February 7, 2006

At last they came for Mutts, but by then there was no one left to stand up

Back in college I edited a stoopid underground magazine. Twice we published cartoons featuring Jesus — once in a fake ad for Jesus on Ice and once in a fake ad for the Cruciphone, a telephone shaped like Christ on the cross. (Sophomoric? Hey, we were sophomores.) Now obviously they weren't anti-Christian cartoons, they were jokes about religion and consumerism and the tension between the sacred and the profane. But could they have offended Christians? Almost certainly. There was no big conservative Christian contigency at Oberlin back then, but had there been, we probably would have gotten the same outraged response we got when we made jokes that offended every other cultural or ethnic group on campus. (Good times, good times.)

So clearly I'm not of the school that avoiding offense should be one's primary concern when publishing a newspaper. That said, I think reasonable people can disagree over whether those crazy Danes should have published the notorious Muhammad cartoons, just because they had the right to.

On the other hand, there is absolutely no valid argument for American media outlets not printing the cartoons now as part of their coverage of the ensuing riots. For several reasons, this cowardly abdication of journalism is not, as the Times claims, "a reasonable choice for news organizations that usually refrain from gratuitous assaults on religious symbols, especially since the cartoons are so easy to describe in words."

First, even if the original publication was arguably gratuitous, the republication in the context of news coverage would be highly germane. Knowing exactly what got people so worked up is essential information. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the Times ran photos of Piss Christ and Chris Ofili's Holy Virgin during those controversies; I'm absolutely sure that the paper has (rightly) reprinted antisemitic cartoons that have appeared in Islamic publications in the context of news stories.

Second, the cartoons are not so easily described — not that the Times has made any attempt to try. In 10 articles on the subject, the Times has described, sort of, exactly three of the 12 cartoons, and emphasized, repeatedly, exactly one. Dispensing first with the two cartoons that were mentioned only once, the paper noted that not all of the cartoons were inherently offensive: "One depicted a Danish anti-immigration politician in a police lineup, and another lampooned [Danish editor] Mr. Rose as an agent provocateur." This doesn't even include several others that depict Muhammad neutrally, a religious taboo, but not a mockery of Islam. Despite that, most of the Times' other reports have lumped all 12 cartoons together as "satirizing Muhammad." [Update: Oops. Missed a few stories. Here's one that describes three more toons, bringing the total to six out of 12.]

The one cartoon that has gotten all the attention is typically described as a picture of Muhammad "wearing a turban shaped like a bomb." But even that is far less helpful than seeing the cartoon would be. As Choire Sicha notes in his passionate essay, that description only raises questions: "Does the image... mean that all Muslims are terrorists? Is it a commentary on the tragedy that Muhammad’s religion has given rise to Wahhabism? Or is it a reference to a racist Western conflation of Arabs and terrorists?" (Admittedly, he also notes that it's hard to tell from the cartoon itself, but, hey, that's information too.)

In a way it's unfortunate that the Philadelphia Inquirer, the only major media outlet with the balls to print a cartoon, chose the turban-bomb cartoon. It obscures the information about what is offensive to Islamists by picking the image that Westerners can most relate to as offensive. Better to show all 12.

But what's really distressing is the behavior of CNN. That network showed a single heavily-pixilated image, rendered totally unidentifable. But it wasn't turban-bomb, or any of the other satirical ones, it was this one:


That's right, they pixilated that image within an inch of its life -- not because it mocks Islam or Muhammad, but because it violates a fundamentalist religious taboo. Is that the new decency standard? Because I happened to notice that Katie Couric was on TV unveiled and that Wolf Blitzer's beard is a little short. Will the New York Times start writing "G-d" to avoid offending Orthodox Jews? As Fleming Rose said, "that's not asking for my respect, it's asking for my submission."

Now we have Iran "testing" the West's free press by soliciting holocaust cartoons (as if Islamists don't run these all the time anyway -- and I've never burned a building in response). And expect the MSM to be tied-up in knots over this alleged paradox because it has bought the liberal claptrap spouted by the State Dept. that "Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images, as anti-Christian images, or any other religious belief." As Chris Hitchens calmly observes (watch out for that smoke coming out of his ears), there is a fundamental difference "between criticism of a belief system and slander against a people."

