Tolerance Toward Intolerance.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: "Everyone is Afraid to Criticize Islam".
From the BBC:
Twelve cartoons were originally published by Jyllands-Posten. None showed the Prophet with the face of a pig. Yet such a portrayal has circulated in the Middle East (The BBC was caught out and for a time showed film of this in Gaza without realizing it was not one of the 12).And, an interesting parody by Orthomom.
This picture, a fuzzy grey photocopy, can now be traced back (suspicion having been confirmed by an admission) to a delegation of Danish Muslim leaders who went to the Middle East in November to publicise the cartoons. The visit was organised by Abu Laban, a leading Muslim figure in Denmark.
According to the Danish paper Ekstra Bladet, the delegation took along a pamphlet showing the 12 drawings. But the delegation also showed a number of other pictures, including the "pig" one. The delegation claimed they were the sort of insults that Muslims in Denmark had to endure. These also got into circulation.
(Update: A reader has e-mailed to say that the original of the "pig" picture was from a "pig-squealing" competition held in France every summer. Some character dressed up like a pig. See the link to the neandernews.com site on the right for the details.
Ekstra Bladet has also published a letter taken by the delegation on its mission. This gives the delegation's account of how the cartoons originated and what the reaction to them was. But it also mentions other pictures, which it said were "much more offending." These presumably included the "pig" picture, whose origin is now known.)
Western diplomats appear to have missed this entirely and seem to have made no attempt to counter some of the arguments in the pamphlet or to distinguish between the various portrayals.
It might not have made much difference but it shows how rapidly propaganda can add to fuel to the fire.
And a cartoon satirizing the whole situation.
Christopher Hitchens has some relevant comments:
Many people have pointed out that the Arab and Muslim press is replete with anti-Jewish caricature, often of the most lurid and hateful kind. In one way the comparison is hopelessly inexact. These foul items mostly appear in countries where the state decides what is published or broadcast. However, when Muslims republish the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or perpetuate the story of Jewish blood-sacrifice at Passover, they are recycling the fantasies of the Russian Orthodox Christian secret police (in the first instance) and of centuries of Roman Catholic and Lutheran propaganda (in the second). And, when an Israeli politician refers to Palestinians as snakes or pigs or monkeys, it is near to a certainty that he will be a rabbi (most usually Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the leader of the disgraceful Shas party) and will cite Talmudic authority for his racism. For most of human history, religion and bigotry have been two sides of the same coin, and it still shows.