April 24, 2010

"Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" is not a good idea.

And as long as I'm disagreeing with Glenn Reynolds, let me say that I disapprove of "Everybody Draw Mohammed" Day, which he seems to be promoting. (Hot Air, Dan Savage, and Reason are actively delighted by the idea.)

I have endless contempt for the threats/warnings against various cartoonists who draw Muhammad (or a man in a bear suit who might be Muhammad, but is actually Santa Claus). But depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats. In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people who aren't doing anything (other than protecting their own interests by declining to pressure the extremists who are hurting the reputation of their religion).

I don't like the in-your-face message that we don't care about what other people hold sacred. Back in the days of the "Piss Christ" controversy, I wouldn't have supported an "Everybody Dunk a Crucifix in a Jar of Urine Day" to protest censorship. Dunking a crucifix in a jar of urine is something I have a perfect right to do, but it would gratuitously hurt many Christian bystanders to the controversy. I think opposing violence (and censorship) can be done in much better ways.

At the same time, real artists like the "South Park" guys or (maybe) Andre Serrano should go on with their work, using shock to the extent that they see fit. Shock is an old artist's move. Epater la bourgeoisie. Shock will get a reaction, and it will make some people mad. They are allowed to get mad. That was the point. Of course, they'll have to control their violent impulses.

People need to learn to deal with getting mad when they hear or see speech that enrages them, even when it is intended to enrage them. But how are we outsiders to the artwork supposed to contribute the the process of their learning how to deal with free expression? I don't think it is by gratuitously piling on outrageous expression, because it doesn't show enough respect and care for the people who are trying to tolerate the expression that outrages them.

UPDATE: More here.

439 comments:

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Kathy said...

Hi all –

While Rudy Giuliani wasn’t able to tackle the National Endowment of the Arts funding for the Piss Christ exhibit in 1999 – and he tried - he certainly became a hero to many later on – “…[b]y slashing $497,000 in city funding to the Brooklyn Museum and going to court to evict it from the city-owned building.” He hurt them where their funding came from – bye bye….

"If you want to desecrate religion in a disgusting way, if you want to promote racism, if you want to promote anti-Semitism, if you want to promote anti-Catholicism, if you want to promote anti-Islamism, then do it on your own money".

Thus spake New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani on February 17, 2001 in response to photographer Renée Cox's "Yo Mama's Last Supper," in an attack on the Brooklyn Museum of Art's exhibition "Committed to the Image." Much like a similar tirade in 1999 with a controversial and unsuccessful attempt to shut down the "Sensation" exhibition over a painting of Virgin Mary decorated with elephant dung, as common an art medium in Africa as paint is in the United States.

By slashing $497,000 in city funding to the Brooklyn Museum and going to court to evict it from the city-owned building.

Source: http://www.annoy.com/features/doc.html?DocumentID=100064


Don’t you all just love that bit above about elephant dung being….you know….the same as paint in the good old USA. LOL. You’re the bomb, Rudy. Thanks for fighting the good fight. Rudy in 2012 “-)

Manny said...

As I ponder this a bit more Anne, do you realize that you are already offending Muslims to the point that many would want to have you put to death?

After all you have a scandalously improper picture of yourself on your web page.

And you work, as a woman, which should be forbidden according to many Muslims.

And you teach common law, which again is anathema to many Muslims who favor ONLY Sharia law.

So in at least 3 ways, and probably hundreds of other ways, you are committing vile offenses to Islam and Muslims! So will you quit your job and remove your picture from your web page? Just to avoid offending a few Muslims?

Don't be a hypocrite. Walk the walk, or else explain why not.

Ann Althouse said...

"> I'f you don't think the "Piss Christ" or the American flag hypos are sufficiently on point, then make a better hypo.' Okay, how about the KKK killing any black person who stood up for freedom in the Jim Crow days? I mean the metaphor works. It is something that pisses off terrorists and brings a real threat of death. It also offends a lot of moderate people who also wrong, but not willing to kill."

Finish the hypo. So KKK killing black people is like radical Muslims killing people who depict Muhammad. Now what is the equivalent ofthe threat to Stone and Parker and the idea of drawing Mohammad as a response?

William said...

I have no wish to offend Muslims. I do wish to offend those Muslims who threaten death to cartoonists. In this case that subgroup seems to be an extremely flaky kid from Virginia with a taste for self dramatization. Do we want to curtail our 1st amendment rights to placate the sensibilities of assholes like him? It does seem that drawing pictures of teddy bears is an effective way of making fun of Islamic fanatics and such practices should be encouraged.....Sometime back there was South Park cartoon that savaged the Mormon religion and its beliefs. In the little homily that comes at the end of the cartoon, Kyle explained that whatever their beliefs Mormons tend to be nice people and as such they are deserving of our respect. I don't think Mormons much enjoyed the cartoon, but their protests were not bloodthirsty. The earth continued its orbit, and we all moved on to other things. Religious tolerance is mostly a matter of benign neglect.. I think Muslim opposition to what is, after all, just a cartoon does more to fuel bigotry than the cartoon itself. If the Muslims wish to live in exile, they need to practice more cunning and silence.

David P Redmond said...

Have you objected to any other offensive art towards other religions? If not, why not? Don't be a hypocrite. Free speech is worth fighting for, and while we don't need to go out of our way to denigrate any religion, no religion needs to be coddled more than another.

Titus said...

I thought the Bloody Mary episode was hilarious.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Ann Althouse said...

My answer to you Christians. (I'm assuming you are Christians.)


Why do you assume I am a Christian? I am not. In any case, would it matter to any jihadi whether I was or wasn't? I am a Westerner. If I take it into my head to blaspheme the prophet of an insane religion, I have the right to do so without fearing for my life. The vast majority of Muslims, whether in the East or West, believe that their religion gives them the right to kill me for failing to believe as they do. Even if they don't do the killing themselves, they countenance, even applaud, those who do.

Love your enemies? Fuck no. Kill your enemies until they stop killing your people. That is the way the world actually works, Ann.

Ann Althouse said...

"'Shock is an old artist's move. Epater la bourgeoisie. Shock will get a reaction, and it will make some people mad.' When was the last time anybody was really shocked, for Pete's sake."

I remember when the "Piss Christ" came out in the 80s. I thought: Yawn. An artist is trying to get a rise out of us. How embarrassing to think you can still get attention by shocking.

Yet people did react and everyone remembers the artist.

William said...

Instead of the "I am Spartacus" bit, how about we all draw teddy bears with a "I am not Mohammed" caption or a picture of Santa Claus with a "I'm really Mohammed in drag" caption. The ridicule of a belief should be proportionate to its absurdity.

Troy said...

Your logic is flawed. Not responding to intimidation of free speech because innocent people might get hurt means all intimidation will always work everywhere. Of course innocent people will get hurt. If memory serves, Rushdie's literary agent was murdered along with several others when the Ayatollah issued his fatwa. Does that mean a free people should allow such threats to stand? No, thanks. Freedoms come at the price of lives and blood and to remain free we need to be willing to pay that price. Innocence has nothing to do with anything here.

Robert said...

The comparisons to Christians protesting the crucifix in urine skirts the main issue of most Christians' outrage, the fact that the art was funded by taxpayer money by the NEA. It would be comparable if Sesame Street had done the episode, not South Park.

jp said...

Ms. Althouse, you are wrong. The "moderate Muslims" need to start voicing themselves. Until they do, they deserve ridicule if not scorn.

That may sound harsh, but "peaceful" Muslims have been reckless, negligent, dilatory (pick your legal term) in stemming the radicals who lead their religion. Their primary leaders are violent and by inaction, the vast majority of Muslims are complicit, and deserve ridicule.

TML said...

I think it's interesting that everyone assumes "piss Christ" was Serrano blaspheming Christ. In fact, I'd argue from other works I've seen of his that he was making a quite poignant statement about the way Christ is treated. We must be more careful about automatically assuming motives just because our immediate reaction is so based on the text and not the sub-text. Do any of you actually know for a fact what point Serrano was trying to make?

Bob Ellison said...

My religion preaches that freedom of thought and expression is king. I love anything that advances this religion, and "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" clearly does so.

Grover said...

We've tried sensitivity to the concerns of moderate Muslims. They haven't done much to clarify that they stand with us and not their fanatic co-religionists. Just the other day CAIR took a pass on a formal statement, lamely claiming that people are tired of Muhammad jokes, and saying they suspect Revolution Muslim is some kind of false flag campaign. Meanwhile, the fanatics are extending their claims.

At this point, we need to be a lot more clear about our freedoms and our willingness to defend them. If innocents are offended in the process, that's unfortunate, but I think we've run out of alternatives.

If the moderates had been more vocal denouncing the fanatics, and more active isolating them, we might have fixed the problem without offense. But they've pretty dormant in all this. If they aren't going to actively defend our common freedoms, I think they have little basis to complain about how the rest of us go about it.

Oback Arama said...

Free speech is a right of every human, endowed by the Creator. If art is free speech, all have a right to exercise it whether or not they are trained artists. It's a great means of protest against the tyranny of the Fascist's who desire to force their liberty snuffing beliefs upon us. Go get a drawing implement and affirm your right to free expression.

Vik Rubenfeld said...

"In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people who aren't doing anything (other than protecting their own interests by declining to pressure the extremists who are hurting the reputation of their religion)."

Sorry, but that equals declining to pressure their co-religionists who are issuing death threats and killing people in the name of Islam. If these people are unwilling to "pressure" people who are murdering others, then we need have no compunction about "hurting their feelings." Or do you not mind when people are murdered in the name of Islam?

ken said...

People throw around the word "offended" as a means of domination and suppression.

To be "offended" means to declare yourself a VICTIM and DEMAND that the "offender" stop vis-à-vis emotional blackmail.

Childish.

I am unoffendable. It is a choice. If you say stupid or hurtful things, you are an idiot, but I still am not a victim.

Trying to shut other people up shows lack of self esteem.

Words only have power if you LET them. Stop letting them.

Grow up.

It's fun being an adult!

More people should try it sometime :)

themightypuck said...

Don't be silly Richard. The reasons for the Dalai Lama hallway greet had nothing to do with religion except insofar as the Dalai Lama was invited to the WH in the first place.

Joe said...

Bologna!

Christoph said...

New "Hussein" Ham said...

I have already depicted Mohammed. I do it every time I post a comment on your blog. I do that deliberately.

...

For a professor who claims to support freedom of and freedom from religion, and freedom of speech, you sure have a quisling way of showing it Ms. Althouse.

Shame on you for your fucking cowardice.

Ann Althouse publishes under her own name with her home city and school very well known. She speaks in favor of artists' being provocative with images of Mohammed and against the death threats.

And you post pictures of Mohammed on her blog which she allows to remain there and you call her a fucking coward because of her opinion, you ANONYMOUS bitch?

You are a joke. Your self-esteem is based on lies and in its place you should feel inadequate and ashamed.

Titus said...

Dan Savage worked at that video store in Madison when I lived there.

Is that video store still there?

It was thought of as soo cool back then.

I met a guy in the gay section and did him in the alley and we ate at the Plaza afterwards. Isn't that sweet?

Meade said...

@Christoph: Well observed and well said.

Ásgeir said...

I have to say shame on you Ann for your appeasement attitude towards an ideology that thrives on oppression of women. Mohammed was a master woman oppressor and rapist. Stand up for your rights, I can promise you muslim clerics will not do that for you!

A.W. said...

Althouse

> Finish the hypo.

I thought it was pretty obvious. More people doing the thing that causes them to threaten death.

But you skip my more basic question.

You say there are better ways to resist this. Great, name them. I am open to ideas.

You are correct to say that a cost of this protest is offending the non-violent. But you don’t offer a less costly alternative. You can’t say we are needlessly offending these people unless you name an alternative. Because if we have no other choice, then it isn't exactly needless, now is it?

Adam2Smith said...

This is something I don't think I've ever seen on this blog - Althouse clearly and definitively smacked down by her own readers. It's not even close to a contest.

Your responses are pretty lame Anne - time to woman up, drop the cute professor techniques that don't work on adults, and admit you made a mistake here.

Free speech is bigger than dopey law school constructs.

John said...

Well said, wise words.

Michael Hasenstab said...

But depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims

So what? Being offended is a part of daily life in pluralistic societies. That's why, in countires where it still is allowed, there are protests and protesters.

Muslims, by instructions in the Koran, are commanded to bring an end to pluralism. Those who love freedom and pluralism should fight back, this time with paper and crayon.

Christoph said...

I agree with Adam2Smith:

"This is something I don't think I've ever seen on this blog - Althouse clearly and definitively smacked down by her own readers. It's not even close to a contest.

...