And let's not pretend that this is entirely about religious sensibilities after all. Don't forget the under-reported fact that the copies of the cartoons that are being passed around the Islamic world in order to generate rioting include 15 images, not 12. The extra three are far more obscene than the originals, showing Mohammed as a pig and a pedophile, and depicting a Muslim having sex with a dog. No one seems to know exactly where these bonus toons originated, but it's a good guess that they were fabricated by Danish Imams. Meaning that these supposedly pious people were willing to violate the oh-so-terrible taboo against depicting the Prophet in order to stir up trouble. This is a political protest as much as a religious one, and in either event, it's a carefully planned one, not a spontaneous eruption of anger. The sensitivies of the American news media are preventing it from making all that clear.

Update: The Times looks at the cartoons today as works of art. It does so:

• Without describing in words any more of the cartoons than we've already heard about.

• Without running pictures of the cartoons because that would be a "gratuitous assault on religious symbols."

• With a picture of Chris Ofili's Holy Virgin, because it was in the news, like, 10 years ago, so that's not at all gratuitous, and anyway, the Virgin Mary constructed of elephant dung and pornographic pictures couldn't be construed as an assault on a religous symbol.

Wingnuts are arguing that the MSM is avoiding the pictures because it sides with radical Muslims over the West. As a sometime member of the MSM, I can assure you the issue is not so ideological. It's more a concern for not wanting to "fan the flames." Of course, this amounts to letting the most violent, close-minded elements of society edit your newspaper for you, and it's futile in any case, since as Hitchens notes, "We cannot possibly adjust enough to please the fanatics, and it is degrading to make the attempt."

Update: The new editor at my old stomping ground resigns in protest after being forbidden from running the cartoons. Bonus: Now he'll be known as just one of the last seven editors and not the one who actually drove the paper into the ground!

Posted by Daniel Radosh


OK, so my question to you, or anyone else, is what's a good liberal suppose to think about all this? Not the MSM cowardly response which is frankly not surprising, but the riots themselves? I mean, I'm sorry, but this just seems crazy, a way out of proportion reaction. I'm just going to be honest here, but it makes me feel like the masses of the middle east are ignorant, uneducated, and frankly, courting world war 3. Hearing about the extra 3 cartoons explains things a little, but why should they expect non-muslim media to respect their religious code? I can't help feeling there's some deeper explanation that the MSM isn't telling us because they too are pushing us towards ww3. It just seems like everyone is going crazy to me!


I, too, loved Daniel's BTB, even if I was mocked in it (in a very funny way). Jake, why do you assume that the the people torching buildings and whatnot are "the masses of the Middle East," as opposed to a portion of the masses? I don't think anyone knows what portion of the population wants to do any torching. And the autocratic govts. there have everything to gain by letting the protesters do their thing, as it ups their Islamic bona fides.

Question for Daniel: do you distinguish between the European publications who published the cartoons in "solidarity" with the Danish paper (weeks after the fact, when it wasn't really news) and the Phil. Inquirer? I ask because, I'm sorry, a European paper would not republish a series of anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denial cartoons just to show their "solidarity" -- in fact, they'd be arrested if they tried, because such speech is illegal in a number of European countries.

I think the free expression argument doesn't wash -- publishers have no obligation to publish something they think is crap. And in the case of offending other groups, they wouldn't publish it (with the exception, yes, of Christianity--I think anything goes with Christian icons.) Having said that, if Daniel is arguing that these cartoons are inarguably _news_, and as such the public should know what they are, I'd agree with that. If you're going to publish them, publish them because they're news, not because of bullshit "solidarity".

We, now we know where the "pig cartoon" came from. I'd say this is another piece of evidence for the "pro-possibly offending extremist Muslims" position.

John: Yes, there's a clear distinction between re-publishing the cartoons as news (which I believe newspapers are obliged to do) and re-publishing them as a political statement of solidarity (which I believe is their right, but not an obligation). I'm not convinced one way or another about the solidarity argument, but your dismissal of it doesn't quite wash. The distinction between reprinting these cartoons in particular and reprinting any other cartoons which might offend people is that the initial argument was that people are afraid of fundamentalist Muslims in a way they're not afraid of anybody else. The statement being made is not just about the right of free speech but about the determination not to let violent fanatics decide what counts as acceptable discourse. While I do think Europe's hate speech prohibitions have, at the very least, outlived their usefulness and should be revoked, conservatives will tell you that Europeans print antisemitic cartoons all the time in the context of criticizing Israel and that, as Hitchens said, there is a difference between cartoons that comment on a religious power structure and those that slander a people.

