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May. 20 2010 - 5:48 pm | 23,631 views | 4 recommendations | 45 comments

This is how Muslims should protest

No bombs. No murders. No screaming fanatics shouting “Allah Akbar” as they attempt to remove someone’s head for daring to draw the Prophet Muhammed.

When the Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics association at the University of Wisconsin-Madison decided to defend the right of free speech by drawing stick figures of the Prophet Muhammed on campus sidewalks, the campus Muslim Students Association quickly responded. They followed the atheists on their blasphemous journey, and whenever a drawing of the Prophet Muhammed appeared, the Muslim students drew boxing gloves on the figure, and changed the name to Muhammed Ali.

That’s it. No fights. No hatred. Now the atheists are sparring with the college administration over the right to draw Muhammed, but that’s a different matter. Confronted with satire, the Muslim students responded with humor (yes, you could say they desecrated the atheists’ grafitti, but grafitti artists are in no position to complain). Some of their co-religionists will denounce them for not being more zealous (as in violent) in defending their faith. But I think the students gained more respect for Islam by using chalk rather than guns.

Make cartoons, not war.


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  1. collapse expand

    Mr. Peck,

    1) The phrase you are looking for is “Allahu Akbar” (God is Most Great).

    2) The protests about images of the Prophet Mohammad are not about religion or idolatry. People in the Muslim world believe that they lands are being dominated and exploited by western interests who are viewed as non-Muslims. Some Muslims have interpreted this as “crusade” by the Faranji against the Muslim world, i.e. they see the political and economic struggle through the prism of religion. The battle over depicting the Prophet Mohammad is thus merely a surrogate for the broader question of the relation between the non-Muslim powers and the ordinary people of the Muslim world. It is precisely this blurring of the political struggle with religious ideology that Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other similar reactionary groups in the Muslim world use so effectively.

    This business of depicting the Prophet Mohammad is unneeded and counter-productive provocation that help no one.

    • collapse expand

      Of course the Muhammed cartoons are symptomatic of larger issues, such as the inferiority complex that the Muslim world has versus the West. But the larger issues cut both ways. If we cease to satire Islam, even as we satire other religions, then fundamentalist Muslims will conclude that violence pays. It’s not a question of being “provocative” (whatever that means). Fundamentalist Christians put up with far more vicious satire, and we expect them to put up with it without planting bombs.

      Censoring ourselves won’t help Muslim reformers. If we don’t have enough courage to stand up to intimidation, then why should they?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        You think fundamentalist Muslims are ever going to give up fighting? That’s ridiculous and patently untrue. Will Al-Qaeda give up fighting when they find out violence doesn’t pay? Will they ever find out? The Taliban have grown into a widespread insurgency comprised of mainstream Afghans and even they have nonchalantly committed themselves to a 20-year or longer war effort.

        If you think you can play games with fundamentalists like that, you are sorely mistaken. All you’re doing is playing into their hands by angering the common man off the Muslim street into sympathizing with them.

        Your excuse is pathetic. Islamophobes use that excuse publicly to justify drawing cartoons for more sinister reasons (they are the Western equivalents of Islamic fundamentalists who also want to see a clash of civilizations).

        Whether you satirize Islam or not, the fundamentalists are committed to violence. Satirizing Islam only increases their ranks. The only way to combat fundamentalists is by getting rid of fundamentalists. This is done through active means (war) and preventative means (stopping their numbers from growing).

        All these yuppie civilians relaxing at home thinking they’re defending Free Speech by drawing cartoons while troops fight and die in Afghanistan to ACTUALLY defend freedoms are only pushing victory out of reach for the US and NATO.

        “Their hatred is rooted in their own poverty and repression. If it wasn’t cartoons, there would be some other reason they hate us.”

        This is another excuse that neocons and Islamophobes use and it’s just as illogical and untrue. Really? Some other reason? Because to every sane human on the planet it seems as if there was a clear Before and After effect with these Draw Muhammad campaigns. Before: Nothing. After: Massive protests, violence, alienation and a boon for the extremists. The fact that you are writing this article but weren’t writing articles on this subject before proves that there’s a difference.

