Monday, March 8, 2010

Reading, writing and apologizing about repugnant transactions: Repugnance at multiple levels

A story in Al Jazeera concerns conflicting views of repugnant transactions--things that some people think other people shouldn't do--on multiple levels. The story concerns judicial flogging of women for adultery in Malaysia, a newspaper editorial against that practice by a non-Muslim editor, a government threat to close the newspaper for publishing the editorial, and a religious ruling that Muslims should not read the editorial.

The Al Jazeera story is here: Malaysia - Caning the messenger?

The Malaysian newspaper, The Star, has withdrawn the editorial from its website, but the Al Jazeera story concludes with this paragraph containing a link to a copy of the offending editorial:

"For people who want to make up their own mind about the issue, the text is still available here, but here's a clear warning, this article has already been deemed unacceptable by some Muslims. Those who agree with Mais - that non-Muslims should not comment on matters pertaining to shariah law - are strongly advised not to follow the link."

The multiple levels of repugnance remind me of another recent story in the news: Danish newspaper provokes uproar with apology over Muhammad cartoon
"A Danish newspaper was accused yesterday of betraying the freedom of the press after it apologised to Muslims for offence caused by its reprinting a cartoon showing the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban.
Politiken, a leading Danish newspaper, had printed the cartoon as a gesture of solidarity after three people were arrested for planning to kill the cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard. "

I guess I'll have to add reading and apologizing to my growing list of repugnant transactions, which already included adultery and publishing.

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