Friday, April 21, 2006

What caused the cartoon riots?

Joseph Cannon repeats the right-wing lie that the violence which resulted from the Danish cartoon controversy was intentionally caused by the actions of a Danish Imam named Ahmed Abu-Laban (for similar arguments, see here and here and here and here).  Cannon refers to wing-bat Canadian columnist David Warren, without question the worst regular newspaper columnist in North America, and a man who, from his writing alone, appears to be completely insane (his columns are so bad that they are regularly made fun of by Canadian satirical magazine Frank by simply copying excerpts from them!).   This lie was concocted to try to hide the guilt of the real perpetrators of the problem, the European newspaper publishers and editors.

It is very easy to disprove the lie.  Ahmed Abu-Laban and other Danish Muslim leaders traveled to the Middle East in December in order to bring the issue to the attention of religious scholars and diplomats in Cairo (see here and, for the intention of the visit, here and here).  The only reason they did so was that similar approaches to Danish officials had got the Muslim community in Denmark absolutely nowhere.  The hope was that Egyptian officials could make some progress with their Danish counterparts.  Again, no progress was made.  At this point the controversy was still relatively restrained, with no riots or violence.

The problems only occurred after mid-January, and only after the offending cartoons were reprinted across Europe, in phony solidarity with the ‘beleaguered’ Danish and Norwegian press (who of course were in no way ‘beleaguered’).  In other words, the timeline conclusively disproves the thesis that Ahmed Abu-Laban caused the problem (the issue has been muddied by the fact that other cartoons and anti-Muslim material was included in the package circulated by the Danish Muslims, a fact which the right-wingers use to claim that the package of materials was misleading).  The information may have led to various governments allowing the riots to occur, but the riots themselves were clearly caused by an escalation of the provocation in Europe, a situation which was part of a conspiracy to continue to raise the issue until a violent response was obtained, thus proving how ‘crazy’ Muslims are, and how they are not fit to live in civilized Europe.  The right-wing thesis is intended to hide the fact that the controversy was intentionally created by anti-immigration and Islamophobic forces in Europe.  The idea that the violence was caused by Ahmed Abu-Laban is in another attempt to blame the victim.