Palestinian gunmen shut down an EU office in Gaza today, protesting the controversial political cartoon depicting Mohammad with a bomb as a turban that has been published in various newspapers throughout Europe.
From the article:
The gunmen left a notice on the EU office's door that the building would remain closed until Europeans apologize to Muslims, many of whom consider the cartoons offensive. Mask-wearing members of the militant group Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of former Palestinian ruling party Fatah, fired bullets into the air and a man read the group's demands. Palestinian officials said the gunmen were threatening to kidnap European workers if the European Union did not apologize.
Um, hello? This behavior (Using religion to justify death and violence) is exactly what the cartoon, offensive as it may be, was making fun of! Hey, we Christians have done it for centuries, I'm not solely picking on Muslims. I wonder if this sort of thing makes the average Muslim cringe the way I do when I hear about some religious right nutjob using the bible to justify killing gay people or whatever. Probably.
No word on whether or not suicide bombers are planning to protest the fact that they were depicted as Ted Kennedy and John Kerry in a recent Boston Herald cartoon.
Yes, these cartoons are incendiary and offensive, but so is the treatment of women in many Arab nations (zing!). I haven't actually seen the original cartoon, but I'm sure it is distasteful at best and racist at worst, but either way, I'm siding with freedom of speech on this issue. It's Salman Rushdie all over again.