Jake: Once again you're blinded by "good liberal" orthodoxy. Has it really just occurred to you that Islamists are batshit insane and dedicated to waging war? Maybe now you'll admit that, yes, these kind of people really could have flown airplanes into buildings. There doesn't have to be a grand conspiracy.

I've always said that one can oppose the policies of neoconservatism and still recognize that there's a real enemy out there -- an enemy of liberalism, in fact. In one of the very first anti-Iraq war protests -- in early 2002, I think -- Tim Robbins gave a great speech in which he reminded the largely doctrinaire lefty crowd that protesting US policy must not be confused with endorsing the people that policy is directed against. "These are not noble Vietnamese peasants fighting for their freedom," he said (I paraphrase). "They are fascists who stand against everything we believe in: equality for women and gays, freedom of speech and religion."

That said, John is right that these are not grassroots protests of the masses, they are provoked by small groups with specific agendas. However, one of the main reasons for a good liberal to protest Bush policies is that these policies have increased the size and power of those groups. The liberal argument should not be that there is no threat, but that Bush has made the threat worse.

I think the good liberal response should be exactly what it is to Fundamentalist Christian violence. It's not a matter of cartoons as opposed to abortions, it's a matter of people so committed to medieval, supernaturalist worldviews that they are willing to commit violence. This is a clash of cultures, but not between Islam and the West but between fairytale and reality. The frontlines are as much here (where the Epsicopalians have been purged from the airwaves) as anywhere in the Middle East.

A useful reference in this, as in many things, is an article Stanley Fish wrote for the Winter 1997 issue of Critical Inquiry, 'Why Liberals Are Incapable of Thinking about Hate Speech.' Basically there is going to be a point at which 'tolerance' will be shown to have limits because it exists only insofar as we believe that nobody really has any deeply held beliefs. Well, Osama does, and Dobson does. Do you? I know I do. And a lot of them I hold because I think they're right.

Liberals and Secularists and, yes, even Leftists need to understand that there is no neutral, tolerant, 'marketplace' of ideas. Ideas are in an arena. They (often but not necessarily) fight each other. They must be defended. You have to be prepared to say why you are right and they are wrong.

Frankly I think the cartoons are in extremely poor taste but then again so is New York Magazine.

The most edifying collection of Prophet images I have seen since this began (http://www.zombietime.com/mohammed_image_archive/) includes the Danish items and various Islamic depictions of the Old Fellow, as well. And an ad for beef boullion!

the Virgin Mary constructed of elephant dung and pornographic pictures

The fact that in this work the figure of the Virgin Mary was not "constructed out of" these elements suggests that you have not seen the image, which somewhat undercuts your argument that it was widely reprinted.

Regardless, speaking as a former political cartoonist (and one who, as you know, has no problem making points at the expense of religious piety), here's the main issue as I see it: These cartoons are simple-minded crap, created for the purpose of provocation rather than political argument, and the decision of one media outlet to publish them does not oblige others to do so simply because their attempts at provocation have succeeded.

I am very aware that a small percentage of the population is willing to sacrifice themselves for their cause, there's certainly been enough suicide bombs to prove that, but these riots seem to involve a larger part of the population. I guess if they were burning US embassies and protesting bombings and such that actually effect them I could understand it much more. These cartoons just seem kind of meaningless to me. After looking at them, they seem nothing more than trivial, compared to what christianity puts up with on a daily basis (deservedly so in my opinion). I think the MSM focused on the bomb hatted one because it's the only one that even makes much sense to us westerners. The rest leave my scratching my head...

anyway, as for flying planes into buildings, you know how I feel about that, Dan, but for the rest of you...


Vance: Constructed in part out of elephant dung and pornographic pictures. Satisfied?

As for the main issue as you see it, you'd have been absolutely right a week ago. But now the cartoons are indisputibly part of a news story, and if the job of the media is to inform people about the news, they must show the photos. If they wish to add reporting to the effect that the original publication was willfully provocative all the better, but that doesn't get them off the hook for showing readers what all the fuss is about.

And I say, you'd have been absolutely right twelve years ago, when almost no one was using the Internet and newspapers were everybody's main source for the artwork in this type of controversy.

