Alienation Feeds Outrage Over Cartoons

February 8, 2006

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald/Newsday

On February 8, 2006 Newsday reported, "Their anger was raw. Several New York Muslims protesting against the caricatures of the prophet Muhammad became irate when asked if the global furore was an overreaction.

'Do you know the atrocities that are happening to Muslims every day?' one demanded. 'In Iraq? In Pakistan? In Palestine? Muslims feel as if we are under siege.'

The deep offence many Muslims have taken to the cartoons is about present-day politics as much as theology... Many Muslims see the drawings' publication as a deliberate attempt to insult them as they perceive themselves to be a stigmatised minority in Europe and a humiliated civilisation in the Middle East... 'I would argue that the genesis of this whole controversy has a lot more to do with the position in which Muslims find themselves in Europe than with Islamic theology,' Dr. [Omid] Safi, [associate professor of Islamic Studies at Colgate University in New York] said.

'I think that some of the same kinds of questions that Europeans asked about Jews a hundred years ago are now being asked of Muslims. Namely, can these people ever be proper citizens of Europe if their loyalties and allegiances lie elsewhere?'"