Tuesday, February 07, 2006
More riots and more debate
So, I'm on the air right now, blogging in commercial breaks. I'm liking this whole blogging thing.

Anyway, we just had blogger Andrew Sullivan on with Nihad Awad, the national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. It was a really interesting discussion, and I should have let it go longer.

There were more protests in a number of Islamic countries today, attacks on NATO troops in Afghanistan. Nihad Awad believed the cartoons were intended as an attack on Muslims around the world, though he says he condems the violent reaction to them. On his blog, Andrew wrote, "Religions that enforce rules against blasphemy are defensive, cramped faiths, closed to the possibility of error, which is to say closed to the possibility of a great truth."

I don't think we settled anything in the discussion, but this is not an issue that can be settled in seven minutes, or an hour, or perhaps even a lifetime. It's important to have it, though, and we will continue to do so.

By the way, thanks again for all your comments on the blog. Even if I don't use them in the show, I check the blog throughout the day, and your comments are really smart and well thought out. (Even the ones that aren't well thought out are welcome too, especially the funny ones!)
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 11:14 PM ET
Hi Anderson,

I am a firm believer and supporter of freedom speech, it is a very precious and priceless freedom. The freedom of the press is also very important especially during these trying times. However, having this freedom and being able to exercise it in the global market is also a very powerful expression. And not to sound overly corny, but with great power comes great responsibility. Especially when it is expressed by journalists of leading newspapers. I think its extremely insensitive to publish cartoons of the last prophet of Islam or any prophet from the judeo-christian tradition (all prophets are the same in all three monotheistic religions). It is forbidden in Islam to depict ALL prophets in images. So, any depiction of any prophet (From Abraham to Mohammad) is deemed wrong. I think responsible journalist would take the time to research this and try to be respectful of a religion. I understand that in the USA/Europe artists depict Jesus in various ways. This is something we are culturally accepting of - just because we are- does not mean everyone else is. There is a huge difference in showing flaws of Muslims and making a mockery of a Prophet. This distinction needs to be made. It is one thing to question leaders of Islamic states or any muslim - make cartoons about them, but to insult any prophet, thats a different story. We are living in a time where there is a huge struggle between the Islamic world and the western world. Our president tries numerous times to stress, that the war on terror is not on Islam, not on Muslims, but Terrorists who belong to no specific state. Now, with that in mind - how do you convince the masses of disinterested youth living in the worse conditions that the west is not out to get you - when you are shown cartoons from the west depicting your beloved prophet as terrorist. It does not bring warm fuzzy feelings to you.
Yes, I agree its rediculous to us - that people would run to the street and show intense rage over something we may consider as being small. But I think we shoud be aware, that the many muslims outside of the USA, are raised in an atmosphere of distrusting the west and anything the west says. When you are raised believing this and then you see a cartoon ( which maybe nothing) it triggers the violence, rioting, and rage.
Also, I think its important to understand that all practicing muslims will say that they are extremely outraged when they see a cartoon like this. "Moderate" muslims will also agree that they don't like to see their prophet or any of the prophets of Islam ( which includes judeo-christian tradition) in an irreverant way. Its just that it is part of Islamic culture and tradition. However, you will not see moderate muslims rioting in the USA. Muslims living in the USA, have the same freedoms as every other American, and therefore don't feel oppressed by the west. Muslims living in Europe and in other parts of the world see the 'west' with different lenses so their everyday frustrations are expressed in what we view as being barbaric.
Freedom of speech and press are extremely important and need to protected, but lets be mindful that these are powerful things and what we print and say will have repercussions around the world. That does not mean that we should give up our freedoms - we should be more responsible.
Posted By Anonymous Samya, College Park, MD : 11:32 PM ET
Well, it seems to me that the Islamic community has been on the defense for quite some time now. Maybe at this point, people should understand that their actions and words, including cartoons, are of bad taste to Islam.
Posted By Anonymous Kireina - Detroit, Michigan : 11:36 PM ET
They say the cartoon showed the prophet muhammad as terriost, then they disagree and go to the streets with guns as terriosts?? That is like someone saying YOUR A MURDERER, so you take offense, and kill them for saying such a thing.
Posted By Anonymous donna, lexington, kentucky : 11:37 PM ET
I don't see how Andrew Sullivan thinks that the cartoons are in any way shape or form good images of the Prophet Muhammed!! (not sure the exact word he used, something like fair) I was shocked, we've all seen them, common! a turban-shaped bomb, good image!? That is very provocative!
Posted By Anonymous Lamia, Montreal-Quebec : 11:37 PM ET
A point of view of a westernized Muslim
On depicting the profit Mohammad

Dear Anderson;

Great show, great job. I have been watching the news, watching those rioting and those puzzled having most difficult time understanding why rioting people are madly rioting. I honestly believe that what I am about to explain, as the views of a mild westernized Muslim, is shared by all Muslims of all sects and varying degrees of belief living across the globe. You seemed puzzled tonight, as well, during your interview with the head of some Muslim organization in the States. I hope these will un-puzzle this issue for you.

