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The politics of the limit : European identity, the Denmark cartoon debate and the development of new… Dan, Matthew 2007

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T H E POLITICS OF T H E LIMIT: E U R O P E A N IDENTITY, T H E D E N M A R K C A R T O O N D E B A T E A N D T H E D E V E L O P M E N T OF N E W D I S C U R S I V E C O M M U N I T I E S IN T H E O N L I N E W O R L D by Matthew Dan  A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T OF T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S FOR T H E D E G R E E OF M A S T E R OF A R T S in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (European Studies)  The University of British Columbia © Matthew Dan, 2007  Abstract W i t h increasing cultural, ethnic and religious heterogeneity i n European populations, new challenges are being posed to the "European Project" as its focus shifts from economic and juridical integration to social integration. In the wake o f these challenges, traditional notions o f European Identity and Europe's aspirations towards building a pluralistic society have increasingly come under attack. These tensions are exemplified through a number o f struggles, including debates on the Islamic headscarf, and Turkey's pending accession to the European Union. This thesis examines one challenge facing Europe through a critical discourse analysis o f weblog entries related to the September 30, 2005 publication o f 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten newspaper. Central to this examination is a critique, o f the modern, Habermasian concepts o f republican citizenship and deliberative democracy, through M i c h e l Foucault's work on power and knowledge. This study looks at how online discursive communities resist and challenge "Europe's" identity as well as its historical and contemporary construction o f Islam and Muslims as its inherently violent, pre-modern oppositional "Other". This is carried out by examining the limits o f tolerance and intolerance, selfhood and otherness, and finally, essentialism and de-essentialism.  n  Table of Contents  Abstract  ••  Table o f Contents Acknowledgements Chapter I:  ii iii  .  • • iv  Overview and Summary  1.1 Introduction.... 1.2 The Cartoons in Their Immediate Context  1 :  1.3 Methodological Orientations Chapter II:  •••  The Politics o f the Limit  1 5 .-.9 16  2.1 Introduction  16  2.2 Tolerance/Intolerance 2.3 Self/Other 2.4 Essentialism/De-Essentialism  19 32 46  Chapter III  Conclusion: Power, Resistance and Accommodation  52  Bibliography  60  Appendix  65  Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3.:  65 66 66  in  Acknowledgements  M y sincerest gratitude to Renisa Mawani and T o m Kemple for their blind support, patience, encouragement and countless helpful suggestions. A l s o , special thanks to Heiko Henkel, Kurt Huebner, Rob Stoddard, and Sima Godfrey for their kind words and help along the way. Naturally, I would not be here without the endless support and generosity o f m y parents and family who are never far from m y heart. O f course, a special thank you to A l i n a , whose love and beauty have been a guiding light in m y darkest hours.  IV  Introduction In the fall o f 2005 Denmark's best-selling newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, published an editorial featuring the now infamous 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The editorial was ostensibly a response to the fear o f encroaching self-censorship within the Danish media on issues critical o f Muslims and Islam. A t the heart o f the debate was the implicit claim that Islam is not compatible with modernity. W h i l e the publishers and defenders  o f the cartoons frequently claim that the cartoons refer only to violent  Islamists, the cartoons have been widely perceived as representing an essentialized stance on Islam (Henkel, 2006a).  The depictions o f the prophet (particularly the cartoon in  which he has a bomb in his turban ) implicate Islam itself i n the violence perpetrated by 1  terrorists in the name o f the Prophet, and work toward culturalizing Islam as inherently violent. Similarly, M u s l i m reaction to the cartoons has been widely reported as violent and intolerant  o f basic democratic freedoms,  most notably, freedom  o f speech.  Conversely, it has been frequently claimed i n the media that the cartoons and the corresponding reaction to them reflect public opinion not only i n Denmark but throughout Europe and other "Western" secular democracies. Here too an essentialized position is circulated that similarly ignores the heterogeneity o f discourses within "secular" non-Muslim European society. However, the cartoons, which on first glance may seem hardly noteworthy, need to be analyzed both within the immediate context o f their publication (discussed in detail below), and in their broader historical context.  Europe's longer historical narrative is  marked by an important tension with Islam. A s David Theo Goldberg points out,  ' In the context in which three of the more controversial cartoons are depicted in figures 1, 2 and 3 of the appendix, the power of the images is inverted. Rather than an image of an essentialized, violent, and intolerant Islam, the cartoons should be interpreted instead as a caricature of Europe's own long standing anxieties about Muslims. In their original context, the images challenge the ability of Muslims to be integrated into an inclusive "Europe". As Jyllands-Posten's culture editor, Flemming Rose, noted in a Febraury 2006 interview responding to the outcry following the publication of the images, ".. .by treating Muslims in Denmark as equals they made a point: We are integrating you into the Danish tradition of satire because you are part of our society, not strangers." (Rose, 2006) However, in the context in which they are displayed here, the cartoons are instead meant to challenge the ability of Danish and "European" society to integrate Muslims without singling them out for special treatment that would be unacceptable for other groups. Rather than focusing on analysis of the individual cartoons, this work instead looks at the responses to images. As such, the images are not included in the main text, but still must be addressed.  1  'The M u s l i m ' has haunted the continent from the earliest moments o f its modernity, inherited o f course from the medieval contest between Mediterranean Christianity and Islam. In Elizabethan England, 'the M o o r ' characterized the m i x o f religion, godless members o f the 'sect o f M a h o m e t ' . . . B y the late Enlightenment racial hierarchization o f national character, Immanuel Kant could wedge 'the A r a b ' , 'possessed o f an inflamed imagination, 'between the basest o f (Southern) Europeans and the Far East, but significantly above "the Negroes o f A f r i c a ' (Goldberg, 2006, p. 344). A s Edward Said (1994) demonstrates, i n the wake o f 19  th  century European  colonialism i n particular, Muslims o f the "Orient" came to symbolize a historically backward tribalism, characterized by violence and inferiority. Islam was presented i n contrast to European modes o f rationality, self-governance and modernity that also served as the justification and legitimation for the Imperial projects o f the period. genealogy has continued well into contemporary European society.  This  Tensions have  accumulated due to a growing M u s l i m presence within the European population, largely as a result o f post-colonial migration and globalizing economic pressures. These tensions have been exacerbated i n the wake o f emerging terrorist threats and in the presence o f second and third generation Muslims i n European states who no longer accept their ascribed identities as immigrants, but are demanding to be acknowledged as citizens o f European states. This longer historical narrative is now tinged by the characterization o f Muslims as fundamentalist, fanatical, and most importantly, inherently violent and unfit for co-existence within Europe's advanced, modern democracies. The "European Project" which has mainly been comprised o f increasing juridical and economic integration o f "European" States and economic expansion under the banner of the European Union ( E U ) , also carries an important cultural element. embodied i n the idea o f a common European identity and culture.  This is  The basis for this  cultural union lies in the belief that European national cultures share not only common essences and values, but also universal principles that w i l l allow national communities and identities to come together under a united Europe. The homogenizing tendencies o f the "European Project" face important challenges not only from traditional cultures represented most commonly through identities attached to European nation-states, but also due to an increasingly heterogeneous migrant population with their own histories, cultural traditions, and practices. It is within this broader historical, political, and cultural  2  context that the Jyllands-Posten cartoons must be read. Responses  to  the  original  publication by Jyllands-Posten and  subsequent  responses related to the original i n the mainstream media must be contextualized within the broader global constellation o f power and inequality. Here, it is instructive to note M i c h e l Foucault's contributions to debates on power and discursive communities. Foucault's theory o f power and knowledge, the subjugation o f knowledges, and the rise of subjugated knowledges are central to this paper and inform later discussions on the social transmission o f power/knowledge throughout societies (Foucault, 1980, 1990 and 1994). Rather than focusing on the discourses o f the state institutions that naturalize meanings and practices in shaping the dominant ideological discursive formation, this work focuses more on the "subjugated" discourses that circulate through traditional and non-traditional media (Foucault.; 1980). I look at how dominant discourses are used to "govern" Muslims i n Europe and subjugate  those discourses  that threaten long  established narratives that uphold notions o f a "European" identity. M y examination o f subjugated discourses relies on a critical discourse analysis o f weblogs, a "new media" publishing format located on the internet that has allowed new discursive communities to emerge. The importance o f this development is that weblogs not only allow for resistance to the exercise o f power through dominant discourses, but also have the ability to promote dialogue with dominant discourses and challenge them through the medium itself.  Following the publication o f the Jyllands-Posten cartoons,  weblog owners worldwide participated in a debate not only b y posting entries that engaged with the cartoons and their effects, but also through a feature embedded within the medium which allows readers to comment on entries and to respond to the comments of fellow readers. Therefore, weblogs become an extremely rich text for critical analysis o f the discourses that permeated the cartoon debate. W h i l e the democratizing aspects o f the internet and weblogs may be somewhat overstated due to socio-economic factors that severely limit access and work to reinscribe binaries between North/South rich/poor and first/third world, the heterogeneity o f discourses and discursive communities available provide valuable insights not often found within traditional mainstream media.  3  In adopting critical discourse analysis as a methodology for textual analysis, I hope to achieve two main goals. The first is to examine how critical responses to the Jyllands-Posten publication were presented and to allow the voices o f those who were left out o f the debate to enter into the dialogue and add to our understanding o f the main issues.  The second goal is to uncover the social construction o f a M u s l i m "Other" i n  Europe, to look at how the Jyllands-Posten cartoons contribute to the portrayal o f an essentialized image o f Islam in Europe, and the power o f weblogs to resist this "Orientalist" discourse. It should also go without saying that the intent here is not to have the following weblogs represent the entirety o f M u s l i m and non-Muslim European opinion, but rather to account for and analyze some o f the main arguments made b y those who both supported and resisted the cartoons' publication. W h i l e the  E U has  sought  to use republican citizenship and  deliberative  democratic processes to incorporate a variety o f diverse social projects it has encountered significant obstacles to achieving the inclusive European identity that is its goal. Three central themes are common within most weblogs that address the Jyllands-Posten debate and the problem o f European identity. This paper can be seen as an attempt to assess the limits and possibilities o f republican citizenship and deliberative democracy to deal with the limits o f tolerance essentialism.  and intolerance, self and other, and essentialism and de-  In order to foster the pluralistic society it seeks, I conclude that the E U  must include not only those traditionally accepted as "European" but also those it has traditionally defined as outside itself without reifying them to suit "European" political ends. A n analysis o f the Denmark cartoon debate gives valuable insights into the compatibility o f both M u s l i m and non-Muslim Europeans with the demands o f this new "European identity" and the problems posed b y the long historical narrative o f anxieties within both groups. In the following section, I place the cartoons into their immediate  context,  describing the events that led to their publication, as well as the various responses to the cartoons and how these responses were interpreted.  This is necessary i n order to  establish linkages with the broader historical and political context o f the cartoons.  Then  I outline the methodology for a critical discourse analysis o f weblogs and show their  4  importance in both supporting and resisting dominant discourses. The main body o f this work is concerned with the analysis o f the weblogs themselves. It is divided into three sections that describe the limits o f the "European Project". In a concluding section, I return to the broader historical context in which the cartoons are located and to the theoretical discussion o f approaches to power and resistance that highlight both the importance o f the cartoons and the responses to their publication.  The Cartoons in Their Immediate Context  The cartoons, which were published on September 30, 2005 were in part a response to an earlier debate i n the same month, on self-censorship and critiques o f Islam in the Danish media.  W h i l e the cartoon debate is symptomatic o f other controversial  issues that revolve around Europe and Islam, including various debates on M u s l i m headscarves, the comments made by Pope Benedict X I V in 2006 and Turkey's accession to the E U , these claims arose directly as a result o f the inability o f Danish writer and journalist," Kare Blutingen, to find an illustrator for his children's book The Koran and the Life o f the Prophet Muhammad.  He claimed that his difficulties were due to the  supposed Islamic ban on depictions o f the Prophet as a form o f idolatry. The comments appeared as part o f a featured article i n the Danish broadsheet Politiken titled " D y b Angst For Kritik af Islam" (Profound Fear o f Criticism o f Islam) (September  17, 2005).  However, the arguments made on self-censorship were primarily a reaction to the public murder o f Dutch filmmaker Theo V a n Gogh on November 2, 2004, in response to his short-film "Submission". The film's script was written by Ayaan Hirsi A l i , a M u s l i m member o f the Dutch parliament and prominent critic o f Islam, who has been especially vocal on issues o f gender.  The film focuses on the abuse against women in M u s l i m  cultures and features the thinly veiled bodies o f naked women, inscribed with Koranic verses attributed to the poor treatment o f women in M u s l i m society. (Van Gogh, and Hirsi A l i , 2004). Jyllands-Posten, one  o f the  leading Danish broadsheets, publicly invited  cartoonists to contribute cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a direct challenge to those who would otherwise  censor  themselves  on matters concerning Islam.  5  Accompanying the cartoons was an editorial from Jyllands-Posten's culture editor Flemming Rose.  Addressing the debate on self-censorship, he commented  that  "[translated]...It is incompatible with contemporary democracy and freedom o f speech, where you must be ready to put up with insults, mockery and ridicule. It is certainly not always attractive and nice to look at, and it does not mean that religious feelings should be made fun o f at any price, but that is o f minor importance in the present context" (Rose, 2005) . Rose later attempted to explain his position in a February 2006 interview i n the 2  U S , adding that, [t]he cartoonists treated Islam the same way they treat Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions. A n d by treating Muslims i n Denmark as equals they made a point: W e are integrating you into the Danish tradition o f satire because you are part o f our society, not strangers. The cartoons are including, rather than excluding, Muslims (Rose, 2006). It is interesting to note that when a series o f Jesus cartoons was offered to the same newspaper in 2003, they were refused on the grounds that "...Jyllands-Posten's readers w i l l [not] enjoy the drawings. A s a matter o f fact, I think that they w i l l provoke an outcry. Therefore, I w i l l not use them" (Reynolds, 2006).  Rather than including  Muslims as representatives o f Jyllands-Posten claimed, the cartoons had the opposite effect by singling out Islam as antithetical to Europe. The images establish an important cognitive link among readers not only in the immediate context o f the debate on selfcensorship, but with the historical genealogy that portrays Islam as violent, intolerant and unfit to co-habit within modern society and the more recent "war on terror".  The  cartoons repeat the familiar trope o f " M u s l i m " incommensurability with the "West" and can be seen as caricatures not just o f the prophet but also as caricatures o f "European" attitudes towards Muslims. In response to the cartoons (whose specific offence.to Muslims is discussed below) leading Danish Imams took their complaints to the international arena to air their grievances to a more receptive audience.  This was a result o f long standing tensions  This translation which appears to be universally accepted, although the translator is unattributed, seems to originate from the "wikipedia" entry dealing with the cartoon debate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JyllandsPosten_Muhammad_cartoons_controversy  2  6  within Denmark between the ruling parties (at the time o f publication, the government consisted o f a coalition between the centre-right Venstre party and the "notoriously racist" Dansk Folkeparti (Henkel, 2006a)) and M u s l i m immigrants.  