« Israeli Soldier Killed as Egypt Border Is Breached | Main | Islam and the protests: Rage, but also self-criticism | The Economist »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


This is a wonderful opinion piece and one that led me to think and to review my own principles and stance. For that I thanks the author.

Some years ago, in a different context entirely, I battled to understand the stance another person was taking on an issue. I sought advice from an older person and what they led me to was acceptance of paradigm shifts/leaps.

So, I can well understand why Muslims do not wish to see any form of depiction of their Prophet. Or, to be more accurate, I accept it completely and I can perhaps make learned presumptions as to the 'why'.

I do agree that, for a long time - and indeed it does still exist in many quarters - that the West believed itself to hold the moral right. I recall as a young academic being outraged that a group of American people were working to create some sort of library that held all the information in the world - and they claimed some moral right and ownership of all that said information no matter what country it was sourced from. I sometimes wonder if the group still exists, and perhaps in some dark, dingy space, they do.

As a westerner, I also agree that the French cartoonist and the magazine did the wrong thing completely and did indeed act inflammatory. Same as people did here in Australia who gave Muslim children signs to carry around that called for beheading. We do not need acts that either mock a faith or reinforce isms about the people who hold that faith.

I embrace the even-handedness of this article and the responsibility that is placed on each of us to generate that listening culture that is described here. And each time we write or speak, to give these even-handed examples and to continue an awakening that the solution relies on the energy and desires of all major parties.

I want to know for example, why some Islamics do not support the telling of historic tales so as to inform contemporary understandings. I think these are places that thinking westerners are longing to go; to have opportunities to engage with and exchange cultural understandings with others around us.

The people who act in a deliberately inflammatory manner in the name of freedom of speech, or art, simply hold these discussions back as we return to working to settle our respective communities.

In my view by the way, there is no such thing as freedom of speech. We do not allow paedophiles to stand in public squares describing their desires. Each society draws lines. Stop using a non-existent concept as an excuse for lack of moral choice.

azza radwan sedky

Thank you so much for your reply. I appreciate your understanding and your view on matters. Wish there were more like you around the world.
We will continue to harm one another because of our inability to figure out how to live together. It is only after we realize that the world is small and that our behaviour crosses oceans in seconds and reaches those we are attacking ever so swiftly that things may improve.
Until we accept that "my" way is not the only way, we will keep having these incidents. Hopefully they will continue to be incidents and not more.

Mark P

It's hard to take you seriously when you literally say that a cartoonist is more worthy of rebuke than murderers. the point about understanding the issue from "the other's" perspective is well-taken, and I believe that most Westerners have at least a superficial understanding of why these movies and cartoons are so inflammatory to many Muslims.

But to suggest that the violent response should also be evaluated in the framework cultural relativism is INSANE. Mob violence, death threats and murder are universally unjustifiable. No Western intellectuals stood up after 9/11 and said "well you know, you have to understand how the people burning down mosques feel..." We condemned that crap unequivocally.

azza radwan sedky

I said the cartoonist is the worst because he utilized the previous events to his benefit; he used the hatred on both sides to create more rage. His was the last straw--not the worst for sure though.
What I was trying to do here is see both perspectives. See how both cultures are seeing one another. That's all. At the same time I shamed everyone who has taken part in this ridiculous fiasco, and they are many.

The comments to this entry are closed.