As seen by all Muslims, this would not be a matter of free speech; it is an act of blasphemy against their most cherished of profits next to Jesus in this very order. They are standing up for their dead profit.

Muslims would be truly hurt if cartoons are shown depicting and degrading Jesus or Mosses as well, not to the same degree. They would most certainly feel that the west or Israel in that case should act to defend the profits first. The Mr. West situation was not shown there as it was here.

They are weak, oppressed and angry. Weak, oppressed and angry people do irrational things like seen on TV. Isn't irrational behavior a by-product of anger!

Billions of people live in a global village, including Europeans. We must open up our mind. Free speech might mean something here that is not agreed on there. The law here, by here I mean North America, is that you can say, ware, eat, or do whatever you like just as long you don't hurt anyone. In this global village, laws are similar but more comprehensive. We must draw the line; Free Speech is still politically correct, careful and responsible speech. Why would political correctness disappear when it comes to people living outside of Western civilization borders?

The rational sensitive thing to do would have been to quickly apologize, assign some team to study why such acts might endanger our existence together so that future generations do not make the same mistake. Definitely refrain from further insensitive acts until the results from this newly assigned team have come back. On the other hand, the provoking thing to do was, well, it was done!

The constant and spreading repeat of these cartoons is seen as "in your face" challenge. Muslims are challenging back. Why is this surprising? Remember, they are weak, oppressed and angry people. Now they are being poked by all the bigger bullies at the Global Village Middle School yard.

As I said, these riots are irrational. On the other hands, some rational Muslims are taking a different approach to expressing their hurt feelings. They are suspending trades sales and purchases of Danish products.
I am puzzled that a man of your intelligence is puzzled. These cartoons are not published in Canada and the United States because the public, of all religions and color, in general would have been disappointed at the very act. Its just is not normal to do that to someone's profit free speech or not.

I hope I have at least made one point across that can help someone else understand what is taken place here.
Posted By Anonymous Samir A. from London, Ontario, Canada. : 11:37 PM ET
Hey Sir,

Now we know what you do during commerical breaks! =) I must admit that because of AC360's blog, I am now starting to like blogging as well.

I agree that this situation doesn't seem to have an answer but then again, it's concerning religion and debates about religion have been going on since the beginning of time. However, I am glad to see such great interest taken with this and all the other stories that AC360 features.

Thanks to you, people are less ignorant.
Posted By Anonymous Devi, Queens NY : 11:38 PM ET
The cartoons are an expression of free speech. Should the government of Denmark or any other nation forsake this or any other right, then what stops the abandonment of freedom of religion. If they feel this is an attack on Islam, should they not try and better the image of their religion instead of commiting acts of violence thus furthering possible contempt for Islam. Should Americans begin burning embassies of Islamic run nations when their people desicrate our flag, a symbol of not only our nation but every one of us who calls this nation our home. We respect their right to say what they feel even though it goes against every moral principle, they should give us the same right.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin Guilfoyle, Huntington Station, NY : 11:38 PM ET
While me and my roommate were discussing this issue today, he noted that Christianity as well would try to prevent blasphemy against it, or decry it, as any other faith would. The difference here seems to be how political space is utilized: peacefully, or violently, not whether Islam, Christianity, or any other face would embrace or not embrace blasphemy against it.
Posted By Anonymous Jensen, Jupiter FL : 11:38 PM ET
Hi. Being 19 I guess im one of your younger viewers. I truly appriciate your style and thoroughness in our stories. I think most ppl understand the time constraints of network television, but the minute that discussion came on there was silence at my friends house and there was a seemingly hard to miss point that Nihad Awad didnt seem to understand that these violent reactions to world events is a growing problem with most Muslim countries. This could be an issue that won't see resolve for many months, years to come. Thank you.
Posted By Anonymous Gabe, Windsor - Ontario : 11:38 PM ET
Is it just me or does everyone else feel like the Muslim World is Hell bent on trumping up a war between Muslims and Christians that does not exist?
I have no doubt in my mind that, prior to 911, the majority of non-muslims in America didn't even know what a Muslim was. That may well go for the rest of the non-muslim world.
Now that we're all trying very hard to understand Islam, (in the interest of a peacefull co-existence), it's unfortunate that we have to see such negative images. I mean, just once I'd like to see a Muslim protest against violence as they adamantly proclaim the Koran admonishes.
I have yet to see a Muslim protest where their "demon" of the week isn't either hanging by a noose around his neck, being burned at the stake, having his picture being shot at etc., etc.
And they say we don't understand ???????