In a controversial  move, before leaving for the Middle East, to demonstrate the intolerant climate in which they lived, the Danish Imams added additional cartoons and pictures (some published in popular media outlets, others received as hate mail) to a dossier that also included the original 12 cartoons.  Eleven Ambassadors from M u s l i m countries were later denied a  meeting with Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, on the grounds that it was impossible for h i m to intervene in the matter, as government interference contravene Denmark's freedom o f speech statutes.  would  The Egyptian Minister for foreign  Affairs had not i n fact asked for government intervention but rather, "[a]n official Danish statement underlining the need for and the obligation o f respecting all religions and desisting from offending their devotees to prevent an escalation which would have serious and far-reaching consequences" (Johnson, 2007). This statement was excerpted and recontextualized in various ways by mainstream media outlets to focus only on the notion o f "an escalation which would have serious and far-reaching  consequences".  Interpreted as a thinly veiled threat, the intervention o f the Muslims states was held as further proof o f the special treatment demanded by Islam and its incompatibility with basic democratic freedoms, such as free speech. Ignored to a large extent was the first part o f the statement, calling on the Danish government to uphold the equal rights o f all persons and religions and to take measures to repair the harm done to interfaith relations.  The Danish government recommended that the offended Islamic parties address their grievances to the Danish courts.  O n January 6, 2006, the courts made their final  ruling, determining that the cartoons had not i n fact violated Danish blasphemy laws and were considered to be part o f "the public interest" which is protected by free speech.  This raises questions as to the integrity of the Danish legal system. Before the case even went to trial before the court, it was the duty of the public prosecutors office to determine whether the cartoons violated the articles in Danish law (section 140 and section 266b) that protect religions and their followers from "mockery scorn and degradation". While the public prosecutor's office found no grounds to continue with the charges against Jyllands-Posten, they did note that, contrary to the claims found in the editorial that accompanied the cartoons, "scorn, mockery and ridicule" are incompatible with free speech under Danish law. The conclusion of the article from public prosecutor's office ending criminal proceedings says, "Section 140 of the Danish Criminal Code protects religious feelings against mockery and scorn and  7  Shortly after, on January 30, 2006, the Organization o f the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Arab League demanded that the U N pass a resolution (that has not since been passed) to protect religions against blasphemy and to possibly impose sanctions on Denmark and any other State where the cartoons were published. The resolution was interpreted as somewhat hypocritical given the nature o f publications and editorials i n some o f the O I C and Arab League's own Member States. In particular, and equally deserving o f lengthy analysis was the "holocaust cartoon contest" announced by Iran's Hamshari newspaper. 4  The contest encouraged "revisionist" holocaust cartoons reflective o f discourses i n Iran on Israeli-Palestinian relations and the existence o f the state o f Israel. The internationalization o f the incident however had several consequences.  The  debate on free speech spread throughout the world as media outlets debated whether to republish the cartoons. This engaged both secular and religious publics worldwide i n a broader debate on multiculturalism and its place i n liberal democracies. In the M i d d l e East, the Danish and Norwegian embassies were attacked in Syria, as well as the Danish embassy in Lebanon. Individual death threats and bomb threats were issued against the cartoonists and publishers o f Jyllands-Posten, while various planned and executed terrorist attacks have been attributed to the cartoons. In total, approximately 150 people were killed i n violent incidents related to the cartoons mainly i n Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Furthermore, mostly M u s l i m countries participated in a boycott on Danish goods, which has had serious consequences for Danish exports (Harding, 2006).  Not only were the cartoons a contribution to the debate on the compatibility o f Islam and modernity but also bn multiculturalism and the differentiated rights demanded  section 266 b protects groups of persons against scorn and degradation on account of i.a. their religion. To the extent publicly made expressions fall within the scope of these rules there is, therefore, no free and unrestricted right to express opinions about religious subjects. It is thus not a correct description of existing law when the article in Jyllands-Posten states that it is incompatible with the right to freedom of expression to demand special consideration for religious feelings and that one has to be ready to put up with "scorn, mockery and ridicule". The ruling highlighted power relations within Denmark and Muslim access to institutions of power such as the public prosecutor's office. This issue is dealt with in more detail in the concluding discussion of governmentality and power. The Director of Public Prosecutions, File No. RA-2006-41-0151. March 15, 2006. "Decision on Possible criminal proceedings in the case of Jyllands-Posten's Article "The Face of Muhammed". http://www.rigsadvokaten.dk/media/bilag/afgorelse_engelsk.pdf http://www.irancartoon.com/120/holocaust/index.htm contains all prize winning cartoons from the contest. 4  8  by Muslims living in Europe. The purpose o f the cartoons was to challenge and even provoke Danish M u s l i m s ' ability (or lack thereof) to perform the self-criticism and reflection demanded by modernity. W h i l e the cartoons themselves demand attention, this work is more concerned with the responses to the cartoons by a variety o f different discursive communities. In particular, I am concerned with those responses i n weblogs that resist both the message o f the cartoons as well as the characterization o f any criticism o f the cartoons as stifling free speech and democratic freedoms.  Methodological Orientations  Weblogs have been described as a tool "that links information and knowledge appropriation and propagation directly" (Burg, 2003, p. 9). Writers can link directly to specific articles, other weblogs and websites, offering critique, analysis and commentary. Through date and "timestamping", it is possible to determine precisely when a particular entry is engaging with third party material, as well as the identity o f the particular author. N e w discursive communities also emerge as weblogs link to each other and engage each other in dialogue. W h i l e the content and sheer volume o f the number o f weblogs that fall into dominant ideological discursive frameworks is overwhelming, there is also more room for resistance than is available i n traditional mainstream media and publishing formats.  Important discursive communities that subvert dominant paradigms can be  found within those weblogs that challenge dominant ideological formations. Nevertheless, despite their utility, weblogs pose problems for discourse analysis. Content can be changed, weblogs may disappear when web servers go offline and authors can choose to make content unavailable. Additionally, the identity o f authors is often unclear, as weblogs may be published anonymously, under pseudonyms, and under assumed identities that purposely mask intention. A s speech acts, weblog entries operate both as a dialogue with the outside world, and as a monologue, similar to a diary entry. Without a thorough knowledge o f the author, basic assumptions must frequently be made by the reader regarding the nature o f the  entry, its purposes  and motivations.  Furthermore, the accessibility and democratizing nature o f weblogs is  frequently  9  overstated as access to the internet and its potential limits the intended audience o f weblogs and determines the socio-economic composition o f those who own weblogs and use computers. A l l these factors necessarily create a bias i n the content, character and socio-political outlook o f weblog producers and consumers. Nevertheless, well constructed weblogs can be useful for critical discourse analysis. Weblogs may allow the reader to gain insight into an author's personal life and political views through the inclusion o f biographies, through the frequency and diversity o f entries which offer insight into the author's lifeworld, and through an author's willingness to engage i n dialogue with outside discourses and not merely to offer a selfreflexive monologue.  -  This work, therefore, looks at a broad selection o f weblogs chosen for their topical relevance, the period o f publishing (determined as the nine month period following the initial Jyllands-Posten publication), as well as the thoroughness weblogger biographies.  of  A s this study focuses specifically on Europe, the majority o f  weblogs pertaining to this work are written by both self-identified Muslims and nonMuslims living i n Europe. While this selection o f weblogs is by no means representative o f the entirety o f European public opinion, and i n fact necessarily essentializes a multiplicity o f viewpoints, the intention is to uncover those normative viewpoints not represented i n the mainstream media.  Specifically, these weblogs are selected for the  persistence o f their engagement both with the immediate events surrounding the JyllandsPosten publication, and for how they address broader issues on Islam's place within Europe. cartoons,  Each weblog entry discussed deals specifically with the publication o f the and those that supported  themselves.  their publication also reproduce  the  images  These images have been widely "searched" i n the online world, often  leading to wider global engagement between readers and the authors o f the weblogs, as well as the images themselves due to the global reach o f the internet. Rather than attempting to speak for respondents, a critical discourse analysis i n this case should allow the weblogs to speak for themselves.  A s Gayatri Chakravorty  Spivak notes, it is not the role o f the critic or intellectual to privilege historical accounts by defining "which 'concrete experience' w i l l become the model" (Spivak, 1999, p. 256). Spivak claims that M i c h e l Foucault's work ignores the role o f the intellectual in  10  valorizing the position o f the oppressed. She insists that the role o f the author should be a vital element within critical discourse analysis. Spivak herself is aware o f this problem within her own work.  A s colonized subject turned privileged intellectual, through  influential essays such as "Can the Subaltern Speak?" (1999), she demonstrates that through persistent self-critique and self-awareness o f her chosen methodology, it is possible to allow marginalized voices to enter into dialogue with dominant ideological discursive formations.  The role o f critical discourse analysis then must carefully walk  this thin line. While privileging marginalized voices through a strategic essentialism conscious not to become reductively essentialist i n itself, I hope to allow the voices o f weblog writers to be heard. The goal o f critical discourse analysis "is not to describe 'the way things really were' or to privilege [one] narrative o f history as the best version o f history. It is, rather, to continue the account o f how one explanation and narrative o f reality was established as the normative one" (Spivak, 1999, p. 267). The goal o f this work's critical discourse analysis is twofold. First, it can be seen as a move to uncover the prevailing perceptions o f how the Jyllands-Posten cartoons' publication and the responses to it were portrayed and to reinsert the voices o f those who were omitted from the dialogue to contribute to a new understanding o f the debate. Secondly, and more importantly, it looks at the genealogical construction o f a M u s l i m "Other" i n Europe, and the role o f the Jyllands-Posten cartoons and their, performative work i n continuing to advance the essentialized image o f Islam in Europe. A critical discourse analysis o f the position advocated b y Jyllands-Posten, other mainstream media sources, official sources and web log commentary is thus provided through textual analysis. Rather than focusing on a purely linguistic analysis (vocabulary, semantics, grammar, etc.), this work centres on intertextual analysis. Through intertextual analysis I also hope to unmask the historical and social dependencies o f particular texts (Fairclough, dependencies.  1995, p.  189). Texts are  able to both reproduce  and resist  these  The performative function o f weblogs in particular, with their ability to  open spaces o f resistance and a potential to transform social formations and institutions, w i l l be illuminated through this type o f analysis. W h i l e the goal o f this work is to give voice to those opinions and ideas excluded from the dominant ideological discursive formation, it is important to note how  11  power/knowledge is enacted i n conventional media stories. A critical discourse analysis w i l l illustrate those features  o f mainstream media reporting that uphold different  ideologies and discourses that institutionalize power/knowledge. Teun V a n Dijk outlines a strategy for conducting discourse analysis, using three general characteristics and then shows how these characteristics can be applied to media discourse analysis (Van Dijk, 1993). The first, functional characteristic refers to how surface structures and meanings are understood in discourse. The characteristics o f the speaker, the relationships between the speaker and audience, and the social context o f the discourse are all part o f its functionality.  Through its lexicalization and surface structure (including sentence  structure, word choice and theme) a discourse is a reflection o f the social structure i n which it exists and therefore its functionality operates to convey the message o f the discourse  itself • as  well  as  underlying messages  related  to  social  structure.  Meaningfulness, the second characteristic o f discourse, refers to coherence at both local and global levels. Sentences are structured locally within a specific discourse to relate to each other to convey their message, while at the global level, a specific discourse relates to broader social contexts and themes. A discourse w i l l work from the specific to the general in order to establish global coherence within a larger discursive  framework.  Goal-directedness, van Dijk's third characteristic o f discourse, draws attention to the purposes o f discourse itself (Van Dijk, 1993, p. 277). A n y discourse is created or enacted in order to reach some goal. The failure or success o f the discourse to achieve its goal is due to the structure o f the discourse and its meaningfulness. Thus, something as simple as ordering a meal at a restaurant cannot succeed i f the initiation o f the speech act, its lexicalization, structure, tone and style, are incoherent to the waiter. A l l discourse has some purpose, even i f it is just to engage in conversation as a purely social act. Its goal is achieved through the structure o f the discourse and its local and global coherence. .  Prior to examining the potential o f weblogs to resist dominant ideological  formations, it is important to see, i f only through a brief example, the type o f discourse they resist. The following example illustrates how power/knowledge is enacted in mainstream media discourse The February 2, 2006 online issue o f the German centre-right news magazine P e r Spiegel (Heflik, 2006) included an article titled '"It Was Worth It': Editor Reflects on  12  Denmark's Cartoon Jihad". The article exemplifies the ways in which mainstream media upholds the dominant ideological discursive formation, while simultaneously appearing as though they offer a balanced unbiased account.  A critical discourse analysis o f the  article reveals how its main characteristics, as defined by van Dijk, contribute to a normalization o f practice, language, grammar and ideology.  The caption to the photo that accompanies the article reads:  Y o u n g Danes i n Copenhagen hold up a banner reading 'Sorry' in support o f those offended b y the newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The newspaper has apologized for publishing caricatures o f the prophet Muhammad, but key ^ editors say they don't regret the decision. W h i l e initially, the caption seems to posit the contrition o f the Jyllands-Posten editors as linking their apology to the sentiments o f those holding up the banner, it later reveals that "they don't regret the decision." The title, which refers to the debate as a "Cartoon Jihad", i n combination with the Jyllands-Posten editor's comments that "It was worth it" and the photo caption all prompt the reader to conjure up pre-existing knowledge or understanding o f the event.  In particular, it assumes some normalized  language, ideology and practice regarding topics related to Islam i n Europe.  These  triggers direct the reader to accept without question the particular ideology the article exhibits through lexical choices, in particular "Cartoon Jihad". Rather than referring to the ongoing event as a controversy, debate, dialogue or discussion, (more neutral terms), the headline opts for a phrase that has a more negative connotation. Jihad in the minds o f Western readers and certainly in this context, derisively refers to the event as necessarily violent and deadly. The term "Cartoon Jihad" evokes images o f actual physical violence and death. In terms o f its local coherence, this is perhaps valid as the article is a response to bomb threats and other threats o f violence against the staff and offices o f JyllandsPosten.  However, i n terms o f its global coherence, the article largely ignores, or  minimizes, the types o f non-violent resistance already well under way and essentializes the violent acts o f a small minority o f Muslims as representative o f the entire M u s l i m population.  13  The title and caption also serve to alert the reader to the later stylistic structure and lexicalization o f the article. The article uses what Norman Fairclough refers to as "indirect discourse" (Fairclough, 1995, p. 57) to characterize the ideological discursive 5  formation that guides European M u s l i m and Arab M u s l i m discourse.  