Suppression in the name of Islam
This suppression would lead one to believe that Islam is a very fragile religion that cannot withstand criticism or ridicule. That could be, but the real onus of these attacks is submission. These people want to world to submit to their weird religious beliefs and if you don't submit they think murder is the answer. That is a wicked frame of mind, but it is the one these enemies of freedom have in pursuit of their religious bigotry.
Some of the world's most repressive governments are attempting to use a controversy over a Swedish cartoon to provide legitimacy for their suppression of their critics in the name of respect for Islam. In particular, the Organization of the Islamic Conference is seeking to rewrite international human rights standards to curtail any freedom of expression that threatens their more authoritarian members.
In August, Swedish artist Lars Vilks drew a cartoon with Mohammed's head on a dog's body. He is now in hiding after Al Qaeda in Iraq placed a bounty of $100,000 on his head (with a $50,000 bonus if his throat is slit) and police told him he was no longer safe at home. As with the 2005 Danish Jyllands-Posten cartoons, and the knighting of Salman Rushdie, Muslim ambassadors and the OIC have not only demanded an apology from the Swedes, but are also pushing Western countries to restrict press freedom in the name of preventing "insults" to Islam.
The Iranian foreign ministry protested to Sweden, while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asserted that "Zionists," "an organized minority who have infiltrated the world," were behind the affair. Pakistan complained and said that "the right to freedom of expression" is inconsistent with "defamation of religions and prophets." The Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs called for rules specifying new limits of press freedom.
These calls were renewed in September when a U.N. report said that Articles 18, 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights should be reinterpreted by "adopting complementary standards on the interrelations between freedom of expression, freedom of religion and non-discrimination." Speaking for the OIC, Pakistani diplomat Marghoob Saleem Butt then criticized "unrestricted and disrespectful enjoyment of freedom of expression."
The issues here go beyond the right of cartoonists to offend people. They go to the heart of repression in much of the Muslim world. Islamists and authoritarian governments now routinely use accusations of blasphemy to repress writers, journalists, political dissidents and, perhaps politically most important, religious reformers.
On Sept. 22, three political dissidents in Iran, Ehsan Mansouri, Majid Tavakoli and Ahmad Ghassaban, were put on trial for writing articles against "Islamic holy values." Iran's most prominent dissident, Akbar Ganji, was himself imprisoned on charges including "spreading propaganda against the Islamic system." In August, Taslima Nasreen, who had to flee Bangladesh for her life because her feminist writings were accused of being "against Islam," was investigated in India for hurting Muslims' "religious sentiments."Egypt has been unusually active of late in imprisoning its critics in the name of Islam....