented by Western media - is truly stupid and I don't think I am alone. This excellent Kuro5hin article puts it very well:
A lot of us in the West are bewildered. We understand the repugnance in your reaction, we just don't understand the ferocity and scale of it. Which of course, is an observation that can be turned on its head: maybe you can be equally bewildered as to why we are so nonplussed by a vile insult to a great world religion. And upon that essential misunderstanding, so much bedeviling of the world right now turns.
The bridging of these two positions is what I am getting at: your tolerance is more necessary than our restraint. Not because the West will respond to your lack of restraint, but because you will reduce yourself, you will weaken yourself, no matter what the West says or does. What arrogance is this? Who am I to speak? I am a secularist from the West. I respect Islam. I revere the Muslim world for the great advances in science- algebra, alchemy, etc., that the Muslim world made while Europeans were busy with tribal warfare.
The advances the Muslim world made centuries ago were made in an environment of enlightenment. Enlightenment is not about disrespecting religious teachings. Enlightenment is about allowing the mind to go to places that religious teachings might not wholly support. It is in this environment of tolerance to new ideas, some bad, some good, some possibly blasphemy, but not necessarily so, that man's creative energies have the best chance to enrich our lives. Islam in its golden age did very much enrich mankind. What happened in Europe after the Middle Ages was the enlightenment the Muslim world already knew, but it seems that the Muslim world stagnated while Europe picked up where the golden age of Islam let off.
PS Holocaust Denial = Danish Cartoons
A couple of comments on my blog have noted the apparent double standard of Austria in that it crimminalizes Holocaust denial but not other forms of hate speech. Let me make it clear that I join with allthoseothers in the West who think that the Austrians are wrong. I think Holocaust deniers are at best stupid and misguided and at worst evil but I see no reason why they should be forbidden from stating their beliefs. Just as I see no reason why some of the British intelligensia should not be permitted to deny the megadeaths due to Comrades Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc. This gets right back to the problem that the kuro5hin article articulates: tolerance leads to development, intolerance leads to stagnation.
BTW the above are by no means alone in suffering from this intolerance problem: one problem I have with Creationists, Intelligent Deisgn believers etc. is that they mostly end up in precisely the same dead end. By not admitting the possibility that they could be wrong they stifle research that could prove them to be correct.