Free speech is bigger than dopey law school constructs.

= = = =

Paco Wové said...

"Althouse: crusty conservative coating, creamy hippie love chick center."

Good friggin' God. Hold on a minute; I'm going to take a cold shower.


= = = =

Michael Hasenstab said...

"But depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims."

So what? Being offended is a part of daily life in pluralistic societies. That's why, in countires where it still is allowed, there are protests and protesters.

Muslims, by instructions in the Koran, are commanded to bring an end to pluralism. Those who love freedom and pluralism should fight back, this time with paper and crayon.

Well said, sir. You are exactly right.

Michael Hasenstab said...

People need to learn to deal with getting mad when they hear or see speech that enrages them, even when it is intended to enrage them. But how are we outsiders to the artwork supposed to contribute the the (sic) process of their learning how to deal with free expression?

We "outsiders to the artwork" (what a strange construct)contribute to the process by repeatedly showing them things that cause rage in order that they become immune to that rage.

In high school health class, one of the first things a teacher does is to have the class say aloud the words, penis, vagina, nipple, vagina, anus, etc., until the novelty, embarrassment and snickering have worn off, and the instruction can move ahead without giggling distractions.

Drawing pictures of Muhammad is one small part of tugging Islam toward the reformation it so badly needs.

Rose said...

I am seeing the problem.

Christians who were offended over the crucifix in urine, and all the multitude of other attacks on them and their faith were too nice. They should have rioted, burned, pillaged and murdered.

Apparently, if you do that, no one will dare do it again. Instead they laid down and took it and invited what we have now.

The Muslims on the other hand, stood up for their beliefs, and now we dare not give them equal treatment.

Perhaps that lesson needs to sink in. Perhaps the Tea Partiers are making the same mistake.

One thing is for sure - the weak will get attacked. The left in particular are true cowards who will only attack those who let them get away with it and the Muslim situation is clear evidence of that, from the cartoons, to the brutal and extreme violations of women's rights, children's rights, gay rights and suppression of every freedom we hold dear seems to be celebrated by the left, and it is not the only example, Chavez is another example.

The country has gone mad. Good honest decent people get no respect. People who violate every law we have do. People who planned for their own retirement, people who work hard and provide for themselves and their families and their retirements get no respect and no protections any longer from their government, who allows them to lose their 401ks, their life savings and their jobs and does nothing but make it worse by giving away more of their money to the abusers of the system.

On every level, we are looking at insanity.

Will it stop?

Draw Mohammed. You cannot let the threatening of South Park go unchallenged. Geert Wilders was one canary in the mine. They are another. If you care at all about FREE SPEECH, if it means anything at all to you - stand up and say, "No." This. Stops. Here.

Grames said...

Quoting Althouse (from a comment):

"Why should Matt and Trey take all of the risks when it is ultimately everyone's freedom of speech they are defending?"

Because they are making something significant that's worth it. It's like the difference between Lenny Bruce doing his "n*gger" routine and every free speech fan shouting "n*gger" over and over again as if they are proving his point or doing the same thing. They are not.


Yes in point of fact they would be doing exactly the same thing. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me" is an important bit of rhyming wisdom taught to children to civilise them. It teaches the difference between what is real harm and what is not.

Mark said...

I say go for it - as a Christian, I am fed up with how the Muslims are getting handled with kid gloves - the same Muslims who want to wipe us off the face of the map. Frankin Graham being "un-invited" to speak at the Pentagon because he dared be crticial of Islam is just the latest in a disgusting bowing down to this hateful religion of killers, and I am sick of it. So yeah, go offend the Muslims - and better yet - don't allow them in this country

Laika's Last Woof said...

"Why should Matt and Trey take all of the risks when it is ultimately everyone's freedom of speech they are defending?"
Excellent point.
By NOT drawing Muhammad we are free-riders on Matt Stone and Trey Parker's bravery.
Perhaps the story of the Danish King wearing the yellow star were just legends, but we can wear it for real this time, with one simple yet revolutionary act of defiance: we can draw Muhammad.

Christoph said...

The article that utterly kills the foundation to Ann House's argument.

Stone continued: "It's like, if everyone would have just, like, normally they do in the news organizations, just printed the cartoons -"

"Everyone would have rallied together," interjected Parker.

"Now that guy [Westergaard] has to be hiding and all this [bleep] because everyone just kind of left him out to dry. It's a big problem when you have the New York Times and Comedy Central and Viacom basically just [wimping] out on it...."

The media isn't standing with South Park.

We need to.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Ann,
THis wouldn't be a problem if the "moderate" Muslims would address the issue. But they refuse to. maybe this will shake them out of their lethargy. I doubt it, but it beats the alternative, which is to do nothing.

Christoph said...

*Althouse

Sorry, I was still trippin' out over the creamy hippie chick center description.

A.W. said...

Its worth pointing out that Matt and Trey kind of suggested this sort of approach themselves, the last time they got involved in this controversy. One character said:

> “Freedom of speech is at stake here, don’t you all see? If anything, we should all make cartoons of Mohammed and show the terrorists and the extremists that we are all united in the belief that every person has a right to say what they want. Look people, it’s been really easy for us to stand up for free speech lately. For the past few decades, we haven’t had to risk anything to defend it. One of those times is right now. And if we aren’t willing to risk what we have now, then we just believe in free speech, but won’t defend it.“

And again, I throw down the gauntlet to Ann. What alternative do you offer us?

Ann Althouse said...

"I thought it was pretty obvious. More people doing the thing that causes them to threaten death."

What would that be? Being black? (Trying to get some completion on the KKK hypo, which makes no sense as it lacks parallels.)

Ann Althouse said...

And being black wouldn't work as a parallel because it isn't something that any good people feel injured by.

A.W. said...

Christoph

Great minds think alike. see my last post.

Ann Althouse said...

"So what? Being offended is a part of daily life in pluralistic societies. That's why, in countires where it still is allowed, there are protests and protesters."

Yes, but that isn't a reason to choose to be offensive! It's only a reason to defend the freedom of those who are offensive.

Ann Althouse said...

Really, the refusal to think clearly about this issue is getting annoying.

Alex said...

And being black wouldn't work as a parallel because it isn't something that any good people feel injured by.

So because some "good Muslims" will be offended by the depiction, it shouldn't be done? Piss Christ was done w/o any thought of who it would offend, and boy did it offend a billion Catholics for sure. But fuck Catholics, right Ann?

Ann Althouse said...

I don't care if people disagree with me, but you are just restating things without taking up the challenges I've laid down. Either you don't understand what I'm saying or you don't have a good answer. It's disrespectful to me and tiresome.

Ann Althouse said...

You don't really want to talk with a law professor, it seems.

Eric said...

"In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people who aren't doing anything (other than protecting their own interests by declining to pressure the extremists who are hurting the reputation of their religion)."

That it should hurt in any way is sufficiently disturbing as to justify doing it for that very reason. I refuse to avoid perfectly inconsequential and benign behavior because a mentally warped grouped of millions has been convinced through that warping that the behavior is offensive. Involvement with terrorism is nearly incidental. Propriety DEMANDS that such people be needled incessantly.

Alex said...

Ann - in a vacuum you're right. It's not good to offend someone just to get your rocks off. But in the context of what's happening in the world, what Parker & Stone are doing is a absolutely necessary. It's a war of cultures whether you want to admit it or not.

Ann Althouse said...

"So because some "good Muslims" will be offended by the depiction, it shouldn't be done? Piss Christ was done w/o any thought of who it would offend, and boy did it offend a billion Catholics for sure. But fuck Catholics, right Ann?"

Huh? I don't see how those questions hang together, and they certainly don't relate to the points I've been making.

I said that depicting Mohammad is something people have right to do, which means they can chose whether or not to do it. Knowing that it offends millions of people, I would choose not to do it and I don't think it is good judgment to do it. But if anyone actually does it, I defend their freedom.

I have the equivalent position with respect to other religions.

As for "Piss Christ," I do think the artist meant to draw energy from the transgressive nature of his image. That built on the sincere feelings of Christians.

A.W. said...

Althouse

> What would that be? Being black?

Advocating for racial equality. That was extremely offensive in a certain time and place, you know.

But you keep dodging the issue of alternatives. You said in the original posts there were better ways to protect speech. For the third time, NAME ONE.

Michael said...

It is so troubling that we are having this conversation now, so many years after the Danish incident. Every newspaper in the world had the chance then, at that moment, to stand up for free speech and only one or two did so. At that moment free speech was dead as a long term "right." We gave it away. For a little peace and quiet and for the right to be pompous self satisfied assholes stroking our own backs in appreciation of our open minds.

Alex said...

It just seems this call for restraint is a bit one-sided. Muslims engage in all their terrorist murderous acts, death threats and general intimidation. We're just supposed to "take it" and be good, upstanding citizens.

Alex said...

For a little peace and quiet and for the right to be pompous self satisfied assholes stroking our own backs in appreciation of our open minds.

Did we ever buy any peace and quiet since then? Wasn't the London subway bombed AFTER that?

Ann Althouse said...

"You are a bit confused I am afraid. This restriction against anyone drawing Mohammed is of fairly recent origin; only the last couple of centuries. Before that, Muslims commissioned artists to draw Mohammed. There are beautiful Korans in Museums in New York, Paris and London with pictures of Mohammed."

I'm not confused. I'm not saying one word about the history or true interpretation of Islam, only that I know a lot of Muslims are offended by it, and I would respect their feelings. People have different ideas about what is sacred, and I choose not to rub their faces in my own opinion that those things are not sacred. I don't care if they are right or wrong about that.

Alex said...

Ann - I take it that you do not feel that Muslims rub their disdain for Western Civilization in your nose? Because that's how the rest of us feel.

Christoph said...

"Yes, but that isn't a reason to choose to be offensive!"

You wouldn't choose to be offensive for the sake of being offensive. You choose to be offensive for the sake of defending freedom, free speech, and protecting the lives of those brave people putting their lives on the line for freedom of speech... through strength in numbers.

It is you who are not thinking clearly, Ann.

Your point about not being offensive is fine. It is nice.

However, it most certainly does not take into account the magnitude of the stakes.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ms. Althouse, you are wrong. The "moderate Muslims" need to start voicing themselves. Until they do, they deserve ridicule if not scorn."

I agree and my original post shows that moderate Muslims should have more courage and should step up and be more prominent, but I don't think disrespecting their religion is a good way to encourage that. I'd say the opposite is true. I'd rather show that I respect what people of different religions hold sacred.

Michael said...

Alex: I didn't mean that giving up free speech has worked with respect to the famously peaceful Muslims, I meant that individual writers, artists and editors have chosen to keep their heads on their necks. Althouse is on record of opposing any mockery of the prophet and perhaps her neck will be severed later than mine. The whole of the Muslim world, excepting the miscreants, will applaud her.

mariner said...

Meade:
I married a liberal.

That sounds like the title of a 1950s horror movie.

Joe said...

It's like the difference between Lenny Bruce doing his "n*gger" routine and every free speech fan shouting "n*gger" over and over again as if they are proving his point or doing the same thing.

Yet, Bruce's riff had no impact whatsoever, so what was the point?

Ironically, Bruce himself suggested the opposite of you and had everyone followed his advice, n*gger would have lost it's impact.

Alex said...

I'd say the opposite is true. I'd rather show that I respect what people of different religions hold sacred.

Sorry but that's bullshit. I'm supposed to automatically respect all religions? Why? I think all religion is bunk and I will say so.

Eric said...

"I don't care if they are right or wrong about that."

At a certain point, you should. Especially when the expectation involves avoiding behavior that is utterly devoid of judgment and needn't involve adherents in any way. We're not discussing depictions of Mohammed as a child molester. We're discussing depictions of Mohammed IN ANY FORM. That is beyond the pale and calls for rational people to engage in the behavior for the very purpose of showing that the only truly offensive here act is asking that it not be done.

Michael Hasenstab said...

It's disrespectful to me and tiresome.

Althouse turns Muslim. There can be no opinion but the one true opinion.

If you want only one opinion from this pluralistic group of commentators, then state that at the top of the topic. "Here's my opinion. Tell me that you agree with what I have written."

Ann Althouse said...

"Advocating for racial equality. That was extremely offensive in a certain time and place, you know."

That isn't something that anyone I respect should be offended by, so it isn't a parallel.

Not an apt hypo.

I need something that has the equivalent where there is collateral damage to good people.

Alex said...

So let me understand. There are "good and moderate" Muslims that Ann knows would be deeply offended by seeing ANY depiction of Allah. Right?

Christoph said...

"I'd say the opposite is true. I'd rather show that I respect what people of different religions hold sacred."