Fair Oaks, Californnia
Posted By Anonymous Phil, Fair Oaks California : 11:38 PM ET
Now we see the real Islam has spoken: Their response prove the cartoons true!
Posted By Anonymous Jerrold, Forest Grove, OR : 11:39 PM ET
Andrew Sullivan is the man!
I think he did great... Mr. Nihad Awad is kinda crazy, 'cos what I saw was denmark/norwergian/french people attacked and NATO troops attacked.

There's a huge difference between guns and pencils!
Posted By Anonymous Filipe, Distrito Federal, Brazil : 11:39 PM ET
I think all religions have their priorities, faith, and preveliges. We have to be very careful when we talk about Muslims or Islam. Muslims already believe that they are under attack by West in the form of "WAR AGAINST TERROR." I think the whole scenario is being exaggerated by religious leaders, and I think they are the only one who can fix it now.
In the past many things like this happened but was never handeled like this.
Best solution is that Leaders of Islamic countries try to settle down the whole issue indivudally on local level. Setting up fire to a country's embassy or consulate is not very ethical.
Posted By Anonymous Aftab, New York, NY : 11:40 PM ET
I heard the Danish newspaper editor speak on t.v. and I felt he was very eloquent in his view of the situation. He said that he would be very respectful of the Islamic faith if he were to walk into a Mosque or if he was in a Muslem country, but that he felt he had a right to free speech/expression in his own country; that what the Muslem zealots are trying to do is force others into submission of their religous protocols rather than to diplomatically and intelligently protest through such means as education and boycotts of Danish products. An editorial comment I saw in a newspaper made the point of asking where is the Muslem outrage (such as setting fire to buildings in protest-fighting/killing in the streets) that is typical of what is errupting now as compared to whenever a Muslem slashes the throat of someone of another faith, or whenever the Muslem suicide bombers do their thing. Religous tolerance is one thing, what they are asking is something else.
Posted By Anonymous Lee Goldman, Brooklyn, NY : 11:41 PM ET
As an American, I believe in free speech and that people should not be threatened with violence for expressing themselves freely. As a Christian I believe in doing unto others and so it is not right to print something that one knows will inflame or insult people. (To say they didn't think it would is bull****!-notice how I censored myself in the interest of decency, though I was free not to do so)
Posted By Anonymous Karen Klein NYC, NY : 11:42 PM ET
I think the worst part about TV and Radio shows is a lack of geist, or spirit. That is, when you have a guest on with a good discussion, there are always too many constraints in the modern communications world that prevent any sort of spirit to take place.

It all is so predictable and discussions are so depthless.
Posted By Anonymous Jonathan, Langley, Canada : 11:42 PM ET
My problem with the news of the rioting is the bias I have seen in previous reporting. I was at the "Promise Keepers" "Stand in the Gap" rally in DC. There were about 1.5 million men there, and maybe twenty protesters. The nightly news showed the opposite. I was also traveling back and forth from Chicago to LA during the "Rodney King" riots. The Chicago news repeatedly showed the same clips of black rioters. In truth the rioters we 65% hispanic according to official counts. I would feel better making judgement calls about the riots if I thought I could truth the reporting of the riots.
Posted By Anonymous Jim Brown, Chicago, Illinois : 11:42 PM ET
The only way that I can see Islam co-existing with the freedom of speech is if there is a push of young Muslim leaders to have the coexistence. The shift will not come from the top, as has been proved in almost every potentially revolutionary situation, therefore it must be grassroots. Now I am not sure if the term grassroots is used amongst common Muslims but regardless, the only way they there can be a coexistence of freedom of speech and Islam is that if Muslims themselves want such a thing.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, New York, NY : 11:42 PM ET
I think that this whole mess is just an excuse for those fanatics that like to have a reason to destroy, whether it is life or property. Islam is supposed to be a religion of peace, but yet clerics and followers have really shown what they know of their peaceful religion. They are not God / Allah, yet they act like they are judge and jury and can take anybodys life, including their own, for any reason they choose. Maybe this has something to do with marrying your cousin? ya think???
Posted By Anonymous khalid alshamardahl, logan, utah : 11:43 PM ET
We try to teach our children tolerance and understanding of different cultures and beliefs. I really can't explain or understand how so many people could be so angry and destructive and so intolerant over a cartoon.

