Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sooner Or Later
One Side Will Have To Give Ground
A Lot Of Ground

Rob Liddle discusses the controversy over the publishing of Mohammed cartoons in Denmark. From the Spectator, via Fjordman:

Why bother to draw Mohammed at all if it offends people and doesn’t really reveal very much? The Danes are mulling this over at the moment. Their largest circulation daily newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, invited a bunch of cartoonists to depict Mohammed and went ahead and published their efforts.

The paper insists that it did not want to cause trouble. Its journalistic editor, Joern Mikkelson, told me that he was ‘sad’ that people were offended. They decided to commission the cartoons when it was revealed that a book critical of Islam and due to be published in Denmark had trouble finding a translator, and even more trouble finding an illustrator: people were too scared to do it. ‘We felt the need to bring this to public discussion,’ said Mr Mikkelson ...

Far more than in France, the controversy in Denmark epitomises the problem of Western, liberal countries that have a growing and increasingly confident and, you might argue, vociferous, conservative Muslim population. There is no easy consensus between the two sides, no matter how loudly government ministers and (largely) self-appointed Muslim community leaders insist otherwise.

We believe in profoundly different things and you can paper over the cracks only for so long; there is a gulf, and it is widening. Sooner or later one side will have to give ground, a lot of ground.

The recent government proposals for a law against blasphemy, an edict against ridiculing the beliefs of other people, leads me to suspect that over here, at least, it will be the secular democrats who cede territory.