But Ma. Ceres P. Doyo of PDI writing today in Human Face - Caricature asks the gently devastating question:
What is more blasphemous: those pen-and-ink doodles of the Prophet Mohammed (offensive they may be to the Muslims), or the killing of thousands of innocents by terrorists who wrongly invoke Islam? Where is the worldwide Islamic outrage over the latter?
As ideological battlelines harden over the issue, it may do well to refer to this Timeline of Events--
Financial Times of London (Feb.15,2006)In a Letter to the Editor, Gonaranao B. Musor foreign service officer, Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Coordination, Department of Foreign Affairs, writes --
TIMELINE: How the Cartoon Crisis Unfolded
Sep 17 2005: Politiken, a Danish newspaper, runs an article under the headline ”Deep fear of criticism of Islam”, detailing the difficulty encountered by the writer Kåre Bluitgen, who had difficulties finding an illustrator for his children’s book on the life of Mohammed.
Sep 30: Jyllands-Posten, one of Denmark’s best-selling daily newspapers, publishes 12 cartoons of the prophet to illustrate the problem.
Oct 12: Ambassadors from 10 mainly Muslim nations and the Palestinian representative in Denmark call the cartoons deeply offensive and demand a meeting with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, urging him “to take all those responsible to task”.
Oct 21: Mr Rasmussen says offended parties should use the courts to air their grievances and refuses to meet the ambassadors.
Oct 28: A coalition of Danish Muslim groups files a criminal complaint against Jyllands-Posten newspaper. A regional prosecutor investigates the complaint, but decides not to press charges.
Dec: The Danish Muslim coalition visits the Middle East. seeking support from religious and political leaders.
Jan 1 2006: Mr Rasmussen condemns any actions that “attempt to demonise groups of people on the basis of their religion or ethnic background,’’ but reiterates Denmark’s commitment to freedom of speech.
Jan 4: Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League, joins the protests.
Jan 10: Magazinet, a Norwegian Christian newspaper, reprints the cartoons.
Jan 25: Saudi Arabia’s religious leaders demand an apology and call for the Jyllands-Posten newspaper to be punished.
Jan 26: Saudi ambassador is recalled from Copenhagen. Danish companies in Riyadh report a boycott of Danish goods and supermarkets remove products from the shelves.
Jan 27: Protests begin to spread across the Middle East
Jan 30: Jyllands-Posten publishes a statement on its website, saying it regretted offending Muslims and offered an apology, but said it had a right under Danish law to print the cartoons.
Jan 31: Mr Rasmussen calls for calm in the dispute, but the Danish Muslims group say the Jyllands-Posten apology is “ambiguous” and demands a clearer one.
Feb 1 - 2: Media in France, Germany, Britain, Spain, the US, Iceland, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Hungary, reprint the cartoons.
Feb 2: France Soir, a Paris daily tabloid, sacks its managing editor for publishing the drawings, but defends its right to print them. In Jordan, the weekly newspaper Shihan’ publishes them with an editorial by former Jordanian senator Jihad Momani but later withdraws issues from circulation.
Feb 3: Danish prime minister meets ambassadors and diplomats from more than 70 countries. Mona Omar Attia, Egypt’s ambassador says the Danish government’s response is inadequate.
Feb 4: A South African court prohibits newspapers from publishing the cartoons. Protesters in Damascus attack the Danish and Norwegian embassies. Mr Momani and Mr Hisham Khalid, editor of al-Mehwar, another Jordanian weekly that published the cartoons, are arrested and charged with insulting religion.
Feb 5: Protestors storm the Danish Embassy in Beirut. One person is left dead and several are injured. Iran recalls its ambassador to Denmark. Denmark says it is withdrawing diplomatic staff from Syria and recommending Danes leave the country. Norway confirms it is taking the same action with diplomatic staff in Syria.
Feb 6: Lebanon apologises to Denmark. EU leaders call for calm. Protests erupt in Afghanistan where one person died. Danish and Austrian embassies attacked in Tehran.
Feb 7: Peter Mandelson, EU trade chief, warns Iran against suspension of trade with Denmark. Norwegian NATO peacekeepers attacked in Afghanistan as demonstrations escalate. Austria, holders of the EU presidency, demand Muslim states improve security measures for European citizens and premises after Norwegian embassy is attacked in Tehran.