I'm tired of trying to be "tolerant" and "understanding" of Islam. I'm tired of a religion that creates so much hatred destruction. I'm tired of watching angry Muslims curse my way of life and burn my countries flag.

Just as Islam threatens my way of life I want to questions Islam's right to exist in my world. Here's a twist ...How about a protest where americans get together and burn Islamic icons and shout "death to Muslims" and make sure that video tape plays on their TV set every night...
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Freehold NJ : 11:44 PM ET
I think the West should realize that all the rights that we take for granted, such as the freedom of speech or press, were slowly wrestled from under the hand of Christianity. Let's not forget the time when Europe was ruled by religious dogma, which would make the muslim protests look tame by comparision. The rights of modern democracies were won only by jettisioning religion as an overarching factor in politics. Why should we be surprised by the Islamic reaction? If Europeans adhered to the lesser known commandments of their own Bible literally, they would be stoning people for working on the Sabbath. The point is that the West hardly has some inherent moral superiority on this matter.
Posted By Anonymous Ryan Peck, Manhattan KS : 11:44 PM ET
Anderson, I was not able to watch your program about the islamists because of work commitments, but have enjoyed the comments to this blog over it. Have you done a program from Denmark and tried to get a feeling from some Danes as to how they feel over this whole issue?
Posted By Anonymous Denis, Victoria British Columbia : 11:44 PM ET
Muslims tout themselves as peaceful, non-violent, yet the vocal handful portray what was depicted in the cartoon. The irony. Draw the virgin Mary as a hooker and you'll get protests, but no Ak47s nor burning of buildings nor chants of, "death to"

Islam is an oppressive religion, free speech would only enervate the clerics' control over such an ill educated society and foment positive change. Islam at all costs could not allow that. Simply just give them fith grade education, and free speech will prevail. The rest will be historic.
Posted By Anonymous jay, boise, ID : 11:45 PM ET
Now we see the real Islam is seen. Declare Islam the terrorist organization it is, and start a 100% monitoring effort of all Moslems in the US.
Posted By Anonymous John R. Reynolds, Salt Lake City, UT : 11:46 PM ET
No, it's quite pathetic on how a human being can be so out of touch with reality. To me it seems like individuals who believe in Islam are out of touch with society and unwilling to listen to reason. It's a cartoon! A cartoon by individuals who do not believe in Islam. It's almost like believers in this religion are starving for attention. Is war an acts against fellow humans all they know? I don't know. It's no reason to live if you ask me.
Posted By Anonymous Darius, Manhattan, NY : 11:47 PM ET
Why the "believers" ignore the killing of the innocent with human bombs, ... why they do not riot when their temples are bombed by their own and the innocent is viciously killed? Why their governments are so blind, and ignore the unjustified killing? Oh, I forgot, they call us infidels!
Posted By Anonymous Ricky Seda, Tampa, FL : 11:47 PM ET
The protest against the cartoon is nothing less than an attack on the rights of free speech and of expression. That attack is aimed squarely on US!! If you want to control the freedom of expression in your own land, that's one thing. Trying to control the cartoons of the entire planet is another.
And the reaction of these idiots is to hurl back at us cartoons that lampoon the holocaust. Is this the reaction of a sane and rational adult population?
I hope the next insulting cartoon appears in Playboy or Penthouse. Who is going to admit they saw it so they can protest? They certainly weren't looking for seventy virgins THERE!!
Posted By Anonymous Michael Steinberg, New York City : 11:47 PM ET
It's unfortunate the Danish newspapers feel the necessity to apologize for exercising their freedom of expression.

