Media: it’s okay to ridicule Christians and Jews

The New Yorker magazine, famed for its funny cartoons, has one in its April 2011 edition that caught my eye. Not for its humor but for its pointedly religious significance. We see Moses, holding the Ten Commandments, standing on a ledge, overlooking masses of people. He says to them:

“Thou shall not create graven images, Ira. Thou shall not take the Lord’s name in vain. Still at you, Ira. Thou shall keep holy the Sabbath. You getting this, Ira?”

Evidently, this is joshing about Moses picking out “Ira” from the crowd for his messages. “Ira” is a Jewish name. You get the point. Biblical joke. Poking fun at Mosaic rule of law. This type of religious humor is rampant in the Western media. Priests, nuns and rabbis are frequently the butt of jokes. This is standard fare from Hollywood and television. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David have made fortunes lampooning their own religious heritage. So why the avoidance of poking fun at Muslims? Why is any attempt to ridicule that religion a no-no?

May I suggest to the fearless cartoon staff at The New Yorker a cartoon that depicts a burqa-clad woman with her son in an Arabic clothing store. She says to him as he is trying on a suicide vest, “Now, that’s perfect for wearing into the Jewish cafe this afternoon.” What are the odds of that making it into their pages?

Muslims threaten death to anyone who ridicules or casts aspersions on their religion. There is no tolerance for such actions. Merely portraying an image of their lord, Allah, or their founder, Mohammed, results in a death sentence for the artist. When Jylland-Posten, a Danish newspaper, printed images of the prophet Mohammed in 1995, Muslims around the world rioted, bombed and burned Danish embassies around the world. When a New York City museum featured an image of Christ in a tank of urine, there was a mild outcry from Christians but no violence. Ditto with a New York City showing of the Virgin Mary with elephant dung incorporated with the image. This is considered “art.” So where is such art concerning the Muslim faith?

Strangely, the media in democratic, free societies around the world cater to the wishes of Muslims. They, in their own way, follow Islamic law by avoiding any controversy with this faith’s rules. This has become accepted behavior by civilized society. It is time for all of us to treat all religions in the same manner. Disrespect for any of them is abhorrent. But, of course, in the Muslim world, there is no such respect for any other faith. Their media are filled with hateful images and articles concerning Judaism, leading their followers to continue believing that the murder of Jews and other infidels is not only proper but called for under Islamic law. It’s time for all of us to wake up!


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Alan Bergstein


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