Sunday, February 05, 2006"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
--From Hamlet (I, iv, 90)
Last Friday, the khutbah at the new mosque near Pantai Hillpark was on Maal Hijrah and not on publications of the offensive cartoons. I guessed the extra-long holidays can be blamed for this. Even our PM issued his statement on the subject only on Feb 4th.
Even though there are Malaysians who dismissed the cartoons as trivial and funny, many are not laughing. To understand this, you need the Point of View Gun from The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy (see pic). The gun will make you see the whole thing from a Muslim's point of view. Mr. Carsten Juste, the Editor-in-Chief of Jyllands-Posten managed to get a glimpse of the Muslim's point of view and issued an apology.
In our opinion, the 12 drawings were sober. They were not intended to be offensive, nor were they at variance with Danish law, but they have indisputably offended many Muslims for which we apologize.
There are many things allowed under Danish law, including pornography.
Rubbing salt into the wound, newspapers in France, Holland, Germany, Italy, Spain and Iceland republished the cartoons. One newspaper in Italy, according to CNN, did it to assert freedom of the press and one paper in Belgium suggested the publication of such cartoons everyday "so that Muslims will get used to it". Poirot would have noted that Muslims in various parts of the world are insulted everyday and still could not get used to it.
Meanwhile, in the bastion of Freedom, in the Land of The Free, the Point of View gun worked well. The American, for once had good manners and didn't want to insult anyone. The papers there refused to publish the cartoons. When they stop frisking Muslim balls at airports, I might go there and express my appreciation.
Now, after throwing rotten eggs at Danish embassies and all that, what do we do? Do we react (or over-react as some commentators thought) or do we act? Do we stop buying Danish cookies, B& O hi-fi and other Danish products? Must the solar project in Kemaman, Terengganu be abandoned because the partner is Danish? Must I throw away my Mont Blanc pens and give up dreams to own the latest BMW 740L? Should we boycott French caps and French kisses? Incidently, my friend Razak said we can dispense with French kisses. He advocated Aussie kisses instead. Aussie kisses are like French kisses, only Down Under.
Be cool brother and be a true Muslim as best as you can. While expressing our disgust at other people's ignorance and insolence, we must not forget that ours is a religion of peace whatever the West says. Do not burn embassies or ambassadors however incensed you may be. Our Prophet taught us to do everything in moderation. Think for a moment that the cartoonists live in a very "liberal" country. They might not have a father to tell them what good taste is. Let Allah dispenses the punishment. After all, they said God works in mysterious ways. We might have the last laugh after all.