Something's rotten in the state of Denmark's newspaper industry; where is Fortinbras when you need him....
Posted By Anonymous Carl W. Goss Los Angeles CA : 11:48 PM ET
The most ridiculous part about this situation is the maddening irony. They're protesting that someone depicts muhammed as being violent by being as violent as hell and calling on all other muslims to be as violent as hell. It shows the true colors of the racist ethos that runs rampant in the mideast. I just hope it wakes up the rest of Europe to the immediate danger these folks present and will continue to present no matter how much appeasement they attempt.
Posted By Anonymous Homer, Washington DC : 11:49 PM ET
Anderson, I love the fact that you blog 'real time' with your viewers. We feel like part of your team (almost ;)
Posted By Anonymous Lamia, Montreal-Quebec : 11:50 PM ET
I find it somwhat sad that many of the religious leaders of Islam sit by silently while militants hijack their religion. Beheadings in the name of Islam; Cheering the deaths of innocents in 9/11 in the name of Islam; leading misguided individuals to become suicide bombers and kill civilians in the name of a religion is plain wrong. If they want respect for their religion, Immans have to stand up and say murder is wrong. Loud and clear. Murder in the name of Islam is wrong. It is unfortunate that the cartoons offend them. Respect is earned by good works. Not murder in the name of God while you stand by.

The cartoons may be tasteless, but are they (the cartoons) missing the point?
Posted By Anonymous Kieran Murphy , Bristol, NH : 11:51 PM ET
Mr Anderson,

Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront. I firmly believe that Islam has been held hostage by extremist elements within the Arab world. Free speech, and essentially, liberty is under fire. What is at risk is what we value most. I wish ist were a matter of democracy paving the way for stability in the Arab world ... by creating a healthy middle class. Unfortunately, much to the chagrin of the Bush administration, democracy will (and is) a tool used by the religious mafia in control in the Arab world. If Germany could make National Socialism (Nazism) illegal, so can be done with Islam. Whay should I say that? Because Nazism was a religion, even though it came from the political landscape. What we have here is the underground Islamic empire showing its face. I don't think the everage person even has an idea of the hate that lies under the veil of the Arab world.
Posted By Anonymous James Cannon, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait : 11:52 PM ET
Ok. I can see demonstrating over food shortage,lack of housing etc etc...but a CARTOON! Please,there are more constructive things to demonstrate over.
Posted By Anonymous Shannon Vancouver, Canada : 11:52 PM ET
Okay, let's hear you say it:

"Hi, my name is Anderson and I'm a blogoholic."

Don't worry, you're not the only one.

I'm really interested in the riot story and yes, I would have liked the debate to go on longer. It just seemed like Andrew and Nihad weren't really understanding each other, which I guess is kind of representative of the whole problem. The rioting is obviously a lot more complicated than the cartoons and I'd love for you to investigate deeper.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 11:52 PM ET
Well it's exciting that you're blogging. It really adds a whole new spectrum to the show. I'm all for it. Just now that you went to commercial I thought "Oh, i should go to the blog and leave a Bobby Brown remark."

You're really doing an amazing job on the show, and I'm glad we have a chance to leave some feedback for you. It'll only help the show.

Oh, you're back on the air. Well I'll look forward to leave comment on whatever you blog tomorrow.
Posted By Anonymous Andres, Las Cruces, NM : 11:53 PM ET
How about taking seriously the idea that the root problem is religious faith itself. In no other area of life do we cherfully allow people to adhere to complex beliefs about what is true based on ZERO evidence, and thereafter shut their minds to all counter-argument, all reason, all bare common sense.

The world is not flat, a Deity did not write the world's sacred texts, and the failure to treat seriously a criticism of religious faith as such ensures that debate doesn't get to the root of the matter.

Case in point: The Wahhabbis are extremists because they simply practice an intense religiousity. None of their beliefs have any basis in fact or reason, yet in the name of humanism, we wink at their "faith", smirk at critiques of faith, and wonder why theology continues to cause senseless bloody wars.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin, Boston, MA : 11:53 PM ET
I think I just discovered the most powerful weapon in our arsenal against AlQueda ... cartoons depicting Bin Laden with a bomb banging his head!
Posted By Anonymous Ricky Seda, Tampa, FL : 11:53 PM ET
These Muslims that are so offended by cartoons - are they in any way related to the ones that video tape and broadcast beheadings?
Posted By Anonymous H Libby, Aptos, CA : 11:54 PM ET
Hi Anderson..Why are these extremist Muslims always fighting and rioting to defend Allah and their prophet Mohammed.Isn't Mohammed and Allah all powerful.Why would they expect their followers to fight and defend them. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around? You pray to your God and or Saints for help I thought. You don't go out and set everything on fire to defend the holy ones. They can take care of all that themselves I thought. Hmmm..I would think that Allah and or Mohammed or God or Jesus could strike any one dead in an instant if they wanted to...what with all this almighty power stuff thy have going for them.. This way way over the top nonsensical reaction doesn't make any sense to me whichever way you look at it...
Posted By Anonymous Donna McGovern..New York, NY : 11:54 PM ET
I think the pre-text of the show is fundamentally flawed. My question is, "Can the West ever regain it's sense of the sacred?"