        Also, “they” don’t hate “us”. WE hate THEM. If you took a poll of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, perhaps less than 5% would actually hate the West and its culture to the point of wanting to “de-Westernize” the West. The Muslim world, by and large, loves Western culture. They dress like us, talk like us, watch our TV shows, listen to our music, model their businesses and schools after us, and it goes on. They maintain diplomatic relations with us, at the outside of the War on Terror, most Muslim nations willingly leaped into our coalitions on our side against elements of their own people.

        In contrast, if you took a poll of everyone living in a Western country, you’d get at least 25% of people who would outright HATE Islam (the religion, the culture, the civilization) and would want to forcibly “de-Islamicize” the Muslim world, while every one of the rest would think Islam could not disappear soon enough. You’re approaching greater than 50% of people in some Western nations who vehemently hate Muslims and are completely ignorant about Islam. That has to be at least 30-40% in the US (where half the country thought Obama was a secret Socialist Muslim).

        They don’t hate us. They love the heck out of us. We hate them. Whether you like it or not, the West is on a mission to neutralize Islam as an ideology. Insulting their religion only pushes them further towards it.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          I should have pointed out the inconsistency in your own statement:

          “Their hatred is rooted in their own poverty and repression. If it wasn’t cartoons, there would be some other reason they hate us.”

          Really? You just said their hatred is rooted in their “poverty” and “repression”. Then in the next sentence you can’t, for the life of you, figure out why they would hate us (those that do). Here’s a crazy idea. Perhaps the answer lies in the previous sentence. Be careful, thinking too much like this can hurt!

          In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    Mr. Peck,

    The problem is not that the Muslim have an “inferiority complex” but rather that nations with large Mulsim populations actually are in an inferior situation relative to nations that have had large Christian populations. They feelings of “inferiority” are fired by a reality of inferiority and exploitation. It is this reality that is the real problem. Specifically, a large portion of the Muslim world lives in nations with a lot of very valuable natural resources and geo-political significance. Despite this, they largely live in poverty in undemocratic regimes. Foreign countries pump out their oil and they are left with little to show for it. This reality is the source of conflict in south west Asia for nearly a century.

    Within that context, it does not seem to me to make sense to equate the relative ideological roles Islam and Christianity play in either the US or the world. Christianity enjoys a large degree of cultural, ideological, and even politic hegemony. Islam does not. This is how the above struggle can take on sectarian appearance and reactionary clerics can don the mantel of defenders of the homeland.

    I would argue that the role of satire of Fundamentalist Christians (people with power) cannot be equated satire of Fundamentalists Muslims (people much less power). In Afghanistan, the political and military objective has to be to win the “hearts and minds” of the ordinary Muslim population away from the reactionary sectarian forces. So long those reactionary sectarian forces can project the struggle as “West vs. East” or “Muslim vs. Christian”, they have the upper hand. This business of “the freedom to depict the Prophet Mohammad” merely plays into the Taliban’s strategy.

    Islamic Fundamentalists have no power here in the US while Christian Fundamentalists do. It is not “Speaking Truth to Power” to speak back to Islamic Fundamentalists as it is with Christian Fundamentalists.

    • collapse expand

      With all due respect, David, that’s classic liberal guilt BS. South Korea started off with poor and devastated, and managed to build a thriving economy. You may argue that the West exerts some political influence over the Muslim world, but if the Arabs choose to spend their oil trillions on weapons and palaces instead of educating their people, that is their choice and their problem.

      I would argue that Islam is far more hegemonic than modern Christianity. Churches and priest don’t have a fraction of the control that Islam and Islamic clerics exert in the Muslim world. To take on Muslim fundamentalists is indeed to take on those with power – or those who seek power.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Mr. Peck,

        I fear that you have made the classic mistake of conflating “Arabs” and “Muslims”. I know many Arabs who are Christians yet they are as angry at the US for its support for reactionary and repressive regimes who are giving away their oil as are Arab Muslim. Similarly, the Iranians, Kurds, Baluchi, and Pushtuns are not Arabs but are mostly Muslims. Although not Arabs, they too share the wide-spread anger that is found in south-west Asia against the west in general and the United States in particular. It is not some mystery or ideological contrivance that there is a great deal of displeasure in south-west Asia with the US.

