By Michael McHugh 14 March 2006
Local Islamic leaders are to meet to discuss the fallout following the first publication in Northern Ireland of anti-Muslim cartoons which have prompted protests around the world.
Northern Ireland Muslim leaders have warned that the caricatures carried on locally edited website The Blanket could spark racism against their community because of the association of Islam with intolerance and militarism.
Advocates of free speech argue that the reaction to the cartoons has exposed the totalitarian character of Islam.
The current image shows Muhammad brandishing a sword ready for a fight. His eyes are blacked out while two women stand behind him with their Islamic dress leaving only their eyes uncovered.
Jamal Iweida from the Belfast Islamic Centre had called for a rethink on the decision to publish and he said he was disappointed.
"We will be meeting to see what can be done about this. My main concern is for the safety of the community here as I think this will compromise their safety," he said.
"I think these cartoons are causing more trouble and suffering for the community, this is another setback to efforts to improve the image of Muslims and to make their life easier," he said.
"We don't have any clear idea what we are going to do at this stage. I spoke to Anthony McIntyre (who runs the website which published the cartoons) on Friday but he decided to go ahead."
The Blanket is a mainly republican and socialist site which brands itself as a "journal of protest and dissent".
Mr McIntyre said he was striking a blow for freedom of expression.
"What I abhor is not the cartoons but the theocratic fascist murder and intimidation that followed their publication," he wrote in an accompanying article.
The images, first published in Denmark, have angered Muslims across the world. One, which is due to be published in The Blanket, showed the Prophet Muhammad, whose depiction is banned in Islam, as a terrorist bomber. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co
There's only so much crap one can stand from Muslims. How much will the Irish put up with? Should others put up with more than the Irish put up with? There have been united Irishmen for a long number of years, and this is yet again a chance for a revival of same. If they, then we.
Muslims complaining in Ireland? Kick them out.
The Irish, regardless of their local problems, have shown what the nature of nationhood is when it is threatened. We can look at the Irish question in terms of our future responses to Islam and our relation to it in our respective nations. At least some Muslims must by now have the sense to understand that there are numerous Irish who have first-rate guerrilla warfare skills that they will use to quash any Islamic play for Ireland. That unspoken threat should be enough to keep the Muslim population in line. Transgressions will likely result in a massive destruction of Muslim property in Ireland. That alone will likely keep the peace better than anything the idiot French intelligentsia has ever done. Because the Irish fight, likely they willl not have to fight. We might like to watch and compare the two situations and derive our our plan from the one that works better.