Why Muslims demonstrated in Philadelphia

In the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, private security guards killed two protesters as they tried to set fire to a bank during nationwide anti-Western demonstration

The US has more Muslims (or so it is alleged by Muslim groups) than France, Germany or any other place in Europe. Here's an image you won't see in America:

So after the Philadelphia Inquirer became the first major US paper to publish the Mohammed cartoons (1), what happened? No riots, but there was a peaceful demonstration:

Hundreds of Muslims chanted and carried banners and signs outside the Inquirer-Daily News Building yesterday, protesting The Inquirer's decision to reprint a caricature of the prophet Muhammad.

It ran in The Inquirer on Feb. 4 with a story about the dilemma faced by the media over reprinting the cartoon. The image was accompanied by a note, which said, in part, "The Inquirer intends no disrespect to the religious beliefs of any of its readers."

Inquirer editor Amanda Bennett, publisher Joe Natoli, and deputy managing editor Carl Lavin meandered through the crowd yesterday, introducing themselves and thanking people for coming. "I think this is really an opportunity to build some bridges," Bennett said.

Demonstrators were orderly, lining both sides of Broad Street and standing on the median. A few passing cars honked in support as people hoisted signs reading "Respect all prophets" and "Say no to Inquirer." A large banner proclaimed: "Humiliating Prophets is not Freedom of Speech."

Some people passed out literature, and speakers addressed the crowd on megaphones, several calling for a boycott of The Inquirer. Some protesters said they had canceled their subscriptions. A few admitted that they had not seen the issue of the paper that included the cartoon.

"We ask for an apology from The Inquirer because they knew the insult they were heaping on the Muslims," Imam Asim Abdur-Rashid of Philadelphia told the crowd.

Philadelphia police estimated that as many as 500 people participated yesterday. A smaller demonstration on Monday included more than two dozen people.

One flyer passed out yesterday bore photos of Bennett, Natoli and managing editor Anne Gordon next to a photo of Hitler. But most of the signs and literature called for the respect of Islam.

Word about yesterday's planned protest had spread at mosques in the area during Friday afternoon prayers.

At Al-Aqsa, a Girard Avenue mosque with 700 members, most of them Arab American, the call to protest came with an appeal for civility and calm.

The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a fighter against negative images of Muslims in the media, is not supporting a boycott of The Inquirer.

"Of course we are offended," said Adeeba Al-Zaman, communications director in Philadelphia for the group. "We are upset as Muslims."

But, she said, "there is a diversity of opinion in the Muslim community" about how to respond to The Inquirer's publication of the cartoon. Instead of a protest, CAIR will hold a town hall meeting today at 3 p.m. at Irvine Auditorium at the University of Pennsylvania. CAIR and other American Muslim groups emphasize that they condemn any violent responses to publication of the cartoons in Europe.

[from philly.com - the article is no longer available on the Internet]

In one of the comments above, a commenter said, "to have a picture of the prophet with a bomb on his head is a generalization of ALL Muslims; the prophet was an epitome of peace and honour."

Interestingly the image one gets of Mohammed from the Qur'an is of an intolerant, vicious, barbaric, vindictive pedophile. So what book is this idiot reading?

Here are other US papers that published an image of Mohammed (PBUH):

the New York Sun
the Austin American-Statesman
A California paper, the Daily Press in Victorville
A small paper in Cheyenne, Wyoming

The pussies at National Public Radio have not even posted a Web link to the cartoons. But regardless, I'm certain other papers will now publish cartoons as these others have already dipped their toe into cool, quiet Muslim ponds.

One paper at least was honest why it wasn't publishing the cartoons: the Boston Phoenix admitted that it made the decision "out of fear of retaliation from the international brotherhood of radical and bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do. This is, frankly, our primary reason for not publishing any of the images in question. Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and as deeply as we believe in the principles of free speech and a free press, we could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix and its related companies in physical jeopardy."

For details on why the demonstration wasn't violent, see my previous post Why Muslims did not riot in America.

To see a poster/flyer distributed prior to Philly demonstrations, click here (Courtesy Militant Islam Monitor).



Editors Weblog, 7 Feb 2006, Philadelphia Inquirer first major US paper to publish Mohammed cartoon

The Philadelphia Inquirer today became the first major US newspaper to publish one of the 12 controversial Mohammed cartoons originally published by Danish paper Jyllands Posten (see previous posting and here). The newspaper explained that the decision to publish the cartoon had been made in order to enable readers to judge the cartoons for themselves.

Amanda Bennett, editor of The Inquirer explained: "We're running this in order to give people a perspective of what the controversy's about, not to titillate, and we have done that with a whole wide range of images throughout our history."

The Inquirer is not the only US paper to have re-printed a cartoon, New York daily The New York Sun published two of the cartoons last Thursday.

### End of my article ###

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