Nothing in the West is sacred, and all boundaries must be crossed. Hence the West's bewilderment that Muslims are infuriated over cartoons. It's natural to be infuriated over such sacrilegiousness and unnatural to dismiss it as trivial.
Posted By Anonymous R Khan, Skokie, IL : 11:54 PM ET
The true measure of a man is not in what he says, but what he does.
True Islam has been unmasked, and needs to be treated for exactly what it is, an intolerant totalitarian regime.
Posted By Anonymous Jay Tropaciano, Washington DC : 11:55 PM ET
Freedom of speech is the freedom not to speak as well. One needs to decide, individually, whether one will follow a religion or not. A religion has the right to dictate what someone can and can not say, so long as that someone wants to abide by the religious rules. The problem comes in when a religion, or a religious person, decides that they want to control the speech of ALL people, even those who do not follow that religion. That's not just an Islamic "phenomenon". Christian fundamentalists are doing that in this country as well.
Posted By Anonymous Jenn, Newark Delaware : 11:56 PM ET
The fact of the matter is that the concept of freedom of speech did not exist when Muhammad was alive. Individual rights of expression were often met with violence. Especially against women.
Much has changed in the world in the last 1400 years since the time of Muhammad. It is time for Islam to move into the 21st century where people are allowed to have personal freedoms and where women and children are not chattel.
Posted By Anonymous Darin, Beavercreek, Ohio : 11:56 PM ET
It is true that speech should be free; but just like any freedom it should be coupled with taste and good sense. Propaganda, if curbed, could have prevented the genocide in Rwanda; but proponents of free speech would argue that any curbs on political discourse no matter how negative, or how dreadful the consequence of it, should be allowed. But lets not confuse the cartoon issue as merely one of free speech vs the Muslim world; rather it is how angry protests in Denmark spread like wildfire in part due to provocative reprinting of cartoons just to spite the world's billion Muslims. Any Muslim in Europe can attest to the constant bigotry they face in Europe, even pre 9-11. The reprinting of cartoons, as most Muslims in Europe would interpret it was just to rub salt in the wounds, rather than some heroic defence of free speech. The ban on headscarves in France, despite 1 in every 10 French being of Muslim faith is a prime example of how there is a sytematic attempt to marginalize Muslims in Europe. There is a clash of Muslims vs nonMuslims, not because of irreconcilable differences over free speech; but rather due to lack of mutual respect and understanding.
Posted By Anonymous Ahmed Ibrahim, Jersey City, NJ : 11:58 PM ET
I forgot to add that there were protests after the Jordan attack. A lot of people have been wondering why Muslims aren't protesting terrorist attacks, so there is one example where they have.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 11:58 PM ET
While I really do try to respect the religious faiths of others, I honestly do question the violent activities that have resulted from these cartoons. As a christian, I endured seeing a crucifix in a jar of urine that was labeled as "Art" without hitting another person or burning a building. So a muslim cannot find it within himself to kick a pebble across the road over a drawing?
Posted By Anonymous Somerset Judson, Philadelphia, PA : 11:58 PM ET
In a secular society no religion is above the law. And the law in this case clearly supports the right to have a free press. Period! Europe is not Saudi Arabia or Iran. The Mullahs don't rule in a democratic state. So it's unfortunate for them not to understand this basic premise. In the west, we have seen what happens when religious institutions force their will on others. Remember, systematic censorship was once a common practice Europe. But Europe evolved. Christianity evolved via the protestant reformation and capitalism. The same cannot be said about some segments of Islam. Some Muslims are stuck in the middle ages and that is quite tragic because the west was once rescued from darkness by great Muslim thinkers who valued both knowledge and tolerance. Those angry people have too much time in their hands. These men need jobs.
Posted By Anonymous Martin du Gard, Boca Raton, Florida : 11:58 PM ET
I find it really strange that the rioters can get so exercised over drawings, but none of them get upset over their co-religionists killing innocent reporters and missionaries. That's twisted
Posted By Anonymous Paul Burnett, Alameda, CA : 11:59 PM ET
To Trish from Houston, the difference between the Chrstian groups "demanding" that NBC remove "The Book of Daniel", and the reaction by the Muslims is that the NBC offices were not burned, and the Christians did not stand in the street discharging fire-arms into the air to punctuate their point.