Now that's not the case. Anyone needs or wants to see these can easily do so (even if, yes, it's easier for some people than others). In other words, creating *new copies* of this hackery to further promulgate the provocation is no longer necessary. So for newspapers, the cost-benefit ratio has tipped, in my opinion. I do, however, believe that any media writing about the cartoons have an obligation to direct readers somewhere that they can see them if interested.

And saying Now It's Part of the Story is relevant but not an overriding concern. If it had been detailed surveillance photos of Monica blowing the president instead of a blue dress that proved the case against him, would newspapers have been obligated to publish those when reporting that scandal? Are the media required to publish the anti-Holocaust cartoons because now they're part of the story, too?

(And not to beat this into the ground, but go check the Ofili pic - the figure of the virgin is separately constructed from the offensive components. Could we agree on "adorned with"? I highlight this distinction only because the innacurate description above is exactly how people who were damning Ofili, but hadn't seen the image, were describing it.)

Here's a thought experiment. Given that nine out of ten editorial cartoonists in America are unforgivable hacks, there's a strong probability that one (or forty) has recently had the following idea: The prophet Muhammad sitting on a cloud in heaven and weeping over what is being done in his name.

Forget for a minute that the idea should buried because it's hopelessly cornball, since that never stops these people. Should the cartoonist refrain from drawing the picture, or the editor refrain from publishing it, because Islamists will be offended? It's not created for the purpose of provocation, it has an Islam is a religion of peace message, and yet it might just cause someone to burn down an embassy somewhere.

So, who defines the parameters of acceptable discourse, us or them? My depressing guess based on what I've heard this week: no editor would print it.

So, who defines the parameters of acceptable discourse, us or them?

My whole point is that to allow them to turn bad-to-mediocre cartoons into "news," thereby supposedly forcing the editor's hand to gain a mandatory spot, is letting them define the discourse. Is Muhammad as mad bomber really a cartoon that needs to be redrawn yet again?

Vance, you do realize that makes zero sense: "they don't want anyone to run the cartoons, so by running them we'd be letting them make the decisions"?! If you'd argued a month ago that these cartoons are not newsworthy, you'd have been right. But now that people are dying because of them, they are.

You're framing the "defining the discourse" question completely differently from me, and, I think, wrongly. Would you have papers not report on suicide bombings because that lets the bombers define the discourse?

Anyway, now I'm confused about your contention that papers don't have to run the cartoons because they're widely available online. After all, doesn't that just mean that bloggers and Wikipedians are doing what you think newspapers shouldn't do? Why is it right in one case and not in the other? Especially since many bloggers are posting them with a lot more malice than newspapers would display.

And it's not like the papers' argument is that they don't have to run the toons because they're online. To the contrary, NPR has refused to LINK to the cartoons on its web site on the grounds that even helping people find the information elsewhere would be "offensive."

But you are right about the proper description of "Holy Virgin."

Daniel -

I can see that you feel very strongly about this, probably more strongly than I, but I'm a little disappointed that you're throwing in new questions without addressing any of mine. It's not up to the Radosh standard I've come to know and appreciate.

Specifically, I asked about the Monica thought-experiment, or if you want something that's already happening, the anti-Holocaust cartoons. Does the "newsworthiness" of these images guarantee them a spot in the paper?

I really would like to know how you answer this because it seems at the crux of our disagreement. As far as I can tell you think of newsworthiness as a trump card while I see it as just one consideration that has to be balanced against other factors.

And to restate my original point: If these had been cartoons that had some new, brilliant point to make, that would have been a factor to consider against the possible fallout. Since they're cliched hackwork that didn't belong in the paper in the first place, after-the-fact (or anticipated)newsworthiness doesn't suddenly make them a must-publish.

At any rate, to address your points right above: There's some paraphrasing in the "makes no sense" citation that alters my meaning. More accurate would have been: "they don't want anyone to run the cartoons, so by running them because they're trying to stop us from doing so, we'd be letting them make the decisions." (To be clear here, I'm not challenging the newsworthiness as you seem to think I am, I'm challenging the equation that newsworthiness=publication.)

Also, reporting on important events that have happened is not analogous to reprinting artworks. So I would answer the suicide bombings question, "no."

As to the difference between running the cartoons and linking, it's pretty simple: Linking allows people who are interested to access the background material that will enrich their understanding of a story about idiotic violence. Reprinting creates additional copies of said background material, becoming "part of the story" and joining with the violent idiots to perpetuate this feedback loop.