        US Army Lieutenant-General Stanley McChrystal noted “How we conduct operations is vital to success. This is a critical point. It may be the critical point. This is a struggle for the support of the Afghan people,” I do not believe that Gen. McChrystal is any sort of liberal but he clearly understands that winning the “hearts and minds” of the Afghan people is “the critical point* and these people are Muslims.

        This my point as well, and this whole Draw Mohammad business is not helping, is it?

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          The Muslim world will not hate any less if we suppress our right to satire. Their hatred is rooted in their own poverty and repression. If it wasn’t cartoons, there would be some other reason they hate us.

          Suppressing cartoons will not give the Muslim world self-respect. That must come from within. By giving up our fundamental rights, all we can do is diminish ourselves. If we give our rights in the face of violence, then we become victims waiting for the next bomb-thrower. If we can’t satire Islam because Muslims are offended, then we have no right to satire Christianity and Judaism because they might be offended. Then we must stop satirizing politicians and bankers, because their feelings might also be hurt.

          I would prefer that the Muslim world like us. But if the price of their affection is giving up our most cherished values, then the price is too high.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            again, your generalization with “the muslim world hates us” is classic conservative pity party and with all due respect, rather juvenile and ignorant. you can’t say that. have you interviewed everyone in “the muslim world”???

            to make this more clear, ALL MUSLIMS DO NOT HATE US.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            I am a Muslim, your saying that “If it wasn’t cartoons, there would be some other reason they hate us.”. We don’t hate you individuals and we don’t have to according to Islam teachings. your point that they will hate us anyway even if it was not for cartoons is naive.
            I don’t agree to violence but I would object to any satire of our religious holy symbols. Defending them is a part of Islamic teachings. It is forbidden for us as well to make any sarcasm toward Jesus and other Prophets. We may not like you people but we don’t hate you. But by this sarcasm they must earn our despise until they close that door. if you call that your ‘Rights’, then what a cheap use of rights to hurt other people feelings.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        with all due respect, Michael, not all “Arab” countries are rich with oil and to generalize that totally invalidates the first part of your argument.

        that being said, yes “Arab” countries should spend more money on education…but they actually don’t spend it all on “weapons and palaces.” I’d like to see whatever sources you are using for that analysis. Also, I’d wish my own country (USA) would spend more money on education. I live in frickin Wake county in NC where the school board just took away our nationally recognized diversity busing system in favor of neighborhood schools. In plain English, kids who live in richer neighborhoods will go to schools that have been given more money that other schools. And for Christ’s sake, have you looked at our national and state budgets and where they go?

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    Okay, this is absolutely fantastic and is now my favorite story of today.

    Thanks for making me smile (and, yes, laugh out loud)!

  4. collapse expand

    Mr.Peck,
    With all due respect sir, there are three types of Muslims in Muslim world, one wants to retaliate vigorously on these disrespectful acts (as I say), and u know what they go so vigorous that they want to kill the person who draw pictures on first place and they have hate for non-Muslims too, but they are very less in numbers. Second category is the people who think that this is all ridiculous they want to be part of everything they like. And the third category is the number of people which love u (means Non-Muslims) they think in eternity you are going in hell if you die on Christianity or Judaism or any other religion except Islam, they think this is their responsibility to tell you about Islamic teachings and they are the one who do not react rudely, they react in soothing way as Muslims of University of Wisconsin-Madison react.

  5. collapse expand

    What is important to understand is the context in which the current drama has unfolded.

    Historically Muslim paintings from Persia and Jordan etc would depict the Prophet Muhammad along with his followers, sometimes in profile with no clear facial features, and sometimes in complete portrait with identifiable details… some of the paintings still survive.. I have not heard of any Muslims protesting against those … true..that in the course of history there were people/rulers who tried to do away with those paintings (under the “interpretation” that Islam forbids human imagery, especially of the revered figures to prevent idolatry), but thats about it. The fact that the paintings still exist in some parts of the world show how it was not a widespread phenomenon.