They say we shouldn't draw images of their child-rapist prophet, who married a girl at 6 and sex with her at 9.

However if one accepts the idea that our sensibilities on age of first sex have simply shifted to far to apply to that era (despite historical evidence that Mohammed's relationship with Aisha made contemporary Arabs queasy even back then) there's the whole mass murder thing, and even the torturing to death of a tribal leader and then "marrying" his wife and "consummating" the marriage that same day (or raping her to use the modern venacular), or even being chastized by Allah, of all things, for being too brutal on at least one occasion.

Why exactly am I supposed to respect prohibitions on speaking freely about, including drawing, Mohammed?

Why am I supposed to respect someone's beliefs about that man as sacred?

I'm sure many people held Hitler as sacred. We know they did.

Why am I to respect it?

Why am I not to freely express my contrary opinion?

Why do you, Ann, respect "what people of different religions hold sacred" if what they hold sacred was a murderer, torturer, and rapist, and child molester?

What does "respecting" such a sacred man and people's belief in him... say about you?

Will you respect anyone for anything if enough others call it "sacred"?

No matter what??

If not Mohammed's behavior, what pray tell would be enough where you wouldn't respect what someone believes?

Would they have to do all the things Mohammed did, plus feed their cat poor quality food?

What precisely?

knox said...

Muslims should have more courage and should step up and be more prominent, but I don't think disrespecting their religion is a good way to encourage that.

Who knows? Moderate Muslims might be praying for this sort of push-back. They might be hoping for support from free peoples.

I'm sure at least some of the women who live under the more extreme versions of Islam probably would appreciate the gesture. Certainly they are not living under a "peaceful" religion.

I should add that not offending people (when possible) is certainly important and desirable behavior. But it is trumped in this instance by our necessity to defend Free Speech. What's more, the enemy doesn't just threaten to shut us up, but to blow us up.

Althouse, you are a consistent defender of free speech. You stand up to any blogger who tries to tamp you down ... often, as you've noted, using tactics geared to the fact that you're female. Your take on this surprises me. Sorry if that has the taint of youalawprofessor!

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"I have no wish to offend Muslims."

I, on the other hand, mean to offend Muslims. It is my intention to offend them. My purpose to offend.

I rise only to offend Muslims.

If Muslims said wearing purple offended them, I would wear purple on purpose ... just to offend them.

Why? To no purpose?

No?

For a very good purpose To get them used to being offended.

To make them understand that they live in the United States of America, where cultures of all types come together and where one man's prayer is another man's offense.

To make them understand that when they are inside of their homes or mosques they may do whatever they please to assuage their God, but the moment they step foot out of either one of those places they are no longer free to dictate anything regarding their religion.

They are not free to impose their religious sensibilities on anyone else. The United States Constitution says so.

And it's high time they got used to it because that isn't going to change no matter how much they scream, or how many people they murder.

Michael said...

Professor: I am curious if you ever discuss with your Muslim friends the reason for their aversion to any depiction of the prophet? Or is it a conversation stopper when they aver their offense?

Laura said...

Muslims should have more courage and should step up and be more prominent, but I don't think disrespecting their religion is a good way to encourage that.

Well, so far, respecting it hasn't helped them get any backbone, has it? When CNN refused to show the MoToons in 2006, explicitly saying their refusal was in order to show respect to Islam, there was no corresponding wave of free speech support from Muslims.

Why should any non-Muslim obey Islamic law in order not to offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats, when those same Muslims can't bring themselves to defend core values of western civilization?

What will they give up in exchange for my free speech where Islam is concerned? Why should I enable their passivity?

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"So let me understand. There are "good and moderate" Muslims that Ann knows would be deeply offended by seeing ANY depiction of Allah. Right?"

I doubt it, but let's take that as a given: It is beside the point.

Lots of people are offended by lots of shit every day.

Tough.

There is a larger principle at play that goes beyond any Muslim's offense, or even a lot of Muslim's taking even great offense.

Muslims do not have the right to dictate to the rest of us a list of the things we may not draw, or say, or do because it offends them.

And if they don't like that, there are places where a country's constitution doesn't guarantee freedom of religion.

Those Muslim's who cannot abide other people acting in ways that offend them should go to a place where people are regulated.

The United States cannot regulate its citizenry. We are the place people go who do not wish to be regulated.

A.W. said...

Ann

You know what? I had a great response, but you still haven't answer the basic of basic questions.

You say we have better ways of addressing this. Great. NAME ONE. name even one.

Because even if you are right, that this percisely situation is unprecedented in human history, well, fine, you still need to say how we should address this. Either that, or you are saying that freedom of speech just isn't worth it.

And btw, every other time this has come up, WE HAVEN'T ADDRESSED IT. When they threatened Salmon Rushdie, we didn't. When they killed Van Gogh, we didn't. The first time they censored South Park, we didn't. And now they are doing it again, and right now all you are proposing is that we be silent again.

Something has to be done. It is time to for action, not navel-gazing and worrying about hurt feelings. It is time to lead, follow or get out of the way. Pick one.

tim maguire said...

You lost me at "Everybody". But if you hadn't, you would have lost me at "real artists" getting special privileges under your rules.

Plus you're wrong about Islam and it's "prohibition" against depictions of Mohamed. There is no such prohibition. It's pure invention by the radicals.

Too bad this won't be read by anybody; I've typed for no better reason than to say to the air that this is a post unworthy of you.

A.W. said...

Btw, should we really be nice and non-offensive to all religions?

I mean look scientologists believe that billions of years ago, an evil intergalatic tyrant name Xemu killing millions of aliens by dropping them into volcanos using space ships that look just like DC-9's. Then he vacuumed up their alien souls and forced them to watch movies about jesus and allah and buddha. that drove them nuts and eventually the alien souls attached themselves to cave men and that is the source of all our mental problems and religions today.

Now that is protected by the first amendment as a religion. But its also hands down the goofiest religion i have ever heard of. it doesn't even have the merit of being fun like the Greek mythology. Its just stupid. So why should i avoid offending that.

And I might add that their relgion is itself an attack on my religion as a christian.

Indeed, if you were a scientologist, and you were depicting your faith, wouldn't you have to have a depiction of mohammed in that?

Seriously, i don't even get why we should care about offending muslims.

Skyler said...

Ann, that is the most idiotic logic I've ever seen come from a law professor.

People objected to the cross in urine, not because it was disrespectful to christianity, but because it was paid for by tax dollars. That was the whole point of the anger.

Tax money should not be used to mock mohammed, either. In fact, tax money should never be used for art, period! But that's a rant for another time.

For someone who is clearly intelligent, your lack of understanding of this point is disturbing.

The call to mock this religion is a stirring call to help protect our right to free speech and freedom of the press. I think you have the moral fortitude of a worm if you think this is a bad idea. If they were voting on the Bill of Rights today, you'd be all in favor of inserting a ton of caveats and exceptions into the free speech part, just so someone doesn't get their feelings hurt.

Your moral equivocation sickens me.

Alex said...

The call to mock this religion is a stirring call to help protect our right to free speech and freedom of the press. I think you have the moral fortitude of a worm if you think this is a bad idea. If they were voting on the Bill of Rights today, you'd be all in favor of inserting a ton of caveats and exceptions into the free speech part, just so someone doesn't get their feelings hurt.

Your moral equivocation sickens me.


To be fair Ann did not say she wants the government to step in an censor depictions of Allah. She simply states that we should all refrain from offending Muslims out of pure decency.

buster said...

Althouse seems to think it's OK to outrage the "bad" Muslims, but we shouldn't do it because we will also outrage the "good" Muslims. But we aren't trying to outrage the good Muslims. They're innocent bystanders, and their offended sensibilities is collateral damage. So the question is whether the reasons for outraging the bad Muslims are important enough to justify inflicting the collateral damage. I think they are important enough.

The "threat" or "warning" issued by Revolution Muslim was not just a threat or warning. It was an actually harmful act: Matt Stone and Trey Parker were prevented from publishing the South Park episode in the original form. RM intended to cause that harm. The fact that RM succeeded means that more threats/warnings will be made by RM and other bad Muslims, and some of the threats/warnings will succeed. This is a very serious matter, and something must be done. "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" is a good something to do.

But there's another bad actor that needs to be taught a lesson as well. RM wouldn't have succeeded if Comedy Central hadn't caved in. Whether they caved because they are cowards, nihilists, businessmen trying to do business in peace doesn't really matter. They jeopardized everyone's freedom of speech when they censored the show.

A boycott of Comedy Central or some similar action until the responsible network executives is also a good something to do.

Christoph said...

In fundamental terms, I reserve the right to offend those who follow a torturing mass murdering rapist and child molester to boot as their godly prophet.

I even reserve the right to support those who drew a stick figure of him.

When counterbalanced against the fact Islam has expanded largely by force of arms (and by threatening ANYONE who leaves it with death, which is a brutal recipe to assure its growth, isn't it?) and now has dozens of nations under its sway and almost a billion and a half people, plus engages in expansionist aggression to this day, is supporting the artists of South Park -- and drawing a bit of heat off them -- by penciling an image such a big deal?

On balance?

Be serious, Ann.

AC245 said...

You don't really want to talk with a law professor, it seems.

Sheesh, this is even more pathetic than your earlier playing of the Jesus card.

You normally bitch and moan when people use "you, a law professor..." in reference to something you blog, but here you are putting it out there as the [laughable] reason that people are refusing to follow you off into the inellectual weeds on some bizarre snipe hunt for a perfect hypothetical.

You're in the wrong on this subject, Althouse, and your increasingly desperate, uncharacteristically hostile and dishonest behaviour suggests it might be better for you to just accept that and walk away.

You were wrong in your initial post denigrating the idea of a people organizing a massive peaceful, unobtrusive, expression of free speech.

You were wrong when you started insinuating commenters who disagreed with you were bigots and racists.

You were wrong when you delivered your religious harangue against commenters you considered to be acting insufficiently Christian.

You were wrong to demand that people come up with some sort of hypothetical parallel to this situation instead of discussing the actual issue.

And you're wrong to keep dodging the question you've been asked multiple times, which A.W. succinctly restates: You say we have better ways of addressing this. Great. NAME ONE.

Overall, this has been a very disappointing thread.

buster said...

"until the responsible executives are fired"

S. said...

I disagree with Ann here. Drawing is a normal human activity, so a drawing of Mohammad should not be considered offensive. I intend to participate in "Everybody Draw Mohammad Day". I may draw Jesus, Moses, Buddha, and other figures as well. If the Muslims are offended, so be it.

Michael Hasenstab said...

She simply states that we should all refrain from offending Muslims out of pure decency.

And we will, out of pure decency, right after Muslims refrain from offending Christians, Jews and others by beheading them for their beliefs.

Matthew said...

So far as I'm concerned, the Muslim world lost all rights to claim offense to anything when it hijacked four airliners and used them as Weapons of Mass Destruction.

And yes, I understand that not all Muslims were involved in that plot, but for decades now, they supposedly "good" and "moderate" Muslims have stood by silently and let the "bad" ones sully what passes for Islamic culture.

In fact, they have largely stood silent because they're frightened of these whackjobs, too. We're not dealing with a Religion of Peace here, we're dealing with a religion that explicitly advocates murder, rape, theft and forced conversion of The Other as a requirement for entry into the afterlife.

A people who need an Ayahtollah to set rules about how to properly dispose of a herd animal one has had sex with, mutilate their daughters in the name of chastity, and indcotrinate their children to believe that their highest goal in life should be a spectacular suicde that takes as many innocents as possible with them, are not entitled to any consideration whatsoever.

As someone who walked away from the carnage of Septermber 11th, I want a "Draw Mohammed Day" every goddamned day -- and not just once a year.

If someone wants to protest that, then fine; So far as I'm concerned, if they're out in the streets marching, or on television complaining, it makes it easier to identify the assholes and potential suicide bombers.

Gnome Enthusiast said...

Aww....I was too late. I drew Muhammad days ago. My Paint skills are unsurpassed.

A.W. said...

Btw, Ann, i wonder if you would defend this image:

http://religiousfreaks.com/UserFiles/Image/priests.gone.wild.jpg

i mean sure, it is designed to criticise the minority of catholic priests who have sex with children. But it is offensive to all catholics, so i guess it is not justified, right?

And if it is justified, well, then how come we are not justified in offending all muslims if they are only collateral damage in offending the terrorists, for the much more important purpose of defending freedom of speech?

Christoph said...

Here is my image of Mohammed:





.






Notice it is a tiny dot. It represents his character.

EnigmatiCore said...

"But depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats."

So, you disapprove of speech that offends Christians, or Hindus, or Michigan fans, when such speech offends the millions (or dozens, in case of the latter) who are not part of violent threats?