The article  describes representatives o f Denmark's M u s l i m population leading a "storm o f protests", the "wave o f outrage from the Arab world flooding Denmark as unrelenting', the paper as resisting attempts to "muzzle" its right to freedom o f speech, and so on. The article simultaneously casts the publishers o f the cartoons and their supporters i n a far more favorable light, stating that the newspaper's staff and political editor Joern Mikkelsen are "staying strong", despite the controversy that surrounds them, referring to JyllandsPosten's editors as "trailblazers" for freedom o f speech, in particular it portrays Mikkelsen "pausing briefly and answering his own rhetorical questions" as a paragon o f democratic rights and freedoms in opposition to the discursive violence o f European and Arab Muslims who would silence him. The article achieves coherence locally through its stylistic structure and global coherence b y presenting the newspaper editor's measured opinions and statements as fully upholding democratic freedoms while characterizing the " M u s l i m " response i n direct opposition to such freedoms. The article thus represents European Muslims as unable to meet the requirements o f secular democratic societies. Even i n the brief passage where the article seeks comment from Imam A k k a r i , leader o f the Danish M u s l i m delegation's tour o f the Middle East, his seemingly favorable comments are later mediated to reflect this global view.  He states that, "[o]ur intention was never to  introduce censorship or to ban criticism o f issues related to religion," and affirms his commitment to "the political path o f discussion" and his "strong condemnation" o f "violent and potentially violent responses". The story nevertheless proclaims the lack o f respect for democratic and political freedoms by Muslims, despite A k k a r i ' s "strong condemnation" o f violence and his advocacy o f open dialogue and discussion through Looking at discourse representation in media, Fairclough theorizes creates primary, secondary and tertiary categories of discourse reporting. Indirect discourse involves secondary reporting of a discursive act, rather than a direct quote. The importance of this distinction is the ambivalence of the writer's voice. Using the active voice, a writer tells of a direct action, while the passive allows the reader to infer meaning. The writer is then able to selectively use either voice to attribute characteristics to the subject of the discursive act. In this case, generally the writer uses the active voice to attribute negative connotations to Muslim acts, while performing the opposite for the editors of Jyllands-Posten. 5  14  widely accepted democratic channels (protests, demonstrations and legal recourse sought in the lawsuit against Jyllands-Posten). The structure  o f the  article, which  accords with van D i j k ' s  "proposed  conventional superstructure o f news discourse", offers a hierarchical representation o f the story.  The most important information is contained within the first two-thirds o f the  article, while Imam A k k a r i ' s comments fall within the final portion o f the article, where readers are prepared to receive it as supplemental to the events or arguments addressed at the beginning o f the article. Furthermore, the structure o f the article has a two-fold effect by giving illocutionary force to A k k a r i ' s statement o f "strong condemnation" and then stripping it o f sincerity by later claiming that he is merely "concerned" with escalation. A k k a r i ' s statements are thus recontextualized and it appears the comments made by h i m and his counterparts gave rise to the xenophobia expressed towards the end o f the article. Yet, A k k a r i is speaking out against violence and i n favor o f democratic freedoms and no evidence is offered to the contrary. The purpose o f the article seems to convey the message that the utility o f the cartoons was to initiate a societal debate, which outweighs any recognition that the cartoons themselves may have been i l l conceived, and even damaging to Muslims.  In  fact, the story seems to demonstrate, and to performatively uphold the impression that the worldwide response o f Muslims has only solidified Danish opinions on Islam and multiculturalism. A n alternate version o f the story might have addressed Imam A k k a r i ' s role as both a "leading" Danish M u s l i m cleric and representative o f Danish Muslims, rather than focusing on the individual who made the initial bomb threat that is the subject o f the article. This perspective would then delegitimize the xenophobic comments that perpetrate discursive violence against Muslims (through negative portrayal and its performative function) at the conclusion o f the article.  W h i l e the article raises a valid  point on the role o f the cartoons as instigating discussion and debate, the article presumes to have already resolved the debate itself. Through the uneven portrayal o f Muslims and the culturalization o f M u s l i m violence, the article stifles debate and discussion and continues the work o f the cartoons by portraying European Muslims as unfit for membership i n democratic society: This occurs not only in the immediate context o f the article itself or the cartoons, but also as a part o f the longer genealogy. B y creating the  15  image o f the violent " M u s l i m " it becomes legitimate to deny him/her equal discursive rights.  If he/she is unable to meet the demands o f modernity and democracy, his/her  exclusion from discourse is not only justified but perhaps even necessary. W h i l e the article analyzed above is meant to represent the role o f the mainstream media in the normalizing tendencies o f ideological discursive formations, it is important to note that each newspaper and media outlet has its own biases and some may even lie outside o f the dominant ideological discursive formation (these are usually independent publications that do not rely on corporate sponsorship or have strong ties to governments) which paint a more sympathetic portrait o f Muslims i n light o f the debate that surrounds the Jyllands-Posten cartoons.  Through its normalized practices (the very  structure o f news articles), lexicalization, and self-selected themes, mainstream media contribute to the "subjugation o f knowledges", (Foucault, 1980) and the maintenance and renewal o f hegemony.  M e d i a discourse has the ability to relate texts, whether written,  delivered through a speech act, or other representation to the production o f ideological discourse itself Therefore, a critical discourse analysis o f weblogs should reveal not only how ideology and practice are normalized, but also how resistance to dominant ideological discursive formations is deployed.  The following section assesses the ability o f "The  European Project" to cope with the challenges that critical discourses pose to the dominant ideological discursive formation and looks more closely at what those "subjugated" discourses actually have to say.  The Politics of the Limit  Introduction The "European Project", which has mainly been comprised o f increasing juridical and economic integration o f "European" States and economic expansion, also carries an important cultural element. The European U n i o n seeks also to promote a common European identity and culture that transcends national and historical differences. The basis for this cultural union lies i n the belief that European national cultures share not only common essences and values, but also universal principles that w i l l allow  16  national communities and identities to come together under a united Europe.  These  common values are generally seen as democracy, reason, tolerance, human rights, universal freedoms and social responsibility with roots in Greek classical antiquity, the rise o f Christianity and the development o f Enlightenment rationality. It is these values that allow the European multicultural project o f "unity i n diversity" - the official E U motto - to go forward. These common values are the proposed links between European member states and their citizens that w i l l allow European citizens to forego their allegiances to particularistic local identities and cultures.  Nevertheless, the E U  simultaneously seeks to allow the maintenance o f difference, particularly the co-existence of national cultures and identities as stated in Article 6(3) o f The Treaty on European Union: "The U n i o n shall respect the national identities o f its Member States." Increasingly problematic for the European project is the challenge posed to its universal values by an increasingly diverse population. Following W o r l d war II, waves o f post-colonial migrants and workers from Europe's periphery and external borders arrived to fill increasing labour shortages throughout'the 1970s. Thus, the E U has been faced with the task o f "including" an increasingly diverse population. Anthony Pagden notes that, "[a] true European Union, that is, may need not only compelling cultural symbols and representative political forms i n order to persuade the Danes and the British that what they are being asked to identify with is as much 'their' Europe as it is the Europe o f the French or the Germans; it also may need sufficient adaptability to provide a common patria for Algerians and Malays, Muslims and Hindus" (Pagden, 2002, p. 12). W h i l e the Member States o f the E U must contend with how to include their own forms o f  'I  traditionally constituted  identity, in an age  o f ever increasing global economic  interdependence they now also face the challenge o f including identities traditionally defined as being outside o f Europe. Modernists like Jurgen Habermas (most notably i n The Inclusion o f the Other: Studies in Political Theory, 2000) and Seyla Benhabib (in Rights and Others: Aliens, Residents and Citizens, 2006) argue that there are two central components to fostering the  17  types  o f inclusive identity that culturally and  democracies require.  ethnically heterogeneous  modern  First, while traditional notions o f citizenship are rooted i n the  historical culture and ethnicity o f the majority, republican citizenship instead defines belonging as an allegiance to constitutionally defined political processes. This avoids the tendency o f the majority culture to shape and dominate political discourse in the first instance and can allow for the emergence o f pluralistic societies.  Second, deliberative  democracy is the public process by which members o f society arrive at agreements based on context-transcending truths in order to establish a legal order.  Universal claims to  truth are contested and normative standards are set by democratic majorities. Over time, not only do legal norms and rights change, but so do the institutions that uphold them. Republican citizenship and deliberative democracy decouple territorial and national claims from claims to political membership. This encourages what some have described as an iterative deliberative process based on public deliberation, debate and learning whereby "...universalist right claims are contested and contextualized, invoked and revoked, throughout legal and political institutions as well as in the public sphere o f liberal democracies" (Benhabib, 2006, p. 19). This process is necessary i n order to mediate the universal claims made by constitutions and the inherently exclusionary act o f constitution making (discussed below i n the section on the limit o f self/other). The ideals of republican citizenship and deliberative democracy work towards  rights  based  citizenship built on a framework o f universal inclusion and context transcending truths. However, republican citizenship and deliberative democracy are complicated by a set o f limits that that hinder the ability o f modern democracies, and Europe i n particular, to foster the inclusive pluralistic societies that are required with their increasingly heterogeneous populations.  Referring to a psychological condition first described by  K a r l Jaspers (Bornemark, 2006), the term "limit situations" describes moments o f fear, guilt and anxiety, where the human mind is forced to deal with the limits o f its experience and capacities for knowledge. In order to progress, the human mind must confront the self-imposed boundaries and limits it sets to maintain its sense o f security. Only then.can it move past these limits, achieving a new self-consciousness.  Likewise, communities  also experience these moments. Europe is currently experiencing a limit-situation i n  18  defining its actual and conceptual borders , and must either progress to a new form o f 6  self-consciousness or else devolve into some pre-existing conception o f itself ( i f such a thing has ever existed ). In the following sub-sections, I locate three important limits that define the cartoon debate and raise broader questions on the future possibilities o f a "European Identity" and the inclusion o f Muslims, despite historical and contemporary narratives o f "Orientalism" and exclusion. The first is the limit o f tolerance and intolerance that is the crucial foundation o f republican citizenship. To live in a pluralistic society requires a commitment to the tolerance o f different groups and individuals, and recognition o f their right to practice that difference in accordance with the constitutionally defined political, framework. The second limit addresses the tensions between concepts o f self and other, a central component i n the construction o f identity.  W h i l e identity is based on self-  ascription, it is also based on a displacement. Identity can be based as much on what one "is", as what one is not. Third, the limit o f essentialism and de-essentialism addresses the difficulty o f ascribing group identity. To essentialize identity i n this instance ignores heterogeneity, while at the same time a de-essentialized group identity risks the removal o f important group markers. However, it is also important to recall that all three o f these limits are negotiated within a sphere o f unequal power relations that deeply influence their outcome.  Tolerance/Intolerance  For Jurgen Habermas, the E U potentially embodies a new form o f constitutional democracy that bases its identity not on shared ethnic, cultural or national traits, but rather on shared values that allow for a plurality o f "ethical communities integrated around different conceptions o f the good" (Habermas, 1975, p. 134).  In Habermas'  idealized conception o f the democratic state, citizens are integrated into multicultural states not through shared values and agendas, but rather through shared recognition o f the  See Balibar, Etienne (2004), "The Borders of Europe" pp. 1-10 and "World Borders, Political Borders" pp.101-114 in We. The People of Europe? Reflections bn Transnational Citizenship See below for further discussion of the historical problem of defining and locating a "European" identity. 6  7  19  procedures for the legitimate uses o f power and the enactment o f laws. Such recognition allows for the rights o f minority groups to be respected while resisting the tendency o f majority groups to claim as universal normative values that reflect only the majority culture.  Democracy and constitutionalism are seen as the only form o f legitimate  government b y Habermas, and are mutually reinforcing. legitimate, citizens must simultaneously see themselves addressees o f the law.  For governments to be as both the authors and  This occurs through democratic processes, as well as public  engagement i n deliberative processes that ensure the evenness o f communication, the free flow o f information, and equal discursive rights for all participants.  This notion o f  deliberative democracy is inherently tied to Habermas' theory o f communicative action and follows from his "discourse principle" that "just those action norms are valid to which all possibly affected persons could agree as participants in rational discourses" (Habermas, 1996, p. 107). Therefore, democracy and constitutionalism are mutually reinforcing. Citizens are constituted as free and equal under the law while also the very authors o f the law itself. There is however, an unresolved tension between democracy, as Lasse Thomassen (Thomassen, 2006) notes.  constitutionalism and  This is a result o f the very  mutual reciprocity that Habermas says makes constitutional democracy work.  If a  constitution is to be legitimate it has to be created constitutionally, with citizens exercising their democratic rights. However, without an existing constitution, on what are citizens to base these initial democratic rights? Habermas attempts to resolve this tension through  what  Thomassen  terms "iterability"; the  historical contingency o f both  constitutions themselves and the law, which are transformed over time, potentially through the type o f public deliberation that occurred following the publication o f the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. For Habermas, what makes constitutional democracy work is that constitutions like laws are alive, "there niust.. .remain a role for democracy in putting into place and interpreting constitutionalism, so that the performative  aspect o f  democracy exceeds the constative aspect o f constitutionalism" (Thomassen, 2006, p. 185). Legitimacy is derived from a combination o f democratic rights and processes inscribed within the constitution as they gain normative power over time through repetition and their own normative force, as well as the alterability o f the constitution  20 c  through those same democratic channels. constitutional democracy.  This is what allows for the iterability o f  Thus, it is important to note the potential contributions that  weblogs can offer to this deliberative process. This is particularly important, as weblogs can open new discursive spaces free o f the constraints that traditional mainstream media often place on discourse. Seyla democratic  Benhabib notes that the  model  is  that  it  real  "distinguishes  success  o f Habermas'  between  the  deliberative  ethnos  and  the  demos....Democracies are not formed through the mystical sovereignty o f nations but through the constitutional principles which people adopt in order to govern themselves by and through the institutional arrangements which they set into motion" (Benhabib, 1994, p. 14). In addition to this division o f ethnos and demos, constitutional democracies also "allow in their midst the formation o f an independent public sphere i n which questions o f identity, legitimacy and sovereignty can be perpetually debated and discussed." This in turn allows "new identities to come to the fore, delegitimization processes to be aired and the meaning o f sovereignty be re-established" (Benhabib, 1994, p. 16). For Habermas, it is this ongoing deliberative process that makes constitutional democracy work. However, what holds Habermas' notion o f constitutional democracy together is also contested. It is his rational reconstruction o f the notion o f tolerance that allows pluralistic societies such as the European Union to function. This is the first limit that pluralistic societies face, and provides the rationale for the emergence o f republican citizenship.  W h i l e he is critical o f traditional, normative readings o f the notion o f  tolerance central to the critiques o f post-structuralists and post-modernists  such as  Jacques Derrida and Jean Francois Lyotard, he believes that through constitutionalism, legitimate processes o f governance can be established.  