The Cartoon Intifada that Will Not Go Away

Posted: February 14, 2006 in International, Politics

Allah Sends New Anti-Danish Message, This Time in Bovine Form

Nearly 20,000 Egyptians converged on the village of Tunis in southern Egypt’s Sohag Province to witness a newborn calf said to have two heads and the words “No God But God” apparent on his hide. The crowds mobbed the home of Mumid Abu Dhaif where the ‘miracle’ occurred, according to an AFP story carried on Elaph today. It was a ‘sign’ interpreted by many onlookers as a divine rebuke from Allah against those who had recently mocked the Prophet Muhammad; demonstrating that Allah continues to provide round-the-clock commentary on the Danish cartoons.

 Small Victory in a Losing War

BY ELI LAKE
February 13, 2006
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/27495


CAIRO, Egypt – A sign on the entrance to the Alfa Market in Zamalek boasts “All Danish products have been removed from our displays.” The island of Zamalek, with its grand apartment buildings, embassies and bars, is a refuge for secular elites. Its cafes are popular among teenagers because they can hold hands in public without risking intervention from pious onlookers. But even Zamalek, even the Alfa Market – with its gleaming shelves of goods only those earning western salaries can afford – is not immune to the poison of Islamism.
CAIRO, Egypt – A sign on the entrance to the Alfa Market in Zamalek boasts “All Danish products have been removed from our displays.” The island of Zamalek, with its grand apartment buildings, embassies and bars, is a refuge for secular elites. Its cafes are popular among teenagers because they can hold hands in public without risking intervention from pious onlookers. But even Zamalek, even the Alfa Market – with its gleaming shelves of goods only those earning western salaries can afford – is not immune to the poison of Islamism.This ought to alarm us. The outrage over the 12 Danish cartoons in Cairo is not a temper tantrum among fringe ideologues or uneducated workers manipulated by state-run newspapers and opportunist television sheiks. The affair has tapped a vein among the educated classes, the very people we hope would be our front lines in a fight for a tolerant modern society.

CAIRO, Egypt – A sign on the entrance to the Alfa Market in Zamalek boasts “All Danish products have been removed from our displays.” The island of Zamalek, with its grand apartment buildings, embassies and bars, is a refuge for secular elites. Its cafes are popular among teenagers because they can hold hands in public without risking intervention from pious onlookers. But even Zamalek, even the Alfa Market – with its gleaming shelves of goods only those earning western salaries can afford – is not immune to the poison of Islamism.This ought to alarm us. The outrage over the 12 Danish cartoons in Cairo is not a temper tantrum among fringe ideologues or uneducated workers manipulated by state-run newspapers and opportunist television sheiks. The affair has tapped a vein among the educated classes, the very people we hope would be our front lines in a fight for a tolerant modern society.The primary means of spreading the distortions over the cartoons has been the cellular telephone text message, the preferred mode of communication for Cairo’s middle class. Many of the messages, which appear coordinated, say the Danish government has organized parties to burn the Koran, that Copenhagen publishers are now planning to reprint the Muslim holy book with edits and new additions. The deputy chief of mission for the Danish embassy here, Christian Gronbech-Jensen, says that the text messages are providing the worst source of disinformation his embassy, now guarded by riot police 24 hours a day, must counter. But because of the nature of the medium and the fact that cell phones are now disposable, no one knows from where these messages originate.

Mr. Gronbech-Jensen says he has taken to telling Arab diplomats in his conversations of an antiquated Danish blasphemy law that is being invoked by local Muslim groups against Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that commissioned the 12 cartoons. He has had to answer questions about what his government would do if someone in Denmark were to burn a Koran. “We cannot promise people that no one in Denmark would ever burn the Koran. But we try to explain that anyone who does this will be dealt with by the law,” he said referring to his country’s laws prohibiting hate speech.

The rise of Islamism among Cairo’s lawyers, journalists, doctors and accountants is sometimes called the Amr Khaled effect, after an imam whose television show on the Iqra satellite network instructs Egypt’s middle class how to be better Muslims. He stresses his show is “not political,” but in many ways it is. A few years ago he urged his well-heeled followers to start calling Valentine’s Day, “Mohammed Day.” And so it was. The shops of Zamalek began phasing out cards and gifts referencing Cupid on the Hallmark holiday invented to celebrate romantic love.

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