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Hey, Denmark. You do have freedom of speech!

Hey, Denmark. You do have freedom of speech!

If I were to go around saying that Jesus Christ was a very very naughty boy, then I’d probably draw a bit of flak about it. Hell, calling unfamous R&B star Omarion a wanker got me some flak within the teenage internet.

So I’m not quite sure why the Danish/European press are up in arms saying “Free speech is threatened” while publishing cartoons essentially depicting the leader of one of the world’s top religions as “wearing a headdress shaped like a bomb, while another shows him saying that paradise was running short of virgins for suicide bombers”. See the cartoons here (courtesy of Wikipedia) or here (courtesy of the Religious Policeman).

Free speech isn’t threatened per se, because the cartoons have been widely published. But with great power comes great responsibility. If you’re going to publish images deliberately designed to inflame 2 billion people – people who are stereotypically infamous for their devotion to all things religious – then you’d better be ready for the consequences.

As for the editor of France Soir, who published the photos and was then fired by his French-Egyptian editor, well, erm… duh. You don’t see many news stories in The Sun or The Times decrying Australia or labelling them in similarly stereotypical fashion, do you?

Of course the reaction from the Muslim world has, from Western eyes, been highly excessive – but as The religious policeman points out, the cartoons were published a long time ago, and he suggests it’s all a smokescreen to stop people in the Middle East asking the questions that do need to be asked. He also points out that many images of Muhammed have been published over the years.

Last year, the BBC broadcast a satirical opera that – according to some interpretations – had Jesus Christ in a nappy expressing inappropriate sexual desire. This led to thousands of complaints and death threats. So it’s obviously not just a Muslim thing either.

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