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Is The Right To Offend Others Important?
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Paul Grimsley
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 9:01 pm    Post subject: Is The Right To Offend Others Important? Reply with quote

Free speech is important. Tolerance is important. People's beliefs and feelings are important. Is one of these ideas more important than the others? Were papers right to publish images of Mohammed when they know it is forbidden in Islam and that it would cause offence? Are those protesting and rioting right to act as they do? If they aren't, is it still not understandable why they do so? Is the right to offend others important?
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ehsan elahi ehsan
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:49 pm    Post subject: Is the Right to Offend Others Important? Reply with quote

One is the unbridled freedom of speech, the other unbridled action. Both are destroying the peace of the world and both are condemnable. But who did initiate it? He is more condemnable.
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a difference between freedom of expression and freedom to shout "fire" in a crowded auditorium.

Freedom of expression includes feedom of speech and art, the freedom to express IDEAS and FEELINGS.

The recent cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed are expressions of ideas to be considered in the light of Global Reason and Global Love.
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ehsan elahi ehsan
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:27 am    Post subject: Is the Right to Offend Others Important? Reply with quote

Dave, what sort of the freedom of expressions of ideas do the cartoons give, of Global Reasoning or of Global Love or of Both.
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The cartoons are all about love and reason. They are the cartoonist's feelings about and questions of a god who would allow followers to go mad with hate and kill innocent women and children in his name.
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ehsan elahi ehsan
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:58 am    Post subject: Is the Right to offend Others Important? Reply with quote

Dave wrote:

Quote:
The cartoons are all about love and reason


Paul, please be informed that there was nothing in cartoons to offend others!
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Paul Grimsley
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I understood it the people protesting were saying that any representation Of their Prophet Mohammed was considered offensive. I hope I've not misunderstood this.

Although I lead with this I was hoping it would also encompass other things as well, such as, for instance Jerry Springer: The Musical offending Christians. Everyone seems to have such thin skin, and I don't want that to sound like I'm trivialising anyone's beliefs at all, but perspective seems to go out of the window.

In England they tried to pass a law protecting against the law of inciting religious hatred and people protested that this would curtail free speech.

Another thing I never understood about religions is, if you consider yourself chosen and other people heathens or infidels, why do you care what they say? Isn't their behaviour, for you as a religious person, just a symptom of their state of being damned? Should that not make their words worthless to you. Even if your reiligion urges you to preach the word you must understand that their are non-believers: attaining faith is not easy (well, maybe for some), and your job is to educate them? Would you not put their ignorance down to lack of education?
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ehsan, in America, almost anything is allowed when it comes to artistic, religious or political expression. We rarely have violent protests against such expressions.

Paul, I agree with much of what you have expressed.

Here are a couple of difinitions I thought we should consider for this discussion:
Editorial Cartoons are found almost exclusively in news publications. Although they also employ humor, they are more serious in tone, commonly using irony or satire. The art usually acts as a visual metaphor to illustrate a point of view on current social and/or political topics. Editorial cartoons often include speech balloons and, sometimes, multiple panels.


Satire is a literary technique of writing or art which exposes the follies of its subject (for example, individuals, organizations, or states) to ridicule, often as an intended means of provoking or preventing change. In Celtic societies, it was thought a bard's satire could have physical effects, similar to a curse. The humor of such a satire tends to be subtle, using irony and deadpan humor liberally. Most satire has specific, readily identifiable targets; however there is also a less focused, formless genre known as Menippean satire.

There are two fundamental types of satire: Horatian satire, which is gentle and urbane; and Juvenalian satire, which is biting, bitter invective. The burlesque form of satire can also be segregated into two distinct categories: High burlesque, or taking subject matter which is crude in nature and treating it in a lofty style, or low burlesque, taking subject matter traditionally dealt with in an epic or poetic fashion and degrading it.
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Clive
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see the cartoons as more of an excuse to react in a violent way. A holy and righteous man/women would turn the other cheek and voice their opposition not just start more killing and burning. If words can cause a person to kill then that person is not good in the head. He could shout it in the streets that he was real piss off about it but no violence is acceptable. In Canada here the Muslim community is trying to get all Muslims to speak out against sectarian and fanatical terrorist violence and restore Islam to its rightful and respectful place. But as long as Arabs shout Allah is great and then a bullet in the back of the head of someone kneeling with hands tied behind their back, there is no way that will garner respect from the rest of the world. Al-Quida has cause so much disrespect for the God of Islam in their so called holy war that it may take generations to recover the respect it deserves, if it ever does.