My original version of this got wiped out when I hit a backspace. In retying it, I forgot the part where I say that I'm presenting my own take on this as specified in my first comment, not defending any arguments made by any other media outlets, least of all the gutless weasels at NPR.

Vance, I answered your question about the Holocaust cartoons pre-emptively in my original post: "the paper has (rightly) reprinted antisemitic cartoons that have appeared in Islamic publications in the context of news stories." It is newsworthy that antisemtic, pro-Holocaust cartoons appear regularly in the Islamic world. I find such cartoons deeply offensive, but I'm glad the press is letting me see them rather than trying to protect my sensibilities. (Which is not to say I think anyone should republish any forthcoming Holocaust cartoons, if only because I seriously doubt they will be newsworthy. Thanks to previous reporting that I've mentioned, the publication of such cartoons again will be neither new nor unexpected and I don't think they'll spark any major protests).

For more on the false dualism between the Muhammad cartoons and the Holocaust ones, read Kinsley today.

Finally, I still, honestly, don't understand your distinction between linking and publishing. If you were to say that major newspapers and TV networks should post the cartoons on their own web sites and then publicize those links with a warning that some people might find them offensive, I'd grudgingly accept that. But if your standard is that any "Reprinting creates additional copies of said background material, becoming "part of the story" and joining with the violent idiots to perpetuate this feedback loop," why is it OK for bloggers to reprint the cartoons? Shouldn't they also refrain from doing so, as a matter of principle? And if they did, who would the newspapers link to?

On the Holocaust cartoons, I don't think the "pre-emptive answer" cuts it, because I'm talking about the news value of cartoons being done specifically in response to this story. Just as one example, if 500 different crappy Holocaust cartoons were generated, would that be newsworthy? 5000? At what point would the level of this response obligate media outlets to publish some of them? And as to "the publication of such cartoons again will be neither new nor unexpected" as a gauge, was this ham-fisted retread of Marlette's stick-poking "controversy" (and other previous gambits) new or unexpected?

And Kinsley's column is fine, but using his points about what muslims want in this context is basically an ad hominem. Even your "false dualism" suggests a misinterpreation of my using those cartoons (and Monica) as examples, which was not to endorse the whole "double standard" debate but purely to ask about whether you agree that newspapers can have their own rules about what visual imagery they will publish that are not automatically swept aside by "newsworthiness." (Still haven't got an answer on that one.)

I don't see what's so hard to understand about the difference between an electronic link to a file and multiple new copies of an image being created to endure in the physical world. It seems very clear to me, so we may just be at an impasse on this one. I don't know how else to rephrase it.

As to your last three questions: Bloggers are not reprinting the cartoons. Given that I have distinguished between reprinting and linking, my viewpoint does not argue for them refraining from linking "as a matter of principle." And to turn the last question (already answered by my second-question answer)on its head, if no one had made the cartoons widely available already, no links to anything would be necessary, would they?

But let's be clear: Even though I deplore the simple-minded stunt-provocation behind the original publication, I stand behind the newspapers' right to express themselves that way. What I continue to decry is the specific point of your post, that "there is absolutely no valid argument for American media outlets not printing the cartoons now." US newspapers are not in any way obliged to make room in their own publications and join in the provocation. They may, and they may have valid reasons for doing so, but that doesn't mean that all reasons for not doing so are invalid.

Ah, I'm beginning to see why we're confused over linking vs. publishing. You say, "Bloggers are not reprinting the cartoons." I say Whaaa?". The version of the toons on the site of the Danish newspaper that published them was small and hard to see. It's only because hundreds of bloggers (and Wikipedia, etc) reprinted them that you and I can have an informed discussion about them. So -- should those bloggers have reprinted the photos? Bear in mind that they only did so after the riots started. Hey, I reprinted one myself. I felt I needed to in order to make my point clear. Yeah, I could have linked to it, but I often put images on my site that I could link to, if only so readers don't have to jump around. So, was I wrong to do that?

And sure I'll answer your questions:

At what point would the level of this response obligate media outlets to publish some of them?

That's a judgment call, of course, but I'd say one torched Iranian embassy and/or two Arab-looking people physically attacked by angry Jews. Your invocation of the Martlette controversy makes me think that you think that I think that the news story here is the original publication of the cartoons. It's not, it's the (well organized and politically motivated) rioting in response.