Paco Wové said...

"Too bad this won't be read by anybody"

Don't worry, Tim, buddy -- I've got your back. I'll read it, though I be the last lone commenter trolling through the Blogosphere.

...anyway, I notice a fundamental disconnect here. Althouse is talking about the issue in terms of giving and taking offense, but her detractors are talking in terms of power.

William said...

Put the hypo on the other foot. Other religions have been mocked by South Park. But these religions have not sent out hit squads or made any threats against the South Park crew. Such a strategy of lofty disregard seems to work. The South Park takedown of Mormons has passed into oblivion....For the most part people have no more objections to Mohammed and Islam than they do to Joseph Smith and Mormonism. What they object to are not the tenets of Islam but the will to enforce those tenets with death and threats of death against those they find obnoxious.....The attempt of some extremists to murder a cartoonist makes their religion look not only cruel but silly. It's a foolish tactic. No wonder their religion attracts mostly the totally alienated like goths and convicts here in the west.....Anyway I don't wish to mock Mohammed and Islam, but I do wish to mock those who consider the practice of murder a religious right. It seems to me that the most economical and efficient way of doing this is by means of cartoons. Perhaps if Mary Worth, Blondie, Beetle Bailey and a we-are-the-world collection of cartoon characters picked one day to simply say "I am Mohammed" in their strips, this conflict would expire of its own fatuity.

Bill said...

Ms. Althouse, you say that drawing images of Muhammad is protected speech and you assert our right to that speech but that you think it a misguided use of that right because of the collateral damage of offending many more moderate Muslims.

Pretty much everyone else responds that unlike, say, Piss Christ, which seemed to be created for the sole purpose of being offensive to Christians, EDMD is being done in response to a very specific threat. Not just a threat to free speech, although that's bad enough. But honest to goodness threats of actual violence to people for exercising those rights. And that we this see not as a "thumb-in-your-eye" to people we don't like, but more of an "I-am-Spartacus" gesture of solidarity with people who are being threatened.

I think perhaps you haven't fared too well in this exchange and that's why you're getting all professorial and exasperated with us and suggesting that we're just not responding to the 'assignment' you've given us.

I'll do my best to come with the kind of hypothetical you're looking for: An artist creates a piece that shows Pope Benedict as an awful child-abusing monster and he encourages everyone to wear it on t-shirts and plaster it all over the internet on a specific day as a protest to the church's mishandling of the sexual abuse cases. Most would say that the artist's outrage is justified and many would choose to stand with him on that day. You would (presumably) argue that however justified his outrage, and however inviolable his right to carry out his plan, he would do well to reconsider because he will offend so many good and faithful Catholics who are undeserving of that offense and that I (a Catholic) should see my error in supporting EDMD.

That's about the best I can do and I trust you'll let me know if that wasn't what you were looking for.

My problem with that hypothetical is that to make it an actual parallel in addition to all the aggrieved and moderate Catholics, I would've had to have a significant minority of Catholics not just be outraged, but actually tell people that they must not produce any unflattering pictures of Pope Benedict and that if they did, well, I'm not issuing threats or anything I'm just sayin' they might just find themselves headless.

I'll bet I speak for a majority here when I say that I have no particular desire to offend Muslims, good or bad. I would bend over backward to respect the sensibilities of most everyone.

But in the face of assaults on free speech, on our western way of life and laws, on our very lives, I fail to see how not only is EDMD not misguided, it's practically a moral imperative.

wv - beheds. No, really.

Pete said...

I love it when Althouse gets all sanctimonious and starts quoting the Bible.

A.G. said...

I tend to agree with Ann. I'm not so sure that if moderate Muslims got together and publicly condemned the death threats that it would even matter. Everybody on the right knows the feeling of ceaselessly apologizing for slavery (despite Lincoln), and condemning alleged racism and violent extremism, etc. Does it ever satisfy the Left?

And speaking of this issue, has anyone thought it a bit ironic that John McCain wouldn't even allow us to refer to Barack Obama by his middle name when he was running for Prez for fear of inciting the alleged wild, anti-Muslim base?

And finally, some people seem to care what Jon Stewart at Comedy Central thinks about this issue. WTF? This is a guy who finds the term "Obamacare" offensive. I rest

Andrea said...

Stuff White People Like: being seen as "nice." That's how we mark our territory and thin undesirables out of the herd. It really has nothing to do with Muslims at all.

Jason said...

I disagree that Christians would or should be offended by "piss Christ". I am a Christian and conservative, and I am not in the least bit offended by any negative depictions of my faith.

Why would I be? That would be just plain silly.

Offense is based in insecurity, and one who is secure in their faith should find no reason to be offended by someone who makes fun of it.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Pete: I love it when Althouse gets all sanctimonious and starts quoting the Bible.

In defense of Althouse, she only sounds sanctimonious if you read what she says.

Greg said...

With all due respect, Ann, I disagree. Let them be angry and outraged -- with the folks who are making threats in the name of their religion and who are provoking such a response from the civilized peoples of the world. Let them rid their ranks of such folks, expelling them from their mosques and removing them from positions of religious authority. And let them say how offended they are by the depictions -- and then behave like civilized people rather than riot in the streets or demand that the government impose their religious taboos on the rest of us.

In other words, let them learn to act in a civilized fashion when civilized people exercise their human rights.

Christoph said...

Jason, I disagree with your faith, but it always seemed to me to make sense that if a person truly believed Christ's teaching and therefore Christian doctrine... rather than get angry and offended that others don't, or even that they disdain Christ, instead to be very concerned and loving toward them, even frightened on their behalf (while respecting the right as free agents to chart their own destiny).

I must admit, I find a lot more of the angry-type Christian (online at least).

They seem to lack confidence in their own beliefs (i.e., Jesus's teachings) and lash out as a result.

Cedarford said...

I had no problem in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia complying with belief and custom. No beer, no pork, no Bible waved about, stick Western women in Abiyas, no graven image...fine.
When in Rome.....

But the problem emerges when Muslims HERE and in Europe demand that we tolerate all their values - without extending that toleration back reciprocally.

Then without the social contract that is NECESSARY for toleration to exist, true toleration - all you have is cultural and religious imperialism asserting it having final word to dictate to a new land how things must be.

Or they will get offended, very offended.
And you know what happens when Muslims are very offended....
So please do as "we Muslims say to avoid any trouble".

Craven lefties then cast it as a moral triumph:
" We caved on showing pictures of the Prophet, while they still beat servants caught with a Bible and teach Jews are demons and Christians not much more acceptable.....but that just shows how much better we are, how much more tolerant we are!! No, it shows Muslims are stronger and can order changes to your country while they will not budge one iota in changing their ways or showing a shred of toleration.

Number of mosques built in America in the last 20 years?
8,000.
Number of churches built in KSA, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt = Zero.

The only Arab Muslim countries remotely tolerant to Christians openly practicing their faith are Syria and parts of Lebanon, Tunisia and the Moroccan coast.

S. said...

"Piss Christ" was offensive because it was a religious figure dipped in urine. Drawings of Mohammad are not dipped in urine. They are mere drawings.

To compare a figure dipped in urine to a figure is mere nonsense.

Ann, you got this wrong. Shame on you.

Michael said...

Christoph: You might see a lot of angry Christians online, but they aren't threatening to lop your head off are they?

Laura said...

I'm not so sure that if moderate Muslims got together and publicly condemned the death threats that it would even matter. Everybody on the right knows the feeling of ceaselessly apologizing for slavery (despite Lincoln), and condemning alleged racism and violent extremism, etc. Does it ever satisfy the Left?

The point is not to get an apology out of people who haven't done anything. I don't want an apology. The point is to get them to stand up for what they claim they believe in the face of a presumably _tiny_ subset of people hijacking this ever-so-peaceful religion. There is no group with a greater capability to root out the extremists - without the need to pass a single law - than Muslims.

When the imam starts distributing Wahabbist material and taking money from Saudi Arabia, call him out on it. When your brother in law or neighbor goes on "vacation" for three months (when you know damned good and well he's off training) call the FBI. When someone starts making excuses for terror, engage them and show them how wrong they are. When your co-religionists start taking over entire streets in Paris for prayer (you can find that on Youtube), work to show them how wrong they are, and cooperate with the authorities in putting a stop to it.

Whether it's fear or passive agreement that prevents them from acting, I really don't care. While it seems unfair to "punish" all Muslims for the actions of a few, it is far MORE unfair for the rest of us to be punished.

If moderate Muslims are okay with being held hostage by this tiny group of extremists, fine. But that's no reason for the rest of us to be.

Classroom Diva! said...

Robin had it right:

Robin said...
My friend Betsy and I don't agree about politics. She is a democrat and I'm not. After trying to discuss politics a few times, we discovered that we both became too heated. It's got nasty. But we like each other. So we mutually agreed to stop talking about politics for the sake of our continuing friendship. It doesn't bother me, we have lots of other things to discuss. But what if Betsy had told me one day that if I ever insulted Obama again she would bash my face in with a tire iron? Now if I continue to maintain our interdiction from political discussions I'm not doing it voluntarily, I'm doing it because I'm oppressed. My rights--my freedom has been taken from me. I have two choices. I can acquiesce to her threat or I can assert my freedom. MY FREEDOM. What I might do for friendship without hesitation I will not do for hate. I AM FREE. Free to speak OR not speak but it is my decision and THAT is why draw Mohammed day is happening. Because too many people are "choosing" not to speak or draw not because of politeness or consideration but because of threat.

4/24/10 12:05 PM

g2loq said...

Obama gave the Dali Lama a pair of cufflinks ...

How subtle ...

Sofa King said...

Is this Bizarro Althouse? I expect to see a beard on the picture any moment.

Mark said...

Those stating that Islam needs a reformation should be aware that Islam already had a reformation. Taqi ibn Tamiyyah was the Martin Luther of the Islamic Reformation and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahab played the role of John Calvin.

If Islam did have something like a Pope, that individual could tell the jihadis to cut it out before the western world finally snaps and commits a genocide that will make all previous mass human killings pale in comparison.

Christoph said...

"You might see a lot of angry Christians online, but they aren't threatening to lop your head off are they?"

Occasionally they threaten some type of violence, but it's not mandated by their religion.

Therein lies the difference.

(Okay, okay, the Old Testament mandates and/or chronicles the mandates of one heck of a lot of violence -- easily matching the brutality and perversity of Mohammed -- for various things, but Christians have moderated a lot, as have Jews, and I hold out hope for Islam. To that end, philosopher Daniel Dennett wishes for less virulent forms of religion to replace more virulent forms, and I do too. In the meantime, the less virulent Muslims are quite naturally scared shitless at their homicidal and pious brethren, and we should oppose these extremists wherever possible.)

Now I can point out that the Old Testament of the Bible is, in some instances, equally violent and more perverse (not "just" taking a child as a bride through an arranged marriage but, as in the Midianites, slaughtering an entire tribe except for the female virgins, and taking those as sex slaves) even than Mohammed at his worse, and be free from death threats.

Hopefully we can put pressure on Islam to moderate to that same extent as Judaism and Christianity have, to their credit.

A.G. said...

Laura, I don't completely disagree, but at what point does hyper-vigilance veer from being a reasonable means to prevent violent extremism to simply becoming a mechanism for thought-control over an entire group? To make the Republican analogy again, Mark Potok at the SPLC is always warning against "right wing" violence; no proactive actions by conservatives (to the limited extent they are even needed) will ever be applauded by him. You
want people to contact the authorities when others go on "vacation"- but didn't the "Underwear" bomber's father do just that? How many people thanked him? Bin Ladin's son recently wrote a devastating account of life with his father. There are endless examples.

And for those Muslims who don't speak out against what you mention, wouldn't it be more effective to ask them *why* they do not? I'd really like to know. Isn't it much better than provoking some lunatic out there to seize on this 5/20 idea as a fresh reason for committing Jihad?

Stogie said...

I disagree, Ann. I have already drawn three Mohammed depictions and intend to draw one for each day until May 20.

Laura said...

A.G.: at what point does hyper-vigilance veer from being a reasonable means to prevent violent extremism to simply becoming a mechanism for thought-control over an entire group

There are always societal pressures to stay within certain boundaries. That's my point; those pressures need to be applied to Muslims just like they are to everyone else. From within, not just from without. I can't go to Saudi Arabia and flout their laws and demand they conform to my social mores. They don't - or should not - get to do that to western countries. If they want sharia, then don't live in the west. The idea that we would voluntarily conform to any aspect of sharia in order to avoid hurting someone's feelings - when they are clearly not in the least concerned about maintaining the free speech we hold so dear - is simply baffling.

