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Signs of the Times for Wed, 15 Feb 2006

By ASIF SHAHZAD
Associated Press Writer
Feb 14 5:06 PM US/Eastern
LAHORE, Pakistan - Thousands rampaged through two cities Tuesday in Pakistan's worst violence against Prophet Muhammad caricatures, burning buildings housing a hotel, banks and a KFC, vandalizing a Citibank and breaking windows at a Holiday Inn and a Pizza Hut.

At least two people were killed in Lahore, where intelligence officials suspected outlawed Islamic militant groups incited the violence to undermine President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's U.S.-allied government.

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February 14, 2006By JOHN SUGG
Let me tell you a few things about blasphemy. Been there, done it. Got expelled from high school for it.

That was a few decades ago, and for those seeking titillation, I’ll give you the details at the end of this screed. First I have to tell you about a massive propaganda coup. You’ve been had by some of the most bigoted people in the world -- and I’m not talking about Muslim fundamentalists.

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by Roberta Seid, PhD and Roz Rothstein
Westerners are agonizing about whether the twelve Danish cartoons of Mohammed showed unforgivable prejudice against Islam. Enraged Muslims in Europe, the Middle East and Asia are rampaging in protest against the cartoons, demanding apologies, boycotts, blood and even beheadings. But in all this, the real outrage is overlooked: the sheer hypocrisy of these reactions.

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Eric S. Margolis 13 Feb 2006
One does not know whether to laugh or to cry.

The inflammatory and racist cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed originally published by a sensation-seeking Danish newspaper have turned into a cause célèbre and are producing a firestorm of hysteria and racism around the world.

Mobs of enraged Muslims have rioted from Morocco to Indonesia and burned Danish and Norwegian embassies. Editors of other European newspapers that foolishly ran the offensive cartoons piously insist they did so to defend the sacred right of free speech.

This writer detests any form of censorship, including so-called `hate laws’ that are really modern forms of heresy and blasphemy statutes.

But free speech, as the great American jurist Felix Frankfurter said, does not include the right to scream `fire’ in a crowded movie theater. And that’s just what the European newspapers did. They were trying to boost circulation and pander to anti-immigrant right wingers by attacking Islam.

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By ASIF SHAHZAD
LAHORE, Pakistan
Feb 14, 2006 (AP)
Thousands of protesters rampaged through two cities Tuesday, storming into a diplomatic district and torching Western businesses and a provincial assembly in Pakistan's worst violence against the Prophet Muhammad drawings, officials said. At least two people were killed and 11 injured.

Security forces fired into the air as they struggled to contain the unrest in the eastern city of Lahore, where protesters burned down four buildings housing a hotel, two banks, a KFC restaurant and the office of a Norwegian cell phone company, Telenor.

U.S. and British embassy staffers were confined to their compounds until police dispersed the protesters, some of whom chanted, "Death to America!"

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By JOHN SUGG
Counterpunch
14 Feb 06
Let me tell you a few things about blasphemy. Been there, done it. Got expelled from high school for it.

That was a few decades ago, and for those seeking titillation, I’ll give you the details at the end of this screed. First I have to tell you about a massive propaganda coup. You’ve been had by some of the most bigoted people in the world -- and I’m not talking about Muslim fundamentalists.

The big news about blasphemy today is in the Muslim world. A Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, in September published 12 cartoons mocking the prophet Muhammad. It took four months for that fuse to reach the powder keg of religious sensibilities -- the flame was relentlessly pushed along by the right-wing, neo-conservative press until it exploded. The dumbed-down media depiction was free speech versus intolerant Muslim fanatics. That’s not entirely wrong, just very incomplete. Ultimately, crowds erupted in protests in Muslim cities. The picture of the burning Danish consulate in Beirut is the icon of the day.

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