More Excellent Work from the US State Department

Posted by John Rosenthal

Two links that require no comment.

First, the AP, under the heading “US Praises Indonesia, Malaysia Handling of Controversial Caricatures”, citing Eric John, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs:

At a briefing with reporters, John said Indonesia and Malaysia, which have Muslim majorities, were voices of moderation and that their democracies proved that Muslims can “flourish” in such a political system.

“The controversy has shown that democracy and Islam are compatible,” he said.

Next, Reuters on the roughly simultaneous blanket ban by the Malaysian government on publication or even mere possession of the Jyllands-Posten cartoon, as well as of any other cartoons that might “jeopardise public harmony and safety, which may cause chaos, or endanger public peace or national interest”:

Conscious of its role as current chairman of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Malaysia banned a local newspaper, the Sarawak Tribune, which reprinted the cartoons.

It is now an offence to publish, import, produce, manufacture, circulate, distribute or possess caricatures that may “jeopardise public harmony and safety, which may cause chaos, or endanger public peace or national interest,” a government statement said.

“As the Organisation of the Islamic Conference chairman, it would be awkward if Malaysia slams the West for their insensitivity when, in our own backyard, we don’t have control,” said Mohamed Nazri Aziz, a government minister.

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, police were questioning an editor after his tabloid, Peta, published a caricature of the Prophet.

[Note: For some relevant context, see my article "Freedom, But…".]

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