There was no mechanism in place, as far as I know, for individuals to contact the underwear bombers father. I have no way of knowing how many people tracked him down to send a thank-you note. But I do know a lot of bloggers wrote approvingly about him - at the same time they blasted officials for not taking him seriously. FWIW...

As for the Muslims who don't protest extremists - I've got two Muslim acquaintances, and they both said the same thing. Neither felt like it was their problem; why should they apologize for something they didn't do, and if their mosque went radical they'd leave it rather than confront some nut job. That's anecdotal and doesn't prove anything, of course, but you can find polls about where Muslims stand on the issue of acts of terror committed in their name. I don't recall stats off the top of my head but the last one I saw was very depressing.

What I do know is that we're increasingly seeing calls for us not to offend Muslims - like when the Yale Muslim Student Association whined about Kirk Westergaard coming to give a talk, or a book *about* the Motoons failed to include the drawings themselves, or when some Christians were refused the right to walk on public sidewalks handing out Christian literature at an Arab festival in Dearborn, MI. There are many more examples. This South Park kerfluffle is not an isolated event, and I think people are starting to understand that, and that's why the pushback is happening.

Mister said...

I don't care if people disagree with me, but you are just restating things without taking up the challenges I've laid down. Either you don't understand what I'm saying or you don't have a good answer. It's disrespectful to me and tiresome.

This tactic of trying to force commenters to address only the points you wish to address is a massive cop out on your part, and it avoids a lot of very strong counter arguments to your original post, which I imagine is a feature of said tactic, and not a bug.

I, for one, would be very interested in your answer to A.W.'s repeated query. You stated, "I think opposing violence (and censorship) can be done in much better ways." Name one.

You don't really want to talk with a law professor, it seems.

I don't know if this is an inside joke specific to your blog, but if not, it is incredibly condescending to those whose arguments you have steadfastly avoided to this point.

--Bill Brennan

Laura said...

A.G. - okay I went off on a different tangent and didn't really answer your question. Sorry. You wrote, "I don't completely disagree, but at what point does hyper-vigilance veer from being a reasonable means to prevent violent extremism to simply becoming a mechanism for thought-control over an entire group?"

I guess at the point where violent extremists have been stamped out. I think it's an experiment worth trying, but that's really not up to me - it's up to the Islamic community.

Why should Muslims not feel societal pressure to police themselves? Believe me, if my church went off on a bizarre Phelpsian tangent, I'd make a serious racket. Likewise if I learned some acquaintances formed a militia that planned violent attacks. If someone I know were planning a crime, I'd try to talk them out of it, and if need be I'd rat them out. Wouldn't you?

Having a (self-imposed, self-regulated) mechanism for thought control by Muslims over Muslims, where the goal is to assimilate and create a culture of tolerance seems like a nifty idea to me. If there is such a mechanism now, it instead seems to be geared toward "stop snitching."

A.W. said...

Btw, as hard as i have been on Althouse, today, let's take a moment an point out that she has been very cool about this criticism. i mean she could have gone all Charles Johnson on us, and its to her credit that she let us go after her so vehemently on her own blog.

rationalrepublic said...

I disagree that depicting Mohammed will 'hurt' Muslims. Being offended in a debate in politics does not allow a cry of 'you hurt my feelings' to be taken as a legitimate argument. And this is nothing like dunking a crucifix in a jar of urine. It is the equivalent of any satirical political cartoon published in papers all over the world every single day. Non-Muslims should be offended that there is the potential threat of death from participating in this event. If anybody can be 'hurt', it won't be Muslims.

Calypso Facto said...

I see there's a lot more support for this idea than there was for Bush's "Bring it on!" But aren't they kind of the same thing? Needlessly antagonizing an opponent you're actively fighting on the ground? You know Al Jazeera will have reports of the intentionally blasphemous and provocative drawings up all over the world within no time.

I agree with the defense of free speech, but when I read Ann's post I think of the actual affects for our troops in combat. If you draw Mo and it makes you feel warm and fuzzy 'cause you're defending free speech from the safety of your suburban American home, great. If you draw Mo and it causes some nutjob Muslim to kill American kids in Iraq/Afghanistan in response, then what? Still feeling good? Still worth it? There's the strong possibility of more than hypothetical backlash here and I think it's valid that Ann points out that there may be unintended consequences.

jeannebodine said...

Ahhh, it's all falling into place now. The vote for Obama, not wanting to "offend" the good Muslims.

Sorry Ann but your comments are becoming increasingly shrill, sorta like when a common garden variety leftist has no intellectually honest basis on which to continue to argue his/her (often morally bankrupt) position.

Meade, how'd you like to meet a nice girl who understands that it is infinitely more important to make a point of standing up to tyranny than to risk causing "offense"? Our lives, our very civilization depend on it.

kralizec said...

Cross-posted from HotAir.com:

I don’t like the in-your-face message that we don’t care about what other people hold sacred.

The notion that the Americans don’t care about what other peoples hold sacred seems largely false. As far as I know, it’s Muhammad, “Allah,” sharia, the Quran, and threatening men with dead eyes whom the Americans are growing to hate.

Kralizec on April 25, 2010 at 12:22 AM

Mister said...

I see there's a lot more support for this idea than there was for Bush's "Bring it on!" But aren't they kind of the same thing? Needlessly antagonizing an opponent you're actively fighting on the ground?

That's a mighty big question you're begging there. The point is, those who are in favor of the EDMD idea do not see such antagonizing as "needless". To the contrary, we see it as absolutely needed as a way to push back against those who would forcefully deny us our natural rights to freedom of speech. If any number of otherwise peaceful Muslims are offended, well, welcome to America. Every American is offended at some point in their life.

-- Bill Brennan

Christoph said...

What do you think of this?

Muslim Tolerance Test video

Warning: May have catchy tune

exhelodrvr1 said...

"I don't think disrespecting their religion is a good way to encourage that. I'd say the opposite is true. I'd rather show that I respect what people of different religions hold sacred."

Then you'll be protesting outside abortion clinics tomorrow?

A.G. said...

Laura, you have made many thoughtful points. Not to beat a dead horse, but again I question how much of this is an attempt to legitimately root out violence and how much of it is a means for controlling people. As any non-leftist attending most universities is well aware there is often a pre-emptive effort made to suppress and penalize any views which are not in strict conformity with the leftists' views. To those in control of the institutions *all* conservatives are guilty of racism, violence, etc. I think that there are some people in our society who feel much the same way toward all Muslims. Same basic mechanism at work; different enemy.

I think what you allude to in your college example and your personal anecdotes are structural problems within our own (and European, Canadian) society rather than that of a problem of religion. A reasonable society will welcome free speech; a statist society will prostrate itself to whatever ideology it fancies. A government that seeks to protect its citizens will punish those who threaten others without hesitation; our current administration equivocates and chooses sides. I don't mean to pick on the South Park guys- this is a death threat against them- I think it's pretty sad that people have to take a stand like this simply to save lives. Where is the administration?

And as for the depicting Mohammed, my hunch is simply that there is a "hierarchy" of offensiveness within sharia, even if it's not conscious. In other words, it's akin to a "fighting word", just as there are mildly offensive streotypes involving race, and then there is the N-word. I really don't see a lot of Muslims threatening violence in Canada or the US because beer is being consumed, etc.; depicting Mohammed seems something stronger.

But all of this misses a much bigger issue; I think those committing Jihad are doing so not directly because of religion, but because they are sociopaths and psychopaths; just like many unstable gang members in the US. It's difficult to place the blame on your acquaintances, as you note, if this is true. But wouldn't it be better then to offer stronger protection services so that people can come forward without fear, rather than provoking a response?

americanelephant said...

"We cannot now bow down now that a threat has been made."

But its not like the offense was unintentional. The threat was knowingly, intentionally provoked.

There is a concept even in American law called "fighting words"

Mister said...

But its not like the offense was unintentional. The threat was knowingly, intentionally provoked.

There is a concept even in American law called "fighting words"


Are you saying that death threats -- or in the case of Theo Van Gogh, murder -- are an acceptable consequence of drawing a picture of Mohammad?

Vortaine said...

"The only thing evil needs to win is for good men to do nothing."


I don't agree that Muslims should get a pass on the whole, "Draw Mohammed Day."


Why? Just because it offends "millions" of those Muslims who are not violent does not mean they are not complacent in egging this on. Where were they in calling out the terrorists that threatened the creators of South Park? Your justification for this is a win-win for them. They can be offended and get these kinds of things cancelled while denying the use of violence.


Sorry, but I'm pretty through with my religion being the only one that is the butt of the jokes.

Christoph said...

"Sorry, but I'm pretty through with my religion being the only one that is the butt of the jokes."

Catholic?

liberpolly said...

so i am an artist. really. is it ok for me to draw mohammed?

if yes, how do you determine who is really an artist and who isn't? i, artist, definitely cannot tell anyone they are not an artist - if they feel they're an artist, they truly are.

especially if they feel like drawing mohammed. the desire to draw anything, including mohammed, for public consumption makes one inequivocally an artist, and by your logic, they should be allowed to draw mohammed.

so, still using your logic, professor, anyone who wants to draw mohammed should draw mohammed.

which reduces your logic to a tautology, professor.

cheers,
artist poul.
http://polyrealism.com

lacegrl130 said...

The commenters won this one. I can see Ann's argument and even thought at first I might agree (feeling a little shameful that I posted the cute poster about Draw Mohammad Day on my Facebook page) but when I thought about it, I have to disagree with her. I think we are beyond the point of being polite. Strength in numbers.

marklewin said...

"The commenters won this one."

Possibly - although I support Ann's position. Alternatively, if Ann's assessment is correct, EDMD will have the impact of greater radicalization and polarization of the Muslim world. In which case, at best, it is nothing more than an exercise in self-defeating self-gratification.

Dr. said...

So you want art to be created only by the professionals, and not the masses? Nonsense. I'm a professional creator myself, but I certainly advocate the freedom of millions to make the same kind of artistic statements that Parker and Stone make, even if they don't make them quite as well. If it's ok for them (and it is), it's ok for millions of other people to do. It just puts more pressure for the mainstream muslims to rein in the extremists rather than let them run rampant. Whether you agree or disagree with that type of pressure, Joe Sixpack has just as much right to choose to apply it as Trey Parker does.

AllenS said...

I won't be participating in the drawing BS. I will boycott all things Muslim. I will not shop at a store that is owned by a Muslim. Buy food from a Muslim. Hire a Muslim. Or vote for a person with a Muslim name.

Paco Wové said...

"...if Ann's assessment is correct, EDMD will have the impact of greater radicalization and polarization of the Muslim world."

In light of what has happened between "the West" and "the Muslim world" over the past half-century or so, EDMD won't be so much as a fart in a hurricane.

Paco Wové said...

...that is, EDMD will have no effect on the "Muslim world". Where it might have an effect is on the place where it is really targeted, which is the Western world. It is about the assertion of fundamental rights that Western -- well, American, at least -- society assert belong to everybody, not just those with scary threats of violence. Non-westerners don't like it? Well, just add it to the pile of other shit they don't like about us. BFD.

Althouse & marklewin seem like the sort of person who is so over-concerned with the opinion and feelings of their neighbors that they'd bulldoze their own house to improve the neighbors' view.

jr565 said...

The only reason that artists don't offend Mohammad is that to do so incites death threats, and in some cases actual executions. Which says a lot about the differences of the religions and about artists desire to shock and affect outrage at sacred idols. The majority will only do so if their target is an easy one. Like a christian, who will merely complain about the unfair treatment. But when it comes to Islam not only will the majority of artists not even make an attack, but will put their head up their asses to ignore that their is even an issue.

yolo40 said...

What people do not understand is that muslims disrespect non muslims everyday. The quran disrespects non muslims. Islam claims that jesus did not die on the cross. He was replaced by judas at the last minute. Jesus was human when he went to heaven. Of course mo said that NO MAN could go to heaven alive. I guess he and his god lied. Everyday all around the world MUSLIMS,not EXTREMIST muslims are murdering non muslims. It has nothing to do with offence. IT IS THE QURAN. Read the book and see. Islam does not belong and the west and must be fought against in any way shape or form.

Laura said...

A.G., I'm perplexed by your "how much of this is an attempt to legitimately root out violence and how much of it is a means for controlling people" - if by this you mean the suggestion that Muslim society ought to police itself. First of all, it's not really happening - you hear of the rare story, but it's by no means the norm. Second of all, I'm not sure the campus thought police are really a fair comparison. They're *inventing* crimes - essentially the crime of offending someone. It's entirely extralegal and often violates the 1st amendment, which is how FIRE keeps smacking down campus after campus. The suggestion that Muslims institute a sort of neighborhood watch is about enforcing existing, real law on one level (reporting crimes) and instituting a healthy debate on another - 'no, you shouldn't be furious about that drawing of Mohammed; people have the right to free speech in this country and it's unreasonable to expect non-Muslims to obey Muslim rules.'

