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Activism, current events, Religion

Drawing Mohammed

I honestly didn’t want to address this, but I’m going to do it anyway.  If you’ve been living under a rock for the last week or two, you should be told that tomorrow is “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” on Facebook.  The group was started by Molly Norris, a cartoonist who was offended that someone would try to tell her what she can or can’t draw.  As of today, there are nearly 48,000 people supporting the effort.

I’ve had a hard time reading the comments on the site.  A lot of them are incendiary and hate-filled, and I’m just not down with that.  Some of them, while not overtly hateful,  should give us pause:

Brothers and you have alerted us the need to spread islam to every corner of the world as faster as possible and i hope every muslim here accept that.and you have induced more non muslims to learn about islam who didnt even know a trifle about im thankful to the creator of this page.but nobody produced a clear reason or evidence for their accusations against islam.thats a shame..

We shouldn’t brush this sentiment aside.  Like it or not, America has become the best recruitment officer in the history of both the Taliban and Al Qaeda.  Now, the American public is getting their chance to vocally oppose Islam, and they’re jumping at the chance.  This little public protest probably will generate more interest in Islam.  From where they sit, we are the devil.  They are as brainwashed as our own right-wing extremists.  Maybe more.  Think of our own Fred Phelps.  Every time he’s garnered media attention, he’s upped the ante.  He’s used opposition to fuel the fires under his own parishioners.

We are proving to the extremists that we are evil.  Their resolve is very likely to strengthen.  They are very likely to try to get back at us for this.

Actually, this is the main reason I was moved towards this topic today.   This kind of organized protest is a two-edged sword.  On the one hand, it’s practically impossible for Muslims to even identify, much less kill, the tens of thousands of people all over the world who are participating.  It’s a great way to call attention to the absurdity of making such an arrogant demand of all the world’s citizens.   It’s also a great way to let the majority have their say from the comfort of their own living rooms.

But it’s also a bit like cornering a wounded beast.  Can you imagine what would happen if thousands of people all over Texas started marching down the street with pictures of Joseph performing an abortion on Mary?  There’s a good chance some deranged wingnut would go out and kill an abortion doctor out of spite.

Let me put it more plainly.  Some daft Muslim somewhere knows someone who’s depicted Mohammed on Facebook.  He’s got a gun and a knife, too.  And he’ll have plenty of chances over the next few weeks to build up a good head of steam and put that knife right in some poor guy’s neck.  And we need to realize this.  There is a very good chance someone (or several someones) will die over this.

I’m not suggesting that the event should be called off, or that it’s wrong to do it.  I am concerned, however, that a lot of people are not considering the reality that there are extremist Muslims in America.  It’s easy to track down facebook users.  Someone will do it.

What will happen if someone dies?  Is the general public ready to denounce Islam?  Or will they say that it was deserved, that it was wrong to insult Muslims just for the sake of insulting them?  I don’t know the answer, but I’m genuinely afraid.  Holy wars are not pretty.

In any case, if something does happen, it’s important to remember that Muslims are using a clever blame-shift in their threats.  When a Muslim says he’s not threatening, but rather warning of the inevitable consequences of actions, what he’s really saying is that it’s the infidel’s fault that he will be killed.  No.  It’s the Muslim’s fault.  To the best of my knowledge, there hasn’t been a “World Resolution” giving extremist Muslims the authority to rule the world.  Until and unless that happens, they have no right to say what we in the rest of the world do, and we have no obligation to respect them or their religion.

But we do have the ability to pick our battles, and to weigh risk vs. reward.  I hope the reward is worth the risk in this case.



15 thoughts on “Drawing Mohammed

  1. Awesome, my friend! Very well done!

    Posted by alstefanelli | May 19, 2010, 3:32 pm
  2. It is against Islam for Muslims to depict Muhammed (although Muslims have done so, respectfully in the past). Non-muslims are not required to follow the tenents of Islam and there are very few Muslims who would expect them to, much less DEMAND them too.

    I do not feel obliged to follow the rules of any religion but my own – that would be absurd. However, when I am around practicioners of other religions, I am careful to respect their beliefs and practices – that’s just good manners.

    Posted by Pagan Hindu | May 19, 2010, 3:57 pm
  3. “I don’t know the answer, but I’m genuinely afraid.” – Courage, friend. If Islam called for all of us to convert or die (as it does), would you capitulate there too? We intend not to give them an inch on our freedom of expression, and nobody needs to die for it. That’s why if some Muslim tries to kill somebody, it will be a gross injustice; let’s not forget that.

    Posted by T34b34n | May 19, 2010, 4:01 pm
  4. I can guarantee you that NOBODY is going to die over this facebook call, come on.

    Posted by Pagan Hindu | May 19, 2010, 4:27 pm
  5. I really hope you’re right, Pagan Hindu. But unless you’ve somehow singlehandedly removed extremism from Islam, I don’t think you’re in a position to offer guarantees. Extremists do kill people over things like drawing Mohammed. Adding another 50,000 potential targets is just that… adding another 50,000 targets. That’s a lot more chances that a deranged psychopath is close enough to do something about it.

    Posted by hambydammit | May 19, 2010, 5:54 pm
  6. I think that making the public statement is important. It is possible that someone will die or at least get hurt, but that cannot stop us. I’m doing more than drawing Muhammad, I’m wearing my stick-figure “Muhammad” t- shirt. If someone has a problem with it they better be prepared for someone who is willing to defend himself. I will never initiate a fight, but I’ll always finish one.

