elb's hovel of thoughts

Friday, February 03, 2006

Caricatures: When the Satire Comes True

We all know about the big hoohaa that has been taking the world by storm over the past few days, so I shall need not go into detail explaining to everyone what is happening.

Perhaps the Western civilization is too used to such caricatures, be it religious or not. George Bush is satired openly with caricatures, government policy is satired with caricatures, the Iraq War is satired with caricatures, Jesus and God are satired, and so on. So perhaps one could argue that they are 'insensitive' in some ways. Whatever it is, it is certainly not the first time that bombs have been put into caricatures. It is certainly not the first time that Muhammad has been put into caricatures.

In fact the caricatures were commissioned last October as a test to check whether the rather large number of Muslim immigrants to Denmark were influencing the limits of freedom of expression in the Nordic kingdom. It received a fiery response with death threats and the like, but got largely forgotten over winter except for a small group who travelled to the Middle East to 'stir up news of the blasphemy'.

Perhaps what was not expected was the backlash: a massive boycott of Danish products (Carrefour was even forced to put up notices reading something similar to 'Carrefour sympathesizes with our Muslim customers and has withdrawn Danish products.' News publications from other European nations including France jumped into the bandwagon, perhaps making things worse. The situation is now likely to deemed to be of 'public interest', which means that the caricatures would most likely be published even further.

But in an echo of one of the caricatures, grenades have been lobbed into compounds belonging to the Western countries. Embassies have been ransacked. The Muslims have behaved in the manner of that that was satired: a caricature of Muhammad with a bomb shaped turban on his head; they have literally brought the satire to life.



  • muslims do not laugh. ever.

    By Blogger Blog ho, at Friday, February 03, 2006 8:16:00 pm  

  • Making fun of Christianity, Budism, Hinduism and all other religions has become exceptable, and we even laugh at some of the jokes, but it seems you can't make fun of islam unless you wanna be boycotted or killed 

    Posted by Nicktay

    By Blogger NickTay, at Saturday, February 04, 2006 2:09:00 am  

  • I had much to say about the issue when I first read about it yesterday. It's here . (Didn't know how to do a trackback. Sorry.) 

    Posted by Mei

    By Blogger meiteoh, at Saturday, February 04, 2006 2:14:00 am  

  • In my opinion, it's not the "satirism" that's the issue here. It's the sheer stereotypical nature of the caricature; Muslims = terrorists.

    And this is very much secterian or racist however you look at it. And some people react violently to things that offend them... and this is not a specifically Muslim thing either.

    And the way you generalised your post here shows that you too have such traits, whether you realise it or not.

    By Anonymous Azmeen, at Saturday, February 04, 2006 2:17:00 am  

  • blog ho: many do :)

    nicktay: I know of some muslims who don't mind others taking the mickey out of Islam.. to a certain extent, of course

    meiteoh: thanks for the insight

    azmeen: I summarize my post into a few sentences as follows, it is up to you as to whether you think I'm being stereotypical or not:-

    I do believe that many Muslims get offended by any depiction of Muhammad. That some of the caricatures in mention were of bad taste does not help. That the western media which is so used to openly bashing and criticising just about everything suddenly hits a brick wall. That many Muslims are uneducated and easily follow a leader does not help either (think Joseph Estrada). That violence is not the answer.

    By Blogger elb, at Saturday, February 04, 2006 2:32:00 pm  

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