I am led to the inescapable conclusion that islam is a belief system that promotes criminal behavior, and therefore should be out-lawed by all nations that respect freedom of speech, thought, or any concept or manifestation of freedom and justice.
Posted By Anonymous Rick, Denver, Colorado, USA : 12:00 AM ET
freedom of speech does not mean you can go out and say anything or do anything you like to,specially something that is offensive to an entire group of people of faith that counts one fourth of the people on earth.this country as well as some other countries in europe prohibit any antisemetic comments or opinions and you should respect that because it is offensive to jews. we should reject these caricatures because they are offensive to muslims and that is enough of a reason by itself in my opinion. we ought to learn to live in harmony and peace in a world that is pretty diverse at sensitive times , if not then we are only asking for trouble.
Posted By Anonymous Azzam Aslan , Chicago,IL : 12:01 AM ET
ive been watching the coverage of these riots and the same thing keeps going through my mind. I understand that they find this cartoon offensive, point taken. However isnt it just as offensive to burn a country's flag and chant "death to (you fill in the blank)." this strikes me as amazingly hypocritical and illogical.
Posted By Anonymous dan, westfield MA : 12:02 AM ET
If the cartoons were meant to be offensive, which I don't think they were, don't they serve their purpose of being satirical? We riddle our politicians like that all the time (President Bush, anybody?), and he doesn't send out forces to stop them. He responds with a smile and chortle. Any figure in public domain is a target for ridicule, regardless of religious affiliation.

Could you imagine if Bush reacted to cartoons about him the same way Muslims react? Would there be any Democrats left?
Posted By Anonymous Andrew, Newmarket, Ontario : 12:03 AM ET
As a Muslim, I was deeply offended seeing Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) depicted as terrorist. People have to understand that freedom of speech ends where people's sensitivities begin. While the Muslim community is angry at the drawings itself (which leads to idolatry), their main fuel of anger stems from the fact that he (PBUH) was depicted as a terrorist. History proves otherwise, he was merciful towards his people and enemies alike, especially when he had the upper hand in administering punishment. So for Mr. Sullivan to go on 360 and claim that it was for fun and humor makes me think twice about the lack of knowledge and ignorance which exists in the western world in regards to other peoples cultures and religion.
Posted By Anonymous Faisal Toronto Ontario : 12:04 AM ET
The real issue here is the difference between fanatic, hateful 'established political and cultural religious fascism and the individual persuit of a personal relationship with the deity of ones choice.

In short, a religion that is constructive, contributory, positive and affirmative of it's views is a benefit to all of society, but one that is mired in oppressive and repressive tyranny and forces it's followers into abject dogmatic slavery , suspicion and hatred for non believers is no more than a fascist cult.
Posted By Anonymous Phil Prescott Windsor Ontario Canada : 12:05 AM ET
I recently saw the cover of Rolling Stone and "The Passion of Kanye West." I am a Christian and was insulted that someone like Kanye depicted Christ. Are Christians rioting at Rolling Stone?
Posted By Anonymous Danelle, Japan : 12:06 AM ET
The apparent Islamic reponse, at least in Iran, to the misguided yet not-uncalled-for cartoons that posed the question about the relationship between the prophet Mohammed, terrorism, and death is to state-sponsor a binge of cartoon anti-semitism. My understanding is that this is a daily activity there anyway. But every day it becomes more apparent that this whole thing, WRIT LARGE, is headed in a really bad direction and will not end well, particularly for those who apparently have a death-wish. So what is the answer to the questions posed by the cartoons?
Posted By Anonymous Allen, Herndon, VA : 12:06 AM ET
What confuses me is the news that Iran is going to hold a cartoon contest based on the Holocaust. I would think a society that is offended by insensitive cartoons would try to set a better example. However, the Iranian point of view may not be shared by a majority of protesters.

