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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, February 06, 2006

Offending everybody

The following letter appears in today's Age newspaper:

"On January 11 you published a Leunig cartoon relating to Ariel Sharon, who was at the time lying at death's door (and probably still is). The context of the cartoon was bad enough, but publishing it at that time was disgusting. Do you now have the guts to publish the disgraceful anti-Muhammad and anti-Islam cartoons that have already been published in Denmark, New Zealand, France, Germany and Italy - or is your policy that it is OK to antagonise the Australian Jews but not the Australian Muslims?"

N. Levin, Caulfield

Perhaps N. Levin needs to understand the nature of political cartoons. Leunig wasn't intending to offend Jews because they were Jewish, he was simply critiquing the role of a controversial leader. Judaism and Zionism are not one and the same thing. The "anti-Islam" cartoons are more directly related to denigrating Islam and seem intentionally aimed at provoking a reaction. Nothing, however, justifies the behaviour we have seen.

6 Comments:

Blogger Wombat said...

It's intresting hwo the Danish paper can run this cartoon and stand by it's right to free speech (which I agree with), yet the Gloabl Agenda magazine is forced to shut down becasue of an apparenly anti-Semitic article.

Seems racist slurs are OK, but anit-Srtmitic ones cross the line.

Monday, February 06, 2006 11:09:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Nobody said hypocrisy wasn't the name of the game. Besides, slamming Islam has almost become a sport in the West.

Monday, February 06, 2006 11:35:00 am  
Blogger Progressive Atheist said...

Antony,

Not just slamming Islam, but baiting Muslims has become a political sport.

A month before the Cronulla riots, I heard Morris Iemma address a Muslim cultural gathering, in which he called on Muslim leaders to condemn violence perpetrated by Muslims. (He was equating Islam with terrorism.)

It may have been done unconsciously, or perhaps not, since Bob Carr did the very same thing.

Soon after that, Phillip Ruddock did the same thing too, but this time he was condemned by the Muslim community for being patronising towards them. After the Cronulla riots and the inevitable backlash, the patronising remarks stopped by politicians on both sides of the political fence.

Monday, February 06, 2006 2:35:00 pm  
Blogger HisHineness said...

"...I heard Morris Iemma address a Muslim cultural gathering, in which he called on Muslim leaders to condemn violence perpetrated by Muslims."

Iemma was right in making such a request. The perception of Islam will not improve in many people's minds until they see mainstream/moderate muslim leaders condemning religious violence. Like it or not, those who have a low opinion of Islam will not be persuaded by left-leaning media screaming at them. They need to see positive words and action from the muslim community, too. Islamic leaders must take responsibility. So far they have failed. Dismally.

"He was equating Islam with terrorism."

Quite the opposite. He was asking muslim leaders to distance themselves from religious violence.

Monday, February 06, 2006 8:38:00 pm  
Blogger Progressive Atheist said...

Iemma is a fumbling idiot. He had no right to make such comments. Up till that time, there had been no Muslim violence in Australia.

You must understand that his comments were made in the context of terrorist bombings in Indomesia and the proposed sedition laws which were aimed at Muslims.

The problem with all Australian politicians making pronouncements to and about Muslims - Howard, Carr, Iemma, Downer, Ruddock, Vanstone - is that they, the politicians, are Christians, and that they are Islamophobic.

You are unable to be objective about Islam because you are Islamophobic too.

Islamic leaders do not need to condemn violence perpetrated by Islam, because Islam teaches peace.

Your comments about the "screaming left-leaning media" shows that you are one of those dupes who gets his "information" from the screaming Fox News.

You will never be able to be politically objective until you renounce your fear and hatred and start to embrace compassion and understanding as guiding principles in your life.

And stop watching Fox News, or whatever other right-wing TV/radio/newspaper/blog that is feeding your frenzy.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 11:58:00 am  
Blogger HisHineness said...

"You are unable to be objective about Islam because you are Islamophobic too."

And you base this on what exactly?

"Islamic leaders do not need to condemn violence perpetrated by Islam, because Islam teaches peace."

Yeah, they teach it. Shame many of their followers don't seem to practice it.

"Your comments about the "screaming left-leaning media" shows that you are one of those dupes who gets his "information" from the screaming Fox News."

My point, which you've either completely missed or deliberately ignored, is that those with a low opinion of Islam need to hear condemnation of violence from muslims themselves.

"You will never be able to be politically objective until you renounce your fear and hatred and start to embrace compassion and understanding as guiding principles in your life."

I won't be taking any advice from someone with as much fear and hatred of Christianity as yourself. Puh. You call yourself objective.

I call you a Christian-hating zealot.

Friday, February 10, 2006 9:34:00 pm  

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