It is the deliberative process  embedded within constitutional democracies that allows them to avoid the paternalistic forms o f traditional notions o f tolerance, and their inherently exclusionary nature. The very notion o f tolerance, which Habermas shows as growing out o f the 16  th  and 17 century reformation o f the Christian Church, was originally formulated to allow th  various forms o f Christianity to co-exist i n one state: "the philosophical justifications given for religious tolerance point the absolutist state in a direction away from unilaterally declared religious toleration, the limits o f which are defined by the  21  authorities, and towards a conception o f tolerance based on the mutual recognition o f everybody's religious freedom" (Habermas, 2004, p. 5). notion o f tolerance however, remains.  The basic problem with the  The act o f tolerance, i n fact; is also one o f  exclusion as it sets a limit on what can and cannot be tolerated.  Habermas attempts to  escape this paradox with reference to the emergence o f republican citizenship and constitutionally granted basic freedoms (religion, speech, association, etc.).  It is the  formation o f constitutionally defined democratic communities through iterative processes that allows tolerance to exist without exclusions based solely on the privileged position o f the majority culture.  A s Habermas notes, "[t]he norm o f complete inclusion o f all  citizens as members with equal rights must be accepted before all o f us, members o f a democratic community, can mutually expect one another to be tolerant" (Habermas, 2004, p. 10). Tolerance then forms the basis for the inclusive citizenship required by pluralistic societies. Importantly, Habermas also notes that tolerance is not one-sided.  Minority  groups are similarly required to adhere to the constitutional principles that allow their membership within the community. A s such, religious communities become engaged in the deliberative process itself i n order to receive the benefits o f inclusion i n the constitutional State. "With the introduction o f a right to freedom o f religious expression, all religious communities must adopt the constitutional principle o f the equal inclusion o f everyone. They cannot merely benefit from the toleration o f others, but must themselves face up to the generalized expectation o f tolerance, with all the consequences this entails" (Habermas, 2003, p. 6). This requires recognition among religious communities o f their dual membership in a democratic community as well as a religious community that may not be able to tolerate the existence o f other religious worldviews. Cognitive links can be established between the moral imperatives o f inclusion i n both the public and private sphere, the one reinforcing the other. The role o f public and private spheres and the rights to free speech and expression are the issues most commonly addressed i n the weblogs o f both European Muslims and non-Muslims.  This is an extremely important issue within the larger  debate, as it relates to the impetus behind the publication o f the cartoons in the first instance.  Is Islam compatible with "modern" European society and the demands o f  22  republican citizenship? D o M u s l i m objections to the publications constitute intolerance o f basic democratic freedoms? Were their objections protected under those same basic freedoms and thus legitimate based on other democratic grounds? A s Habermas notes i n a  2001  interview, " i n the  course  o f mutual  perspective  taking (necessary  for  understanding) there can develop a common horizon o f background assumptions in which both sides accomplish an interpretation that is not ethnocentrically adopted or converted but, rather, intersubjectively shared" (Borradori, 2003, p. 37). H e later goes on to note that "structures o f communication free o f distortion" are also a necessary element o f understanding (Borradori, 2003, p. 38). The weblogs o f non-Muslims Europeans, which constitute the overwhelming majority o f available weblogs, demonstrate the limits o f "European" tolerance.  Indeed,  these weblogs are illustrative o f the anxieties perpetuated by the existence o f Muslims within "European space". religious  fundamentalist  It may be useful here to recall the incommensurability o f positions with what  Habermas  terms the  modernity" that grew out o f the Enlightenment (Habermas, 2000).  "discourse o f  Clearly, where a  particular group is unwilling to engage i n dialogue over issues crucial to the functioning of democratic society, pluralism cannot work. However, the overdetermination o f acts o f violence and o f positions incommensurate with modern democracies does its own discursive and epistemic violence. When M u s l i m voices i n Europe that simultaneously respect basic democratic freedoms and that condemn the cartoons themselves are ignored, deliberative democratic processes and even communication cannot occur. It should also go without saying that the intent here is not to have the following weblogs represent the entirety o f non-Muslim European opinion but rather to account for and analyze some o f the main arguments made by those who condemn the objections to the cartoons as incompatible with basic democratic freedoms. A  Danish  weblog  (http://www.bibelen.blogspot.com)  authored  by  an  individual calling himself "Ateist" provides an exhaustive account o f the Cartoon debate from the beginning o f the controversy.  "Ateist" quotes liberally from Danish news  accounts and translates them into English (presenting its own problems for discourse analysis), frequently showing little sympathy for the claims made by Muslims. He only begins writing i n English i n late December 2005, i n direct connection with the cartoon  23  debate, which is the only topic addressed by the weblog following that entry. Prior to the cartoon incident however, the weblog demonstrates tendencies towards xenophobia and religious intolerance.  In one instance, he links to an article on the "Islamization o f  Europe" as "the result o f a careful and deliberate strategy by certain M u s l i m leaders" (Sookhdeo, 2005). W h i l e the weblog is highly critical o f M u s l i m responses to the cartoon publications, conspicuously absent is any significant attention to the actual claims made by Muslims. The weblog does not critically engage with European Muslims and resorts mainly to commentary from published newspaper reports. W h i l e "Ateist" discusses each of the 12 cartoons published by Jyllands-Posten, it is his description o f the cartoon o f Mohammed with the bomb i n his turban that perhaps indicates his position most clearly. He notes that this is the most controversial o f the depictions because "it shows the tie between Islam and terrorism", a tie that has been made repeatedly since Sept. 11, 2001. He goes on to say: But which is the greater insult? A Danish artist indicating a connection between Islam and terrorism? Or those terrorists, who have killed thousands o f civilians in N e w Y o r k , London, B a l i , Madrid, Casablanca and Istanbul and have done their dirty deeds i n the name o f A l l a h the Merciful? If terrorism is an insult against Islam, why don't you fight terrorism instead of getting mad with a Danish artist, whose only crime is that he's pointing out your ostrich-like denial. Don't k i l l the messenger (http://bibelen.blogspot.com/2005/12/drawings-of-mohammed.html, December 27, 2005). It is interesting to. note here how his comments, while noting the evils o f terrorism and the ways it has tarnished Islam's reputation, seem to essentialize Islam. L i k e the cartoons, he too provides the cognitive link between violence and Islam by invoking the names o f the cities frequently associated with "Islamist" terrorist attacks i n "New York, London, B a l i , Madrid, Casablanca and Istanbul" and the sarcastic gesture to the which were committed " i n the name o f A l l a h the Merciful". This particular comment achieves coherence locally, conveying the message that moral acts o f violence are far worse than a simple image.  In addition, Ateist links the cartoon to the broader debate on M u s l i m  complicity in terrorist attacks that have been committed i n the name o f Islam.  The  24  comment achieves coherence within the larger discursive framework and historical genealogy i n Europe that links Islam with a violent pre-modera condition through the use of sarcasm, referring to " A l l a h the merciful" and " M u s l i m ostrich-like denial", the propagation o f the " N e w York, B a l i , Madrid, London" meme and the omission o f M u s l i m opinions and actions that may refute his point. The comments o f Sheila Musaji, a M u s l i m writer from the U S , and editor in chief o f The American M u s l i m (http://www.theamericanmuslim.org) i n a weblog entry at altmuslim.com; demonstrates the willingness o f Muslims to engage in self-criticism and uphold free speech. She notes that, [t]he cartoons are a repeat o f old anti-Semitic drawings, complete with hooked noses and swarthy complexions. The cartoons A R E offensive - but the response by many Muslims is more than offensive. Death threats, armed men taking over offices, threats against places o f worship, etc. A R E offensive, illegal, immoral, unjust, and against the very spirit o f Islam. Threatening to blow up churches in Palestine because a newspaper i n Denmark (which is a predominantly Christian country) ran offensive cartoons means that these clowns are saying that every Christian in the world is responsible for the actions o f anyone in the Christian world. This is madness just as much as those who hold the same attitude towards Muslims and Islam.... If, as Muslims, we want to show respect for the Prophet, for the Qur'an, and for Islam, then we need to set a noble example o f justice, tolerance, and respect. If we want respect from others we need to show them equal respect (http://www.altmuslim.com/perm.php?id=l 645_0_25_0_C, February 6, 2006). In this entry, Musaji demands tolerance from Muslims as well as non-Muslims. In her arguments she represents the diversity o f the global M u s l i m community, many o f whom recognize that injustices have been committed in the name o f Islam. Here, Musaji also points out the ways in which Muslims and non-Muslims have essentialized one another. W h i l e "Ateist" supports the message put forth by the cartoons, one which characterizes Muslims as terrorists and questions the ability o f Muslims to engage critically with the topic o f "Islam and terrorism", Sheila Musaji's comments directly refute his charge.  Rather than critically engaging with Muslims, "Ateist" instead  attributes democratically legitimate actions taken by Muslims (in the form o f protests, demonstrations and rational arguments that uphold free speech, while objecting to the  25  racist and essentializing character o f the publications) as signs o f intolerance and as inherently incompatible with basic democratic freedoms. This, however, is not an uncommon approach within weblogs, as many more portray M u s l i m s ' putative intolerance o f free speech while simultaneously displaying questionable commitments to notions o f tolerance themselves.  O n the weblog o f  Samizdata.net, primarily maintained in London and Belfast, a debate developed shortly after the cartoons were reproduced on the weblog. Initial comments i n the exchange consisted o f statements such as "whoever is complaining about these needs to get a life" (http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/008395.html#100206, December 23, 2005), "I couldn't care less about the superstitions o f a bunch o f primitives living i n caves and sand pits"  (http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/008395.html#l 00234,  December  24,  2005), and "I don't care what Islam is, I'm not interested one way or the other. I do know what freedom o f the press is, something many people (including you?) do not" (http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/008395.html#l04379, January 31, 2006). In the later stages o f this debate, M u s l i m and non-Muslim writers began to object to the onesided representation given to the cartoon debate; A s a result, the position o f supporters o f the cartoons becomes more clearly articulated.  In one o f the most telling exchanges,  "Perry De Havilland", the original author o f the weblog responds to a call for respect for the religious beliefs o f others:  [FJreedom o f speech means N O T having to 'respect' points o f view we disagree with. Y e s , some people do have religious beliefs and I respect their right to hold those beliefs (i.e. I tolerate them), but that is not the same as respecting those beliefs themselves. People have a right to demand tolerance from me, they have no right to demand acceptance and agreement or silence from me. Tell me, people also have racist beliefs, communist beliefs, fascist beliefs... I respect people's right to hold absurd views abut I have no hesitation poking fun at people who hold those views. A r e you suggesting otherwise? (http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/008395.html#l04288, January 30, 2006) These comments on the freedom to hold beliefs and the right to respect freedom are i n accordance with Habermasian notions o f tolerance. However, the later statement conflating Islam with a series o f what we hold to be intolerant beliefs delegitimises the  26  ability o f Muslims to participate i n rational discourse. W h i l e "disrespect" or disavowal of discourses that do not open themselves to criticism from competing claims may be justifiably maintained under Habermasian discourse ethics, no support is offered or given as to why Islam should also be held i n this regard.  The comment does not make the  distinction between debate and the desire to disengage from debate altogether. Central to Foucault's conception o f power/knowledge are epistemes, a notion o f historical periods based upon specific distinct discourses and worldviews upheld by institutions and the knowledges they produce (Foucault, 1980, p. 197). These formations however, are not transparent and inform and order systems o f knowledge and power b y shaping background knowledge and the implicit justification for a given episteme (de Certeau, 1986) The power o f epistemes is similar to the way i n which dominant ideological formations naturalize ideology so that they become  "common sense"  justifications for social practices and institutions (Fairclough, 1995, p. 41). For Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, epistemic violence occurs where local knowledge is subjugated b y both local and global power structures (Spivak, 1988, p. 204).  Conversely, epistemic  violence also occurs where subjugated knowledges resist the dominant episteme and expose the arbitrariness o f their foundations. What some o f those who objected to the cartoons were denouncing was not freedom o f speech or expression, but rather the epistemic violence o f the cartoons and their effects on Islam. A s Henkel demonstrates, the cartoon debate revolved around a "double delegitmation" o f Islam (2006a):  The cartoons first essentialize Islam with a  racist, xenophobic depiction while also making the claim that any objection to the images is intolerant and incompatible with democratic freedoms.  Resistance to the cartoons is  therefore also resistance to an episteme organized around a discourse that promotes the image o f a violent, intolerant Islam.  Acts o f violence or the threat o f violence are  incompatible with democratic society, and do little to advance the claims o f those who object through rational, reasoned  approaches.  To focus on those individuals is  constructing a totalizing portrayal o f an entire population is merely a continuation o f the historical anxieties that characterize "European" relations with Islam. What is important in these weblogs however, is their commitment to free speech and the at times  27  polemically charged dialogues they engage i n .  Embedded within the structure o f  weblogs is a function that allows for comments and links to other weblogs, articles and sources.  These can and do become good venues for open dialogue and debate. What  effect this may ultimately have is indeterminate, but it may mark the beginning o f the deliberative process that proponents o f republican citizenship feel is essential to its success. Further examination o f selected weblogs that express the views o f the European M u s l i m population serve to demonstrate the heterogeneity o f both M u s l i m and nonM u s l i m opinions within Europe. The following weblogs have been selected for the way that they assert the compatibility o f Islam with the "European Project", and the ability o f Europeans to similarly practice the tolerance that they preach. They are written i n several European cities and include the life experiences o f the authors as they situate themselves within the wider discursive field i n which the cartoon debate takes place. These weblog entries can be understood as signs o f an "insurrection o f subjugated  knowledges"  (Foucault, 1980, p. 81) i n their resistance to the messages o f the cartoons and the ideological discursive formation that supports them. It would however, be unfair to exclude from analysis weblogs that show M u s l i m intolerance.  The following comment, accompanied by posters advocating violent  reprisals by a terrorist group known as the " G l o r y Brigades o f Northern Europe", is found on the weblog o f "Shawn" from N e w Y o r k . H e states: Denmark was clearly wrong for them to arouse such hostility i n their M u s l i m population with that hateful cartoon. Denmark was very disrespectful and insensitive to do such a thing. Denmark was obviously looking for a fight with it's M u s l i m population when it did so i n which case it deserves what it gets (http://morningcalm.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!27161C66D7206B84!6416.entry, December 3, 2006). The dominant ideological discursive formation  frequently  valorizes these types o f  comments i n order to portray a violent and intolerant Islam i n a manner consistent with the 18  th  and 19  th  century "Orientalism" that Said demonstrates (Said, 1994).  intention o f this work however, is to valorize those positions which are  The  frequently  28  excluded from public discourses and to demonstrate how they are contested within other discursive communities. Omar Sayid Shah, born i n Denmark o f Afghani parents and currently residing i n the U K , maintains a weblog in both English and Danish that contains lengthy entries on religious issues  specific to Islam, as well  commentaries.  