I think you're absolutely right about the 'hierarchy' thing, though I don't believe that's supported by the Quran. (Any more than the Christian custom of believing that teh ghey is The Worst Sin EVAR! when it's listed right along with gossip and other more "socially acceptable" sins.)

I think those committing Jihad are doing so not directly because of religion, but because they are sociopaths and psychopaths ... wouldn't it be better then to offer stronger protection services so that people can come forward without fear, rather than provoking a response?

Agree we're talking about nut jobs here, Phelpsians with weapons instead of law degrees. (Though CAIR certainly serves that function, along with PR) I'm not opposed to having stronger protection mechanisms in place. Most people claim this is a tiny little subset of Islam which promotes violent extremism. In that case, there's no reason why a charity could not be established, which the many millions of peaceful Muslims could contribute to, which would financially and legally support Muslims threatened with honor killings, fatwas, etc. On the government side, that charity could sponsor seminars, CLEs to educate judges how best to deal with a Rifqa Barry situation, etc.

Always On Watch said...

Please see these words of Ali Sina:

Write articles, lyrics, jokes, plays, do whatever you can to ridicule Muhammad the prophet pretender and Muslims. Don’t heed to their howls and cries. This is for their own good. Islam is the cause of their downfall, as well as a threat to our lives. We must help them get rid of this curse by showing them its stupidity and by shattering its pompous icon. If you really love them, ridicule them, make them the butt of the jokes, deride and humiliate them. Let them suffer. Let them agonize in pain. This is their remedy.

How much ridicule is enough? until it hurts. The pain of shame must become bigger than the comfort of clinging to this false fetish.


More at the above link.

As for the hordes of "moderate" Moslems, they've had plenty of time to come forward since 9/11. If the jihadist murder of some 3000 people on that day didn't bring them forward, will ridiculing Islam really impact them adversely? And if such ridicule does, what does that say about their psyches?

Dhimmitude in any and all forms (overt and by omission) must be avoided. Otherwise, Islam wins -- the consequence of which is that the Western way of life will be eroded and ultimately destroyed.

Moira Breen said...

marklewin: Alternatively, if Ann's assessment is correct, EDMD will have the impact of greater radicalization and polarization of the Muslim world. In which case, at best, it is nothing more than an exercise in self-defeating self-gratification.

Instead of your preferred self-gratifying self-defeat, eh?

Welcome to the real world of irreconcilable values.

It's not about the Muslims, it's about us. You're already defeated if you allow to set the terms of the debate people who do not understand, let alone value, the concept of free speech. You're conceding that you're willing to chuck the great, non-negotiable, foundational, holy 'effin without-which-not right of a free man to think and say what he pleases about religious beliefs, in deference to an alien code of social organization. Priorities, marklewin, priorities.

If you agree that the products of EDMD are stupid or juvenile or offensive or whatever, you say to an offended Muslim exactly what you'd say to an offended Catholic or Jew or Buddhist, which we can safely assume in the latter instances would not express any pious worries about "radicalizing" or "polarizing" the offendees.

I'm starting to get radicalized and polarized by the constant spitting on the graves of my ancestors by the likes of people like you, always expressing dismissive contempt for the fundamental values of my culture. C'mon, grovel and apologize before I get even more alienated...

Я -- R said...

Kathy posted, in re a South Park that portrayed a statue of Jesus's mother Mary bleeding from the nether regions:

"However, non-Catholics may not understand the deep, hurtful offense taken at seeing the Holy Mary treated in such a manner."

"Deep, hurtful offense taken" by whom? It's not obvious to me why Mary herself would be bothered by that episode. I mean, a woman in her position ought to have some basic sense of noblesse oblige.

(I was born, baptized, and raised Catholic -- 12 years of CCD, got confirmed, and was an altar boy for a few years.)

Christoph said...

"What people do not understand is that muslims disrespect non muslims everyday."

No f'n kidding.

I was -- until a moment ago -- chatting to one of the sweetest, nicest, loveliest Muslim women ever.

She is not an extreme example of the problem of which you speak.

At this moment she is downloading a bootleg copy of Microsoft Windows. I said to her:

Christoph says (8:43 AM):
Because I was thinking... Microsoft is a publicly traded company on the stock exchange.
This means it is owned by many people.
Some of those people are Muslims.

Christoph says (8:44 AM):
The Hadith, specifically, Bukhari 81:780, says that the prophet said, "The hand should be cut off for stealing something that is worth a quarter of a Dinar or more."

And in Bukhari 81:792, Aisha siad, "The Prophet cut off the hand of a lady, and that lady used to come to me, and I used to convey her message to the Prophet and she repented, and her repentance was sincere."

Christoph says (8:45 AM):
In fact in the Qur'an, 5:28, it says: "As to the thief, Male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in power."
Since you are religious and I am not... I was wondering why you feel it's okay to take an expensive piece of software without paying for it? Isn't this a direct violation of the Qur'an and Allah's will?

= = = =

Now, why did I make a big deal about Microsoft being part-owned by Muslims?

(Definitely a small minority, I concede.)

Because Muslims are allowed to steal from non-Muslims. And they are also allowed to lie to non-Muslims. The Qur'an and Hadith say so.

Why am I supposed to respect the religious sensibilities of those who can, in full obedience to their God, lie to me and steal from me?

It is true that she may not be doing any of these things to me, but it is equally true I am not personally insulting her by drawing an image of Mohammed: I'm expressing solidarity with artists who are not only exercising freedom of speech and making an important point about the intimidation of free people by members of that religion... and who have added many hours of enjoyment to my life.

I just fail to understand why I should show deference to religious beliefs of someone whose religion permits them to lie to me, steal from me, convert me by force, kill me if I don't convert, kill me if I do convert but later change my mind, kill her if she makes up her mind differently (not even change it because she never had a choice), and enslave me, and you, and everyone I know, as dhminis, literally allowed to live by Muslim privilege?

For getting everything bad ever done by the man who founded it for a second...

WHY, ANN, MUST I SHOW RESPECT TO THIS RELIGION?

It isn't respecting me. You. Or her.

george said...

I am an atheist but even I know that Althouse makes a false equivalence between Christ and Mohamed. One was a vile and despicable creature who by his own admission engaged in murder, brigandry, slavery and pedophilia to name just a few of his crimes. In that he is seen as a role model for millions of people we will always have a problem. There is no moral equivalence between him and Christ despite whatever flaws the latter may have had.

Islam as practiced by Mohamed is simply not compatible with civilization. All that is good in Islam is in the other major religions that it bastardized. All that is unique to it is simply bad or at best useless.

It is also ludicrous to suggest that Muslims are merely protecting their own interests. They are doing exactly the opposite. They are doing great harm to their cause by giving succor to terrorists. I knew nothing about Islam and assumed it was no better or no worse than the other major religions before the spate of terrorist attacks but have since tried to educate myself. What I have learned has been revolting. I had always wondered how people could fall for such obvious tripe as in the Bible but by comparing it to the alternatives on offer it is clear to me now why it has so prospered.

I don't have a contestant in the invisible man sweepstakes but by allowing the other major religions to be criticized and satirized while exempting Islam we play into the notion that it is the one true religion. That is how we got into this mess to start with.

In short, Muslims must grow up and learn to deal with it when their little feelings get hurt the same as everyone else. They have failed to police their own. They are NOT allowed to commit or threaten violence and they are NOT allowed to countenance those who do no matter what lengths the media or academia goes to in order to exempt them from civilized norms of behavior. They have worked VERY hard to earn the loathing and derision of free and decent people everywhere. Who are we to deny them the fruits of their labor?

Я -- R said...

TML wrote:
I think it's interesting that everyone assumes "piss Christ" was Serrano blaspheming Christ.

If Serrano had titled his famous photograph "Golgotha at Sunset" or "Crucifixion Study: Yellow-Orange Tones" or "A Cross Preserved in Amber" or even "Honey Jesus," there wouldn't have been the smallest bit of controversy, and posters of the image probably would've sold very well in Christian bookstores across America and around the world! Which is to say that the image itself is quite tame -- even bland.

If Serrano had subsequently revealed that "Golgotha at Sunset" had been created by dunking a plastic crucifix in urine mixed with a bit of blood [i.e., instead of submerging the crucifix in beer or honey or water with food coloring], there certainly would've been a public outcry. But, I submit, not nearly as BIG a public outcry as was created by the suggestive title "Piss Christ".

So whether or not the image is necessarily blasphemous, I think that Serrano was deliberately encouraging viewers to think of it as blasphemous by choosing a highly provocative title like "Piss Christ" instead of something more neutral-sounding.

AllenS said...

instead of something more neutral-sounding.

Urine Christ?

Moira Breen said...

Wow, 344 comments and counting. Is Muhammad the new Sarah Palin?

Christoph said...

"I am an atheist but even I know that Althouse makes a false equivalence between Christ and Mohamed. One was a vile and despicable creature who by his own admission engaged in murder, brigandry, slavery and pedophilia to name just a few of his crimes."

I agree. Now equating Moses and Mohammed... well, that's a lot closer (and I have a hard time concluding Mohammed was worse).

Christoph said...

Oh, and george:

Hear, hear, by the way. To your broader points.

Well said.

Я -- R said...

yolo40 wrote:

Islam claims that jesus did not die on the cross. He was replaced by judas at the last minute.

Is this really true? I knew that according to the Koran, Allah miraculously caused a "celebrity look-alike" to be substituted for Jesus on the cross -- but I was unaware that the unlucky "twin" was Judas himself!

Я -- R said...

Now I'm singing:

They argue with the boss alike,
Make vodka penne sauce alike,
At times they even floss alike,
Get nailed onto the Cross alike -- You could lose your mind...

When crucified messianic Jewish cousins, are two of a kind!

Joan of Argghh! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joan of Argghh! said...

But depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats. In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people who aren't doing anything (other than protecting their own interests by declining to pressure the extremists who are hurting the reputation of their religion).

I would agree if the tenets and teachings were founded in true religion and not just a tarted-up Statist grab for power and domination.

Chris Muir speaks for me.

Kathy said...

We have had to learn –thankfully, as in the case of the KKK marching in Skokie, Illinois a long time ago – how to diffuse incendiary speech by ignoring it, voting with our feet and remote controls or our wallets and – as in the case of Rudy Giuliani in New York City – making sure taxpayer money is a party to the offending and incendiary expression.
Anne, I think that Allahpundit had you pegged in his August 12, 2009 post about the disgraceful incident of Yale Press publishing a book about the “Cartoons That Shook the World” while – incredibly – deleting or erasing the actual images of the cartoons. He might call your posture what it is – “…this sort of appeasement-by-self-censorship is dressed up as high-minded progressive “cultural sensitivity.” It is appeasement to PRAISE and ADMIRE someone who continually bash and malign religious images and persons from all faiths BUT for Islam. It is empowers the bully who is doing all the violent threatening. If the internet jihadists were on a college campus, they’d have been long ago arrested.

Source: Hot Air link: http://hotair.com/archives/2009/08/12/disgrace-yale-removes-mohammed-cartoons-from-book-about-mohammed-cartoons/

It is appeasement to let someone continually bash and malign religious images and persons from all faiths BUT for Islam. It is empowers the bully who is doing all the violent threatening. If the internet jihadists were on a college campus, they’d have been long ago arrested.

You call for appeasement to those who threaten us – yes, it’s true, ‘the squeaky wheel always gets the oil’ – but you gushingly (and embarrassingly) call the South Park writers who continually offend thousands of good people of other faiths “brilliant artists” and “political heroes” because you are pretty sure most of your own audience would have a hard time understanding what real blasphemy and sacrilege means to many of deep faith.
Blasphemy and sacrilege are so old school, I know. In our present post-modern (or is it now post-human?) era of education, it’s a pretty safe bet that South Park viewers know nothing of their meaning or significance in the world of ideas and historical perspectives.
Yours is not an argument but a pose - with your advice to exercise restraint in a Day of Drawing Mohammed because we are decent, civil people. You would be more persuasive and logical to argue that we should not draw Mohammed cartoons because it would be a sin with consequences – whether we are ignorant of the consequences or dogma of the faith. Can you imagine a law professor actually arguing that we should choose to NOT do something which is certainly legal and within our ability to do because it is a sin. I bet she would be laughed right out of town.

Christoph said...

Oh well.

I've lost a year-long Muslim friend tonight.

Not over the Mohammed image.

Because I pointed out she was stealing software.

