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Archive for March, 2010

For some time have there been serious discussions on freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the respect for different religious beliefs. The all to contentious Mohammed Caricatures, and the Mohammed “round about dog” by eccentric Swede Lars Vilks, has been in focus for a long time and to this very moment, when a murderous conspiracy against him has been uncovered. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/03/10/world/main6285435.shtml.

There is a lot of arguments on the symbolism of the Mohammed caricatures and it constitutes a very much infected debate. On one side of it we have the general  proponents of democratic ideals and the freedom of expression (in art) which takes its physical form in the publishing by press. On the other side we have opponents, infuriated Muslims and other religious assentors that that mean that such art, if not a sign of disrespect of the prophet and the beliefs of many, it might actually be a covert normative attack on the Muslim world, which sole purpose is to turn up the heat in the clashes of civilizations. Many demonstrations have been held both in the west and in the Muslim world http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AreA4JqK9Os.

For my self I would say that making religious figures and prophets into laughing stock is a very healthy thing to do. I really appreciate the “The life of Brian” by Monte Pyton and the transformation of Jesus in the comic show Family guy. Such caricatures and jokes are creative ways that enable criticism and perspectives on different levels on the myths of society. But I would say that the uprise of discontent on both sides around the Mohammed caricatures is not a sign of healthy relations, it is an expression of the polarization of ideas, norms and politics that exist between different cultures, the more secular atheistic and the more religious and conservative. The sad thing is that on both sides are there actors that gain from this polarization, the fundamentalists and the far-right movements.

I would like to say that everyone should have every right to make fun of any religious belief, why not a caricature on Mohammed screwing Jesus in the rectum? Perhaps such an illustration would be more fun for both sides… This infected debate is just another example on why religion shouldn’t be mixed with politics. But we should as proponents of democracy and secularism recognize the beliefs and opinions by those whom can’t make this separation yet. We might actually loose  in the long run to extremists when making strong manifestations. I’m not saying that we should turn of the heat, but that we could lower the thermostat to a temperature that most of us could live with, at least for the time being. The weather outside may change for the better.

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