In  a  weblog  entry  as a variety o f social and  dated  February  11,  miftah.blogspot.com/2006/02/something-rotten-in-state-of-denmark.html)  2006  political (http://al-  he  critically  notes the right-wing political tendencies o f Jyllands-Posten, as well as its popularity as one o f the newspapers with the highest circulation i n Denmark. He discusses how both the newspaper reactions  from  and politicians used the democratically legitimate and illegitimate the  Muslim  community  which  were  "heated,  complete  with  demonstrations, fierce condemnations and even a bomb threat from a 17 year old boy" to act as "protectors o f Danish values" and to condemn M u s l i m respect for freedom o f expression. In what may be his most important insight, Omar Sayid Shah notes that, in light o f long-standing hostility towards Muslims in Denmark and the political orientation of Jyllands-Posten,  [t]he fact that a leading "quality" newspaper had so clearly violated the sensitivities o f the Muslims citizens o f Denmark seemed irrelevant. The M u s l i m reaction was widely misreported i n the press, as anger oyer the flaunting of the M u s l i m prohibition against drawing the Prophet, rather than anger over the shameless and derogatory way i n which he had been depicted. Similarly, other weblogs by both European Muslims and non-Muslims pick up on this theme o f respect for democratic freedoms.  One M u s l i m writer living i n the U K  calling herself " K i t t y K i l l e r " (http://kittykittykillkill.blogspot.com/2006/01/free-speechproblem-with-cartoons.html, January 31, 2006) upholds the right o f the press to publish the cartoons, noting that, [ejventually** these than the long arm o f progress in the same Caribbeans***, then to print such toss.  stereotypes w i l l succumb to a far greater, scarier force the law - public attitudes. If standards on Islamophobia way as they have with regards anti-Semitism and Afroeventually newspaper editors w i l l feel it inappropriate  29  Another, calling himself Indigo Jo comments on his experiences at a free speech rally i n London on M a r c h 26, 2003, noting that: (http://www.blogistanxo.ulc/blog/mt.php/2006/03/26/another_weekend_another_rally, March 26, 2006): It never seems to occur to people that Muslims object to this vilification not because they want to silence debate about religion, but because they fear that it may lead to violence, and particularly when it is accompanied by rhetoric about Muslims grooming and pimping white girls i n Yorkshire. The importance o f the comment is found i n the author's advocacy o f free speech, and the limits imposed on it, where it strays into hate speech and intolerant violence. Importantly, he also notes the performative aspects o f representations o f Islam i n the media, and the potentially violent repercussions.  While certainly more scarce, non-  M u s l i m Europeans such as Peter Tatchell also seem to support the commensurability o f Muslims with democracy and more importantly the recognition o f long standing tensions between "Europe" and Islam. (http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/peter_tatchell/2006/03/free_speech_and_leftwing_l ies.html, March 27, 2006). Tatchell, a self-proclaimed "human rights campaigner, and a member o f the queer rights group OutRage! and the left wing o f the Green party", maintains his weblog at the British Guardian newspaper's website. Contributing to the heterogeneity o f opinions among non-Muslim Europeans, he comments on the contributions o f Muslims to rational thought and democratic freedoms, while making linkages to the intolerance o f European political parties. H e writes,  M u s l i m countries like Bangladesh have produced Enlightenment icons such as the feminist writer Taslima Nasreen; while supposedly cultured nations like Britain and France have spawned the Dark Ages intolerance o f the British National Party and the Front National. Here we see a direct refutation o f the claims to the incommensurability o f M u s l i m values with modern European democracy.  The preceding weblogs show both  Muslims and non-Muslims resisting the discourse o f the dominant ideological discursive formation by engaging i n acts o f free expression in democratically legitimate ways. W h i l e it was frequently claimed that the main injury against Muslims was in the portrayal  30  of the Prophet alone, which is forbidden as a form o f idolatry (for two examples, see http://news.bbc.co.Uk/2/hi/europe/4567940.stm,  December  29,  2005  and  http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,398624,00.html, February 1, 2006), this is rarely mentioned within the weblogs o f those who objected to the publication o f the cartoons . This perception i n fact changed over time as the deliberative process began to 8  work and the voices o f Muslims who objected to the cartoons were heard. In fact, i f we examine the weblog responses o f Muslims, what were perceived as far greater injuries were the nature o f the portrayal (as stereotypical and racist), the culturalizing effects o f the cartoons and other similar portrayals o f Muslims as inherently violent i n mainstream media  and  throughout  the  dominant  ideological discursive  formation,  and  the  misrepresentation o f M u s l i m objections, which were not all violent or intolerant o f free speech. A s a form o f resistance, weblogs can be seen as an important site for challenging the limits o f tolerance/intolerance.  A s part o f the ongoing deliberative  process, weblogs contribute not only to creating heterogeneity o f discourses through more even access, but also as a site where dialogue can occur. W h i l e some weblogs do not stray far from their prevailing ideologies and in fact approached the cartoon debate polemically, weblogs as a discourse genre cannot escape the deliberative process. Because they are an open forum for discussion, participants are actively engaging with other discourses and challenging prevailing ideologies. This occurs within both dominant and subjugated discourses.  Both are forced to confront their opponents by opening  themselves up to the possibilities o f conversation. This dialogue is far from perfect, as weblog owners are free to remove comments, and may choose not to engage with those who disagree with their positions  (http://eteraz.wordpress.com/2006/05/08/no-more-an-  The prohibition on images depicting the prophet is subject to interpretation, like much of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. While some claim that there is no specific injunction contained in the Koran, others have interpreted it differently, citing different verses that indicate a ban similar to that found in Judaism and Christianity on the portrayal of God leading to idolatry. Like much of the cartoon debate, these arguments have been variously recontextualized by all parties concerned to suit their various political and social interests in issues surrounding the cartoon debate. While a wider discussion of Islam and the prohibition of images falls outside the scope of this paper, it is important to note how parties on all sides of the debate were able to use this point to legitimize or delegitimize the actions of other parties to suit their political agendas.  31  infidel, M a y 8, 2006) . 9  Nevertheless, there is something productive at work i n the  weblogs as an opening move towards a wider dialogue and a truly pluralistic "European Society". B y at least offering the possibility o f open dialogue and debate, weblogs have the potential to make further important contributions to the deliberative process.  Self/Other  W h i l e "European Studies" and the "European Project" have been primarily concerned with functional approaches to the economic and juridical integration o f European Member States within the E U , the more recent failure o f the constitutional treaty i n 2005 is indicative o f a new phase (Balibar, 2004). In order to work toward the full realization o f the "European Project", Europe has more recently found itself dealing with the problems o f social integration. Central to this problem is the second limit that this paper addresses. This is the problem o f identity, whose limit is located at the juncture between self and other (Benhabib, 2006, p. 177). The two notions are necessarily bound together as one reinforces the other. Notions o f self are inherently connected to notions of otherness, as one cannot be what one is not.  A t the same time, through the  homogenizing process necessary to define identity and reduce it to its essence, it also necessarily includes what it seeks to exclude by virtue o f the heterogeneity o f the population o f modern societies. To ascribe intolerance i n the "Other" vests these characteristics to varying degrees within the " S e l f as it is a performative act (Borradori, 2003, p. 147).  This problem is multiplied when it is assigned as a fundamental  characteristic o f group identity. In Europe, this problem is further exacerbated by the complexities o f locating any semblance o f a "European" self i n the first instance. A t a loss for any other form o f identity, Europe could historically turn to the "Other" both internally, as it did through its Jewish population most commonly until the Second W o r l d War, and externally, as with 9 This post contains an interesting discussion of this issue. The owner of this particular weblog, a Muslim who advocates free speech and supported the publication of the cartoons while also denouncing their message, joined a weblog community composed mostly of right-wing Christians. Following several exchanges in which he attempted to explain the "Muslim" position on various issues, he eventually had one of his posts removed from the weblog. In protest of the violation of his right to free speech amid a steady stream of verbal abuse he chose to leave that particular community.  32  the "Orient" and colonial possessions, taken as oppositional poles (Goldberg, 2006). Republican citizenship is seen as a way out o f the binary relationship o f self/other. Constitutionally based citizenship presents an inclusive notion o f the political " s e l f based on universal principles mediated by democratic and deliberative processes that seek to escape from an entirely normative conception o f organizing principles.  The  "European Project" makes two simultaneous and possibly contradictory moves. It works towards the elimination o f difference at the meta or macro level while also striving for diversity and difference at the local or micro level. The Denmark cartoon debate demonstrates the complexities o f this double move towards broader social inclusion.  Europe now has to extract not only its own  constructed image o f Islam from the self/other dichotomy as a key defining feature o f European identity, while also having to face the limits o f the notion o f identity itself. To add a further layer o f complexity to this puzzle, European Muslims too are also faced with a similar problem. attendant demands  H o w can Islam, as divinely revealed religion with its own  and ethical practices, adapt to the requirements  o f republican  citizenship and the self/other relationship? Further critical discourse analysis o f weblogs w i l l explore these tensions by looking at the responses o f Muslims and non-Muslims to the limits o f self/other.  How  did both Muslims and non-Muslims respond to the challenges posed b y the notion o f self and other and can the deliberative process  i n fact work towards resolving this  fundamental tension? Is there something more at stake in the publication o f the JyllandsPosten cartoons than the issue o f free speech and tolerance? W h i l e modernists like Jurgen Habermas appeal to notions o f tolerance as a vital element o f citizenship and propose republican citizenship as a way around the limits o f self/other,  poststructuralists  and  post-modernists  including Derrida  respectively, strenuously object to this formulation o f the problem.  and  Lyotard  Instead,  they  advocate a notion o f hospitality that, unlike the notion o f tolerance, sets no limit on inclusion/exclusion. Derrida locates tolerance as a conditional hospitality. However, he also acknowledges that "a limited tolerance is clearly preferable intolerance" (Borradori, 2003, p.  to an  absolute  128), while admitting that "[a]n unconditional  hospitality is, to be sure, practically impossible to live" (Borradori, 2003, p. 129). B y its  33  very nature it would have to be undefined so that it could exist without limits. Therefore, it could not be inscribed either politically or juridically within a society.  Following  Habermas' model o f deliberative democracy, Benhabib critically assesses the postmodern objection to tolerance (Benhabib, 1994).  In her account, 'republican foundationalists'  such as Derrida and Lyotard strongly condemn the foundational violence o f the political act o f constitution-making and its homogenizing features. W h i l e analysis o f the weblogs demonstrate how M u s l i m and non-Muslim Europeans construct their respective others, by establishing a collective identity where none existed before, constitutions with their "logic o f ' W e ' " confuse a constative with a performative and similarly work to construct a political " s e l f in this case. For example, i n proclaiming ' W e ' the people, The French and American constitutions, do not necessarily speak for the people.  Instead, the act that the  constitution performs is that it establishes a people. It is i n this performative moment that the exclusion occurs.  The constitutional act performs two functions.  First, it inscribes  the ' W e ' and constitutes a historically contingent populace that may or may not actually have access to the procedure o f making the constitution. Secondly, it also inscribes the 'We'  to whom the nascent law w i l l apply, re-inscribing the limit o f  self/other.  (Benhabib, 1994). The law only applies to those included in this original conception o f who constitutes the state. However, these two functions performed by constitutions are not inherently the same.  W h i l e Benhabib agrees with the notion o f foundational  violence, particularly noting the exclusion o f Native Americans and African Slaves living in the 13 American colonies at the time o f American Independence, she notes that this line o f reasoning makes two crucial errors. First, it ignores the content o f the democratic constitution itself. It establishes the freedoms that allow for an ongoing political, social and intellectual process to begin.  Secondly, "[i]t is the ethos o f democratic politics that  the privilege o f being counted an equal is always contested and essentially contestable" (Benhabib, 1994, p. 8). W h i l e there is a foundational violence located within the political act o f democratic constitution-making, this violence is necessary i n order to establish effective authority and legitimacy. The foundational violence o f the constitutional act, with its potential for exclusion, is countered by the (at least formally peaceful) processes it inscribes. Modern, democratic constitutions allow for contestation, deliberation and the  34  legitimate exercise o f authority. W h i l e there is a clear tension between modern thought and poststructuralist and post-modern thought, the tension between the two schools can be reconciled through the common goal o f attaining context-transcending truth, no matter how elusive. For both, it is through persistent critique not only o f specific policies, but social institutions and practices that this is possible.  W h i l e the basis for law and its  justification is disputed, what is accepted is the need to re-evaluate, critique and reformulate it when necessary. This is a process that is necessary i n order to overcome the limits o f self and other. Agreeing with both Jacques Derrida and Jean-Francois Lyotard,  Benhabib notes that "the  task  o f philosophical politics  today  is  the  conceptualizations o f new forms o f association that w i l l let the 'differend' appear i n our midst" (Benhabib, 1994, p. 16). It is also important to note that beneath Habermas' constitutional democracy, is the notion o f the ideal speech situation that emerged from his theory o f communicative action. This ideal speech situation would allow equal communication and the free flow o f information without barriers and equal discourse rights for all participants.  Richard  Bernstein notes that Habermas is frequently misread as advocating an ideal form o f life, where all violence and conflict could be settled by rational argumentation through the elimination o f normatively based claims. H e points out that Habermas recognizes the difficulty o f doing away with the historical, normative basis o f truth claims. Instead, what he is striving towards is establishing the conditions by which "the only relevant force is the 'force o f the better argument'" (Bernstein, 1991, p. 204). Nevertheless, speaking i n more practical terms, what happens when this ideal speech situation does not occur? What types o f outcomes w i l l emerge in cases where media discourses (guided by elites (Chomsky and Herman, 1988) ) interrupt this free flow o f information and rational 10  communication?  What Habermas' account may be missing is a critical evaluation o f  power relations and their effect on communication. In the case o f the Denmark Cartoon debate, we witness a potential rupture i n Habermas' notion o f constitutional democracy.  The cartoons challenged the ability o f  Muslims to engage in modern practices o f self-criticism and tolerance that constitutional  See Chomsky and Herman (1988) for a much fuller elaboration of uneven elite representation in media discourses.  35  democracy relies upon. Habermas' discourse ethics are predicated on the notion that for any truth claim to be valid it must open itself to all other competing claims. Thus, it goes without  saying that it may  be  impossible to  integrate any  group  that  makes  "fundamentalist" claims incompatible with constitutional democracy. What then becomes problematic i n the Denmark cartoon debate is the ascription o f "fundamentalist" to any claim that objects to the characterization o f Islam within the publication.  Is it not  possible as a M u s l i m to legitimately object to the publication o f "openly racist cartoons" that also constitute a religious slur (Henkel, 2006a) without being accused o f intolerance and incompatibility with basic democratic freedoms? limit o f self/other.  It is here that we encounter the  The construction o f a fundamentalist "Other" historically, and in this  case, within European mainstream media can be seen more as a reflection o f Europe's own difficulties i n negotiating the identities o f its own Member States than as a valid response to inclusionary claims made by European Muslims. Locating what could constitute a coherent collective idea o f Europe as both a political and cultural entity is a complex task.  Politically, one o f the defining  characteristics o f Europe may be found i n its political organization, as distinct from other similarly loosely imagined geographical regions. This can be characterized as a historical progression towards increasingly representative  forms o f popular government, with  historical roots i n Greek and Roman republicanism (Pagden, 2002). W h i l e these forms o f government  has taken on many different shapes, evidenced most recently by cold war  politics, the fragmentation o f Europe into culturally, nationally and ethnically distinct states would seem to suggest far greater internal heterogeneity than is often recognized. Imperial expansionism, was broadly seen in Europe as the victory o f its own systems o f belief, culture and political organization over all others.  