Sunday, March 28, 2010

Malaysia condemns latest Swedish cartoons of Prophet Muhammad

By Melissa Goh

26 March 2010

KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia has joined other Muslim countries in condemning the latest Swedish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Protestors on Friday urged the Malaysian government to sever all ties with Sweden.

Some 300 protestors from Muslim NGOs and political parties staged an hour long protest outside the Swedish embassy in Kuala Lumpur after Friday prayers.

The protest came nearly a month after the Swedish cartoon controversy sparked widespread condemnation from the Muslim world.

The protestors, mostly from the Islamic opposition party PAS, want the Swedish government to issue an apology and take stern action against the Swedish cartoonist.

Some hardliners are even urging Prime Minister Najib Razak to cut diplomatic ties with Stockholm.

Chanting "long live Islam", the protestors warned of retribution against those who insult their prophet.

"We are willing to die and sacrifice our blood in the name of God," one of them said.

Protestors then burnt a Swedish flag as police watched on.

A memorandum was handed over to the Swedish embassy before the crowd dispersed.

- CNA/al

[I've been thinking about this. Should a group (in this case, members of a religious faith) who believe that their prophets should not be represented in any image have a right to require non-believers to subscribe to the same policy?

Isn't it unreasonable to expect non-believers to follow as believers?

But, if I understand correctly, the cartoons are not harmless depiction of the prophet, but are insulting and derogatory. The artists claim the right of free speech and free expression.

If a group of natives believe that photographs steal a person's soul, would the artists agree that it is ok to take photos of these people considering the psychological and emotional damage it would do to them, even though we understand (or believe) that the photo of someone does nothing to a person's soul?

If we apply the rule that there are no scientific basis for their beliefs, then should we also reject beliefs about kosher & halal food as there is nothing "unclean" about such food?

Or moving away from religion, if a minority objects to being called a derogatory name like "nigger", does anyone have the audacity to claim right of free expression and call an African-American, a "nigger"?

Or claim that it is perfectly alright, because members of that group, often call each other "niggers"?

Even if the obstinate response to all these is that anyone has the right to free expression, and social niceties, do not detract from such rights - that is, you have the right to call a nigger, a nigger, and it would be wrong of said nigger to beat up or otherwise harm you because you are just exercising your right of free expression and free speech - isn't there a fundamental principle of human dignity to respect another person's belief? Isn't there a fundamental expectation that one does not deliberately provoke another but spitting on their beliefs simply because you don't agree them?

Is it a western value to be provocative and insulting for no other reason than to exercise one's freedom of expression?

Is that the high principle being defended?]

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