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Cartoons-Conspiracy providing opportunity


Minhaj Qidwai 

The cartoon conspiracy has provided an opportunity to the Muslims, to depict that they are the followers of a religion that is peace loving, and teaches respect and tolerance. The Muslims in no way should fall on the slippery slope as the West might want them to do so, by labeling them as common denominators in the acts of terrorism.  

The cartoons published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten , and reprinted by several other newspapers have brought a resounding reaction, from the Muslim Community throughout the world. This unprecedented reaction never seen in the modern history is due to a very simple reason that Muslims adore their prophet and would not let anyone to abuse him. Each conspiracy provides an opportunity to the other side to develop a strategy to counter the future conspiracies. The conspiracy over cartoons have not only shown that Muslims can unite and safeguard their values, but at the same time also shown the West their love towards their leader and preacher. It has inspired a debate between Islam and the West for their values. Some call it a clash of civilization, or “Who hates more” – and pitched The West against Islam. In simple terms, neither of them, but the case of meaning of respect and values. The cartoons not only demonize Islam and Holy Prophet, but also show the lack of knowledge of West about Islam. At the same time, the purpose was also to punish the Scandinavian countries. These countries are peace loving, and have shown empathy towards the cause of Palestine. The boycott of Israeli products by Denmark and Norway over the last five years have been the loudest, and have had the most impact. In order to teach them a lesson of boycotting Israeli products this new conspiracy may have been hatched. An article titled “The caricature crisis through Israeli eyes”s far as Denmark was concerned, its large trade union, the General Workers Union in Denmark (SiD), was the first in Europe to advocate a boycott of Israel, and this just a month after 135 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks in March 2002. In Norway, the regional council of the S r-Tr ndelag. with a population of some 270,000 had officially declared a boycott of Israeli products. To add insult to injury, Norwegian Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen backed the boycott, although the Norwegian Foreign Ministry made clear that this was not official government policy. Halvorsen, leader of the Socialist Left Party, was quoted in the Oslo tabloid Dagbladet as saying, "My and the Socialist Left's goal is for Norwegian consumers to decide to drop products and services from Israel, and make other choices in the shops." It is same as the Muslims are saying for the Danish goods. On the same note of conspiracies, the late Swedish Foreign Minister and the presidential candidate Anna Lindh, before her assassination had announced that she will boycott Israeli products available in the Swedish market, especially citrus fruits and avocadoes. She had called on Swedish nationals to boycott Israeli products. Anna Lindh died on the early morning of September 11, 2003, following a knife attack in Stockholm on September 10, while she was shopping at a department store.


The cartoons have economically and politically hurt Denmark, and in future we may see the impact on the other Scandinavian countries. Therefore, it appears that there is a conspiracy behind the printing of these cartoons both for Muslims and their empathizers. The perpetrators knew that there would be a cascade of reactions. The Muslims will protest, and harm would be done to Denmark. However, this conspiracy has provided an opportunity for the Muslims to echo their voice together. The conspiracies of the modern era hatched against the Muslims have also infused the fuel required to unite.


September 11 incident-The first modern day conspiracy: September 11, and the current war on terrorism is being perceived by the Muslims as the war against Islam. Since September 11, there have been cascade of events against Muslims to suppress and dump them and portray Islam as an evil and failed religion. Unfortunately, every act committed in that direction has given a new life and opportunity for the Muslims to come closer, and glorified Islam.


Post-September 11, the West has opted to conduct the discourse on terrorism and at the same time demonizing Islam and Muslims. They have used terminologies that has unwittingly indicted the 1.2 billion Muslims in the world and convicted them as terrorists without any trial. The American and Western media painted a picture of Islam as a religion that preaches terrorism. It has coined terms like Islamists, Muslim terrorists, Islamic terrorists and Islamic terrorism. However, at the same time, West has failed to take action against the day-to-day terrorism and atrocities committed by people of own faith, and those against the Palestinians.


