The Guardian has been a bastion of faitheism and mush-headed religous apologetics, the home of Madeleine Bunting, Andrew Brown, and now — the ultimate apologist — Nancy Graham Holm. In a piece published today, called “Prejudiced Danes provoke fanaticism,” Holm blames the recent Muslim attack on Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard on “prejudiced Danes” who “failed to respect religious belief.” (Westergaard is the cartoonist who depicted Muhamed wearing a bomb in his turban.) The Danes shouldn’t have humiliated Muslims! The Danes brought this on themselves! If only they’d just shut up about religion!
Why did the editors of Jyllands-Posten want to mock Islam in this way? Some of us believed it was in bad taste and also cruel. Intentional humiliation is an aggressive act. As a journalist now living in the same town as Westergaard, I thought some at Jyllands-Posten had acted like petulant adolescents. Danes fail to perceive the fact that they have developed a society deeply suspicious of religion. This is the real issue between Denmark and Muslim extremists, not freedom of speech. The free society precept is merely an attempt to give the perpetrators the moral high ground when actually it is a smokescreen for a deeply rooted prejudice, not against Muslims, but against religion per se. Muslims are in love with their faith. And many Danes are suspicious of anyone who loves religion.
Holm’s piece is contemptible nonsense, disgusting even by the low standards of religious writing in the Guardian. What the cartoons expressed was not “intentional humiliation,” but criticism of a sexist, oppressive, and lethal form of Islam. And by blaming Islamic reaction on the Danes themselves, Holm allies herself with those religious loons who find “offense” everywhere, and with the benighted Irish who passed the blasphemy law.
My online dictionary defines “prejudice” as “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason and actual experience.” Where do the cartoonists’ sentiments about Islam come from, if not from experience?