The Columbia Critic

A place to debate anything we want to. We'll talk Columbia campus issues. We'll talk up the homosexual problem. We'll talk China. And we'll talk without resorting to partisan rhetoric. We may be left. We may be right. But we aren't going to be quoting any party line. We're leading the discussion. But feel free to chime in. Hannity and Colmes this is not.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Slowly coming around

More than anything else that has happened in recent years, the continuing furor over the Danish cartoons is slowly shifting my views about the impossibility of dealing with radical Muslims.

A Pakistani Muslim cleric said Friday that he and supporters were offering rewards of more than $1 million for killing Danish cartoonists who drew caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

Maulana Yousef Qureshi, a cleric in the northwestern city of Peshawar, said during Friday prayers that he personally had offered to pay a bounty of 500,000 rupees ($8,400), while a jewelers association was putting up $1 million, and others were offering $17,000 plus a car.

Qureshi repeated the offer at rally later in the city to protest against the cartoons.

Issues about freedom of speech are quickly becoming about much, much more than speech. What we are now seeing is a continuing reaction of hard-line, intractable Muslim beliefs coming into conflict with the realities of a world where information and people flow between borders. Other religions have adapted to this new reality over the previous decades, but much of conservative Islam has not. Will we see Huntington's Clash of Civilizations? Surely that is an exaggeration, especially when considering the relative lack of power the MIddle Eastern nations have on a military scale. But we are going to be facing more incidents like these; the question is how accepting we continue to be. I don't believe this indicates Islam is a backwards religion, but instead, it is the religion of a region that has remained out of the mainstream of change, so that the culture and the religion have played off each other to isolate themselves from the reality of globalization and liberal social values.

More later, I like to limit the length of posts to sub-essay length.


  • At 3:05 PM, Blogger The Gentle Cricket said…

    Even as a christian conservative I was not offended by the "war on christmas". I was, however, very upset about the Rolling Stone cover with Kanye West wearing a crown of thorns. To compare the "trials" of a rapper with a middle-class upbringing to my savior is beyond offensive. But I don't riot in the streets.

    I think a clash of civilizations is a very realistic possibility. The lack of military prowess in the middle east may not be of any importance if the common theme of is able to unite them in ways borders don't. The common uproar over cartoons throughout these countries is testament to that. What will be their concerted response if something truly offensive occurs?

  • At 2:23 PM, Blogger Wang said…


    As much as I don't want to admit it, during these riots, you have to ask, what is wrong with these Muslims?

    It's not even just radical Muslims, it seems to be the entire cultural structure in the middle east that makes it a breeding ground for unchecked irrational (and violent)responses. You will seldomly see, if ever, violence to this degree in the United States.

    Muslims in the United States haven't responded in this fashion, at least not to my knowledge. Maybe this reflects that American culture has lost its ability to forcefully articulate its beliefs and has become content to rely on a process to hope to relieve what they take issue towards. It's like Columbia creating an Ad-Hoc community to deal with sensitive issues on campus, is the response good enough? or is it enough for most people to know that something, no matter how disingenous or genuine it might be.


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