Funny.

But I liked her.

So sad too.

In the end, however, while maybe a bit of a prick, I, the atheist, am not stealing and she, the religious person, is.

Irony? Or the norm?

You decide.

Christoph said...

"I would agree if the tenets and teachings were founded in true religion and not just a tarted-up Statist grab for power and domination."

There is no reason to believe there is any true religion, Joan of Argghh!

Joan of Argghh! said...

Ah, the Fauxhemians: seeking the same "outsider" cred of the Goths but with the stifling habit of overmuch self-regard.

Christoph said...

Whatever religion you are, Joan, I hope it's not Catholicism. They have little business complaining about tarted-up Statist grabs for power and domination.

War said...

The difference is that the drawings of Mohammed *are* being censored, while "Piss Christ" was *not*. Indeed, Piss Christ was even granted an award sponsored in part by the National Endowment of the Arts.

There was, and remains, no need for "Piss Christ Day" as there is no censorship to overcome.

I'm afraid your comparison is a faulty one.

aelfheld said...

In case this had escaped your attention: http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/013842.html

I do not concede that the sensibilities of the 'millions of Muslims' (those passive enablers of the murderous 'extremists' amidst them) should silence those who oppose the Musselman project. To do so is to assent to the death of free speech and submission to an ideology that is both stagnant and destructive.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Lots of important things escape the NYT's notice, too, so don't feel bad if you've never read this excellent essay. I'm thinking that whether we like it or not, many many Muslims are happy to sit idly by while their warriors define the battlefields and clear the way for settlement in and domination of other lands.

Their kingdom is of this world.

blake said...

And being black wouldn't work as a parallel because it isn't something that any good people feel injured by.

"Race is for me a more onerous burden than AIDS. My disease is the result of biological factors over which we have had no control. Racism is entirely made by people, and therefore it hurts infinitely more."
--Arthur Ashe

blake said...

I'd rather show that I respect what people of different religions hold sacred.

This from the woman who posted Boner Christ?

Besides, you're conflating disrespect of terrorist bullies with disrespect for Islam in general. That's your projection.

blake said...

I should add that it's not just Muslims.

I got some serious death threats from Druids after blaspheming the Easter Bunny.

I wasn't disrespecting. I was modernizing!

Kathy said...

R/R wonders if the Holy Virgin Mary would – or should - exercise some kind of “noblesse oblige” by deferring to the silly sinfulness of her human ‘subjects’ and constraining herself from being offended by such idle, trivial things such as her image being desecrated, sexualized, ridiculed and misrepresented to millions - literally.

Question– wouldn’t it be like rape? With this kind of cultural tolerance we have now in our public sphere, one can imagine a float in a major American city Gay Parade where the costumed Pope is fornicating the Virgin Mary – oh wait, that really happened in the San Francisco parade years back, didn’t it? Should Mary take the high ground of nobility in that case?

Answer – no, in both cases. The Ten Commandments are a pretty big deal to Mary and that one about “…not taking the name of the Lord thy God in vain” kind of umbrellas in the Holy Trinity and Mary. It’s a pretty big sin to blaspheme any one of them, actually. The old Boston Catechism taught it was a mortal sin – ouch!.

Catholics don’t see Mary as nobility at all but as their mother – a woman who, like Jesus, assumed a human persona in order to help humans know her better. Many Catholics believe she has come to earth to intercede for humans in a sinful world – most notably (I would say) at Fatima when she delivered a message to the modern world about to explode into a century of wars. She’s the ideal mother who intercedes on our (humans) behalf with the judgment of the Father – God. She would certainly be deeply hurt to see so many people join in and sponsor such hateful, cruel speech – just like any mother would be offended in our own human experience. We Catholic faithful – and hopefully other good people who can discern blasphemy - would be hurt as well as her faithful children but it’s America, we can turn off the TV and boycott the sponsors. That’s for sure. What a great country.

To make an adept analogy to our times – couldn’t you agree that “Yo Mama” jokes have a powerful triggering (incendiary) effect to many? I taught high school in a Chicago Public School and I can promise you there were consequences for the speaking of anyone’s mother in an insulting – or even possibly insulting – manner. Sometimes fights broke out, sometimes teachers/administrators could verify the hateful speech and send the student home in a cab. Consequences. Sin. Arrest for hate speech. Loss of audience. Loss of money.

One thing I admire about Islam is their widely held belief in protecting Mohammed from blasphemy. We Catholics had that once but the electronically mediated culture wars that began with….oh, let’s say Mad Magazine (my own sainted mother’s keen analysis) ….have commoditized the mocking of the Catholic faith – “Catholic baiting is the anti-Semitism of liberals” (The poet Peter Viereck’s famous line; qtd. From The Anchoress).

Now that real anti-Semitism is gaining momentum again in Europe and on college campuses here in the US (and in the White House?), I wonder if Catholics will be out of the cross-hairs of profiteering jesters who make a living off of toilet-humor jokes aimed at fifth grade boys.

Oh – sorry – they are “brilliant artists” and “political heroes” – I forgot. Hey Anne, if these two writers are heroes by mocking all the other religions, why can’t we all try to be like them and do something heroic like….you know….all get together to blaspheme a sacred persona and image of the Islam faith? Aren’t heroes role models?

BTW, Anne. I completely support with your persuasive claim that EDMD is a bad idea. I just think your reasons are full of holes and a bit too…politically correct. Thanks for allowing this conversation to unfold – it’s been interesting.

A.G. said...

Laura: A.G., I'm perplexed by your "how much of this is an attempt to legitimately root out violence and how much of it is a means for controlling people" - if by this you mean the suggestion that Muslim society ought to police itself... I'm not sure the campus thought police are really a fair comparison. They're *inventing* crimes..."

What I mean by this is not about self-policing. I'm referring to the original post by Ann. There is a pattern at work here, and it goes as follows: Some people identify something they find morally repugnant in somebody else's faith or beliefs, and then they go about provoking them in a non-violent way to create a potentially violent response, and then claim "victimhood" when it happens. Why would Larry David do a bit about visiting a men's room, and have specks of his urine fly up onto a picture of Mary (I think, if I'm correct), other than to offend somebody? Does this make him proud? Granted, there was no call for death threats, but I'm sure he created enemies that he didn't have before. He probably received a lot of angry emails, which he can then show with pride to "prove" his point that "they" are all hateful extremists. I've seen hundreds of examples like this.

And to your point about "inventing" crimes, I find it very difficult to believe that even if we could somehow magically root out all violent Islamic extremism (as you mentioned in an earlier comment), that people wouldn't "invent" new Muslim crimes. Wouldn't that simply be the next subtle step to get them to conform? To some paranoid individuals "all" Republicans, Muslims, etc.,etc. are violent extremists, and nothing less than full conversion will satisfy them (hence attempted "thought control" until they change).

I simply question method of the 5/20 idea (and I do hope I'm wrong)- I think there are better ways. For example, another commenter mentioned the Skokie, IL (a city with a large Jewish population) march- I believe it was actually the Nazis that marched and not the KKK. The Nazis wanted to march, and they were denied a permit. Their case was taken up by a Jewish attorney, who ultimately won. It was a brilliant move on the attorney's part, because even though he won them the right to march, the march turned from being something threatening to a complete farce- a bunch of Nazi boneheads marching around claiming Aryan superiority who were only there because of a Jewish guy!

As for your charity idea- I completely agree- much better way than provoking people. As for "self-policing"- we have violent illegal immigrants murdering ranchers, police officers, innocent citizens, etc. Why is there no call for Hispanic groups to self-police? Why do we have to feel guilty for enforcing our own immigration laws? Where is the call for certain inner city ethnic groups to self-police when members of their community join gangs, sell drugs, etc.? Isn't it simply that some groups are poltically more expedient than others?

Laura said...

A.G. - Re: Larry David and his lack of aiming ability; the key there is there was no violent response. The answer to offensive free speech is more free speech; that situation worked out pretty well for everyone as far as I'm concerned. He was free to offend, some people told him off for it, case closed. He's perfectly entitled to accuse us all of being religious extremists; we know we're not, and for my part I don't stay awake at night worrying about his opinion of me. Muslims need to learn that they do not have the right to demand we obey Islamic customs/laws.

Yes, it was Nazis in Skokie, and as I recall, (just like with the Phelps) the counter protest was larger than the Nazi group. As it should be. Free speech doesn't mean freedom from societal disapproval.

FWIW, I *have* called for people in poor neighborhoods to "police" themselves, back in the day when I lived in such a neighborhood many years ago. Everyone knew who the criminals were, nobody had the guts to go on the record about it. Everybody griped about crime, nobody would take responsibility to help the police solve it. They know, they aid, they abet by their silence. I think your analogy there is apt wrt to moderate Muslims dealing w/extremists in their midst. As for me, I studied hard, got a job and off welfare, and moved away - let them live in their mess since they like it so much. The trouble is, wrt Muslims and sharia, that it doesn't just affect them; they want us ALL to live in their mess.

Any Muslim is perfectly free to refrain from drawing Mohammed but he's not free to demand that I refrain. And that's the point of EDMD; to literally illustrate for them what my rights are and what their rights are. It's obviously a lesson that needs teaching.

Mister said...

Wouldn't that simply be the next subtle step to get them to conform?

I would seem that Muslims are the group demanding conformity, and based on Comedy Central's censoring of South Park, rather successfully, too.

A.G. said...

Laura: "The answer to offensive free speech is more free speech." You're correct- at least theorectically. The problem is that there is an implicit imbalance of "free speech" and humor in our society (just as there is an imbalance of honest journalistic reporting). I made the point in my first comment that people were waiting to see what Jon Stewart would opine on the matter, when he is the same guy who found it offensive to use the term "Obamacare"; the same guy who had a hissy fit about CNBC criticizing Obama's fiscal policies; lashes out at Fox News every day. So-called edgy 1st Amendment supporting comedians are terrified of making jokes about Obama simply out of fear of being labeled (libeled?) racists. When you have a one-sided game like this, one group is in control (the mockers) and the other group (the mockees) is the punching bag.

If any true comedians out there want to start taking on these hypochrites (the way that the greats like Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Richard Prior, etc.) did, and level out the imbalance, I fully welcome it. But something tells me that people like Jon Stewart are ultimately pretty thin-skinned, and wouldn't take too kindly to "more free speech" being used at his expense.

Hyperion327 said...

Ann - Like many of the comments here I think you're wrong on this issue, but I'd like to thank you for writing an extremely thoughtful post that forced me to step back and consider why I believe "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" is a good idea. Like several other comments, I'll start off by pointing out that not all modern Muslim traditions are in agreement when it comes to images of Mohammed. Historically the situation is quite complex and it appears depictions of Mohammed were rather common in Persian and Ottoman art until at least the 16th century.

But I think this historical background is mostly beside the point. You mention that your disapproval of "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" stems from a belief that artists who choose to depict Mohammed are basically guilty of insensitivity toward Islam and are, in fact, engaging in "outrageous expression." This puts drawing Mohammed on the same level as desecrating the Qur’an, burning a flag, or using a racial epithet. In these examples, the action is intrinsically offensive because it clearly and unambiguously express hatred and contempt for a particular group based solely on their religion, nationality, or race. These may all be forms of constitutionally protected speech, but I think most people will agree that they have no place in "polite society."

In contrast, making a drawing of Mohammed amounts to little more than violating religious dogma. The prohibition against depicting Mohammed stems from concerns that images, statues, or other works of art may lead to idolatry and corruption of the faith. Indeed, there are some schools of thought that conclude any representational art should be prohibited under Islamic law. Looked at this way, the prohibition seems akin to other well-known religious taboos such as dietary restrictions (halal, kosher, etc.) or rules relating to marriage, divorce, and sexual activity.

Personally, I feel it's highly inappropriate for believers of any religion to take offense when non-belivers decline to follow taboos and dogma that are exclusively based on religious teaching. Expecting non-Muslims to refrain from depicting Mohammed is a bit like expecting non-Jews to refrain from eating bacon or non-Catholics to refrain from using condoms. This standard is particularly disturbing when it's applied to artists who are actively engaged in questioning and challenging the proper role of religion in public discourse.

For these reasons I think "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" serves a very important purpose. Rather than being an in-your-face response to the "South Park" controversy that's intended to insult Muslims, it actually serves to reenforce the idea that *no* religion should be allowed to impose its doctrines on those outside the faith, either by threats or by claiming "offense."

Gary Rosen said...

"The thing that enrages me about Islamoids is that they are venomously intolerant to ... Jews"

Are you enraged enough to off yourself, Fudd?

jvermeer51 said...

