A slippery slope
Yesterday I wrote my feelings about the issue of THE CARTOONS. In the last paragraph, I hinted that the magnification of this issue is probably not coincidental, and various governments are using the feelings aroused (actually whipped into a frenzy) to achieve certain agendas. There are a number of indications that this is the case in Jordan.
Yesterday, Lina pointed out that MP's are feeding the demagoguery. They are leading the call to toughen laws on "insulting of prophets", asking for jail terms for up to three years for anybody who "Insults a prophet openly and whoever sends a written or electronic document or any drawing or representation in a way that demeans the prophets or ridicules them or downloads or reproduces any of the above". The government plans to go along (as if they are just innocent onlookers).
In the same article, the honorable MP's asked the government to "Reject the licensing of new religious (Christian) groups", which they claimed the government was being pressured to accept. I am not sure what this has to do with the cartoons, but there are other indications that many agendas are at play and that the cartoon issue is an appropriate cover. Don't ask me why the government needs to issue licenses for religions, because I don't know.
Within this atmosphere, Al Ghad tells us of a crackdown on internet centers in Irbid. The article says that the governor of Irbid met with the owners of the internet centers to "Prevent the use of unauthorized sites". The sites include "those that evoke sexual instincts, degrade religious feelings, or the system of government or encourage the use of illegal drugs".
This rush of censorship was precipitated by the publishing of THE CARTOONS by Shihan and Al Mihwar in Jordan. The editors were dragged to jail and charges are being dug up to teach them a lesson. What is interesting is that editor of Shihan, Jihad Momani, is an ex senator, and is known for being pro regime. The publication of THE CARTOONS by Shihan came at a most opportune time, I must say.
Of course, as this undemocratic rush continues, we can expect a lot of add-ons to proposed legislation that would involve wish lists of all those involved. After terrorist attacks in Amman killed more than 60 innocent victims in Amman, people were afraid that the government would use this to limit freedom of speech. What the terrorists couldn't do was achieved by some cartoons. Talk about sense of proportion.
Oh. You can forget about freedom square.