I want to see the great minds that existed in the middle east flourish.


Here we have a saying – sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.
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ehsan elahi ehsan
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:03 pm    Post subject: Is the Right of Offending Others Important? Reply with quote

Dave, what was the purpose of satirizing the prophet of the followers of one of the major religions of the world. Have these cartoon not shattered the peace of the world from bad to worse. Have these not shifted the war against a few terrorist to the whole Muslim community? Have these cartoons not infused the already bad sitiatopm into worse instead of defusing it?
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Clive
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The cartoons are a representation of how we have come to know that Islamic faith.

It should be of no surprise that if you have enough people running around like drug lords and thugs doing death chants, claiming to be doing the work of Allah that the people of the world will take on this observation.

I do not believe for a second that the USA or the so called western powers wish to destroy the middle east I do however believe that they want to have it as a customer in the capitalistic expansion, as we have done in India – the out sourcing is in the hundreds of thousands and as I phone the help line for my SMC router I get a man in India that answers all my questions and gets me up and running again just like that. He probably won’t make 35 to 60 dollars an hour but will have money to buy things for his family and keep them in some comfort. .
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ehsan, I don't believe the cartoonist satarized the Phrophet to incite violence nor was he degrading the Prophet Mohammed. Bur I think he was naive in thinking that everybody who saw his sophisticated cartoons would understand their messages the way he meant. Perhaps he wasn't sensitive to the feelings of devout followers of Islam.

But I do think religious people should have open minds and practice love and reasoning when they confront messages they object to.

Here is what I think he was communicating to followers: Is this what you mean when you say your God is a God of peace?
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shadowlight
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A little self control, concern for the feelings of others and toleration should provide natural curbs for unbridled freedom [of speech an expression] which can lead to many undesireable acts.

I have a very strong negative reaction when I'm told a crucifix in urine is art, or we can't have a creche on the town square at Christmas time. However, I'm not going to go out and try to kill those who are responsible for these things. There are other ways to protest.

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Last edited by shadowlight on Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marlicia, you've made some good points.

How much is a little self control? We can't help offending some people with our work and too much self control can inhibit the artist/writer and weaken his/her work.

I agree completely with you that there are ways to protest a work of art that offends you or me. Clive made a good point when he brought up an old saying from childhood: sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.

I don't think there is ever a reason to use physical force to oppose art or the written word. (Well, a clear threat to destroy you might be a reason to use force.) The pen is mightier than the sword.

I understand there was a contest to draw cartoons that would mock Israel (how did Israel become part of this?) in answer to the cartoons in question. All well and good if the cartoons have a message rather than display an angry childish response.
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ehsan elahi ehsan
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 8:16 pm    Post subject: Is the Right to Offend Others Important? Reply with quote

http://www.dawn.com/2006/03/02/ed.htm#4
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ehsan, thanks for the link. I read the article, "A lot is rotten in the state of Denmark" by Karamatullah K. Ghori, which all people interested in the cartoon controversy should read.

The last part (beginning with: Prince Karim Aga Khan, who is highly regarded in the West as an epitome of a moderate Muslim, put the perception gap in the western mind about Islam most succinctly in an interview with a Canadian journalist. He called it a ‘clash of ignorance’ and not of civilizations. He couldn’t be more right. There is so much ignorance among the educated western men and women about Islam. What is worse is that there is hardly an effort, individual or organized, to learn about a religion practised by one fourth of humanity, and practised with such devotion and reverence.) is especially worth reading critically and discussing.

How do you feel personally about the cartoons. Do you think the cartoonist is mocking the Prophet? Do you think a violent reaction is called for?
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ehsan elahi ehsan
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:14 am    Post subject: Is the right to offend other is importoant? Reply with quote

Yes Dave, personally I think that these cartoons were totally uncalled for, highly provocative and mischievous.
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ehsan elahi ehsan
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 6:27 am    Post subject: Is the right of offending others important? Reply with quote

Dave, but the way the reaction is being shown is odious.
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ehsan, please bear with me, I am only trying to understand the mindset of a real, intelligent, sensitive, reasoning, and religious Moslem.

I can see how the cartoons could be highly provacative. I think they were intended to provoke serious discussion and reflection, but I think the cartoonist was not sensitive to the feelings of devout Moslems, and did not anticipate the backlash that they provoked. In other words the cartoons caused unintended consequences. However, wouldn't an intelligent follower see what the cartoonist intended?



