This is my last post on this subject.
No! This and other similar actions do not help anything! It detracts from valid criticisms and merely proves "their" point. When the issue blows over, it won't be Indonesians, Palestinians or Saudis who will carry the can, but Danish Muslims (though I wonder how the EU will react to the issue of Palestinian funding?). Burning effigies, supposedly of the Danish Prime Minister, achieves what? (Side note: even as a Muslim of Pakistani origin I have never understood the Muslim fascination with burning things.) If Muslims are asking for Danes and others to show understanding about Islam, then I don't see why Muslims can't show understanding about Danish and wider European society. There is nothing the Danish Prime Minister could have done to the newspaper or its editors or its journalists or the cartoonists. Can this point be appreciated by Muslims who don't live in Europe? Do Muslims want to appreciate this point? None of this detracts from the Muslims being allowed protest or Danish Muslims making petitions to their government.
Secondly, the principle that people 'on the other side' should really be defending isn't some empty platitude about "freedom of expression" but that of a press free from state intrusion. This is a real and practicle freedom (right) that I do defend (and something many Muslim living in oppressive states would agree with, I think.)
Thirdly, some bloggers, including Muslims, have mentioned that the boycott of Danish goods is unfair, even hypocritical. Although I am not in on the boycott myself (I don't eat Danish bacon nor do I drink Carslberg) and I have no qualms about Muslims boycotting these goods (that's perfectly their right to do so, especially in today's economic and political setup), on reflection I would agree it is unfair.
And finally, some words from other bloggers:
The Neurocentric: "Personally I believe there must be better ways to honour our blessed Prophet, peace be upon him, than to violently demand a non-Muslim newspaper observes Islamic principles of not depicting the Prophets. Islam has always prohibited this because it wanted to prevent its followers from taking them as objects of worship down the line. That’s not unreasonable, if you think of the way Iconography has been used in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions of Christianity. But would we not be better off honouring Muhammed, peace be upon him, by living as he lived, trying to curb our anger and observing patience? But then again, that seems to be what Muslims are saying on the blogs I’ve read. Only time will tell, of course; tomorrow’s Jummah and we’ll see if we have a ritual bonfire of tubs of Lurpak in the car park. We’ll see."
Yusuf: "Vanessa Feltz, who has a phone-in show on the BBC's London radio station, has jumped in on the Danish cartoon controversy [...] The discussion on the Feltz show more than once made mention of the idea that people are afraid of Muslims' power, which is why, according to them, the media are shy of reprinting these cartoons here and might have been the reason the cartoons were printed in the first place: to challenge this "Muslim power", in a country where, as Svend points out, Muslims are increasingly victims of prejudice and racism - as they have been across Europe. It's a myth that Muslims are particularly powerful even in the UK; we have only a handful of Muslims in Parliament and our community representative bodies are commonly ridiculed in the media. Muslims are in part responsible for this situation, given the difficulty Muslim candidates have in getting elected (in some cases because some Pakistanis would prefer to vote for a non-Muslim than for a Muslim of a different biraderi), but "Muslim power" is a myth all the same."
Pickled Politics: "While I’m on the side of FoS [freedom of speech], to pretend there are absolutely no taboos within European media is ludicrous. It is just a matter of which ones you choose to break."
Yakoub: "There is an intellectual blindness and willful ignorance at the heart of the decision by many European newspaper editors to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad (aws) in the name of freedom of speech. This kind of ‘freedom’ is in no way different from the freedom exercised by tabloid journalists who camp out on ordinary people's doorsteps, or whip up public frenzy over paedophiles until - inevitably - some poor old perv is murdered and a couple of dupes end up doing 25 for being guilty of allowing their violent mendacity to be manipulated by those who should know better [...] Freedom of speech is, fundamentally, the right to speak truth to power. Thankfully, the UK is not such a bad place to be if you are a European Muslim, but elsewhere on this supposedly enlightened continent, being Muslim is too often an excuse to be shat upon from a great height. Muslims are not in a position of power here, or anywhere. I wonder what would happen if some brave hack decided to publish a cartoon of the Queen giving Prince Charles a blow job?"
The Disillusioned Kid: "If any of you are looking for a simplistic black and white response to this controversy I'm afraid you'll be sorely disappointed. (I'm sure you'll be able to find plenty of them elsewhere, mind.) Our mission (should we chose to accept it) is to defend freedom of speech while doing everything we can to scupper the plans of those who would abuse it to peddle their racist dross. Same as ever really."
Osama: "At the same time though, I would advise many in the Muslim world to calm down. Some even seem to have jumped onto the death threats bandwagon. Just as the West needs to get to grips with the psychology of the Muslim world, the Muslim world also needs to understand the mores in the West. Taking entire nations to task over the actions of one newspaper is idiotic, and withdrawing your ambassadors in protest, as Saudi Arabia did from Denmark, says everything you need to know about the state of play in their rancid dictatorships [...] Too often we're now seeing people completely misunderstanding what each other are saying. I'm coming to a conclusion that leaders in the Muslim world should simply stop commenting on European and US issues, and leave that to the large Muslim communities that reside here." [my emphasis -- an excellent point]
Razib: "First, hallelujah that European newspapers are standing up for freedom of speech on principle. Second, on the owner of the French newspaper, it was his right to do what he did, I won't attack him for it, newspapers are about money as well as principle, though I'm not totally sure that the monetary utilitarian calculus here works out (a) how many Muslims read this paper? b) is the negative publicity bad publicity? c) do enough non-Muslim French stand ready to show solidarity with their Muslim co-citizens?). But, the point about "convictions of every individual" is important, the reason that freedom of speech is important is because it is in part about the individual being able to say what they want in contradiction of public mores and sensibilities."