Our confusion and/or astonishment surounding these protests truly underscores how little most Westerners know about Islamic culture. I suspect that until the East and West make greater attempts to understand and tolerate each other we will continue to see this type of news.
Posted By Anonymous Jeremiah Ada, OK : 12:08 AM ET
I can understand how can this cartoon can be offensive to muslims. In America is equally offencive a racist comment, a mock of your religion, etc.. But there is no excuse for this type of violence. I don't see that kind of uproar or anger when a muslim suicide bomber in Iraq kills 30 innocent fellow muslims to kill just 1 american soldier.Hypocrites, I say. I don't approve the cartoons, but violence is even worse,
Posted By Anonymous Agustin Aponte, Cayey PR : 12:09 AM ET
The recent protests and riots are of great concern to the entire world and the loss of life is tragic. However, the greatest loss will be the potential for any future dialogue on Islam. What brave soul will ever offer a controversial opinion on the faith? Yet, you can browse blogs on Islamic newspapers and find plenty of anti-semitic cartoons. The cartoons published by the Danish paper are controversial, but the reaction is nothing short of scary. Based on this behavior, one would have to question whether or not freedom of speech can coexist with Islam. It aslo raises the question in the America - how can you rely on diplomacy with nations exhibit suchextreme behavior? On another note, I find it ironic that anyone would protest a depiction of their prophet with a bomb on his head by firebombing another country's embassy. Doesn't that just validate the cartoonist's perspective?
Posted By Anonymous Matt, Cincinnati, OH : 12:10 AM ET
There were 10 000 people rioting and the Western world is quick to say,
"Oh my god,look at the Muslims,Didn't I tell you they are violent".

And, then the Muslim world look at the Western world and say, " Oh my god,look at the Westerners, Didn't I tell you they are hate us".

We keep looking and judging and hating.
Posted By Anonymous Nash, Bellefonte,PA : 12:12 AM ET
Hello, Im a Muslim living in the west. As muslims we are tought to have pateintce and forgive when someone one insults us or dissrespects us, but when it comes to Allah or the Prophets (e.g Prophet Mohamed, Prophet Jesus, Prophet Moses, Prophet Noa, etc) and/or the Quran that we should react to it because we must love our relegion our Allah our Quran and our Prophets more then we love our lives. That is why the muslim world is reacting this way.
Is insulting someone or ones faith freedom of speach. What if I insult your mother and say freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is important in a democratic country but it must have limits our people are going to use it the wrong way and end up pushing the wrong buttons.
Posted By Anonymous Shuaib, Toronto : 12:17 AM ET
I believe it is important to understand the difference between hate speech, slander, and free speech, but it does seem amazing to us/me that a cartoon is worth killing anyone over. I also agree that this is the best argument for the separation of church and state. But we won't have peace unless we understand the feelings of Moslems, and that for them, tribe comes before nation. I'm sure there are many moderate Moslems who wish their radical fringe didn't speak for all of them. I wish I could hear their voice just as loudly. I hope Western media tunes into their message. I also hope America learns that what has upset them so much might actually be something not so obvious to us or them: that the US is trying to continue to maintain a sort of world economic empire that hurts the Muslim world. Their anger won't stop until we cease behaving as though we are taking the high road. I also believe that, sadly, barbarism and threats on the part of Islamic people only reinforce the sterotypes that the cartoons suggested. The road out will be rough. I hope it is as bloodless as possible. Fires burn out faster when they don't have fuel. Let us add none. We must stop villifying them, no matter what they do. Then we WILL be taking the high road.
Posted By Anonymous Greg Zoeller Louisville, KY. : 12:17 AM ET
Even though there is freedom of speech and freedom of press, there are some things one would not do out of respect, for example, using swear words in public or shouting racial slurs. It is not an question of "freedom" but an question of offending someone's religious beliefs. Please just stop.
Posted By Anonymous Fareha, St. Louis, MO : 11:01 AM ET
I don't know if he refers to himself as such, but if he doesn't, isn't calling Andrew Sullivan "a blogger" a bit of a swipe? I mean, he's far more than some guy who writes his unfiltered thoughts on a web site for the world to see. He's a journalist, an author, a fantastic writer, and one of the best thinkers of this era. When I think of bloggers, I think of unedited, unfactchecked, unfiltered extremes of the right and the left. Sullivan is none of those, despite the fact he does run a blog.
Posted By Anonymous Alex, Seattle, WA : 12:50 PM ET
i am not a religious man, i have read the koran, i feel that the muslim extremists who are targeting innocent people and who are acting irrationally are behaving in a way that would upset their prohpet. they are damaging islam and in that light are infidels themselves. ironic isn't it. lets all learn to keep things in perspective.
Posted By Anonymous joe tassoni,amherst, massachusetts : 2:25 PM ET
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