Why do you say they were uncalled for? I have been led to believe that the suicide bombers are promised forty virgins when they get to heaven after their mission. That is what one of the cartoons is saying. If it is untrue should this not be refuted?


Why do you say they were mischievous?
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ehsan elahi ehsan
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 10:13 am    Post subject: Is the to offend others important Reply with quote

Dave, I have been listening to you very patiently and hope to be so but my impartial analysis is the same which I have written to you.

I called these cartoons uncalled for because, even a naive could understand that these would infuse the already worsoned situation.

I call them provocative because these have increased the tension, not only between the west and the terrorist (against whom the Muslims states have also been fighting) but between the west and the whole Muslim community.

I call them mischievous because the cartoonists knew that these would increase the conflict between the two civilizations.

If the cartoonist/s were naive, the satates were not so. Those states where the cartoons have been published have also adopted an insulting attitude towards the representatives of the Muslim states. You would be knowing that the prime minister of Denmark refused to see the ambassadors of 8 Muslim states on the pretext of freedom of expression. Moreover, what was the need to renew this mischievous act in Feb 2006 after its first publication in Sep 2005. This question I have been repeatedly putting but none of you is ready to answer it.
Do you not honesly think that this action has damaged the peace of the world more than before.

One question I want to put to you that is relating to the present topic i.e. "Is the right to offend others important?" as has been put forward by Paul?
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ehsan, what you say requires reflection before responding. Since I've got to go to work -- I still work three days a week at my non-writing related business -- my answer will be delayed.

But others should jump into this Global forum.
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ehsan elahi ehsan
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 10:38 am    Post subject: Is the Right to Offend Others Important? Reply with quote

Have a good time Dave, see you later.
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Paul Grimsley
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was trying to think of this quote because I think it might capture the sense of how I feel about the scale of the offence and the scale of the response.

Quote:
If little faults, proceeding on distemper,
Shall not be wink'd at, how shall we stretch our eye
When capital crimes, chew'd, swallow'd and digested,
Appear before us?

It comes from Henry V by Shakespeare.

I have to say that I agree with Ehsan that you would have to be living locked in a box not to know the kind of reaction the cartoons would provoke when they were published and we are talking about journalists, so how could they not know? Knowing the probable reaction, could they not have tackled it with some journalism instead? In some ways these are not times to be flippant about faith even if you have none yourself. But, where it could be said the paper lacked grace in publishing the cartoons, should not some grace have come from the men of religion? Publication was more than likely motivated by ideas of increasing circulation, so it was a cynical exercise. It should have been seen as such and dismissed as such.

I know when someone offends you you have a right to offend them back, but if you are secure in your beliefs, how can someone so easily offend you?

I read the article, Ehsan, and it was interesting to read something from a different perspective but, forgive me if I am wrong, the writer seems as intent on spreading dissent as the western journalists. Hopefully as the world shrinks down into this global village he talks of, a place like this forum I think, people will be able to see Muslims as individuals, and Westerners as individuals -- these umbrella-terms, these abstractions, like Country, Race, Religion are examples of the world looking through the wrong end of the telescope, instead of bringing it all into focus they push the truth away.

As far as offence goes, yes, I think, go ahead and offend anyone you like, but don't go crying when they act offended.

I know that in some of the things I have written in this thread it has sounded like I am applying a double-standard when I discuss the behaviour I expect from journalists and that from religious men. It's just that I was taught when training as a journaist that controversy sells papers. I've know a few men of thought and faith as well, and I always understood from them that you think your way through a problem and don't act rashly and that violence solves nothing.
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what has been said, none of us really knows why the cartoonist drew the cartoons. Isn't that usually the case? A speaker, writer, or artist, is frequently misundrestood; therefore, the listener, reader, or viewer should reflect before taking action. And when action is finally taken, violent action should be the last resort.

If somebody comes at me with a club, I'll take immediate action, viloent if
practical.

If somebody insults me, I'll take approiate action, non-violent. Boycott his business, reply with wit, etc., etc.

If there is a clear and present danger, a violent threat against me, I'll substantiate the threat before taking violent action. This is where many of us in America think President Bush took the wrong action by going to Iraq.
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ehsan elahi ehsan
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 7:48 pm    Post subject: Is the Right to Offend others Important? Reply with quote

Dave wrote:

Quote:
the listener, reader, or viewer should reflect before taking action.

I think this should be done by the writer first.
Dave I would be thankful if you anser point-wise. Moreover, you may take into consideration the explanation made by Paul which is very reasoned.
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