Wednesday, February 01, 2006

He Can Move a Mountain, but Can He Take a Joke?

The BBC has an interesting story about a growing controversy in Europe over portrayals of Muhammad. The images in question are cartoons that originated in a newspaper in Denmark and, among other things, portrayed the founder of Islam "wearing a headdress shaped like a bomb, while another shows him saying that paradise was running short of virgins for suicide bombers." Muslims are upset, as Islam apparently prohibits any image of the Prophet, much less one that would be considered blasphemous.

In the wake of the uproar over the cartoons, several newspapers have stepped up to defend that Danes' right to publish them by republishing the images themselves. Some have added other cartoons, like this one, asking the $1,000,000 question in all this: can Muhammad take a joke? As we struggle to set up a democracy in Iraq, that's not just a theoretical question:

Reporters Without Borders said the reaction in the Arab world 'betrays a lack of understanding' of press freedom as 'an essential accomplishment of democracy.'
Indeed it is.

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