    Posted by Shaun | May 19, 2010, 10:25 pm
  7. Hamby, my friend,

    You just said “Adding another 50,000 potential targets is just that… adding another 50,000 targets. That’s a lot more chances that a deranged psychopath is close enough to do something about it.”
    I know you heard about that Times Square thing. Hell, they already spend large amounts of their time trying to “do something about it.” (the fact that not everyone else in the world is a muslim). So you’re saying there’s a chance we might really make ’em mad?

    The only weapon they have is fear and intimidation, which only works to illuminate our own fear of death.

    While it is true, that we should normally subscribe to a long and healthy life, to fear death is unreasonable. And it robs life of any courageous meaning.

    These extreemest muslims are a chickenshit breed themselves. They don’t do one-on-one / man-o-man very well.

    When they aren’t able to safely “gang-snuff” one helpless guy with knives and a webcam, they prefer the anonymity of bombs on busloads of women and kids.

    Courage is not a lack of fear, but the need to sometimes say “Aw Nuts” in the face of it.

    Not to be snarky, but “Life Without a Net” does not mean “Life Without a Pair.” Sometimes it just means “don’t look down.”

    Dammit, feel the love – this is from a friend.

    Posted by D R Hosie | May 19, 2010, 11:40 pm
  8. Hambydammit, WHO has killed ANYONE over drawing a picture of Muhammed? Never heard of such a case.

    Anyway, here is how Pakistan is dealing with it:

    That’s non-violent enough for you, isn’t it?

    Posted by Pagan Hindu | May 19, 2010, 11:44 pm
  9. And here’s an entire page of Muhammed depictions and their history. No deaths yet!

    Posted by Pagan Hindu | May 19, 2010, 11:51 pm
  10. I thought I would add the words of a 19th Century atheist:

    When the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death — that is heroism.
    — Robert Green Ingersoll

    Posted by D R Hosie | May 20, 2010, 12:02 am
  11. “Courage, friend. If Islam called for all of us to convert or die (as it does), would you capitulate there too? We intend not to give them an inch on our freedom of expression, and nobody needs to die for it. That’s why if some Muslim tries to kill somebody, it will be a gross injustice; let’s not forget that.”


    Look – it’s Mohammed: (((:~{>

    Yeah. So now what, you Goddamn women beating, desert dwelling, science hating savages? What are you going to do about it?

    I’m depicting Mohammed today, tomorrow I’ll be looking at girls wearing skirts, shorts & tank tops with a smile on my face (Yay summer!). So what the FUCK are you going to do about it?

    Nothing, that’s what. Why? Because you’ve got pointy sticks and whatever you managed to pilfer from the Soviets when they came crashing through Afghanistan just before the Berlin wall fell over; we’ve got depleted uranium and a few basements full of the cackling demons uncorked by Dr. Oppenheimer. Your hatred of ideas, understanding & knowledge has left you without anything that’s a threat to anyone other than the oppressed women & children that live under your bootheels.

    I’ve had enough of this, “Oh, oh – but what if make them angry?” bullshit. I really have. Capitulation & appeasement are roads to disaster, war & enslavement. What if you make Faux News & the nutjob fascists in the Teabagger movement angry, Hamby? If one of them writes you a nasty letter or death threat, will you close-up shop? What if confronting Ratzinger makes an angry Catholic send you threats? Will you bow to that?

    Reactionary movements will always immediately resort to military force & threats of violence. It’s all they’ve got! If you’re not willing to stand up to that, you’re useless; you may as well do the fascists the favor of setting fire to your constitution.

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | May 20, 2010, 7:22 am
  12. I just wish that there was more thought provoking comments on the page. I don’t think the desert comments help. But I’m looking for the group on fb right now and I can’t find it anymore! Don’t tell me they took it off! I wouldn’t be suprised if the quality of comments made it fit the bill of a “hate group”.

    Posted by Jessica Anderson | May 20, 2010, 8:05 am
  13. I guess what I don’t get is some people’s need to defy – anything. I mean, if you wouldn’t ORDINARILY draw Mohammed (and I think most of the FACEBOOK peeps don’t even THINK about Mohammed all that much if at all in their day to day lives), then why go out of your way to mobilize a “draw Mohammed day”.

    It’s childish provocation. Like back in KG, “anything boys can do, girls can do better, nyay, nyay, nyay, nyay” type thing or “my lunchbox is better than your’s”

    Seriously. Some people got too much times on their hands.

    Posted by Pagan Hindu | May 20, 2010, 10:36 am
  14. “I just wish that there was more thought provoking comments on the page. I don’t think the desert comments help.”

    Help what? I won’t walk on eggshells for the sake of fascists; I mean, who wants to pretend that you can get through to the extremists & reactionaries through diplomacy? Who wants to be the next bumbling Chamberlain?

    Saying,”Alright, alright – if it makes you mad, we’ll keep our mouths shuts,” is the first step to submission.

    ” guess what I don’t get is some people’s need to defy – anything.”

    Give me a break. We’ve all seen what the conditions are like in shattered remnants of the old Ottoman empire. I can’t believe how two-faced people who are normally my allies are being in this instance: you’ll oppose the Hijab, but you won’t support people’s right to criticize or ridicule the religious laws imposing that article of clothing? Presumably you’re aware that Muslims find women who do not completely bury themselves under cloaks ‘offensive’ too – so will you cower aware from those you pretend to care so much about protecting when those threats of violence come in?

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | May 20, 2010, 7:35 pm
  15. Draw Mohammed came and went without a murder or murder threat afterall…………..whadda ya know?

    Posted by Fatima | May 21, 2010, 5:44 pm

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