Here was a golden opportunity for CAIR and moderate Muslims everywhere to make a statement. It might have read something like this:
We at the Council on American-Islamic Relations have been claiming since September 11, 2001 that we are in no way affiliated with those who would commit acts of terror in the name of our religion. We have now been provided with an opportunity to put our faith where our mouth is. We heartily support the publication of a cartoon in the Jakarta [Indonesia] Post that mocks ISIS and we salute the artist. We encourage peaceful Muslims everywhere to join us in condemning that group and celebrating this act of courage.
Instead, there has been silence — at least here in the West. In Indonesia, Muslims did speak out, but not in a predictable or productive way. According to a report in the New York Times:
The chief editor of a prominent Indonesian newspaper, the English-language Jakarta Post, has been summoned for questioning by the police for publishing a cartoon that depicted radical Islamists in Syria.
The editor, Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, is being treated as a suspect under a blasphemy law, according to a police spokesman quoted in the Indonesian news media on Friday.
The cartoon, which ran in the daily newspaper in July, shows militants raising a black flag emblazoned with a skull and crossbones and Arabic phrases, including, “There is none worthy of worship except Allah.” In the background was a white pickup truck and what appeared to be the imminent execution of a row of blindfolded people on their knees.
It was drawn by Stephane Peray, a French cartoonist based in Bangkok who syndicates his work. “Don’t want to talk about it,” Mr. Peray said by email.
Mr. Meidyatama was quoted in The Post on Friday as saying he was “amazed” at the suggestion of blasphemy because the cartoon was meant to criticize deviant Islam.
“What we produced was a journalistic piece that criticized the ISIS movement, which has carried out violence in the name of religion,” he was quoted as saying, referring to the Islamic State militant group.
Conservative Islamic groups protested when the cartoon was published, contending that it “strengthens the stigma that Islam represents senseless murderers,” according to Haris Amir Falah, one protest leader. [Emphasis added]
The newspaper issued an apology and a retraction….
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