Source: The Guardian
On February 3, 2006 The Guardian ran an opinion piece by Sarah Joseph, editor of "emel: the muslim lifestyle magazine," on the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper. Joseph writes, "In Britain, we should realise that Muslims here will be angry if the pictures are gratuitously published in British papers - not just because of the insults to Muhammad, but because it makes them feel disempowered. Protesting is the only way to regain some self-respect... Why such hand-wringing over a few cartoons? The key is in the images themselves: Muhammad with turbaned bomb, Muhammad declaring that paradise had run out of virgins for suicide bombers, Muhammad with sword and veiled women. Muhammad in every Orientalist caricature. Muhammad as a symbol for Islam and Muslims. These are the stereotypes that, as Muslims, we face daily. The looks on the tube, the suspicion, the eyes on the bags we carry. There is no denying the feeling of being pushed against a wall, of drowning in the stereotypes that abound. This is no way to live, and it is certainly no springboard for making a major contribution to the society you live in... Some countries that have reprinted the images - Spain, France, Italy and Germany - have a nasty history of fascism. Just last week we had Holocaust memorial day. The Holocaust did not occur overnight. It took time to establish a people as subhuman, and cartoons played their part. Does Europe not remember its past and the Nazi propaganda of Der Stï¿½rmer? Now the great shape-shifter of fascism seems to have taken on the clothes of 'freedom of speech'. If these cartoons were designed to provoke Muslim fundamentalists, maybe they have done more to reveal the prejudices of Europe. Europe has a history of turning on its minorities. Will that be its future too?"