Stemming from this  was the impetus to universalize these normative ideals by shaping the rest o f the world i n its own image. justification  for  The Enlightenment seemed to provide the moral and philosophical this  early  period  of  European  expansion.  While  Kantian  cosmopolitanism i n particular did not necessarily advocate a violent cultural, political or economic form o f imperialism, it nevertheless promoted what has become the "regulative ideal" (Tully, 2002, p. 334) o f a natural, legitimate, universally recognized world order. It is from this "regulative ideal" o f moral universalism that Europe draws its strongest  36  sense o f self.  However, bound up with the colonial violence that accompanied this  period, this aspect o f Kantian cosmopolitanism is based on a fundamental contradiction. A s Anthony Pagden notes, this history "has created a double imposition for most modern European states: the need to repudiate their imperial past while clinging resolutely to the belief that there can be no alternative to the essentially European liberal democratic state" (Pagden, 2002, p. 11). A s a result, competing conceptions o f political and social organization are marginalized and other forms o f identity are subjugated to an inherently European notion o f cosmopolitanism with roots i n 14 (Jordan, 2002).  th  century Christianity  The notion o f a pluralistic Europe, which is the natural moral and  philosophical outgrowth o f cosmopolitanism, also competes with a history o f violence and global inequality with which it is fundamentally incompatible. H o w then can the "European Project" include Muslims when it is so crucially connected not only to a loose idea o f what Europe actually is, but also tied to Europe as a space o f "continuing Christian tradition?" (Pagden, 2002, p. 12)  Europe is now faced with the limits o f  self/other as it must move beyond a conception o f itself in opposition to Islam (just as it once  stood  i n opposition to  Soviet communism).  With  its basis  i n Kantian  cosmopolitanism, Europe must live up to the inclusionary standards o f republican citizenship that have stood as its defining characteristic. Further critical discourse analysis o f European weblogs demonstrates how both M u s l i m and non-Muslim Europeans negotiate the limits o f self/other.  These weblogs  demonstrate the ways i n which Europe and European Muslims construct their respective "Other", and base their notions o f " S e l f on socially constructed readings o f race.  The  weblogs selected are located i n Europe, and respond both directly and indirectly to the limit o f self/other posed by the notion o f a "European identity".  Discussed below, what  is most evident and problematic about these weblogs, is the lack o f meaningful dialogue between respondents on the subject o f identity. The weblog o f Omar Sayyid Shah introduced earlier offers anecdotal insights into the limits o f self/other as encountered by Muslims living i n Denmark. Discussing a recent football match between Denmark and Sweden, he, notes that o f his 12 M u s l i m friends who watched the match together, 11 supported Sweden. Asked why this was the case, the response was, "Because it isn't Denmark, and at least they've got Ibrahimovic  37  [the Bosnian M u s l i m player]. H o w many Muslims or even immigrants do you see on the Danish  team?"  danes.html,  (http://al-miftah.blogspot.com/2006/07/immigrants-muslims-and-new-  July 1, 2006).  This response, he notes, is somewhat unsurprising given  popular Danish attitudes towards Muslims. H e later notes the controversial remarks o f various politicians on Muslims in Denmark. These include:  Danish Cultural Minister Brian Mikkelsen's comment that, Not all values are equally valid and our society is superior. Medieval Islamic culture can never be as valid as ours. M a n y immigrants think that the M u s l i m culture is equal to the Danish, and expect us to accept this position. Karen Jespersen, former interior minister (Social Democrats). In 1900, they would not have been able to imagine that so many neighborhoods i n Copenhagen would be inhabited b y people from a lower level o f civilization. P i a Kjaersgaard (head o f the Danish People's Party, which is anti-immigration). Muslims should be interned in camps, better to be safe than sorry. Inge DahlSoerensen (Liberal Party). and M u s l i m youth consider it a right,to rape Danish girls...and are like a cancer that should be surgically removed." Louise Frevert (Danish People's Party). Therefore, he points out, it is hardly surprising to see the apprehensiveness o f his friends in offering their support to the Danish team, particularly given that some o f the above politicians were in fact members o f more moderate ruling governments and not members o f extremist fringe parties.  Removed from their proper context and without  accurate sources o f explanation, this list o f comments achieves a global coherence that clearly goes towards demonstrating a level o f intolerance in Denmark that may fail to take into account the statements o f opposition politicians and parties. Nevertheless, as public figures and leaders o f the dominant discursive community, these comments are instructive in explaining how a popular Danish newspaper could conceive o f publishing the cartoons o f the prophet Muhammad.  38  Omar Sayid Shah also notes that,  In recent years, the concept "Christian foundations o f the nation" has made a remarkable appearance i n Danish politics despite the fact that Denmark is one o f the most secular countries in Europe, with the majority o f the population being self-confessed agnostic or atheist. Right-wing parties have seized upon their Christian heritage and cynics note that the Christian declaration o f faith seems to have been reduced to "I am not a M u s l i m . " Clearly these comments demonstrate the limits o f self/other, as the perception o f the writer, is that it is the Danes, and more widely, "Europeans" who are reliant on an essential "Othering" i n order to constitute their own identity. Shah goes on to say, The parliament recently debated the mandatory spreading o f immigrant students across schools to have fewer i n each class. The main benefit envisaged was not academic progress but rather that teachers would have an easier time teaching subjects such as history and social studies, which ' H i g h l y politicized M u s l i m students usually sabotaged!' Here, one could safely assume that the difficulty teachers were having was a result o f resistance to the limit o f self/other contained i n the construction o f subjects through the dominant  institutionalized curriculum.  Schools and national education  systems,  according to Foucault, are fundamental institutions i n the matrix o f power/knowledge and constitution o f future citizens. Thus, national education systems are an important site for the exercise o f governmentality and the subjugation o f knowledges, to which students resisted. Furthermore, Shah also addresses the limits o f the self/other relationship among Danish Muslims. He notes that, the youth have developed a relatively strong "non-Danish" or even "antiDanish" immigrant identity (including non-Muslim immigrants), espousing a sense o f isolation and a cult o f victimization. This has fostered a relatively strong and vocal reactionary minority culture. Additionally, he adds that,  Girls wearing black jelbabs while listening to rap music is not an uncommon sight. Ten years ago, it would have been difficult to find a non-Arab or a young Arab wearing a jelbab or even the hijab (head covering). But it has  39  now become the default clothing o f religious and even semi-religious girls. This is partly because o f the immense success o f Salafism and Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT), which consider wearing the jelbab an obligation. But perhaps even more importantly, it has become a signal o f defiance because it's a garment the Danish society hates....there is an increased feeling o f loyalty among Muslims, and the Islamic language and symbols are being adopted by Muslims who are generally not considered "practicing." For example, it is not uncommon to hear semi-religious Muslims defend owning guns by saying "It's sunnah to be strapped!" It appears then, that there may be a similar current at least among sections o f M u s l i m youth that also encounters the limit o f self/other.  M u c h like European identity, which  encounters its limit oppositionally, M u s l i m youth culture may exhibit a similar relational process o f identity formation. Shah also discusses the heterogeneity o f M u s l i m immigrants in Denmark whose origins extend to North Africa, the Arab world and Southeast Asia. H e notes the reifying effects o f hostile Danish attitudes towards Muslims as essentially "other" and the emergence o f a distinct Muslim/immigrant identity. diametrically  opposed  to  a  perceived  European  This Muslim/immigrant identity is identity  whose  only  defining  characteristic is its open hostility towards outside cultures. Heiko Henkel (Henkel, 2006a) points out that there is an important tension i n the evolution o f modern democracies and modern Islam. Habermas' generally accepted genealogy o f modern democracies notes that they are based i n political and historical narratives that reject religious orthodoxy and religion as divine revelation. "Religious" Muslims (like any orthodox observer o f religion) however, have not fully experienced or do not accept this rejection.  Instead,  their genealogy is based  on a continual  reinterpretation o f their place in modern society, with which they are increasingly involved.  It is therefore difficult for "religious" Muslims to appropriate the logic o f  republican citizenship, i n the way its supporters  intend.  W h i l e many  Muslims,  particularly i n Europe, have had to reconcile their religious views with those o f democracy, this is not based on the same type o f religious rejection on which republican citizenship is prefaced. This is not to say that there cannot be a place for Muslims in the "European Project", but rather that advocates o f republican citizenship should be more  40  cautious about the lack o f difficulties foreseen i n the process o f inclusion.  A s Henkel  notes, To make 'fundamentalism' the dominant term in the public debate, however, is unhelpful. It suggests that we know i n principle all that needs to be known about religious Muslims i n Europe, in the absence o f any real engagement with the concerns and aspirations o f communities that have often come to embrace democratic society along different historical trajectories (Henkel, 2006a). The ideal o f republican citizenship is also being resisted in many corners o f Europe by supporters o f traditional notions o f locally based "European identity". "The Brussels Journal: the essential European b l o g " (http://www.brusselsjournal.com)  is  maintained in Brussels, Belgium by "European journalists and writers". The biographical information on the weblog states that " W e defend freedom and, though we do not pretend to know the ultimate truth, we strive to acquire as much knowledge as possible by presenting facts and views that are hard to find i n the "consensus-media" o f Europe" (http://www.brusselsjournal.com/about).  In this case, the term' "consensus-media" is  meant to indicate a resistance to the homogenizing force o f the "European Project" and increased tolerance o f the "Other". It is interesting to observe how i n this case, resistance to the dominant ideological discursive formation is emblematic o f the difficulties Europe is having in coming to terms with the limit o f self/other. Supporters o f traditional notions o f self/other based on national culture, ethnicity and religion are inherently reticent to do away with this limit, which is so fundamental to perceived notions o f "European identity".  This reticence is evidenced i n the following weblog entries, through a  constructed image o f Muslims both globally, and within Europe, who are assumed to be fundamentally incompatible with democratic freedoms and democratic society.  It also  raises questions as to the characteristics and even the existence o f a dominant ideological discursive formation within Europe. The dominant ideological discursive formation at the "European" or E U level seems to promote a cosmopolitan vision for Europe based on universal inclusion and republican based citizenship. However, at local levels, dominant ideological discursive formations frequently counter the perceived homogenizing tendencies o f the ideological discursive formation at the European level i n favor o f forms o f more particularistic  41  notions of identity rooted in traditional culture, ethnicity, and nationalism. This tension is fundamental to the problem of the "European Project". The common ground between universal and particularistic notions of identity thus rests in the limit of self/other. "It is easier to define what we are not, then what exactly it is that we are". Anthony Pagden points  out that while  in Europe there is recognition of Europe's historically  heterogeneous culture, it only provides "for a measure of self-description, it is hardly the basis for a distinctive culture" (Pagden, 2002, p. 26). It is this lack of a coherent internal sense of self that so frequently finds "Europe" looking outwards for its own definition. In the "Brussels Journal" weblog and many others, the discussion of the response to the publication of the cartoons creates this link to the limit of self/other. In the discussion (http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/756, February 4, 2006)  of the  boycott against Danish products in certain Muslim countries, avowed "libertarian" Paul Belien (http://www.brusselsjournal.com/paulbelien) reveals that the international French supermarket chain Carrefour removed Danish products from the shelves of all its stores in Muslim countries.  This removal was accompanied by a sign that read  "Carrefour  don't carry Danish products" in both the local language and in English (italics from original). The result, when the image was disseminated across the internet, was a boycott of Carrefour in Belgium and other European countries.  Belien notes that, "[t]his  illustrates how in the "cartoon war" it will be hard to remain neutral. Everyone will be forced to take sides." The issue is framed as a binary opposition, either "you are for us or against us".  Here, the suggestion is that as a "European" it would be counterintuitive to  be in favor of the boycott of Danish products. As a supporter of democratic freedoms it is necessary to retaliate using identical tactics. legitimacy based on who exercises them.  These tactics, oddly enough, seem to gain  This construction of legitimacy/illegitimacy  mirrors the logic of the limits of self/other in Europe and its attendant contradictions. Just as traditional notions of a European self rely on a constructed "other", the illegitimacy of the protests against the cartoons are similarly constructed.  While the  cartoons themselves constructed an essentialized Islam incompatible with inherently European basic democratic freedoms, the reactions to these objections ignored the basic freedoms on which they were premised. It is important to recall that these debates also  42  take place within a wider episteme based on discourse that characterizes Islam as necessarily incompatible with "Europe". What is most evident in the weblogs, however, is the lack o f meaningful dialogue on the subject o f identity.  While there is often quite lively debate i n the  comment sections o f many weblogs on freedom o f speech, freedom o f expression, hate speech, and multiculturalism, for instance, there is a noticeable paucity o f anything other than polemical statements on identity. Far from a Habermasian discourse ethics notion o f opening any claim to all competing claims as a measure o f legitimacy, frequently the comments are intentionally offensive, openly racist and bigoted, and at times threatening. A small selection o f comments responding to the same entry discussed above at the "Brussels Journal" website contained the following: The first commenter, "Foster" states, (sic)Muslims are just plain dumb. They are barbarian and anger people who should just stay i n their dusty ugly little countries and leave the rest o f the world alone. I for one do not tolerate other religions that practice violence. Islam isn't the way to truth, God, or Mohammed. Mohammed was just a normal man, who dreamed up all this crap. The Koran is not a holy book, but merely the work o f a mere mortal. Islamic countries rule by force, slavery, and fear. Y o u call that religion? I feel so bad for the poor people i n the M i d d l e East and how terribly they are treated by these so called religious leaders. These muslims want world acceptance and want us to be tolerant o f them, but yet they can't tolerate our fundamental beliefs or freedoms. These people remind me o f Hitler's regime. Long live Denmark, Britain, U S A , and any other country that hopefully w i l l haye balls to stand up these idiots (http://www.brusselsjournal.eom/node/756#comment-4124, February 5, 2006). The second commenter, "bashar" says,  (sic) there where you find teh seven eleven up your mom ass to pour your beer..befor uniting the wooooooooooooooorld against muslim strait out your shit i n irak asshole w i n that war they blowing your soldiers asses to pieces poor soldiers i feel pitty for them....there i n irak they are indeed pissing on your bible or the tora adn shuffeling the cross up the american woman prisioners sorry pussy and the soldieres asses and they are feeding the bible papers to teh camels....staright out irak first and then unite the world against muslim... you should be proud by your american lousy drug addict society and H I V mentality sick bastard lastest news from haven they found your jesus H I V  43  positive asshole (http://www.bmsselsjoumalxom/node/756#conrment-3969, February 5, 2006). The following comment by "Jack Straw" is one o f the many responses to the above commenter:  Here's what this brilliant Renaissance M a n has to say — I'm now quoting his profile in its entirety: "asshole you shit europpen" (sic) There you have it. So, Europe and Europeans: Stand up to the Islamo-Fascists! Do not be ashamed to be masters i n your own house. If Europe doesn't adhere to and defend its own civic and cultural values, someone else is ready and eager to take over and be your masters. In America, we have our own problems with Christianist bigots. Don't let the Islamo-Fascists dictate how you may live in your own house! Just as Christians and Jews in Islamic countries must behave according to Islamic laws and customs, Moslems should respect European values in Europe. There is nothing else that can legitimately be said about this, though I'm sure there's a non-European anus out there who w i l l have something else illiterate to say (http://www.brusselsjournal.eom/node/756#comment-3997, February 5, 2006). W h i l e I have only provided a very small and purposefully selected sample, the internet abounds with these types o f (frequently anonymous) comments.  