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Don't fall into the cartoon trap
Something about the furore over the Danish cartoons smells fishy. A great deal of well organised rage has been stirred up, and not a little hypocrisy.
Church responses have been few and mixed. Efforts have been made to drag the Vatican into this well orchestrated affair, but with little success so far.
Saudi Arabian Prince Nayef Ben Abdel Aziz, his country's interior minister, had called upon the Vatican to condemn the cartoons for mocking the prophet Mohammed. To date, neither the Vatican press office nor the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue has offered any comment.
Father Justo Lacunza Balda, of the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, merely pointed out that "The Danes showed a lack of tact, but that doesn't mean that we should curb freedom of the press." On the other hand, one Cardinal described the cartoons as a "scandal" .
Cardinal Achille Silvestrini wrote that the deliberate mockery of religious beliefs is offensive, and should be curbed.
I am not aware that he or any other religious leader has objected to far more vicious and persistent attacks on another religion. These foul anti-Semitic cartoons have been circulating in Muslim countries for a long time. It is hypocritical to condemn the feeble Danish cartoons and tolerate these Nazi-like monstrosities from the Arab world.
Far more serious than lines on paper – which is all that a drawing is – are the attacks on Silvestrini’s fellow Christians because they are not Muslim, like this massacre of Philippino Christians two days ago, or the on-going persecution of Christians in Pakistan as in this attack on the Catholic church in Kawanlit.
Worshippers in and near the building were also assaulted—a 70-year-old woman had her legs fractures and another women, 50, suffered serious injuries to her back. The assailants also smashed windows, violated the main altar, and defiled the holy books the latter contained.
Melanie Phillips points to two interesting articles and joins up the dots.
First, Catholic Charles Moore wonders why, when the cartoons first appeared last October and aroused little indignation, an extraordinary number of Danish flags have suddenly surfaced in places like Gaza.
It's some time since I visited Palestine, so I may be out of date, but I don't remember seeing many Danish flags on sale there. Not much demand, I suppose. I raise the question because, as soon as the row about the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in Jyllands-Posten broke, angry Muslims popped up in Gaza City, and many other places, well supplied with Danish flags ready to burn. (In doing so, by the way, they offered a mortal insult to the most sacred symbol of my own religion, Christianity, since the Danish flag has a cross on it, but let that pass.)
The other article, from Civitas suggests that it is being orchestrated from Iran, in order to bully and intimidate Denmark, which is due to take over a role of some interest to that country. Iran is to be reported to the UN Security Council for continuing to develop nuclear weapons.
If that decision should occur, when the UN Security Council gets round to considering what form of sanctions to impose on Iran, guess to whom chairmanship of the Council will have passed. You’ve got it... plucky little Denmark.
I’m glad that the Vatican has resisted attempts to involve them in this dirty business, deliberately stirred up by Iran while it tries to develop nuclear weapons with which to destroy Israel – and the rest of us, perhaps.
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