The Rottweiler Pope, the Danish Cartoon, and Muslim Moderates

It’s now a couple of weeks after the pope made his speech. A few days ago I listened to an interview with Clinton (former American president, in case anyone has forgotten). His view on the pope’s remarks and the Danish cartoon: they make it more difficult for Muslims moderates.

I thought about Clinton’s evaluation (he’s not someone I dismiss casually). And my thinking brought me to remembering what I’d heard about the impact of the Danish cartoon on Danish Muslims. According to that report, the discussions sparked by the cartoon moved the Muslim community forward by at least three centuries – because before that, the Muslim views were not challenged and until that happened, they could not be changed.

So have the Danish cartoon and the pope’s remarks hurt or helped Muslim moderates? 4anime

First, the cartoon and the remarks are not one and the same.

The Danish cartoon (to these nonMuslim eyes anyway) is a small mild portrayal of a grizzly truth – the use of the Muslim prophet as justification for bombings and other violence against innocent civilians, including Muslims. The pope’s remarks are more blunt and directly confrontational: violence done in the name of religion is against the nature of god. He was called a Rottweiler long before he made these remarks. His remarks – deliberately forceful, provocative – did bring to mind the image of a Rottweiler. Big teeth. A strong bite. One often has to be careful around Rottweilers.

That brings me to a question. Why did the Danish cartoon spark greater protest?

Well, a cartoonist is a more vulnerable target, doesn’t have the authority of a huge organized religion behind him. Also, the cartoon came first. Plus, there is the question of whether anyone can make an image of the prophet. Masses of Muslims acted in outrage that anyone dared to make such an image – and totally ignored the message of the cartoon. (The offended chose to ignore that there are numerous other images of their prophet, against which they have not protested, and that the violence done in the name of the prophet creates a very vivid image in people’s minds.

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