While I was off on Friday, Ted Belman, editor of Israpundit, took exception to last week's column about the 'blogburst' which had right-wingers publishing those infernal cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
This is what he wrote the Star, and posted on his blog:
Antonia Zerbisias writing in the Toronto Star, claims that Israpundit, of which I am the Editor, leads the “Cartoon Crusade” because it is motivated by hate. This derives from her belief that Israpundit or its contributing authors, “hate Muslims”.
With all due respect we hate what some Muslims do, including suicide bombings, brutal beheadings, incitement of hatred, unbridled propagation of anti-Semitism, honour killings, discrimination against gays, Christians and Jews and female genital mutilations to name just a few. I am sure that many Muslims also hate these acts.
Read the rest here - and while you're there, look around.
While I was off, I missed the big fuss over Ezra Levant's publishing of the cartoons in the Western Standard. (Much self-promotion here and here - all courtesy of the Godless Broadcasting Corporation.) Interestingly, Levant himself claims that he printed 40,000 copies of the magazine, in a column eerily timed to come out on the very same day the magazine did.
Hmmmm. Double hmmmm. That's because, last I looked, Levant's average total circulation was sitting around the 29,237 mark, for the period Feb. 1/05 to July 31/05. Could the new Conservative government have brought such a boost to Levant's bottom line, or was he counting on big sales this edition, or was he, um, exaggerating?
Matthew Good charitably goes with the promotion angle.
It seems to me that anyone possessing even the smallest amount of class, or character for that matter, would have simply published the caricatures based on their beliefs, consequences be damned, without drawing attention to it. Instead, this entire episode has produced one overwhelming result – the promotion of a magazine and its publisher.
Tim over at Peace, Order and Good Government, Eh? has one of the smartest takes I have read on this whole issue, and his comments are civil and intelligent. (Okay, he uses a lot of naughty words, but only with the best intentions.)
If I walk into a gangsta rap clubhouse and declare for all to hear that anyone who listens to Snoop Dogg is an asshole with no musical taste, I am well within my rights, but I should not be surprised when my features are forcibly rearranged.
If I go into a Montreal biker bar and declare that only pansies ride Harleys, I should not be surprised when, in taking a contrary position to mine, a number of the patrons decide to rearrange my dental work.
If I go into a Wyoming redneck bar and proceed to explain to a number of the patrons that Christianity is a backward religion adhered to by brain-damaged inbred knobs, I should not be surprised to wake up in a hospital a short time later nursing some fairly grievous injuries.
The vast majority of Muslim people actually follow the precepts of peace that Mohammed pretty clearly set down in the Quran. That there is a large minority that has twisted their religion into a cause for hatred is well known, much in the same way that U.S. fundamentalists have twisted Christianity to justify their hatred of gays and Islam.
All this reminds me of a brilliant cartoon the Star's Patrick Corrigan did a few years ago. Depicting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he had a fifth rider come up over the horizon ... Religion. The other guys let out a great big "UH-OH!''
“Freedom of expression and the protection of vulnerable minorities from group vilification are fundamental values of a secular, pluralistic democracy. These two values must be delicately balanced against one another. We hope that that calm re-establishes itself so that this issue can be discussed in an atmosphere of mutual respect, without intimidation.”
Which brings me to the e-valanche of hate mail I got last week. I lost count. It was in the thousands - and I answered every single one. Hence my inflamed wrist and elbow, and my days off.
Iain, who is attached to the magic fingers which heal me, was telling me yesterday that he doesn't get all this warring religion insanity. "We all believe in the same God,'' he said, referring to Jews, Christians and Muslims. "All we're fighting over is His messengers."