Cartoon row highlights deep divisions
By Magdi Abdelhadi
BBC Arab Affairs analyst
Below is an extract from the BBC...
The row over the Danish cartoons would probably have remained a local dispute between some Muslims and a Danish newspaper had it not been for three factors:
-the rise of violent political Islam
-America's war on terror
-modern transnational media.
America's war on terror is still largely perceived in the Arab world as a war on Islam - a perception reinforced by the fact that it is happening exclusively in Muslim countries, namely Iraq and Afghanistan.
Issues such as the Iraq war are seen as catalysts in the row
Parts of the Arab media describes it as a modern crusade. Many Arab columnists often speak of a campaign to distort and discredit Islam.
For them, the row over the Danish cartoons is yet another confirmation of this perception.
But long before the 11 September attacks and America's war on al-Qaeda, Islamists were aggressively promoting their world view and attacking liberal secular values, not only in the West but across the Arab and Muslim world as well.
The best-known example in the West is the row caused by Salman Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses, which culminated in the notorious death fatwa against its author by the late Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khomeyni.
In Egypt, the Nobel Prize winner, Naguib Mahfouz, survived a knife attack in 1994 for allegedly insulting Islam in one of his novels.
Another prominent writer, Farag Fouda, was gunned down in Cairo for alleged apostasy.
The internet and satellite broadcasting are being diligently used by Islamist activists across the world to drum up support for the doctrine of a universal Muslim nation up against an aggressive and imperialist West.
A local Danish dispute is thus quickly elevated to the level of a global conflict. [...]
The entire article.
A Related Link:
Newsnight debate Video Link
The row over the printing and reprinting of a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad has escalated.
Newsnight has looked into the row and held a debate to discuss the different sides of the issue.
FIRST BROADCAST 2 FEB 06
Watch protesters outside the Danish Embassy
Watch the BBC's Hardtalk on the cartoon controversy
Hardtalk spoke to the culture editor of the paper which first published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
The programme also spoke to the leader of the Islamic Faith Society in Denmark, who led protests against the drawings.
I was going to post links to the cartoons and a video - but if you are IT savvy enough to be reading this then you are IT savvy enough to find the material for yourself. [Changed my mind] For coverage of the issue click here...