Who is to Blame for Lost Lives?

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Farayi Munyuki The Muslim cartoon fire rages on. There is no sign of it abating. The images of Muslims protesting the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad conveyed much passion and as a result of the rioting and displays, Nigerian Muslim attacked Christians and burned churches last Saturday, killing 15 people. In Libya police shot and killed 11 protesters. The West as it often does, blamed Moslem extremists but fell short of condemning the man who started it all. The author of those cartoons knew what would happen. Many innocent people died or were killed by the over zealous police officers who were eager to please the West. This was the deadliest confrontation thus far in the cartoon battle and the first major protest to erupt over the issue in Africa. It was horrifying to read and see mobs of people with machetes, sticks and iron rods along with an image of a man being burned alive. Fighting between Muslims and Christian is not something new in West Africa. But should insulting one’s religion really be termed press freedom? Just imagine an Italian minister wearing a T-shirt with the cartoons; could this really be termed press freedom? The global rioting symbolizes the hatred that exists between the Christians and Muslims and shows the internal conflicts in many nations over religion. The author of those cartoons must take the blame. He is responsible for those lives that were lost. It is his hatred of Muslims that drove him to produce such literature. To argue that he has already apologized is nothing but a flimsy excuse, when hundreds of people have already perished. What is unfortunate about such instances are the innocent people harmed and lives lost over conflicting beliefs. The editor of the Danish paper that carried the cartoons must also take the blame. Why in the first place did he not accept the first cartoons depicting Jesus Christ in a bad light but went on to accept the Muslim caricatures? This is really double standards by the Western Media. Scandinavian countries are renowned for fighting the causes of justice and one would not have expected such behaviour from one of them, such as Denmark. As for the future, Denmark has learnt that it does not help its image to allow quack cartoonists to denigrate the religion of others. It is possible that various religions can co-exist without necessarily having to throw stones at each other.