Blasphemy's Long, Sordid History

By (now, Allan Levine; logo), then | Winnipeg Free Press, September 28, 2012 | Go to article overview

Blasphemy's Long, Sordid History


(now, Allan Levine, logo), then, Winnipeg Free Press


The last time parts of the Islamic world were as angry as they are now about the amateur film Innocence of the Muslims, which insults the Prophet Muhammad, was nearly 25 years ago after Salman Rushdie had published his controversial novel The Satanic Verses.

So outraged were Islamic clerics that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa, putting a bounty on the author's head. Rushdie was forced to live under armed protection in Britain for the next decade. The fatwa and threat of assassination was eased in 1998, permitting Rushdie to emerge from seclusion.

In the wake of this recent explosion of fury, an Iranian religious foundation has uppede a reward for killing Rushdie to $3.3 million.

In between Rushdie and the film, there was also the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh for his involvement in the short documentary Submission about the abusive treatment of women in Muslim countries, and the worldwide protests over a series of satirical and provocative political cartoons published in a Danish newspaper.

Innocence of Muslims, which can be found on YouTube, is so awful that a film produced by a class of middle-school students certainly would be of much higher quality. Watching the television news coverage of the massive street crowds protesting the film, two facts seem apparent: First, in all likelihood a majority of the protesters have not even seen it, but have merely accepted the official propaganda about it, an opportune way for local governments to distract the mobs from more immediate and pressing domestic issues; and second, the film is a convenient excuse to vent the continuing hostility against the United States, Israel and so-called immoral western values.

In the most recent developments, a government minister in Pakistan has offered a $100,000 reward for the death of the American producer of the film, and Egypt's prosecutor general has issued arrest warrants for those connected to it.

As blasphemous as the video is, we are witnessing a grandly disproportional response.

True, Hindus and Muslims have battled each other and attacked Christians in India on several occasions in the past 20 years. Still, it is difficult to imagine the type of rioting and protests currently taking place on such a colossal scale (or the arising death threats) among Christians and Jews and other religions as a direct response to a similarly offensive film or novel about these groups' particular deity or beliefs.

In the West, it took centuries of war and bloodshed to achieve liberal democracy and the attainment of such freedoms as expression, press, religion, and association. In 1765, 25 years before the French Revolution toppled the French monarchy and its organizers wrote the inspirational Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, Franßois-Jean Lefebvre de La Barre, a young French nobleman, was tortured, beheaded and burned together with a copy of Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary. His crime: He allegedly had not removed his hat during a religious procession. Closer to home, in 1832, three Lower-Canadian (Quebec) journalists were sent to prison for a month for writing what the courts considered to be defamatory editorials critical of the government.

Since then, citizen action has fought for, sometimes violently, a more liberal interpretation of these rights and freedoms. It has been the role of governments and the courts to reflect such demands, but it has been a gradual process. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Blasphemy's Long, Sordid History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.