September 11, although planned to degrade Islam, brought the phase I of the renaissance of Islam. Those Americans and Westerners who were busy in their daily life were forced to study Islam. After the American invasion of Afghanistan, although Taliban were booted out of the power, but they are still resisting the new invaders, with the same zeal and efforts as they were against their earlier invaders. Their major strength broken, but they along with the other Afghans have always been at the forefront of staging any protests against Islam. Afghanistan still remains unsettled even after four years under the occupation of its invaders, and still attracting foreign fighters to fight against the invaders. Then came the Iraqi invasion. Soon it became the new focus of Jihadi’s attraction. The Jihad in Iraq is still ongoing, attracting several zealous Muslims throughout the world. Following the invasion of Iraq, the world saw the atrocities committed by the invaders on the innocent people of Iraq. Not only the Americans but also the Britishers have also been involved in committing crimes against the humanity. When the news spread around the world on the heinous crimes committed at the Abu Ghuraib prison, the Muslims united throughout the world to voice their dissent on these crimes. Next came the issue of “Desecration of Holy Quran”. The Muslims proved to be a single unit to raise their voice against perpetrators of mistreatment of their holy book.


Cartoons-The second modern day conspiracy against Islam: This latest conspiracy has again brought the Muslims of the world together on a single platform to show their solidarity towards their most beloved personality and religion.

The global conspiracies against Islam are due to the fear in the West against Islam, misconceptions, and their own version of “Freedom”, say it be for Speech or any other issue. The current debate on Cartoons and the mentality of the West can be depicted by the views of the Denmark's Queen Margrethe II, in the authorized biography "Margrethe" written by journalist Annelise Bistrup. The queen, who is hugely popular among Danes, is the head of the Lutheran-Evangelical Church, of which 85 percent of Denmark's 5.4 million inhabitants are members. Muslims make up about three percent of the population. She warned against the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Denmark, "It is a challenge we have to take seriously. She went on to say "We have to show an alternative to the totalitarity that is also one of the sides of Islam". Well, it clearly shows the understanding of Islam at the epic level of Denmark.  The modern West does lay out principles of respect for others in the Charter on Human Rights. Jyllands-Posten had the guts to print cartoons on the Prophet of Islam, but when it came to respect of Prophet Jesus, it refused to publish a similar series of cartoons for the Jesus Christ. It shows the malicious attitude of Jyllands-Posten  towards Islam. Therefore, is it Freedom of Speech or Hypocrisy, that Jyllands-Posten  published the cartoons, and several other Western countries reprinted that? Those who favor the publication of cartoons, and its reprinting, have shown their non-compromising attitude towards Islam in particular and West in general. These are conspirators, who do not want to respect others and set censorship to these acts of inciting hatred. The world in general had shown restraint towards reprinting these cartoons, and even the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a Jewish organization said: ADL is opposed to religious, racial and ethnic stereotyping in the media ---.  However, the ADL said that it found “some of the cartoons” in Jyllands-Posten troubling, particularly the direct linkage of Mohammad and violence ----. At the same time, newspapers and all media outlets should to take into account the “sensitivities of racial, ethnic and religious groups."   

In the Western Society, the anti-Muslim sentiment has been growing at a rapid pace due to the current media onslaught on Islam and Muslims. The people and media have to set their own boundaries and ensure that the notion of freedom of expression is not used to abuse another’s faith.


From the experience of past and the ashes of Spain and Ottoman empire, Muslims by now should have learnt that, unity is the only way that, they can come out of the past and rise. Muslims are to react, but in a way their Holy Prophet has taught them. He would have responded to these cartoons with peaceful way of expressing dissent, compassion and mercy; and not with violence or damaging property. The cartoon conspiracy has provided an opportunity to the Muslims, to depict that they are the followers of a religion that is peace loving, and teaches respect and tolerance. The Muslims in no way should fall on the slippery slope as the West might want them to do so, by labeling them as common denominators in the acts of terrorism.

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