“The truth is that today racism, intolerance, xenophobia, and hatred of the other hide behind the sublime façade of free speech, the defence of ‘our’ values and protection of ‘our’ society from ‘foreign’ aggression. Let us not be deceived about this rhetoric of liberalism and free speech. The Danish cartoons have nothing to do with freedom of expression and everything to do with hatred of the other in a Europe grappling with its growing Muslim minorities, still unable to accept them.
“Muhammad, who had been depicted in medieval legends as a bloodthirsty warrior with a sword in one hand and a Quran in another, is now made to brandish bombs and guns. Little seems to have changed about Western consciousness of Islam. The collective medieval Christian memory has been recycled, purged of eschatology and incorporated into a modern secularised rhetoric that goes unquestioned today.”
Soumaya Ghannoushi at Aljazeera, 9 March 2006