Irshad Debates

This is a riveting debate on the whole cartoon issue between my friend, Irshad Manji, and As'ad AbuKhalil, professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. Her website is here. His is here. I have yet to find an opponent of Jyllands-Posten's decision to publish the cartoons who is prepared to defend the mob violence and intimidation that has ensued. What I find instead is a mealy-mouthed equation between "extremists on both sides." I find the equivalence troubling. There is simply no equivalence between people who merely want to publish and people who use the veiled threat of violence to intimidate them. But I have learned one thing: I wasn't as aware as I should have been of the razor-edge sensitivity of many Muslims to any depiction of their faith that is not completely orthodox. All I can say is that a self-confident faith is not this defensive and touchy. It can and must brush off provocation, or be consumed by it. Whem more Muslims can look at a banal cartoon of Muhammad with the same equanimity that most Catholics experience when viewing South Park's bleeding Virgin Mary, we will live in a calmer, safer world.