Not to be outdone by mere Arabs with their informal boycotts of Danish goods and recalls of ambassadors an Iranian official has announced a total severing of trade with Denmark over the Mohammed cartoons.
Iran has withdrawn its ambassador to Denmark and Iranian Commerce Minister Massoud Mirkazemi said on Monday that all trade with Denmark had been severed because of the cartoons, first published in September in a Danish newspaper.
"All trade ties with Denmark were cut," he was quoted by the Iranian student news agency ISNA as telling a news conference.
I see this as grandstanding. Lots of newspapers in other European countries have now published the cartoons. Why isn't Iran cutting all trade with Germany, Britain, and France? Well, that'd be a lot more expensive for Iran to do, that's why. But little Luxembourg had better watch out. Lichtenstein and other really small places too. Iran can afford to cut trade with smaller countries and it makes for good political theater for dumb Iranian fundamentalists.
The Financial Times points out the obvious: Islamic hardliners see the cartoons as a great opportunity.
The crisis appears to have become a rallying cry for other grievances and a convenient pretext for hardline governments and groups to advance their political agenda.
The severity of the reaction of rioters and Iran's government helps strengthen the hand of self-styled moderate Muslims as they try to claim they hold a reasonable intermediate ground.
A 300-strong crowd — mainly student members of the Basij militia — torched the facade of a building housing the Austrian Embassy in Tehran and pelted the mission with stones, firecrackers and eggs, smashing all of its windows. Later at night, hundreds of protesters hurled stones and fire bombs at the Danish Embassy but nobody was hurt inside the building as the staff had evacuated.
Denmark told its nationals to avoid Muslim countries. A Foreign Ministry warning, which affects thousands of holidaymakers and business executives, listed 14 countries travelers should avoid. They are Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Sudan, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
Meanwhile, moderate Muslims condemned protesters who have called for ''a 9/11 against Europe" and other violence. But even moderates insisted deeper blame for the escalating disturbances lies with Western political ideals that place press freedoms and other secular liberties above respect for religion. Jyllands- Posten, the Danish newspaper that commissioned the 12 cartoons, did so as a challenge to local Muslims who had discouraged illustrations of Mohammed from appearing in a children's book.
How dare we think that we do not have to kow tow to Muslim beliefs about what is morally right and wrong.
'Yes, the violence is clearly being manipulated by Muslim extremists," said Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, which represents about 400 mosques and Muslim community groups. ''But that doesn't change the genuine hurt and anguish felt by nearly all Muslims.
''This controversy may burn for a very long time unless there is a clear, unequivocal apology from the newspaper editors who have insulted Islam and insulted Muslims," Bunglawala said in an interview from London.
He wants that apology because he wants an admission of moral error. If they win such an admission the Muslims will feel emboldened to claim they have the right to tell us to restrict our freedoms when those freedoms make Muslims feel offended. Well, I have news for the Muslims: I feel offended by the existence of a religion that would seek to violate my basic rights. I think they have a moral obligation to reject their own religion so that my rights will be better protected from moral beliefs that I see as abhorrent.
The prime ministers of Spain and Turkey issued a Christian-Muslim appeal for calm, saying, "We shall all be the losers if we fail to immediately defuse this situation."
But Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that media freedoms cannot be limitless and that hostility against Muslims is replacing anti-Semitism in the West.
Even the so-called moderate Muslims want the Danish paper to admit to moral wrong. The "moderate" Muslims want to establish that they hold the moral high ground, They want us to accept that it is morally wrong to make fun of the founder of their religion. They also want us to accept that since they believe that it is morally wrong to draw their founder we should believe it too. They want their feelings to have primacy. They want their claims of hurt feelings to be reason we should accept their definition of what is morally right and morally wrong. Well, we have enough people in the West who think that hurt feelings are a measure of wrongness done that the Muslims stand a chance of succeeding. This would set a very bad precedent.
Steve Sailer has some excellent insights into the West vs. Islam cartoon battle. Steve says Northwest Europeans are constitutionally (and by that I'm talking human brain, not documents) reluctant to assert their rights and that is why a rights-based system can work in the West.
In a culture like Iraq's where everyone is constantly asserting his and his family's rights at the top of his lungs, it's hard for anyone to have rights if anything is to get done. In a culture like England's where each individual is reticent about asserting his rights or the rights of his family or clan, it's much easier for everyone to have rights.
You can see the problem that then develops when people from the in-your-face end of the gradient immigrate to the feel-your-pain countries. When immigrants bring their Middle Eastern hostility and assertiveness, the natives in the northwest are reluctant to vocally protest right back at them, because, well, it's just not done. They just give them That Look that causes their fellow Northwest Europeans to feel guilty that they've caused their neighbors discomfort. But it doesn't work on the Middle Easterners. They just see the failure of the natives to do anything substantial as proof of their bland white bread inferiority.
But the truly catastrophic problem for the Northwesterners is that their empathy and politeness makes it very difficult for them to publicly discuss the problems that immigration of Middle Easterners causes for them. To say out loud, "Maybe we shouldn't let in more of these people," is seen as being rude toward the people we've already let in. The ones that are already there will get angry and cause a scene, which we just can't bear, so we'd better just not talk about immigration policy at all.
Of course, that means the problem just keeps getting worse.
Now, the Japanese get around this problem by not letting in immigrants at all, not even perfectly pleasant Filipinos. Instead, they build robots and program them to act like Japanese, which is a lot easier on the Japanese and their fragile emotions.
But we are also too reluctant to assert our rights in the face of aggressive Middle Eastern Muslims. I've overcome my own tendencies toward shyness because I think too much is at stake. We simply have to state uncomfortable and impolite truths. Islam is horrible religion that is incompatible with Western society. Middle Easterners have lower IQs than Europeans and they are too dumb to run industrialized countries or to have functioning democracies or to understand just how idiotic and contradictory their religion really is. We need to separate ourselves from them at least until genetic engineering provides a way to make them smarter.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2006 February 06 10:25 PM Civilizations Clash Of|