Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Interesting observations about offended Muslims and car bombs

I've come across two interesting articles pertaining to the recent South Park depiction of Muhammad and the possibly-related Times Square bombing attempt.

First is this Time piece on what the damage would have been had Faisal Shahzad's bomb worked as intended:
If the bomb planted in a green 1993 Nissan Pathfinder SUV on the evening of May 1 had exploded, here's what would have happened, according to retired New York police department bomb-squad detective Kevin Barry. The car would have turned into a "boiling liquid explosive." The propane tanks that the bomb comprised would have overheated and ignited into "huge blowtorches" that could have been ejected from the vehicle. The explosion, lasting only a few seconds, would have created a thermal ball wide enough to swallow up most of the intersection. A blast wave would have rocketed out in all directions at speeds of 12,000 to 14,000 ft. per sec. (3,700 to 4,300 m per sec.); hitting the surrounding buildings, the wave would have bounced off and kept going, as much as nine times faster than before. Anyone standing within 1,400 ft. (430 m) — about five city blocks — of the explosion would have been at risk of being hit by shrapnel and millions of shards of flying glass. The many who died would not die prettily. A TIME reporter familiar with the ravages of car bombs in Baghdad describes how victims appeared to be naked because a fireball melted their clothing onto the surface of their skin.

Next, a fascinating article from Raymond Ibrahim at Pajamas Media, on an Arabic satellite TV station that regularly goes a bit beyond simply depicting an image of Muhammad. Worth your while to read in full, but here's the first couple of paragraphs:
Which is more likely to elicit an irate Muslim response: 1) public cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, or 2) public proclamations that Muhammad was a bisexual, sometime transvestite and necrophile, who enjoyed sucking on the tongues of children, commanded a woman to “breastfeed” an adult man, and advised believers to drink his urine for salutary health?

Based on the recent South Park fiasco — where an animated episode depicting Muhammad in a bear suit sparked outrage among various Muslim groups, culminating with the usual death threats — the answer is clear: cartoons, once again, have proven to be the Muslim world’s premiere provocateur. Indeed, just yesterday, during a university lecture, Swedish artist Lars Vilks, whose life is in jeopardy due to his depiction of Muhammad as a dog, was violently assaulted to undulations of “Allahu Akbar!” (Islam’s primordial war cry).

Ibrahim goes on to describe how the Arabic-language satellite channel makes such statements about Muhammad on a weekly basis, and faces far less threatening behavior than Western cartoonists get now. Amazing what happens when you stand up for yourself, isn't it?
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