    The current situation is different, in post 911, islamo-phobic world, all Muslims are either extremist Talibans or neutralized free thinkers with Islam as a religion on their id-papers only ( the famous “either you are with us or against us” Bush syndrome). What the world media and leaders have no realized is that in their bid to counter Islamic extremism (not a much revered concept by Muslims) they have created anti-islamic extremism. Any and all tolerance and respect for a religion has vanished in the name of free speech.

    Muslims are a sensitive lot.. they are not all extremists or terrorists, but their sense of respect for their religion is a little above general understanding in cultures where respect is a lost concept. Muslims can not neutralize concepts, figures and texts of religious significance to the extent that Christianity or Buddhism has done in the wider world today (Jews not so much).

    Depiction of the prophet of Islam, is objectionable and worthy of protests because.. they are not showing Muhammad in a feature film such a la ‘the passion of the Christ’ or so… but being depicted in desecrating fashion in shows such as South Park (well known for their out of bounds satire and humiliating sense of what they think is humor) OR in caricatures drawn to OBJECT the notion that Muslims respect their prophet and expect others to respect THAT.

    Its not the simple depiction or drawing..its th intent behind the drawing… Why can the educated, illuminated, and freedom-fighting westerm world not respect the feelings of their co-existing fellow beings? Are they not being extreme in their expressions of freedom? if a man insults someones mother or the judiciary.. is that respected under freedom of expression?

  6. collapse expand

    I hope they do not censor the South Park ep in Australia. From what I’ve seen, it’s a funny episode. This is my article on it:

    http://ausmediawatch.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/south-park-offends-muslims-jews-christians-no-sht/

  7. collapse expand

    by the title of you article at least you agree that this act of DRAWING should be responded. Now, having said that, whether they respond peacefully or violently is just as much their right as it is of the cartoonists to draw Mohammad(PBUH) in a offensive way or otherwise. Look Mr.Peck, if Freedom of Speech could be as free as we all like it to be then French Revolution was just a waste of human flesh and blood, you know how it started right? People should have understood Her Highness’s position to say that. Crusades: Another example, Hiroshima, and Nagasaaki, even now Israel and Palestine. You say Muslims are causing Havoc in the world. I suggest you revisit History. Iraq didn’t ask USA to bombard it, USA THOUGHT Osama Bin Laden was in Afghanistan and what did they do on their SPECULATION? the result of both wars against Muslim Countries based on sheer Speculation proves that Muslims are not even thought to be humans otherwise bombarding people is one hell of a task!Not to mention the confirmation on speculation of both wars was NILL!

    If Muslims are reacting its because the Non Muslim community has alienated them for Believing in One God and following the teachings of Prophet Mohammad(PBUH). Hasn’t the world seen enough to start respecting each other’s sensitivities? There can never be a justification to support someone to express HATE through ART its a shame for both Freedom and ART!

    • collapse expand

      That is totally wrong. Neither Muslims nor anyone else have the RIGHT to respond with violence to free speech, no matter how offensive they find it.

      You talk about freedom of speech being as free “as we all like it to be.” But you don’t like it to be free.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        With all due respect Michael, My right to respond in any which way to an offense is as much as you right to retaliate against a censorship which is LEGIT…I’m not saying death threats are justified but provoking someone to threaten so is equally responsible. ACT OF DEFENSE is legal and sometimes the offender gets hurt as well but its legal because you are defending yourself…It is essential to understand that when you are crossing lines in expressing the freedom of speech to an extend then other believe its their right to defend. You have no attachment to the Sacredness of this person about whom the cartoons are being drawn, I don’t expect a response from you but you cannot tell somebody to be tolerable in the name of FREEDOM when its their own house on fire and not yours. This is exactly what is happening now.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          Jsana,if you live in the United States and you believe that you have a right to use violence against those who offend you, then you have no clue what it means to be an American. If you live in a part of the world where violence is considered an appropriate response to free speech, then I feel sorry for you.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            I am an American living in a society where my country deems appropriate to bombard other countries based on sheer speculations. I know what it means in civil rights but what I cannot agree to is the double standard that my country possess for others. If Freedom of speech is so okay then why does my neighbor call 911 because of the drunk who comes and yells at his wife?? I feel sorry for us all Micheal because in this so called freedom of speech we forgot what we are taught since KG…Be Courteous and respect others opinions. What we are now doing by drawing cartoons of a Person who has never even appreciated violence. Read Karen Armstrong’s books…What we are doing here is so typical; Advocating FOS about someone whom we SUPPOSEDLY think is responsible for all the hate blasts in the world…How American is that?
            Draw ABSTRACT, Make a EVERYBODY DRAW Freedom Of speech Day see what people think about it? why ONE FIGURE? that is provocation to avenge!!

