By now you are probably all too aware of the Danish cartoon controversy and the resulting violence in Syria as the 24 hour news channels have been having a slow news week thus far.It has recently come to light that those principally responsible for the cartoon-related violence in Syria are not religious groups but political ones.
If you happen to live under a proverbial rock, let me catch you up to date. Several months ago, a Danish newspaper ran several editorial cartoons featuring the image of the prophet Muhammad in a less-than-regal light. While there have been images of Muhammad printed in the past, it is widely considered blasphemous to depict the prophet in any tangible way, let alone in an offensive manner. I have not seen the cartoons myself as they have been largely censored by Western media in an effort to stunt any further violence. The cartoons surfaced earlier this week and the Danish embassy was attacked by violent protesters in Syria.
While the cartoons were a bad judgment call – and I can certainly understand why followers of Islam were offended – it seems hard to justify violence in the name of a glorified Ziggy comic strip. Just today I caught wind of another cartoon printed in response to the Syrian protests depicting Muhammad with his head in his hands saying, “It’s hard to be loved by idiots.”
What bothers me most about the Danish cartoon controversy is the hijacking of religion by a political group bent on the destruction of Western culture. Now, I can certainly understand why some Syrians would be opposed to the notion of a Girls Gone Wild DVD club and all the morally reprehensible byproducts of a free society, but the political manipulation of religiosity in an effort to promote an ideological agenda is indefensible, especially since Syria is a supposed secular state.
Times are tense in the Middle East. Everyone should just relax and have a good laugh – perhaps kick back and read the funnys. Or better yet, burn a Danish flag.
If you can’t find a Danish flag, step on the nearest pastry.
Rodger Thomas Holst is a senior majoring in Literature with a minor in Film Criticism.