Furthermore,  theories o f republican citizenship seems to offer little insight into these complex reactions.  W h i l e the separation o f ethnos and demos cannot be expected to happen  overnight, supporters o f republican citizenship may be overly optimistic about the straightforwardness o f this process.  To further complicate the matter, the deliberative  44  process by which these types o f tensions are to resolve themselves is constrained.  The  uneven access to systems o f power/knowledge in both European and M u s l i m states necessarily constrains access to the public sphere. Therefore, the terms o f the debate are often constructed with extreme rigidity and mutual suspicion o f the "other" as a co-opting force, to advance the political agendas o f the dominant ideological discursive formation. This can be seen through comments such as, "Muslims are just plain dumb. They are barbarian[s] and anger [angry] people", "you should be proud b y [of] your american lousy drug addict society and H I V mentality", and "Don't let the Islamo-Fascists dictate how you may live in your own house!" These comments are themselves caricatures o f how different discursive communties essentialize their respective "Other". Just as Europe is confronting the limits o f self/other in its search for an identity compatible with republican citizenship that still maintains some semblance o f local cultural and ethnic identity, Islam too faces a similar struggle. The suggestion that entire historical traditions are easily shed and must be shed to comport with republican ideals o f citizenship undermines the ambitions o f republican citizenship.  Its goal is not the  elimination o f difference, but rather to allow for the existence o f a plurality o f ideals o f the "good life" under the umbrella o f . a shared political culture based on a contested notion o f universal values. W h i l e "Europe" is suspicious that its M u s l i m population w i l l strip it o f the values it sees as ftindamental to its identity, Muslims are equally suspicious that it must forego essential elements o f its own religious identity. In order to surpass the limit o f self/other, i f this is indeed possible, both "Europe" and its M u s l i m citizens must allow for the existence o f the "Other" within itself to create the necessary fusion o f horizons that republican citizenship demands.  To continually frame the "other" as  fundamentalist, hostile, or "satanic" (practices that some on both sides o f the debate engage in) is ultimately counterproductive to the process o f deliberative democracy. However, the weblogs reveal the difficulty o f the notion o f self/other insofar as it entails an understanding o f identity which presupposes a self-enclosed totality. To move beyond this limit requires recognition that both sides o f the self/other distinction are not homogeneous and mutually exclusive and that elements o f the "other".exist i n the " s e l f .  45  Essentialism/De-Essentialism The reduction o f a "European s e l f  to an inalterable essence performs an  essentialism that cannot speak to the heterogeneity o f modern European society. M u c h like the objections to the essentialism performed by the Jyllands-Posten cartoons against Muslims, to speak o f a coherent, fixed "European identity" ignores the iterative process that continually reshapes identity. Nevertheless, one cannot even begin to speak o f any form o f identity without performing some measure o f essentialism. While any notion or ascription  of  identity  requires  critical  intervention  to  detotalize  inclusionary/exclusionary features, there is also a danger i n de-essentializing identity.  its If  key historical narratives and cultural practices are removed or treated as inconsequential, important bases for identity may cease to (Kassab, Elizabeth, Suzanne, 2002). Thus, in order to accommodate traditional forms o f "European identity" with an emerging "European Islam", it is important that neither one falls prey to a homogenizing process where its essential characteristics are lost.  A t the same time, recognition o f group  identity as the result o f historical, socio-political forces needs to be recognized.  A  heterogeneous body o f European cultural, ethnic and national traditions must co-exist alongside a similarly heterogeneous group o f Muslims who are not forced to give up one o f their own crucially defining characteristics: Islam. In order to make the "European Project" work, Europe must cautiously approach the limit o f essentialism/de-essentialism in order to avoid the pitfalls o f an overly exclusive identity or an excessively reductionist identity that does not allow for the emergence o f the pluralistic society that is its goal. Talal Asad notes the tensions between traditional notions o f "European identity", and Islam's place within Europe (Asad, 2002). What is most useful in his account is the discussion o f what I refer to as the limit o f essentialism/de-essentialism. H i s critique o f Enlightenment claims to universality and the prospects for republican citizenship asserts that, beyond the sheer difficulty o f shedding historical experience, a central problem o f republican citizenship is the question o f whether or not this is even desirable, and to what extent.  In his account, the universalism o f the "European project" is an extension o f a  "European history" that has sought to reconstruct the world " i n its own Faustian image" (Asad, 2002, p. 218). This universal account requires the de-essentialization o f Islam, a  46  hostile and violent European construction, to allow for the assimilation o f a necessarily "other" people. Additionally, Asad demonstrates how "Islam" is historically constructed as a "carrier civilization" without any intrinsic values. Its sole historical role is to import "Oriental" technology and ideas, whose connection to Islam is purely coincidental, to its Opposite civilizational pole i n "Europe". Following from this reading, Muslims would be required to give up what is essential to their identity (Islam itself) in order to assimilate into "European" society. This is made that much easier by a notion o f universalism based on a conception o f a universal identity stripped o f historical experience. In this case, M u s l i m historical experience is delegitimized first as hostile and violent and secondly, as largely inconsequential to the historical narrative o f Europe. This construction o f alterity is fundamental to the construction o f European identity. Thus, for Asad, the cultural imperialism o f the "European project", based on Enlightenment universalism, is merely a continuation o f European colonialism within its own territory. For Asad and other critics o f the possibility o f the presence o f Islam in Europe, the dominant ideological discursive formation offers two equally untenable positions. The  conservative  right  offers  an  essentialized  account  o f the  violent  Muslim  incommensurable with European values, as seen in the Jyllands-Posten cartoons.  The  liberal left, similarly responding to the normative force o f historical portrayals o f Islam, advocates a de-essentialized M u s l i m identity that would strip it o f its essential religious component i n order to fit it into liberal multicultural society. However, notions o f liberal multiculturalism maintain an element o f unequal power insofar as they are predicated upon the tolerance o f a minority by a majority. Again, here we encounter the limits o f tolerance/intolerance.  For Asad, what is more tenable is a decentered pluralism that  would deconstruct all forms o f identity and create a condition where Muslims would be a "minority  among  minorities"  (Asad,  2002,  p.  225).  This  would  strip  liberal  multiculturalism o f the power dynamics that Habermas' republican citizenship similarly aims to avoid.  The important distinction between the two, though, is in Habermas'  rational reconstruction o f tolerance.  W h i l e Habermas' acceptance o f tolerance is based  on a critical reappropriation o f enlightenment rationality, Asad's is located within the critical deconstruction o f tolerance and its genealogy.  47  What Muslims i n Europe require, i f we accept Asad's account, is not mere recognition as adherents o f a private faith that should be respected by the public law, or as possessors o f a social identity that needs to be protected by the state. Rather, Muslims need to be "able to live as part o f a collective way o f life that exists beside others in mutual tolerance" (Asad, 2002, p. 227). What is vital to Asad's account is that Muslims in Europe be allowed to exist as a minority without being de-essentialized to the point where their unique identity as a minority group is lost. The claim to universal respect o f difference has to be honoured to allow for the existence o f both traditional forms o f European identity and M u s l i m identity within a constitutionally defined  political  framework. Republican citizenship seeks to avoid the majority culture's influence and dominance o f political discourse b y virtue o f its inherently close relation to the political culture. B y defining membership constitutionally, a political framework can be created that allows for the pluralistic societies that modern democracies demand. However, Asad and other critics o f the "European project" are skeptical about whether or not this is truly possible due to the inherent "Europeanness" o f the very notion o f universal rights, republican citizenship and the historical development o f these principles and practices. Deliberative democracy however, is a site intended to allow for the mediation o f competing essentializing and de-essentializing identity claims. W h i l e the Jyllands-Posten cartoons presented an essentialized image o f Islam, the democratic political framework and its institutions allowed for the contestation not only o f the publication o f the images, but more importantly o f their message. formation accentuated  W h i l e the dominant ideological discursive  the violence o f Muslims outside o f Europe to justify  the  essentialized portrayal o f Islam, Muslims both inside and outside o f Europe also used democratically legitimate forms o f discourse to resist. A s this work illustrates, political and economic demonstrations both ih the streets, i n weblogs and other discourse genres countered both the essentialized account o f Islam, and the potentially de-essentializing thrust o f Enlightenment universality. In this account o f Enlightenment rationality as inherently Eurocentric, an important distinction must be made between critical responses to the Jyllands-Posten cartoons by both secular and "religious" Muslims. Were the legitimate responses or lack  48  of response the result o f socialization processes or i n fact a product o f some features o f Islam that make it compatible with democratic freedoms? This determination is difficult to make as it problematizes the effect o f the dominant ideological discursive formation on M u s l i m identity. A central question concerning "European Islam" then becomes: how it is possible to be " M u s l i m in Europe" without succumbing to the hegemony o f the dominant ideological discursive formation? In the case o f Muslims living i n Europe, this question is complicated by their emigration from what are often illiberal and intolerant regimes within M u s l i m states (frequently supported b y Western democratic states). The very act o f wanting to be a part o f "Europe" must be interpreted at least in some sense as both acceptance and rejection. This point is highlighted in the following exchange on the weblog o f Safia Aoude, a Danish mother, teacher, Danish Conservative Party candidate and religious M u s l i m . 11  The exchange occurred i n light o f her comments on a photograph o f right wing politician and Nasser Khader, whose Democratic "Muslim movement took an active role i n supporting the Jyllands-Posten publication. Khader is a M u s l i m member o f the Danish Radikale Venstre party ("Radical Left") and member o f the Danish parliament, while Frevert is a member o f the right wing Folkesparti (Danish People's Party). Safia AOude comments: This is a picture o f two politicians from our Danish parliament. They are i n love with each other - in political Jove, that is. For Louise Frevert (left) peeking deep into the dark eyes o f Nasser Khader (right) is a member o f the National Danish People's Party - Denmarks islamophobic cavemen. Yes, it's like seeing E v a Braun in the arms of Theodore Hertzl! (http://safiaaoude.blogspot.com/2006/02/dance-me-to-end-of-politicallove.html, February 10, 2006) This elicited the following terse response from "Tarek" who is presumably M u s l i m , living i n the "West", and originally from an " A r a b " country:  I guess the $64'000 question is: W o u l d you accept i f R A D I C A L C H R I S T I A N S moved to L i b y a and started telling everyone how they have to live ?? Safia'Aoude was embroiled in her own controversy after publishing altered pictures on her weblog that portrayed prominent Danish authors as Nazis, http://safiaaoude.blogspot.com/2007/03/breakingsilence.html 11  49  Truely, i f you are so unhappy and not fulfilled in your Radical Islamic life in Denmark w h y dont you go and live i n a more suitable environment for you and let the rest o f us (who want to live the European way o f life) live hre i n peace with the nations that have offered us so much more than all our corrupt fanatic leaders in the Arab W o r l d ever w i l l . . . . There is a saying i n Arabic which goes : If your house is from glass dont go throwing rocks at others... We have a talent at being very vocal and critical when it comes to anyone o f a different faith/heritage but forget that 99% o f our woes and problems come form within (http ://safiaaoude.blogspot.com/2006/02/dance-me-to-end-ofpolitical-love.html#cl 14065133080002375, February 10, 2006).  This exchange highlights the problem o f governance within M u s l i m states as well as the foreign policies o f Western governments towards those states and their leaders. This is an important point that goes beyond the scope o f this work, but does address the difficulty o f assessing the influence o f the dominant ideological discursive formation (which in this case may demonstrate global influence, as well as European). Critiques o f a de-essentialized "European M u s l i m identity" stripped o f its religious character should also note the "self-selection" o f European Muslims.  The secular tendencies that are  exhibited may be a result o f some combination o f socialization processes, and reaction to pre-discursive materiality i n the home countries o f secular Muslims. This tension between essentialized/de-essentialize'd accounts o f Islam begs the question: Does Islam itself allow for critical reevaluation without losing what is central to " M u s l i m identity", i f such a thing can even exist? To reach this middle ground between essentialized and de-essentialized portrayals o f M u s l i m identity requires recognizing the separation between the religious and social aspects o f Islam . 12  To deny this is to deny  that it is possible for Muslims to be integrated and to co-exist within secular society. However, it is also valid to note that there are in fact a multiplicity o f views on contemporary Islam, some o f which are noticeably at odds with principles o f republican  Ramadan, Tariq (2002). Ramadan notes that while Islam is a divinely revealed religion with prescribed rules in the Quran and Sunna for religious practice (ibadat - worship), social practice does not carry with it the same type of rigidity. As a result, Muslims in Europe are not only allowed to reread and interpret Islam's religious sources, but are required to in their new social context in Europe. This means that a process of renewal (tajdid) is both possible and necessarily prescribed. O f course, there is no guarantee that this process will lead to integration and peaceful co-existence, but as he notes, it is only through mutual understanding that this is possible. For Ramadan, both Muslims and "Europeans" must understand that both of their respective discursive fields represent universal values that can indeed accommodate each other. 12  50  citizenship and deliberative democracy. Nevertheless, to deny Islam's ability to integrate within European society ignores Europe's long history o f integrating disparate social groups and projects. To essentialize Islam as incompatible enables an epistemic violence against the overwhelming majority o f Muslims i n Europe who co-exist peacefully alongside secular society. To use the example o f post-war Germany, Habermas' oft-cited model o f a constitutional republic, it is evident that it is possible to incorporate a variety o f "discursive traditions with radically different ontological foundations and moral projects" (Henkel, 2007). Deliberative processes have shown that, rather than  demonstrating  fundamental difference, that it is i n fact possible to reach a resolution as part o f an ongoing dialogue. But this requires an ongoing engagement with Muslims to understand how they  view themselves  and  interpret  Islam.  While  studies  o f "European"  understandings o f Islam are important critical interventions, it is also fundamental to the deliberative process that Muslims representing a wide range o f positions are brought into dialogue.  To allow only secularized Muslims into dialogue with governments,  as  occurred i n the cartoon debate , delegitimizes and again essentializes the identity o f 13  religious Muslims. The deliberative process must avoid the "subjugation o f knowledges" in order to allow for some common ground to emerge between essentialized and deessentialized views o f "European Muslims". What complicates all this however, is that mutual essentializing and deessentializing tendencies elevate the tensions between competing notions o f identity. Calls for de-essentialism only reinforce the w i l l o f an essentialized group to reassert its identity and resist integration for fear o f co-optation. Thus, the limit o f essentialism/deessentialism is realized i n the simultaneous resistance to the.Islamization o f Europe and the Europeanization o f Islam.  