MoonDawg's Den: Craven Malaysians

MoonDawg's Den

Friday, February 24, 2006

Craven Malaysians

Captain Ed discusses a development in the increasingly deranged Cartoon War: A major Malaysian newspaper, the New Straits Times, is in hot water with the Malaysian government for printing a cartoon that merely satirized the protests over the Danish Muhammad cartoons - it "featured a street artist offering 'caricatures of Muhammad while you wait'". But even this is apparently too much for thin-skinned Islamists:

It didn't depict Mohammed or even the Qu'ran in a bad light, but instead criticized the knee-jerk lunatics flooding streets around the world, killing people and burning embassies over cartoons. It shows yet again that the issue behind the protests isn't a blasphemous drawing of the Prophet, but a global instinct to violent reaction to any critical look at Islam or its practitioners.
A few years ago I spent a wonderful three week vacation in Malaysia. Certainly the government there is not a champion of free expression (imported Western fashion magazines such as Cosmopolitan have their photographs censored - by hand! - with black markers, covering up any "naughty bits" that females in the photos might reveal, before the magazines are delivered to markets and bookstores), but it is still a fairly liberal country, where tolerance of all religions is embraced by the people - remarkable for a place that is officially a Muslim nation.

I pray that doesn't change in Malaysia, but it could given the cowardly response of the New Straits Times to the government reprimand. Instead of standing up for press freedom, the paper printed a groveling editorial saying "We should have been more sensitive - human error or not. So again, we apologise. And again, we will willingly accept any action deemed fit by the Government."

Such "sensitivity" will lead moderate Muslims down a slippery slope towards appeasement of fundamentalist reactionaries at every turn. As Capt. Ed says, "Once someone sells out, it becomes much easier to convince them to do it again."

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