Public surveys showed that about half the people in
Denmark found it correct for Jyllands-Posten to publish the cartoons and a
similar number, according to the ‘Gallup survey of Denmark’s Berlingske Tidende’,
did not understand why Muslims were so angry at the publication of the cartoons.
Surveys that asked, ‘If you owned a newspaper, would you have published a
cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed?’ – 49% responded to the affirmative.
In stark contrast to this, people and the media across Asia
sympathized with the position of the Muslims, because they understand the
importance of showing respect towards elders in general and towards religious
heads in particular. Followers of Hinduism could identify with a similar outrage
when some western designers printed Hindu religious deities on underwear - the
blasphemy was offensive and so was the ‘we consider you insignificant’ attitude.
People in Denmark, at least the majority of them would not
know what it means to show respect to elders as the East understands it. As a
matter of fact, a majority of Danes wouldn’t know who their father is, let alone know what respect for elders is. According to the article,
‘Marriage is slowly dying in Scandinavia’, ‘sixty percent of first-born children
in Denmark have unmarried parents’. This is also confirmed by the, ‘Recent
Demographic Developments in Europe, 2004 (Council of Europe Publishing)’ Those
who may not know the identity of their fathers, and even if they know him,
wouldn’t be loved and cared for by them– would not understand how hurtful and
offensive it is to see insults and slanders hurled against one’s elders – an
elder whose teachings enlighten and enrich the lives of over a billion people