OK, Ann, why don't you start with getting all your fellow profs who have Che posters on their walls to remove them; it's pretty insensitive to the memory of 100 million people murdered in communist genocides. After you're successful, we'll talk about taking that approach to the beheading religion of peace.

A.W. said...

A.G.

> the same guy who had a hissy fit about CNBC criticizing Obama's fiscal policies; lashes out at Fox News every day.

That’s not fair to Jon Stewart. If you listened to his response he was very specific in saying that he had a special level of hatred for Revolution Islam and that in the end as much as he might beat up on fox news or whatever, they weren’t his enemies. Probably the word he was looking for was “loyal opposition.”

Laura

> And that's the point of EDMD; to literally illustrate for them what my rights are and what their rights are. It's obviously a lesson that needs teaching.

I think the more important solution is to go after these guys. I say arrest every single person in Revolution Islam that had any part in this. Last time I checked, extortion was a crime. And no, you don’t have to say the magic words “do this/don’t do this or I will kill you.” If you go through the case law, people are convicted of implicit threats all the time. You leave it to a jury to decide whether the intent was for it to be a threat. I think 12 ordinary new Yorkers are smart enough to sort this one out.

Seriously, how can it be that David Letterman’s blackmailer is going to jail and these idiots are running free?

A.G. said...

A.W., I'm guess I'm speaking more in generalities; I didn't listen to his response- he lost me at "Obamacare". Yeah, he is even-handed at times (and to be fair, has made some jokes about Obama when the president has done something really ridiculous), but he's simply preaching to his choir. He's not nearly as funny as Colbert, but more importantly he's not the edgy guy he seems to profess to be. Edgy means truly pushing the envelope, and at times even challenging the complacencies of your most loyal fans if you feel the act is getting stale- think Bob Dylan whipping out his electric guitar and pissing off his folky base in the Sixties, and breaking new ground in the process. Stewart just goes after the same old targets for the most part.

You raise a point to Laura that I fully agree with- the government should be investigating and enforcing this, and I think it's just weird that Comedy Central would feel it would have to act on its own (and I would posit that that is the same pervasive feeling that is present in Arizona today). But somebody has to do something.

Christoph said...

To all the people still talking to her, Ann's done with this thread.

She made her point, weak as it was, and hasn't carried the day in the court of commenter opinion.

For what that's worth.

perceptor1 said...

Dear Law Professor Althouse,

The issue is political supremacism defended by death threats, rather than 'gratuitously offending'.

Do we have a right of freedom from fear, or not?

A.W. said...

A.G.

Well, that critique of stewart is right.

I had hope at the election of obama that stewart would have to be funny again. But i found very little change from his pre-election shtick, which was basically "the democratic talking points... with jokes!"

But his full statement was actually pretty good. I think the only way he could have improved on it, was if he actually drew mohammed himself, and well, we know that would never make it to air, so what can you do?

Oh wait, i know what to do. Everyone draw mohammed on may 20. :-)

GDragon said...

"Because they are making something significant that's worth it. "

Ah I see, so do we need a Significance Czar in this country now? How can I know whether or not what I'm doing or saying is "significant" exactly? Can I maybe email it to you Ann, and then you can let me know definitively whether or not it's "worth it"?

natasha said...

No one has the "right" to not be offended. There are many things that offend me -- so what! I don't freak out and issue death threats.

We in the West are having radical Islamist ideology crammed down our throats daily by Muslim leaders within our own countries and by the dhimmi left.

And now you want us to bow before them too. Forget about it. Such an attitude is a big part of the problem.

GDragon said...

"The assumption is that Islam is merely a religion, when it is a supremacist movement that use intimidation to advance its dominance in every country"

It's two mints in one!

Я -- R said...

Kathy wrote:

"Catholics don’t see Mary as nobility at all but as their mother – a woman who, like Jesus, assumed a human persona in order to help humans know her better."

WHOA, nelly! So have we gone from the Holy Trinity to a Holy "Quaternity", consisting of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Virgin Mary?

RightKlik said...

Althouse:

"My answer to you Christians. (I'm assuming you are Christians.)"

[emphasis added]

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" ≠ "Coddle your enemies and fellate those who persecute you"

Exit thought:

Alinsky Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

Jason said...

I am more inclined to advocate the preemptive killing of anyone who issues death fatwas over cartoons and drawings than I am to draw Mohammed just to piss off Muslims or make a point.

The remedy is more direct, doesn't harm innocents, and has the added benefit of irony.

My Christian faith calls me to be charitable, and drawing Mohammed just to piss off Muslims strikes me as uncharitable.

On a more practical level, one needs to consider whether the practice will have the effect desired, or whether the Law of Unintended Consequences will come into play.

We need moderate Muslims on our side, and we need not antagonize them needlessly. You may not hear much from them in the Western world, but they are there and many of them are working hard, and some are risking their lives.

Thousands of Iraqi police and soldiers, for instance. And thousands more in Afghanistan, and a network of allies and informants we rely upon to save lives.

It's a delicate relationship, but we need them. It can be a long upward climb to convince an informant or an elder or a police recruit that we pork-eating crusader monkeys are not hostile to Islam.

Let's be careful out there.

reader_iam said...

Original reators of "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" have backed off: first the Seattle artist and now the guy behind the Facebook page. (Headline of the LA Times' piece refers to the whole thing as a gag. Hmmmm. Revisionism? And if so, whose?)

reader_iam said...

"creators," not "reators," of course...

A.G. said...

Christop: "To all the people still talking...Ann's done with this thread. She made her point...", a point which did not win approval of the commenters.

A wee bit illogical: You rely on the opinion of the commenters as the sole support for your argument that Ann's position is untenable... but then neglect the fact that in the opinion of the commenters, the conversation needs to stay undead!

But ok, I get your point. I'm out.

setnaffa said...

like New "Hussein" Ham said...

Grover said...

"I agree and my original post shows that moderate Muslims should have more courage and should step up and be more prominent, but I don't think disrespecting their religion is a good way to encourage that."

This slips the point, which is not the encouragement of moderate Muslims but rather the defense by assertion of freedom of speech and religion.

Patricia said...

Oh honestly! There are pieces by Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst that make me livid! And yes, they are designed to shock (sigh). I saw a man at a new music concert at Avery Fisher stomp out red-faced and snorting at piece composed for the zoomoozophone accompanied by a woman's voice on tape sighing. (It was irritating). There! I probably offended art and music cognoscenti! Get a grip. Everybody Draw Mohammad Day is a good thing and yes, I would enjoy seeing Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst's depictions.

Hey, remember the quote from Murphy Brown? "It starts with badly cooked steak and ends with President Quayle." Politics of that quote aside, obsequious obeisance to political correctness has taken us way past the 'badly cooked steak' stage and it is high time we all stood up and said 'No more!'

topimdad86 said...

I wonder if anyone even reads these. Well anyway, they make fun of all the world religions with the super-best friends. But being conscientious to peoples felling. they did a good job at censoring Mohammad This is american tv. They will do what ever they want as as long as it doesn't break any laws.

carl said...

I find it more offensive that the freedoms of every citizen in America granted by the constitution are being cast aside because some people might be upset.

It says "you have the right to free speech, until somebody doesn't like what you have to say"

A lot of people died for me to have that right, and more are probably going to die to defend that right. If people being upset is the worst that happens, so be it.

They have faith, so try to have faith that we will all burn in hell for dishonoring their prophet. I'm cool with that.

nick said...

Freedom, Ms. Althouse, is a cornerstone of democracy. Freedom of religion, association, and speech, offensive or benign, define the American, and Western for that matter, ideal of Liberty.
If the threat of violence and fear of offending someone are your reasons that people should not depicting the Muslim prophet, I think you need to give this topic a bit more thought before you write something like this on an, apparently, well-read blog.
If it is a fear of violence that drives your argument, I would imagine a world following your moral compass to be ruled by the savage, unthinking brutes that revert to violence unprovoked.
If it is a fear of offending a person or group of people, there would be no such thing as dissent, gay marriage (in the UK and Europe, at least), unrepentant sinners, abortions, or any other 'hot-topic' issue you can think of.
What about the sensibilities of those who find your writing a blog to be offensive because of your sex? Or those offended by your use of a poor font? Or those who view a freedom of speech and expression as more important than anything else in a democracy?
I am offended that you are not supporting these cartoonists who are trying to exercise a right fundamental in any functioning democracy or free country.

Lincolntf said...

The cartoonist has backed down and is now supporting BANNING "Draw Mohammed Day".
Quite the 180.

A.W. said...

Lincoln

Doesn't matter. Its not hers anymore. Its ours. This has gone viral.

May 20th, its on.

Lincolntf said...

Yup. I'll still attempt to draw a pic of Mohammed on May 20th. Of course, I don't know that anyone but my wife will ever see it, but I guess it's the thought that counts.
The fact that the cartoonist is actively seeking to "ban" the thing is one of the saddest things I've ever heard. I checked out the "BAN..." page on FB and it's pretty much what one would expect.

Hucbald said...

Ah, the joys of not giving a rip what Outhouse thinks about anything.

You voted for Obama. You have no credibility... oh, and you're a lawyer, which is the most inherently dishonest and intrinsically dishonorable profession that there is.

I'm drawing Mohammed - as a toilet - because it's the right thing to do.

Alec Rawls said...

The premise of this post--that Muslims are somehow offended by depictions of Muhammed--is WRONG. The Islamofascists like to pretend this is the issue, because they like excuses to claim offense as excuses to threaten and commit murder, but the actual prohibition on depictions of Muhammad has nothing to do with offense. It is to avoid the risk of Muslims committing idolatry. Since infidels are at no risk of idolatrizing Muhammad, this concern does not apply to infidel art.

If Muhammad were to be depicted in an insulting manner (NOT a characteristic of the Dutch cartoons, which except for the turban-bomb depiction, bent over backwards to try to depict Muhammad in a NON-insulting way) it would be a different matter. Yes, some evil-minded Muslims might take offense at the "don't call me 'violent' or I'll kill you" humor of the turban-bomb Muhammad depiction, but that is the price of living in a free society. If you want to be a murder cultist, people are going to point it out. Boo hoo.

To liken such depictions to Piss Christ is perverse. Althouse is clueless as usual.

A.W. said...

Lincoln

If you email me whatever you draw to AaronJW72@gmail.com, i will be setting up a blog on the thing and i will be willing to post your cartoon on it. Yeah, even if it is crappy, offensive, etc. no filters, as long as mohammed is represented in some clear way (including by making a toilet and labelling it "mohammed.") I won't even care if you depict any other religious figure, so long as at least mohammed is in it.

I would encourage people to give out their real names, or at least real-sounding names, with it. But even if you just want to go by your nick, let's publish it and give these islamofascists the finger.

Lincolntf said...

Sounds good, AW.

A.W. said...

Lincoln

My reader will love it.

(yes, the use of the singular term is intentional.)

Das said...

Ann,

It is a good idea. The idea is to show the intimidating murderers (or those threatening intimidation & murder) that they have not only two targets but two million targets to deal with.

By backing off, Ann, you grant the intimidators power over you. You grant them an unearned legitimacy. While we're still in the 'bullying stage' the bullies must not be allowed these victories.

Back in the 1920s there was probably a point at which Hitler, the bully, could have been ridiculed -- to the point of humiliation, wherein he might have, fragile, confused man that he was, taken his own life decades earlier. As it was, people took him seriously, they were locked in, and he brought down the world -- nearly -- all around him.

Don't fall into the nihilistic, sentimental trap of bestowing human qualities upon killers -- or nascent killers -- who have scoured themselves of all humanity.

Nomadic100 said...

I am a conservative Catholic and, while I would be offended at blasphemous depictions of Jesus or the saints, it would never cross my mind to want to kill the author or artist. I understand that I have to "suck it up" and accept that killing is immoral (I'm also against the death penalty) and understand as well that free speech is protected for the oft cited reasons.

But I do not accept that a Muslim can be so much more offended by a depiction of Mohammed that he/she has a right to limit the expression of an artist whereas I have to "suck it up." Free speech is everyone's right, however objectionable it might be to some, and threats of harm to those who exercise their free speech rights cannot and must not be tolerated!

gregq said...

But depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats

Tough. If they had been standing up over the last decade, smacking down the violent thugs who threaten or murder people for "insulting" Mohammed, then they would be entitled to some respect. Since they've sat and watched while the thugs perverted their religion, they have no grounds for complaint.

A.W. said...

Hey guys, i have a new site:

http://everyonedrawmohammed.blogspot.com/

my goal is to help other people join this protest if you are inclined. And you can continue to argue about this issue ad infinitum.

Paul Johnson said...

Welcome to America. Please be aware that the right to not be offended does not exist. Suck it up, and quit being so thin-skinned, pussy.

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