Cartoon Jihad

BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

Cartoon Jihad

Revenge attacks over depictions of Muhammad prove that war between Islam and Europe is inevitable.
From the April 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

Muslims want domination. If the infidels won’t submit, then they want war.

Political correctness shuns such statements. But the violence and carnage unleashed in retaliation for the publication of a few cartoons proves these statements are true of many powerfully influential Muslim leaders and their followers.

They are true enough, in fact, that war is inevitable.

While many in the West apologetically bend over backward trying to explain how the yawning Judeo-Christian/Muslim divide is no clash of civilizations, Muslims push their strategy for civilizational domination on several fronts.

Push is just the word for it. It is the word the Prophet Daniel used in foretelling the actions of the force of radical Islam in our day. Daniel 11:40 is a scripture that regular Trumpet readers know well. Radicals will push until they achieve domination or war.

Nervousness

If you have not seen the cartoons, you might make the effort to do so. Keep in mind their origin: A Danish author of children’s books wanted to produce a book about the life of Muhammad but couldn’t find a willing artist, since many Muslims believe that illustrations of Muhammad are forbidden by the Koran. (They are not.) Some artists refused the job for fear of suffering the same fate as Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh (who, for producing a film that offended Muslims, was shot with a barrage of bullets, had his throat slit, was stabbed in the chest and left for dead with two knives planted in his torso on Nov. 2, 2004). Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported the story and initiated a debate over how much Danes should censor themselves in the name of cultural pluralism. The paper’s editor requested a cartoon about Muhammad from Denmark’s 40 syndicated cartoonists; 12 accepted the invitation. Jyllands-Posten published their work last September.

To a Western mind, these cartoons are tame, innocuous, even timid. They demonstrate religious insensitivity less than they reveal the climate of terror that radical Islam has already created within Europe. One depicts a cartoonist hunched over his drawing of Islam’s prophet, nervously looking over his shoulder for fear of attack.

That cartoon was the most prophetic of the lot.

Rage

Small local protests began immediately, but the newspaper stood by its right to print the images. Ambassadors from Iran and several other Islamic countries sought a meeting with the Danish prime minister to demand that the paper be prosecuted. The prime minister refused.

Then, a group of Danish imams traveled to Saudi Arabia and Egypt in order to circulate the drawings—along with a number of truly inflammatory drawings it deceitfully claimed had also been published. The images began spreading via the Internet throughout the Muslim world. Hatred and outrage grew like snakes in an incubator. Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador, and Libya shut its embassy in Denmark.

In a show of solidarity with Jyllands-Posten, other European newspapers took a rare stand on free-speech grounds and republished the cartoons. Radical Muslim leaders essentially took this as their cue to unleash a firestorm, whipping their followers the world over into a white-hot rage. In Iran, a special suicide bombing course was created to exact revenge on the Danes, drawing scores of Iranian students—including women—to register for “martyrdom-seeking operations” training. One prominent Iranian newspaper sponsored a competition for fresh cartoons about the Holocaust—to test the West’s commitment to free speech. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad banned Danish imports and halted all trade and business ties with the country in an effort to place Iran at the head of the anti-Denmark campaign. Countries such as Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar stepped in line behind Tehran’s boycott. Protesters in Syria and Lebanon firebombed Danish embassies. Muslim journalists were arrested for republishing the cartoons in Jordan, Algeria and Yemen.

Rallies rolled across northern Africa and spread as far south as Kenya. In Nigeria, which is half Muslim and half Christian, Muslims torched churches and targeted Christian businesses, killing over 120 people. Riots and demonstrations cut a swath of anger across Asia: through Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, China and Russia. Indonesian protesters attacked the U.S. Embassy, claiming the cartoons were masterminded by the American government. Muslims brandishing placards and shouting slogans such as “Death to Denmark!” and “Butcher those who mock Islam” set fire to buildings representing Western infiltration including cinemas, music and video stores, banks, fast-food restaurants, gas stations and mobile phone outlets. While they were at it, they burned effigies of the Danish prime minister and one of the cartoonists. An Indian court sentenced the artists to death; the Indian minister for Ethnic Minorities offered a bounty of $11.5 million—plus the weight of the murderer in solid gold.

