Things are getting hotter in Europe. This story from Germany should raise a few eyebrows.
Clashes erupted in Germany when police tried to separate competing rallies by an ultraconservative Muslim group and a small far-right march, injuring 29 officers, authorities said Sunday. More than 100 Salafist protesters were briefly arrested.
The trouble in the western city of Bonn started late Saturday when hundreds of Muslims protested against the rally of about 30 supporters of the local far-right party Pro NRW, which has angered Muslims by showing unfavorable cartoons depicting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Strict Muslims oppose any depiction of their prophet.
About 110 Salafist protesters were arrested after they started attacking security forces with stones and bottles, police said. Two of the injured police officers were hospitalized with serious wounds after being stabbed.
And so, in light of this, the Interior Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia is calling for a ban on such depictions.
Here in America, the way we Catholic lay people handle it when people show images offending our religion is that we engage in boycotts of businesses promoting such things. We do not riot. We do not physically hurt people. We do not call for laws banning such depictions, either. We simply try to convince people that they should not do such things by withdrawing our support from their endeavors. Such is the case with Jon Stewart’s offensive depiction of the Nativity. We would never think of throwing things at people, or stabbing people, particularly police officers. Catholicism teaches use of minimal force for defense of the body. We treat the human body with the respect and dignity that is due to all who are created in the image of God. Certainly, when we or others are in physical danger, we will use physical force to deter that, as a matter of defense of the body. Not so with Islamists. Islamists will resort to violence to stop speech. The answer is not to use violence nor to pass laws banning the images. The answer is to convince people not to display them by using non-violent means.