What I present to you today is the introduction and conclusion of my creator Grace’s extensive research on the Middle East. After much slaving, starving and hard, hard work, she has finally finished all her source cards, research cards and paraphrasing, and is ready to present her introduction and conclusion.
Her research question was:
What were people’s reactions to the Prophet Muhammad cartoon controversy in 2006? Why were their reactions different?
Here’s her introduction:In September 2006, a Danish daily paper named Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoons. These were no ordinary cartoons: they depicted the Prophet Muhammad. What’s more, the way the cartoons were presented was offensive to many, especially Muslims, whose religion dictates that the holy Prophet should not be represented in any visual form. There was much debate about the Danish paper’s right to publish such cartoons. The Muslims largely boycotted Denmark and protested with demonstrations, riots and attacks. Many Europeans, however, along with the Danish, stated that the cartoons were published on free-speech grounds. The debate eventually escalated into a huge crisis between the West and Muslims. I decided to do some extensive research into the reactions of various people from different places, as well as learn the reasons for their varying reactions.
Now that you’ve gotten a brief insight into her research, here’s her conclusion:Different parties had different reactions to the cartoon controversy. Majority of the Muslim populations in the world protested against the cartoons’ publication, to the extent of a paper in Jordan describing the Danish journalists as ‘scum’. However, the Danish, along with many Europeans, were defensive too. The Danish government defended the Jyllands-Posten, saying that despite causing provocation, they had done nothing illegal and therefore, the Danish government could not be held responsible for the publication(s) of the cartoons. Their reactions were impacted by different factors. Primarily, a party’s religion affects his/her reaction to the cartoon controversy. Muslims were shown to have an angrier reaction to it than others because it deeply aggravated them and offended their religion. Also, a party’s nationality or life experiences could have an impact on their reaction. If one was from a Muslim country, one might feel differently from another who had spent time in Denmark, for example. Through studying many parties’ reactions as well as having the chance to view the cartoons themselves, I’ve come to form a personal opinion that while there was nothing wrong with the Danish proclaiming their freedom of speech, it was morally incorrect of them, as well as the other countries which published the cartoons in their papers, to disrespect another religion. I agree with France’s Le Figaro paper, which stated that it is possible to misuse freedom of speech. To quote French chief rabbi Joseph Sitruk, the right of satire (which is what the Danish cartoons were) ends where it causes provocation. I feel that the Danish’s freedom of speech ended where what they said/published started to offend others.
I hope that through her introduction and conclusion, you have started to think about the implications of misusing a basic right and how widespread the consequences of doing so can be.
With much love,