Monday, February 06, 2006

those immature and radical danish bastards!

this is a quick post i wrote up last night in response to someone claiming the muslims who are violently protesting the recent danish muhammed cartoons as immature loonies on provopulse. you can see the whole discussion here. it wrote it up rather quickly and i'm not sure if it all makes sense. enjoy.


when the warsaw signal printed articles considered abusive by joseph smith and the latter-day saints, how did he and the church respond. they complained. they asked them to stop. then they violently tore the press down. this was not the only violent reaction by joseph smith and the saints. it happened on several occasions, especially during the missouri wars. this is the assessment of not only anti-mormon or secularist historians, but of faithful historians such as richard bushman.

the apologists defense today? it was a different time. that's how they dealt with things back there and then. without a historical/cultural reflection, the saints are just as easily classified as immature radical loonies.

understanding why many muslims are reacting this way takes more than taking a quick i'm a cultured democratic american and you are a semi-retarded fanatic approach. you need to understand the most of these muslims are coming from a culture very much like early 19th century america, living amidst a daily scene of death and violence. furthermore they have have strong traditions of tribal seperation (something rather unknown in white america, but closely related to ethnic and religious seperations). they also have a very strong tie between their religious and public lives, such that the distinction is virtually non-existent (something the latter-days saints once had but lost over the last century).

while to many of us, to get all hot and bothered over so seeming trivial as a cartoon of muhammed is a sign of stupity, that is only because most americans have a very different (and largely lutheran-influenced) understanding of religious life. the islamic ban of blaspheming muhammed via artistic depictions is very similar to the hebrew ban of the name of Yahweh, with very similar penalties for blaspheme. why most jews do not take blaspheme to the same extent anymore is largely due to their merging into the larger western civilizations...something most of middle-eastern muslims have not done (nor do they want to).

as i mentioned already, many of those who are seeking violent retribution do so because they live in a society of violence. there are several factors that go into this, but one of the major ones is that they in many ways are forced into lives of violence, because they see that as their only means of fighting against american and international super-powers that they see as not only attacking their lands and people, but also imposing western culture, capitalism, sin, and etc on them. (b young felt this very same way about eastern culture tainting the utah mormons). also, they are suffering the results of many american/europian foreign policies that are enacted to use them for the resources floating in a sea of black below them.

should they not be so violent, in my view, yes. there are better ways to go about it. however, to call them loonies, etc is just childish and ignorant banter of someone who is not willing to try to really see things they way they are seeing things.

of course there was a very simple and non-violent way to end all of this. the danish newspaper could have apologized for being intolerant of people's deepest religious beliefs.


  1. Agreed that Jyllands should have just apologized. While that may not have solved the whole thing, but could have gone a long way and absolved them. However, I think it's okay to censure militant Islam every now and then. True, the early saints got mad at the Warsaw Signal and destroyed a press, but that's a far cry from torching embassies and threatening the murder of Scandinavian cartoonists. I'm not ready to give the go-ahead to violent extremism in the name of multiculturalism or tolerance.

    Lloyd, you're the man. Thanks for bringing up item of substance which we can subsequently bicker over.

  2. I also agree on your main premise, that just denegrating them as loonies is counter-productive. There are serious root causes to this sort of behavior that need to be addressed. While that does not forgive the behavior, childish name-calling does no good either.

  3. If a plane crashed here in the USA, thousands of relatives of the dead passengers would not storm the USAirways Headquarters, loot the place, and set up a bonfire in the middle of the street. And yet this is exactly how folks in Egypt reacted to the ferry disaster last week.

    I think it must definitely be something in their culture that causes them to seemingly over-react to anything and everything.

  4. Food for thought from my favorite columnist:


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