Imam Khodr Chehab of the Islamic Society of Finland, says that :
“the cartoons are “deliberately offensive”, trying to portray Islam as a violent religion. He says that the angry reactions, and threats to boycott Denmark are justified, because the Danish government, and ordinary citizens have expressed their support for the newspaper. “Desecrating the Prophet is a very serious matter”, he said. Chehab says that he is certain that if the pictures were published in Finland, the reactions would be the same as in Denmark.”
I would remind the dear Imam that the editor of the Jyllands-Posten has rejected that interpretation repeatedly, as well as the Danish Prime Minister. ”Desecrating the Prophet” is a serious matter, but only within the confines of that religion, not among those who are neither Muslims nor religious at all. The criticism of any religion falls under the protection of the freedom of speech, which is more serious than the printing of any cartoon of any religious figurehead. What is in question here, is the local Muslim community in Denmark not being satisfied with the answers from the Danish government, that being, ”take your beef to the Jyllands-Post editorial staff”. Instead, the Danish Imam peddled their outrage around the world in hopes of getting a major response, and according to the bibelen.blogspot, the Imam added three even more highly offencive pictures of his very own choosing, as reported by the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet 34,35,36. So in part, these local Danish Muslims are responsible for this rampage of Muslim outrage around the Islamic world, in which 99.9% have never even seen the pictures in question.(note:There is no worry about any of these cartoons ever being printed by the Finnish media, the practice of self censorship, is the one surviving remnant from the Cold War.)
Then there is Okhan Daher, chairman of the Finnish Islam Congregation who states:
“These are sensitive issues especially in the Middle East, and in societies where faith has a strong presence in people’s everyday lives.” His advice to both sides in the Danish dispute is: “Do not provoke, or be provoked”.He believes its due to “ignorance” in the Islamic world, that does not understand that in the West, governments cannot dictate, and are not responsible for the content of the media.
Which brings me to the same point, that the local Nordic Muslims do know better, and could have played a major role in relating that bit of important information to their fellow co-religionists, instead of fanning the flames of outrage. Finland’s Imam Chehab, also stated that freedom of expression has its limits here in the west, and tries to make a point by bringing up the holocaust :
“If you make jokes about the holocaust, you go to jail. Racism in Finland is illegal, and these drawings have racist characteristics.”
Has the Imam been in Finland such a short time to actually believe that naive and stupid remark? It is absolutely false that anyone would go to jail because they joked about the Jewish Holocaust, as wrong, distasteful, stupid and outright outrageous as that would be. He has also failed to show just how this whole brouhaha can be defined as ‘racism’, when its the intolerance of one religion that is in question here. Imam Chebab is trying to frame this whole issue into a completely different setting, when the issue is clearly about the limits one religion is trying to force on a free , democratic society that values the right of free speech. Seeing that Islam is comprised of many races and nationalities, how can the issue of racism be raised, other than to be used as a scare tactic by intolerant people within a religious group? Imam Khodr Chehab of the Islamic Society of Finland, needs to wake up and realize the limits on the restriction of free speech in a free society.
The last note here in on Islamic ”expert” Jaako Hämeen-Antilla(professor of Islamic poetry…) , who is the most often interviewed and quoted person in Finland on anything related to Islam and the Middle-East, states that “
“this brouhaha will be short lived.” “The affair has the characteristics of a fleeting sensation.” and “”In the wider scope, I don’t see this episode as particularly significant.”
I personally don’t put too much stock into anything this guy says, and it looks like my reading of this situation is more enlightened than the dear professors’. KGS