Calculation

This violence was not spontaneous emotional reaction to the sight of a few cartoons. It was rooted in organized efforts by influential Islamist leaders to shore up their position against the West. In the vanguard is Iran. President Ahmadinejad called the controversy “a blessing from God.”

In the words of analysts at Stratfor, “As Iran moves toward a confrontation with the United States over nuclear weapons, this helps to rally the Muslim world to its side: Iran wants to be viewed as the defender of Islam, and [other Muslim factions] are now seeing Iran as the leader in outrage against Europe” (February 7). Iranian author Amir Taheri offered this assessment: “People watching tv news may think that the whole Muslim world is ablaze with righteous rage translated into ‘spontaneous demonstrations.’” He says that, in fact, the demonstrations have been deliberately “put on by the radicals and the Iranian and Syrian security services” (New York Post, February 9).

Iran’s aggressive moves are, in fact, forcing the radicalization of moderate Muslims. Extremists are attacking non-action as being tantamount to tolerating the defamation of Mohammad—turning the matter into a “test of authenticity for Muslims,” as Stratfor put it (op. cit.).

Europe, the primary object of this maelstrom of anger, also faced mass rioting by Muslims within its own borders in England, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Austria and Belgium. London’s mayor joined thousands of protesters in Trafalgar Square carrying signs saying such things as “Massacre those who insult Islam.” Several Europeans have received death threats or are the objects of fatwas calling for their assassinations.

Europeans have responded to these terrifying events in two very different ways.

The first of those reactions plays directly into the hands of those Muslims who want to dominate the infidels—that is, abject submission.

Prostration

Islam seeks to spread itself worldwide. Within Islamic law, non-Muslims can assume a state called “dhimmitude.” It is a subordinate social state based on a koranic verse requiring Muslims to fight non-Muslims until they are humbled—which, in the words of medieval koranic commentator Ibn Kathir, means “with willing submission,” “in defeat and subservience,” and “subdued—disgraced, humiliated and belittled.” As long as they accept this status, “dhimmis” are officially tolerated.

This is essentially the miserable state to which some European leaders have already descended, as their response to the cartoon jihad illustrates.

Vebjørn Selbekk, editor of Norway’s Magazinet, was first to reprint the cartoons after Jyllands-Posten. Though he received death threats from Islamists and pressure from the government to apologize, he refused—until February 10, that is. At a hastily called press conference, “Surrounded by cabinet ministers and a phalanx of imams, [Selbekk] issued an abject public apology for reprinting the Danish Muhammad cartoons,” wrote columnist Mark Steyn. “… Mr. Selbekk was prevailed upon to recant and the head of Norway’s Islamic Council, Mohammed Hamdan, graciously accepted the apology and assured the prostrate editor that he was now under his personal protection” (Chicago Sun-Times, February 19). Steyn then quoted an American author: “It was a picture right out of a sharia courtroom.” Norway’s Islamic leaders were delighted.

Similar acts of dhimmitude were undertaken by other European nations. In Italy, Muslims blamed violence in Libya on the Italian reform minister because he wore a T-shirt imprinted with one of the offending cartoons; the minister succumbed to pressure to resign his post. In several countries, officials defended “free speech” while cautioning that it must be exercised “responsibly”—meaning, in accordance with Muslim law. Franco Frattini, the European Union commissioner for freedom and security, proposed a charter that would force journalists to exercising “prudence” in covering Islam and other religions—though, in response to a barrage of criticism, he later tried to backtrack.

An increasing majority of Europeans view this weakness in certain of their leaders with embarrassment and disgust—creating a reaction of intolerance toward Muslim sensitivities. The New York Times talks of “a growing grass-roots backlash against the multiculturalism that has spread through Europe over the past 20 years. People are increasingly challenging the care taken in Nazi-chastened Europe, and in France in particular, to avoid the sort of racial or religious insults that led to widespread protests in the Muslim world …” (February 28).

In Germany and a few other countries, you do not see the cowering toward dhimmitude that infected Norway. There, you more generally see the second of the two European reactions to the cartoon controversy—indignation and anger, trending toward firm action.