Can [newspapers] have their own rules about what visual imagery they will publish that are not automatically swept aside by 'newsworthiness?

Newspapers can do whatever they want. That's what a free press is. Obviously I'm not trying to make my opinion law. I have often argued that the media should not strike expletives from quotes in situations where the expletives add information about the speaker or situation (e.g., the Nixon tapes). Doing so compromizes the amount of information and infantilizes the adult reader. But I'm more understanding about that than I am about the argument that newspapers' desire not to commit blasphemy takes priority over fully informing readers about a situation in which cities are on fire and people are dying. Especially when only one religion is granted such deference. To do so is not to join in the provocation, it's to report the news. Editors know this full well, which is why very few would cover the Holy Virgin controversy without showing the painting. And, as you pointed out, seeing the painting can help readers know when someone's description of it is wrong. In the same way, if Americans saw the cartoons, they would understand the story better than if they just read about "Muhammad with a bomb in his turban."

Finally: If no one had made the cartoons widely available already, no links to anything would be necessary, would they?

That's just wrong, if by "no one" you mean "no newspapers, bloggers or media outlets." This became a news story not because the media reprinted the original cartoons, but because Danish imams (as thoroughly reported in the Times, the Post and elsewhere), made their own copies, fabricated three even worse images, and brought them to an international conference for a discussion of how best to disseminate them to the wider Arab world for maximum effect.

So -- should those bloggers have reprinted the photos?

To the extent that I'm arguing that anyone "should" or "shouldn't" have done something (when, again, I'm only disputing your claim that there's no valid argument for any American media outlets not printing the cartoons), my answer is "no."

Fortunately for bloggers, they didn't reprint the cartoons, as I went to great pains in my previous post spell out. Whether you had saved the file down onto your own server or just used an IMG SRC to pull it from a different server, that's not creating a new enduring physical copy, which is what reprinting is. I'm a little flabbergasted that this distinction is still supposedly eluding you and wonder if I'm missing your extra-dry wit at work here.

I'm wondering if maybe our whole disagreement would have been avoided if you had said,"there is absolutely no valid argument for American media outlets not providing the public access to the cartoons now as part of their coverage of the ensuing riots." If I understand you correctly, that is what you meant, and your use of "reprinting" was a hasty substitute for that more accurate version.

Just to continue to clarify what I have said, though...

I only cite the Marlette example to back up my contention that the cartoons are not breaking any new ground, something central to my argument that if in fact they were, there would be a much better case to be made for reprinting them. If you want, I can find other examples of cartoons engaging in this lazy self-fulfilling prophecy of painting muslims (and other religions) as violently intolerant (without, obviously, the scale of reaction as seen here, which is beside this particular point).

Newspapers can do whatever they want. That's what a free press is. Obviously I'm not trying to make my opinion law

Well, yeah, duh, if you'll pardon the expression. I thought it was clear that by "can they..." I was asking whether you thought there was any valid argument for them doing such-and-such, since that's what my whole line of commenting took off from.

newspapers' desire not to commit blasphemy takes priority over fully informing readers

First of all, readers are never fully informed, especially today with the cost of newsprint and corporate owners squeezing the product and staff to absurdly restricted levels. Realistically, decisions have to be made about what goes in and what's left out. You may see the cartoons as a no-brainer for inclusion since they are at the "root" of the story. Fine, that's your call. But a newsroom editor might quite validly see the story, which as you point out is a story not about cartoons but about waves of organized violence, as better served by perspectives from political and/or religious leaders as to how the subject matter was interpreted by whom, or what is being done now to reverse the trend of violence, or how smaller-scale situations in the past have worked themselves out or any number of other things that could go in the space that would be eaten up by a hack cartoon.

Secondly, I would replace the phrase "commit blasphemy" with "help incite violence" or "help perpetuate knee-jerk intolerance." This may be what you meant, but I think bringing out the paper's relationship to its community (rather than its relationship with Islam) is important here.

That's just wrong, if by "no one" you mean "no newspapers, bloggers or media outlets."

Well, no, it's not only not wrong, it's tautological. It was the Danish paper(s) that intentionally created the provocation by publishing the oh-so-naughty cartoons, thus making them widely available. If they hadn't done it in the first place, no links to anything would be necessary.

Unsurprisingly, Jihadists don't share your fine distinction between paper and virtual re-publication.

Then I'm afraid I have failed in my quest to represent and defend the views of the jihadists.

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