            In response to another comment. See in context »
  8. collapse expand

    Hello Michael,

    Peace.
    You sound like a peace-loving person, and so I felt like replying.

    “But if the price of their affection is giving up our most cherished values… ”
    I understand your “most cherished values” as ’satire’ and ‘freedom of expression’. So here, I have certain questions?

    1. Just because certain Christian priests have been caught committing sexual crimes, is it fair to call Pope Benedict the 16th a child molester?
    2. Just because a person following the Gandhian philosophy chooses to steal, is it correct to call Mohandas Gandhi corrupt?
    3. Just because someone who’s fond of Michael Peck’s writings is caught raping a woman, will it be right if Michael Peck is called a rapist?

    So: To me, associating Prophet Muhammad with bombs, even in the name of ’satire’, doesn’t seem to be fair. Particularly when he’s a religious figure and a public hero. I am from India, and personally, if somebody wanted to call Gandhi a pervert, i wouldn’t encourage the ’satire’, even if it is a ‘cherished value’.

    Now, i clearly denounce the muslims who want to respond with violence. That is so wrong and stupid, and may Allah show them the path of peace and understanding.

    But Michael, I just want to tell you one thing. Do not associate the stupidities of Christians with Christ or the wrong-doings of Muslims with Muhammad. That’s not good satire. That’s not reasonable ‘freedom of speech’. That’s not fair play.

    People of your intellect need to spread knowledge and peace. Not encourage unfair ’satire’ or inaccurate comparisons.

    For accurate information on Muhammad, Jesus, Moses and some other fascinating superheroes, refer to this translation of the Quran. It helped me. And i’m sure it’ll help all knowledge-seeking people.
    http://free-minds.org/sites/default/files/quran.pdf

    May God bless you bro,
    Fraz,
    Delhi, India

    • collapse expand

      Fraz, I’m not encouraging “unfair” satire. I’m defending the right to satire. I will defend your right to satire those who criticize Islam. I won’t defend an alleged right to harm or threaten them.

      You seem to be arguing that Muslim fundamentalists who preach violence are not practicing true Islam. I will accept that argument. But if this is true, then isn’t it incumbent upon true Muslims to fight against violent and intolerant Muslims, rather than focusing their anger on people who draw cartoons?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Hey Michael

        I’m an American-Muslim born in Iowa, currently in Texas.

        I don’t feel it is incumbent on myself to stand up and be apologetic each time a psychopathic Muslim commits an act of violence. In the same way I wouldn’t expect an apology They’re committing a crime against my faith by acting out in a way that.

        Rather I feel offended as an American. And further offended as a Muslim.

        If Americans as a whole want to see Muslims stand up for the beauty of Islam, well, just shine a camera on us! Millions of Muslims every day serve our food, cut our hair, deliver our babies, drive us to work, etc. If our Imams truly preached hate every Friday you would be having a Nidal Hassan every weak. Monsters are monsters. However, Islam is something else.

        I’m not saying Muslims shouldn’t yell up and shout and say, “Hey! I love Muhammad and I love America!”, but it’s not incumbent on them just because they’re Muslim.

        I’m a traditional orthodox Sunni Muslim. I follow the ‘Ahsari tenets of faith, the Shaf’i way of jurisprudence, and the Shadhili way of purity (purification of character). I’m not expecting you to know what this means I’m just saying as a practicing orthodox Muslim I am comfortable having been born, grown up, and living in this country as a fully practicing Muslim individual.

        Muhammad cartoons? Fine. A Muslim has no right to stop you unless you willingly accept citizenship under an Islamic State (of which there are none today). And even then

        In Muslim Spain, Christian fighters would run into the mosques cursing Muhammad in the most vilest of way, hoping the Muslims would kill them in order to martyr themselves and rile up the spirit of the Christian Crusader.

