I received many emails both praising and attacking me for my previous article (see previous entry) on why European newspapers should not have reprinted the 12 cartoons poking fun at Prophet Muhammad.
Here are some excerpts:
That is an interesting article you wrote about the Danish cartoons, the film Munich etc. I read it expecting a rant and instead found reason. Thank you for expressing thoughtful views on difficult subjects.
Like I said: Interesting.
Instead of doing what any moral human being would do, praising the papers who stood up to a totalitarian campaign to censure political expression, you have chosen to attack them for showing some integrity.
The lack of support among Muslims for newspapers who stand up to terrorism by republishing the cartoons is disturbing indeed. The insane acts of terrorism in order to attack freedom of speech are inexcusable.
If there isn't an outpouring of support among Muslims for the papers that republished the cartoons, it will strongly suggest that Islam is insane in its hatred of freedom, honor, and all non-Muslims.
The psycho behavior that is being exhibited by so many Muslims, including yourself, suggests that Islam cannot coexist peacefully with the rest of humanity.
I agree wholeheartedly that these cartoons were extremely offensive. It is something Christians live with continuously in the USA. Disgracing our beliefs and ridiculing Christianity is common here in all forms of media. The news media, as a rule, supports these "artists" because that is the "progressive way", no matter how disgusting the material.
I am sensing a different attitude from them concerning these cartoons. The vast majority of media seems to be tip-toeing around this. They are not as vicious with you as they are with us. Methinks they are frightened of you.
NO ONE should be allowed to infringe on another's religious belief and mock their God or their way of thinking. Maybe when this settles down the media will think twice before doing this again - to anyone.
The only difference I have observed in this incident is that the cartoons were hand-carried to other countries. And I have seen three additional cartoons that were delivered which were not part of what the cartoonists drew. Those three were the most offensive and were meant to inflame. Had these been of someone in my faith I would have been furious.
Peace. I hope this ends soon.
Its nice piece from you. I’m truly pleased with you for this kind of action you rendered for our religion. May Allah reward you.Salamat sa iyo kapatid.
Ahmadjibric V SalasSaudi Arabia
Dear Mr. Rasheed,
While I can only praise your for the tone of your article, would really appreciate if someone in the Arab world would try to understand and appreciate why and the reason for some in the Far East and the West do not appreciate your Muslim faith.
You see what the majority of people see from Al-Jazeera and other TV of Muslims, is that women have to cover their faces in public, that often demonstrations are always with guns and yelling of killing someone or other. Be it Israel or now Danes and Norwegians.
You and all Muslims claim that the faith of the Muslims, are so benign, while what is shown does not give that face of the religion at all.
I lived in Kuwait for a year, and was asked to leave due to commenting in the press on issues of Sudan etc. so freedom of speech is not available in the Arab world, which is what we in the West and Far East and South America cannot appreciate. It is not enough that Muslims praise the Prophet, peace be with him, but Muslims need to try to understand other religions also. No where in the west or Far East/Asia do you see any demonstrations with guns, covered faces and spurring of hate taking place, this is ONLY in the Arab/Muslim world, from where the people of Al-Qaeda came and who bombed the WTC, Madrid, London etc.
Now is it so difficult to appreciate in the Muslim world, that such a modus operandi, does not make friends, not make others love you and appreciate your backgrounds, your religion etc.
It is okay to condemn the drawings, and truly it was not smart to publish them knowing how Muslims would irresponsibly react, however it was done, and now to threaten death and destruction, seems to be a rather fascist terminology and belief.
You could do much in the Arab World to set the record right and point out to Saudi readers, why the West so misunderstand your great people and religion.
Poul JacobsenAtlanta, Georgia
Thanks for an excellent analysis on the cartoons in the Al-Jazeerah website.
Habib Siddiquivia email
I thought your article in the Arab News was reasoned and thoughtful. My main point of disagreement is in your characterization of freedom of speech. I think comments like yours are the essence of what freedom of speech means and a much more rational reaction than throwing a tantrum and trashing property. What the cartoonist captured was those who defame Islam and Mohammed by bombings and murder in his name. The mob reaction to these drawings actually further proves their point. If others had reacted in the reasoned way you did the cartoons would have been discredited.
There is another element to this story. Apparently an Islamic cleric added three cartoons that had nothing to do with the 12 that were published. These cartoons were used to manipulate Muslim audiences to anger and mob action. You may want to address this obvious manipulation in a future article.
I do disagree with you on secondary boycotts. I think the US would be silly to boycott Saudi products because of some of the awful things said about the US by some Saudi clerics. Insults lose their power when they are ignored.
Merv BensonWashington, Texas