Safi Aoude's struggles within the Danish Conservative Party as well as her critiques of Nasser Khader on her weblog offer insight into this area, http://safiaaoude.blogspot.com. Similarly, Omar Sayid Shah deals with the issue of Muslim inclusion in mainstream politics within Denmark, http://al-miftah.blogspot.com. 13  51  Conclusion: Power, Resistance and Accommodation In this essay I have conducted a critical discourse analysis of selected online commentaries located on the weblogs of Muslims and non-Muslims living in Europe. This approach provides valuable and necessary insights into the ideological and discursive formations that shaped the Denmark cartoon debate in particular, a more complete understanding of Islam and modernity, and the place of Muslims living in Europe. While liberal critics of differentiated rights and multiculturalism make claims regarding the neutral applications of rights and legal practices to treat all equally, they largely ignore existing power dynamics and uneven access to institutional power. In the case of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons, the objections of Muslims must be seen as part of a larger resistance to historical legacies of unequal power and the misrepresentations of Islam. It is important to see the cartoons not merely as a statement by one particular newspaper at a specific moment in history.  Here, Edward Said's book Orientalism  (1994) is instructive in the historical construction of an Oriental "Other".  Said uses  Foucault's conceptions of both power/knowledge and discourse to show how the ideological framework constructed through Orientalist discourse in fact led to the real exercise  of power/knowledge through  European imperialism and provided its  justification. This is a theme continued by writers like David Theo Goldberg, who notes that, [fjhe figure of the Muslim has thus come to stand for the fear of violent death, the paranoia of Europe's cultural demise, of European integrity. For the fear of the death of Europe itself. The Muslim image in contemporary Europe is one of fanaticism, fundamentalism, female (women and girls') suppression, subjugation, and repression. The Muslim, in this view, foments conflict: violence, war, militancy, terrorism, cultural dissension. He is a traditionalist, pre-modern, in the tradition of racial historicism difficult i f not impossible to modernize, at least without ceasing to be 'the Muslim' (Goldberg, 2006, p. 346). Drawing heavily on Foucault, Goldberg notes that power extends from the particular local sites where it is exercised to systems of governance as a whole. The construction of race as a category is embedded in locally configured power relations. In this same sense  52  then, responses to the initial publication itself must be read as either reinforcing or denying this power along with the image o f Islam and 'The M u s l i m ' i n Europe.  The  media, through its ability to impart knowledge, plays an important role i n what Foucault's has called governmentality, and is central i n the transmission o f discourses and ideologies. The image o f the violent M u s l i m is not merely a response to a particular local debate , within Danish society, but part o f the longer genealogy o f anxieties discussed  i n Goldberg's  "Racial  Europeanization" (Goldberg, 2006)  and  Said's  Orientalism (1994). The Jyllands-Posten cartoons themselves merely provide a link between the specific debate occurring i n Denmark on freedom o f speech to the historical representation o f Islam as violent and incompatible with basic democratic rights such as free speech.  It is through the power o f the images themselves that this message is  delivered. For Foucault, the privileging o f discourses necessitates two simultaneous moves. These are the "enthronement o f one body o f genealogical knowledge and the discrediting and loss o f legitimacy o f those discourses that circulate about it" (Foucault, 1980, p. 85). Foucault's concern is not simply to discredit established knowledges, but rather with the centralizing power they possess and their totalizing claims to authority.  The effect o f  such power is the subjugation o f knowledges that "were present but disguised within the body o f functionalist and systematizing theory" (Foucault, 1980, p. 82) and the creation o f hierarchies o f discourse that preserve systems o f power and dominance, and that exclude  critical  discourses.  This  effect  is  enacted  through  what  "governmentality", namely, the decentralization o f power i n advanced  he . terms democracies  whereby the role o f the government and its authority expand beyond mere territoriality or a centralized state.  A s Foucault argues, "with government it is a question not o f  imposing law on men, but o f disposing things, that is to say, o f employing tactics rather than laws, and even o f using laws themselves as tactics - to arrange things i n such a way that, through a certain number o f means, such and such ends may be achieved" (Foucault, 1991, p. 95).  This process has two important consequences.  First, citizens are  'regulated' b y the state and its institutions, and through discourses that ensure they conform and keep their behaviour i n line with prevailing ideologies and discourses. The second consequence is found i n the methods o f self-regulation. In recognizing the need  53  for the state, its services and the protections it provides, citizens participate in subject formation through private and state-funded military, education and the media.  institutions such as family, prisons, the  Therefore, power is vested i n the bodies o f the  citizenry, and not i n strictly centralized state apparatuses that would be incompatible with liberal democracy (Foucault, 1980). Rather than focus on the discourses o f the state institutions that naturalize meanings and practices i n shaping the dominant ideological discursive formation, this work focuses more on the "subjugated" discourses that circulate through traditional and non-traditional media. Following Foucault, I look at how dominant discourses are used to "govern" Muslims i n Europe and subjugate discourses that threaten long established narratives that uphold notions o f a "European" identity. A s an important instrument i n the formation o f subjectivity, ideology and discourses, mainstream media is an important institution for creating subjectivities and governing modern democracies. Discourses that challenge and resist dominant forms o f institutional power are therefore excluded from mainstream media accounts. B y contrast, weblogs demonstrate not only resistance  to the Jyllands-Posten cartoons but also  resistance to the longer genealogy o f Europe-Muslim relations. The analysis o f weblogs published demonstrates how the Jyllands-Posten cartoons reproduce subjectivities and how these constructed identities are resisted. In m y examination o f the Jyllands-Posten publication o f the cartoons, power can be understood first i n terms o f the asymmetric capability o f participants within the debate to access and transform social institutions and formations. "Social formations" refers here to  the  relationship  between  mainstream  media  and  power  structures,  including  government and socio-economic structures, while "social institutions" refers to the relationship between the readers, editors and owners o f the publications themselves (Fairclough, 1995). Secondly, power can be regarded as an outcome o f the inequality that occurs i n the production, distribution and consumption o f texts.  It is also important to  understand that the discourse genre o f the "newspaper editorial" operates within certain constraints. It offers the oft-politicized opinions of newspapers' editorial boards that both invite and provoke responses from the public but are geared towards their own acknowledged audience o f readers.  Similarly, editorial cartoons frequently offer the  54  politicized views o f newspaper editorial boards.  However, this predominantly visual  medium carries with it an entirely different set o f constraints.  W h i l e verbal, oral and  written forms o f communication offer a variety o f lexical and grammatical resources o f expression the graphic and visual nature o f the depictions i n editorial cartoons means that they have to be "read" differently.  Since images often connote symbols, editorial  cartoons which carry political meaning as the proxies o f the editors that commission them must be read as political symbols (Diamond, 2002). It is important to recognize that "symbolic constructs contribute to the creation and contestation  o f meaning within a given political context o f power relations"  (Diamond, 2002, p. 252).  This means that they can either support the dominant  ideological discursive formation or resist it.  Furthermore, it is important to note that  there are at least three central elements o f symbols that political symbols likewise share (Kertzer, 1988). First, symbols are condensed representations:  what could be expressed  in numerous encyclopedic volumes is often depicted in a simple drawing.  Second,  symbols are multivocal: they do not speak with one voice but can be read as expressing a variety o f speakers' voices; the illustrator o f a cartoon could be speaking for him/herself, as the voice o f the newspaper editors, or as reflecting some segment o f society (Diamond, 2002). This multivocality leads to the third crucial element found in symbols, which is ambiguity (Diamond, 2002).  Symbols, perhaps even more so than other forms o f  discourse can have many readings, and i n the case o f editorial cartoons, this may be intentionally so.  This is clearly evidenced within weblogs that address the Jyllands-  Posten cartoons and the subsequent reactions to the publication.  Therefore, as a  discourse genre, editorial cartoons are frequently ambiguous. However, when they are properly contextualized, noting the historical period i n which they are published, the socio-political orientation o f the publishers, as well as the artist, these layers o f ambiguity begin to disappear. Ultimately, the newspaper itself shapes semantic content (topics and the way they are discussed) by instructing readers how to properly interpret its message, and thereby  contributing to the formation o f the dominant ideological discursive  formation. A s Foucault insists, power is invested not only in the government  and its  institutions but in the population itself, including those who legitimize and transfer their  55  authority to the state. Therefore, from the standpoint o f this decentralization o f power away from a central sovereign, we look at how power and biopolitical control is manifested through such systems as health, education, justice and the media (Danaher, Schirato, and Webb 2000, p. 125). Since power, whose ends may be indeterminate, is exerted not merely through ideology, but through discursive systems o f knowledge that legitimize and justify its existence, the mainstream media plays an important role in regulating discursive flows.  Publishers, broadcasters and content producers determine  what constitutes an act o f discourse or a discursive event, as they possess the ability to privilege or delegitimize specific acts o f discourse over others.  A s a public institution,  the media also establish as normative, a variety o f truth claims, as a consequence o f its role i n democratic society as a guarantor o f democratic legitimacy and truth.  Noam  Chomsky's work i n this area addresses the role o f the media in establishing the narrative that constitutes the dominant ideological discursive formation. H e notes that " . . .reshaped or completely fabricated memories o f the past [are] what we call 'indoctrination' or 'propaganda'  when it is conducted by official  enemies,  and 'education',  'moral  instruction' or 'character building' when we do it ourselves" (Chomsky, 1987, p. 124). The media therefore plays an important part in extending power from particular local sites to systems o f governance as a whole both acting as an identifier o f 'official' and unofficial enemies and as a source o f normative truths. W h i l e the exercise o f power and knowledge is omnipresent, it is by no means omnipotent. There is always room for resistance. A s Antonio Gramsci shows i n "The Southern Question" (Gramsci, 1988), ruling classes are able to subordinate lower classes by allowing limited forms o f resistance, provided they do not threaten the dominant power formation. In their book Empire (Hardt and Negri, 2000), Antonio Hardt and Michael Negri build upon both Gramsci's theory o f hegemony as well as Foucault's conceptualization o f power and show how the growth and excessive decentralization o f power are providing new opportunities for resistance.  This paper is  specifically  concerned with the emergence o f online communities and weblogs that opposed the publication o f the Jyllands-Posten cartoons, and their importance in resisting "Europe's" long historical "Orientalizing" narrative.  56  In Antonio  Gramsci's conception o f hegemony,  experiences i n early 2 0  th  which  grew out  o f his  century Italy, there are three layers to what he called Italy's  "great agrarian bloc". The first, was the heterogeneous and disorganized mass o f the peasantry, the second was the petty rural bourgeoisie and rural intellectuals, and the third consisted o f the big landowners and "great" intellectuals (Gramsci, 1971, p. 71-74). Gramsci showed how the second layer, consisting o f the medium intellectuals received its political and ideological motivations from the decentralized mass o f the peasant class, while the big.landowners and bourgeois intellectuals o f the third layer centralized the whole mass o f the population and created the conditions for the reproduction o f the capitalist cycle.  Gramsci proposed that, insofar as only those demands o f the peasant  class taken up by the medium intellectuals were subsumed, the greater mass o f the peasantry was largely ignored and relegated to subaltern status. Southern peasants were forever indebted to the big landowners through the mediation o f the intellectuals. However, the interests o f the peasant classes were subordinated to the interests o f the intellectual classes already in service o f the interests o f the bourgeoisie and its systems o f institutional power and knowledge. Thus, the  "Southern Question" for  Gramsci  concerning the uneven development between Italy's North and South regions had two aspects. The first was how to organize the heterogeneous mass o f the peasantry to allow for a productive revolutionary base, and the second was, how to avoid the co-optation o f the intellectual classes to allow the peasant masses not only to speak, but more importantly, to be heard. A similar situation can be seen to characterize Europe itself today i f we examine social classes and access to power rather than economic classes. M y intention here is not to entirely negate or ignore the dilemmas o f stratified economic classes, but rather to note how power is enacted in both cases. Certainly, high unemployment rates among young, educated,  Muslim  males both inside and outside  Europe deserve  more  careful  examination. In this study however, primacy is given to voices i n those social classes not 'fortunate'  enough to be subordinated to the dominant class (and the  dominant  ideological discursive formation), and thus to be allowed to speak within its controlled confines.  57  Power however, is not monolithic. A s Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri contend, there has been a marked shift away from .a "disciplinary society" where social command is effected through disciplinary institutions (prisons, schools, hospitals, etc.) that structure social relations, to a "society o f control" characterized by biopower, where social structures and social command exist within the minds and bodies o f the people. "Power is now exercised through machines that directly organize the brain (in communication systems, information networks, etc.) and bodies (in welfare systems, monitored activities, etc.)" (Hardt and Negri, p. 23).  This allows for a wider and more "democratic"  normalization o f practice as it emerges from within the population rather than through institutions o f discipline. This is why the Jyllands-Posten cartoons are so important. Rather than marginalizing Muslims through disciplinary institutions that would explicitly single out Muslims in ways that are incompatible with liberal democracy, they instead subtly instill an image o f Islam (despite, the brashness o f the cartoons themselves) i n the minds o f "Europeans" that is able to effectively govern Muslims as a violent "Other" that challenges the existence o f the constructed subjects that constitute the population. The disappearance o f state sovereignty and the growth o f new global networks, including communications and media networks have both facilitated the extent o f biopower globally as well as radically decentralized it locally. This has meant a blurring o f distinction between those at the margins and the centre, and the subsumption o f global labour to the unitary rule o f the Empire. Historically, however, Hardt and Negri note that [fjhe proletariat actually invents the social and productive forms that capital w i l l be forced to adopt in the future...Working-class power resides not in the representative institutions but in the antagonism and autonomy o f the workers themselves" (Hardt and Negri, 2000, p. 268). W h i l e there are normative forces at work, exerted through social and economic relations, not only is there room for autonomy, but also for increased resistance as the periphery becomes the centre.  This is particularly evident in Europe  where the imperatives o f post-World War 2 human rights, and economic necessity (created by labour shortages and increasingly globalized production and consumption) created successive waves o f migration from the global periphery to its power centres. This has led to new challenges to the normative truths and social formations that structure European and Global power relations from within, and familiar responses.  58  The Jyllands-Posten controversy demonstrates the heterogeneity o f discourse practices and the development o f alternative ideological discursive formations i n the dialogue that emerges in online worlds. Here, weblogs served both to support the views expounded within mainstream media that supported dominant social formations, and to refute claims to impartiality and bias-free reporting within the media.  In the Jyllands-  Posten case, the editorial made no claims to any such standard o f neutrality in terms o f its content. However, the emergence o f weblogs as a unique discourse genre with its own performative  function, challenges  the  ability o f mainstream  media to  reproduce  dominance and hegemony. This is achieved b y allowing new discursive communities to emerge that allow the voices o f subjugated knowledges to be heard. Resistance occurred not only to the cartoons themselves, but more significantly to the historical representation of a violent, intolerant Islam used to justify its ongoing subjugation. The question now for "Europe" is whether republican citizenship and deliberative democratic processes are able to allow for the accommodation o f Islam, or i f the limits described in this paper are too inflexible and embedded within existing power relations to overcome centuries o f exclusion. Europe must avoid what David Theo Goldberg calls "the absolution o f racism": forgiveness for racist acts that fail to attack the root causes o f racism, and instead recognize that exclusion still occurs within Europe not only against Muslims, but also other religious, cultural and ethnic groups (Goldberg, 2006, p. 362). 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