Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi is a strong supporter of suicide bombings:
“The Israelis might have nuclear bombs but we have the children bomb and these human bombs must continue until liberation.”
…“[Suicide bombers] are siding with the oppressed and with the powerless. Such operations limit the tyranny and wrong done to them….
So you might expect that this image shouldn’t really bother him that much:
But it does. As head of the International Association of Muslim Scholars his calls for an “international day of anger” about cartoons published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, have resulted in street demonstrations and the torching of embassies by Muslim faithful.
In triggering this behavior al-Qaradawi has held Islam up to far more ridicule than the cartoons have:
I don’t approve of insulting others’ beliefs just for the sake of it. For example, I didn’t much like “Piss-Christ” – a picture of Christ on the Cross submerged in urine – or hearing about an image of the Virgin Mary, one breast a ball of elephant dung, juxtaposed with pornography.
My distress wasn’t about religion, though, it was about my tax dollars paying for it. “Piss Christ” was underwritten by the National Endowment for the Arts. Still, I didn’t threaten to behead anyone over it.
I find the depiction of Osama-bin-Laden as Christ tasteless, also. But I’m not burning down any buildings because of it.
This is what passes for art, and criticizing it brings forth a withering defense of free speech.
I have not heard the usual suspects defending Jyllands-Posten, however. Western politicians seem to be falling all over themselves to apologize for having a free press.
Last Monday, in Qatar, former President Bill Clinton decried the “totally outrageous cartoons against Islam.” EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson said the journalists “have to understand the offense caused by cartoons of this nature.”
Some Muslims believe that arson and murder are not merely acceptable responses to an editorial cartoon, but that their religion demands such responses. For the most part, western governments agree.
What we have here would be a clash of civilizations – if both sides were playing.
Update: 3:31PM See also Mark Steyn and Jeff Jacoby.