Feb 8: The US accused Syria and Iran of inciting violence among Muslims over caricatures. Three more people were killed in fresh protests in Afghanistan and French President Jacques Chirac condemned “overt provocations” as Charlie Hebdo, the satirical weekly, reprinted the images.
Feb 9: The international row spilled over into the creation of a new UN Human Rights Council. Hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims turned a religious ceremony in Lebanon into an anti-western cartoon protest.
Feb 10: Danish embassies are targeted in both Kenya - where police fire live rounds and teargas at hundreds of protesting Muslims - and in Bangladesh, where Indian police clash with about 10,000 people.
Feb 11 Denmark recalls, ambassadors and embassy staff from Syria, Indonesia and Iran over security concerns.
Feb 12: Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, said violence sparked by the cartoons could get out of control and urged governments, especially Iran and Syria, to “act responsibly” and refrain from encouraging demonstrations.
Feb 13 Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general, said that Iran, Syria and other governments that failed to protect foreign embassies from mobs should pay for the damage.
Feb 14 Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Commission chief, backed Denmark, saying that freedom of speech cannot be compromised. But in fresh violence, two people were killed in the Pakistani city of Lahore, despite a province-wide ban on demonstrations. German embassy attacked in Tehran.
Feb 15 Three more people died in violence as outlets of the Norwegian phone company Telenor, a US KFC fast food restaurant and banks were ransacked and set alight in Pakistan.
An important religious figure, Prophet Mohammed is considered by Muslims the messenger of Allah. However, Islam also maintains that the Prophet, a human being, should not be deified. That is why visual representations of Prophet Mohammed, whether through photos or drawings, are considered blasphemous -- to prevent Muslims from resorting to idolatry. Aside from being blasphemous, the various depictions of Prophet Mohammed in the cartoons perpetuated some of the common, unfair Muslim stereotypes that are downright disrespectful, offensive and discriminatory.There's that magic word again: responsibility.
Press freedom entails the exercise of great responsibility. It is not a matter of which side you are with, or of simply offending others in the exercise of one’s duty as a journalist. It is basically about respecting all faiths, regardless of whether a journalist subscribes to it or not. The enjoyment of freedom should not be at the expense of other people’s beliefs. Freedom without limits can lead to chaos and anarchy.
Under the present 1987 Constitution (Section 4, Article 3, Bill of Rights), one reads, "No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances."
In the ill-fated draft Constitution of Jose Abueva's Consultative Commission, "No law shall be passed abridging the responsible exercise of the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances."
This small addition of two words -- "responsible exercise" -- to the freedom of expression provision of the Bill of Rights last month earned almost universal derision from the Philippine Press.
Tony Lopez of the Manila Times called it a "naughty constitution" --
The cabal of Jose Abueva, the Con-Com chair, thinks that freedoms and human rights are not inherent rights of the people but grants from the government, and thus their exercise is subject to conditions, like being a responsible person.Ellen Tordesillas of Malaya savaged Jose Abueva with --
We thought that the postponement of the 2007 elections was the most idiotic of the Con-Com recommendations led by Jose Abueva, who strikes us as being up in the air and whose only concern is to make us laboratory rats to his idea of parliamentary-federal government. He doesn’t care if in making his dream come true, we lose our cherished freedom and basic rights. But the proposed change in the freedom of expression provision strikes at the core of our basic rights as a citizen of a democratic country. The key change here is in the word “responsible.” Who will determine what is responsible exercise of freedom of speech? Who will determine what is a responsible press. Who will determine responsible petition for redress of grievances? Gloria Arroyo?Well, certainly not someone who wants to behead journalists and cartoonists, or those who would compromise in the name of Religion, freedoms they themselves have cherished in the name of Politics and Economics.
PDI on the Separation of Church and Press
The Responsible Journalism of Conrado de Quiros
Freedom of Religion IS Freedom of Expression
Danish Cartoons Broke the Muslim Taboo On Idolatry
It's Capital Blasphemy Just To Describe the Cartoons