Warning: The following images may be "inflammatory" and/or "tasteless." It is up to you to determine which are so.
1) The Saudi Arabian flag.
Earlier this summer in Copenhagen, speaking in the Danish parliament, Wafa Sultan projected an image of the Saudi flag on the wall behind her and explained the symbolism:
Would you please take a look at the Saudi flag. The writing on the flag translates, "No God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet." Underneath that religious statement there is the large sword. It represents the superiority of Islam and its desire to impose it by force on the non-Muslim. This statement is the underlying foundation of Islam.
Allah, Muhammed and the sword. As per Sultan: Allah, Muhammed ... or else. Inflammatory, anyone? Tasteless?
2) Mohammed wearing a turban-bomb by Kurt Westergaard.
Or: Mohammed, bomb ... or else.
Editorializing against Yale's sharia-norming censorship of this and other cartoons of Mohammed in a book about the Danish Motoons, The Washington Post today writes:
To be sure, the cartoons are inflammatory and tasteless, depicting the prophet with a bomb as a turban or telling a group of suicide bombers to "Stop! We have run out of virgins!"
OK, quizkids: How is this cartoon imagery different from that of the Saudi flag? In the Westergaard image, we see 1) an update in military technology and 2) a sketch, not the name of Mohammed, but the "or else" message is the same. Except for one thing: It is conveyed in a political cartoon and as such is trenchant pushback against the sharia prohibitions on criticism of Mohammed and violent jihad increasingly in force in the West.
We have now sunk to the point where such assertions of free speech in the face of Islamic speech restrictions count as "inflammatory" and "tasteless."
Writing at National Review, Mark Steyn observes:
Ezra Levant, my comrade in Canada’s free-speech wars, was hauled in for interrogation by the Alberta “Human Rights” Commission for publishing the famous Danish cartoons of Mohammed. After three years of harassment by a malign alliance of radical Islamists and the multicultural state, he’s come to the conclusion that the cartoon crisis has done more damage to North America’s “culture of liberty” than 9/11.
Explaining that 9/11 prompted a vigorous US military response, he notes that the "cartoon crisis" was
met by a dismal lack of will by almost every panjandrum of Western civilization, from European Union commissioners to Canada’s ghastly “human rights” regime. As the years go by, that seems the more relevant template.
Which brings me to our last bonus image.
This is a snapshot snapped in Denmark earlier this summer when I was en route to interviewing Kurt Westergaard. It is a close-up on a young woman of Middle Eastern appearance on a Danish train, who kindly consented to be photographed wearing what appears to be an Islamic sword of some kind.
Inflammatory and tasteless, I'd say. But for the moment, anyway -- what did Mark say? -- the more relevant template.