Vengeance

More and more, Europeans are realizing that those voices calling for greater sensitivity to Muslims—as if that would prevent the problem from ever breaking out again—simply do not understand the nature of what they are up against: a religion that seeks to convert or subjugate all non-Muslims. A European culture that would be sufficiently “sensitive” to Islamic law would quite frankly be one in subjugation to Islamic law—and anything short of that is going to produce clashes of the sort we are witnessing today.

The cartoon jihad is actually the latest in a series of events that has put Muslims and Europeans on a collision course: the Van Gogh assassination; the Madrid bombing; the London bombing; the France riots. These have each served as flash points, punctuating and exacerbating an increasing discomfort among Europeans with the fact that their homelands house 20 million more Muslims today than 30 years ago, that Islam has grown to become Europe’s second-largest religion, that trying to accommodate Muslims seems only to increase their lust for more accommodations.

In the long run, Europeans simply will not abide such circumstances. Even before this latest incident, the popularity of right-wing, anti-immigration political platforms was rising among voters. Many European leaders have been taking action, establishing stronger anti-terrorism forces, increasing their police’s freedom to act against Islamist elements, expelling radical Muslims from their midst. “Welcome to the end of tolerance,” Newsweek International writes, “or at least to the nonnegotiable limits to what Europeans will tolerate. … After decades of relatively unfettered immigration and cultural laissez faire when it came to accepting people of differing values and social mores, there are signs that a potentially ugly backlash is setting in” (March 6).

A February 27 meeting of the EU’s foreign ministers—not the toughest, straightest-talking bunch, by any measure—is an interesting illustration of how the cartoons have strengthened this trend. In composing a statement about the crisis, the ministers scrupulously avoided anything that could be construed as an apology for the drawings. This was a tame, politicized representation of a positively defiant populist reaction in Europe. Muslim anger over the cartoons has created a toughening of Europeans’ attitudes toward what they view more and more as an alien and hostile culture. As Muslims decry insensitivity toward their faith, Europeans argue that the case is a matter of freedom of speech—that no culture should trump the cardinal principles of democracy. They view the fear and subjugation some EU leaders are entrapped in as just as much a problem as the violence that created the fear.

A growing number of Europeans simply will not let Muslims dictate what it means to be European. These angry citizens represent the majority. It is their swelling numbers and hardening attitudes that portend the future of this crisis.

With the cartoon controversy, it appears we have crossed a threshold in the clash of civilizations. Rather than dissipating, the crisis grows, with both sides bunkering down in their positions.

There are, in fact, few signs that either side wants the crisis to dissipate—certainly not at the cost of compromising or backing down.

How can this situation not lead, eventually, to war?

If Islamic leaders can use cartoons as a pretense to inflame the hatreds of Muslims to the point that they are baying for blood, it is only a matter of time before Europeans decide that they have simply had enough of this nonsense, and that it is time to strike back.

That is exactly what was proposed by Roberto Calderoli, a member of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s cabinet. In the words of Spiegel Online, Calderoli “called in all seriousness for Pope Benedict xvi to lead the Christian world against the ‘threat of Islam’ just has his predecessors did in the 16th and 17th centuries. Just as a major reaction was necessary then to beat back the Turks from the gates of Vienna, Calderoli said, counter-measures are necessary” (February 14).

The response from the Muslim to this threat was telling. “Berlusconi must fire his minister and ask Islam for forgiveness,” demanded Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi. Otherwise, he threatened, “Libya, the Arabic world, and Islam would be forced to react” (ibid.).

These are voices from two civilizations on a collision course.

Of the significance of the current Islamic situation, Stratfor stated: “What is new is the breadth of the Muslim response and the fact that it is directed obsessively not against the United States, but against European states” (op. cit.; emphasis mine). That takes us back to Daniel’s prophecy of the “push.” This is an aggressive foreign policy exercised by an Islamic king of the south against a European power that will ignite world war! For now, Europe is responding with defiant speeches—but it won’t stop there. At some point, the radicals will push too far.

The outrage on both sides of this issue may calm down in the short term, but it is only a matter of time before another incident brings the simmering hatreds right back to a boil. Soon, the lid will blow off completely. The narrative of end-time events provided by biblical prophecy explicitly describes a dramatic clash between the most violent of Islamic forces and the European beast they are already beginning to provoke. Watch for it.

Muslims want domination. If the infidels won’t submit, then they want war. Prophecy shows they are going to get it.