Please catch interesting exchange between comic legend Art Spiegelman and scholar Tariq Ramadan on Democracy Now:
Nermeen Shaikh: …and in the case of the Danish cartoons, it was, you know, afflicting the afflicted in Denmark, whereas in France now with these cartoons and what Charlie Hebdo does, you don’t think it’s the same. What is the distinct–how do you compare the two publications?
Art Spiegelman: OK, the mission–the mission of Jyllands-Posten was to be a conservative right newspaper. The mission of Charlie was not even necessarily to be left-wing. You know, it was–their mission is to rant against all authority. You know, they’re asking for a radical kind of freedom that we don’t get in America very often. That’s why South Park might be closer. South Park is one of the places that did try to show the Prophet Muhammad right after the problems that came with the Danish cartoons. But they did it because they were told not to. This is like the great adolescent impulse. It’s not a sophisticated dialectic about freedom of speech. It’s just taking for granted that we must have freedom of speech to be able to do what we do, and as a society and culture. And they’ve gone after every religion possible. They’re equal-opportunity defamers. And politically, they’ve gone after both sides. Houellebecq is on their side of the ledger, let’s say, politically, and yet the cover is mocking him, that was out the week that this all happened.
Later on Ramadan makes his case…
Tariq Ramadan: They went bankrupt, and you know this. They went bankrupt over the last two years. And what they did with this controversy is that Islam today and to target Muslims is making money. It has nothing to do with courage. It has to do with making money and targeting the marginalized people in the society.
The point for me now is just to come with you, as somebody who is involved in this, and to come with the principles that you are making now, and to come and say, look, now, in the United States of America as well as in the West, everywhere, we should be able to target the people the same way and then to find a way to talk to one another in a responsible way, not by throwing on each other our rights, but coming together with our duties, our responsibilities to live together.