        The Muslims did not touch them. They gave them the pulpit basically. Even under Islamic rule, they knew what Muhammad meant when cursed by an Arab who said As-Samu Alaikum (instead of AssaLAMU alaikum), which meant “Death be upon you”. His wife Aisha started to yell at the man and Muhammad quickly turned to her and said, “Calm down oh `Aisha, calm down. There is not gentleness in anything, except that it becomes more beautiful, and there is not harshness in anything except that it makes it ugly. So be calm oh Aisha.“

        Islam has a history of tolerance. The world has a history of monsters and psychotic movements.

        So, Michael, this might seem peachy preachy, but HEY, you wanted Muslims to stand up for themselves right!?

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          First paragraph should have read:

          I don’t feel it is incumbent on myself to stand up and be apologetic each time a psychopathic Muslim commits an act of violence. In the same way I wouldn’t expect an apology from Microsoft when someone beats their friends face in with a bat over a copy of Halo. True story. (Something like this is rare in the Muslim world, btw– yes American consumer culture has problems too!). They’re committing a crime against my faith by acting out in a way that.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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          AsSalaaumu Alaikum Jamal….Your reply was awesome, thank you for standing up for Muslims. I thought it was intelligent and balanced and cannot be disputed.

          I am appalled with the lack of respect, it is not about Man made’s law of freedom of speech, it is about God’s law that every human being has the right to dignity and respect. I am not going to beg anyone to respect me, my religion, my family or culture… Any kid on the playground will show you a human’s natural reaction of being disrespected… the hypocrisy is apparent. However, most Muslims I know work on their behavior to purify their thoughts and action so they do not react to such disrespect in a basic human way… but deal with such assaults in a patient and moral way as in this example of the MSA at the U of Wisconsin.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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          Dear Jamal,

          Thank you for your response. It make a lot of sense. I am a Christian working on my own for interfaith peace. I’m in the process of learning about Islam. I’ve found several videos about the history of Islam and one about how diverse Muslims are in their interpratation of the Qur’an, but I’d love to find something that would be sort of a guide to understanding Islam. Can you recommend such a book or video? I also have questions about Islam. Is there a forum that you can recommend where I can ask questions?

          Thanks,
          Jeff

          In response to another comment. See in context »
  9. collapse expand

    Dear Mr.Peck,
    I was reading you Comment Policy and it said as follows:
    “We have three simple requests:
    1. Be thoughtful, relevant and respectful.
    2. Add value to the conversation.
    3. Treat others as you’d like to be treated.
    We each have a voice. Please use yours wisely and well”

    I was wondering these three points don’t satisfy the criteria of Freedom of Speech according the latest discussions and thought exchange Ive come across in the past few days.If i chose to treat others the way I want to get treated then I shouldn’t be asking if another would draw a cartoon of the Prophet unless I am OK with people drawing my Mother in any which way they think appropriate. Please sort out the so hay wired concepts of Freedom of Speech the west has started to follow. I see a double standard here.

  10. collapse expand

    …what ? ? ?
    oh, religionists again…
    geezie peazie japanesey, haven’t they all ascended, or raptured, or sumpin’ by now…
    (oh happy day !)
    *yawn*
    call me when religionists learn about tolerance; otherwise, their practitioners continue to give religions a bad name…
    for at least 90% of the ‘chosen ones’, religion takes marginally hypocritical, occasionally lying nekkid apes, and turns them into full-time, gargantuan hypocrites and liars…
    true story…
    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

  11. collapse expand

    the cartoons are symptomatic of dutch culture war against Muslims as was done in the past when they dutch were overt colonizers. It is not a free speech issue, free speech is a pretext to engage in discrimination and oppression of a minority. Solidarity with that culture war is like claiming “wear a klan hood day” is about free speech solidarity with the KKK. It’s tasteless, bigoted, and frankly, not about free speech at all.

  12. collapse expand

    If a religion can not tolerate mockery, if it can not tolerate criticism, if it responds to words and opinions with violence, then it loses any credibility as a religion.

    I think people who act that way are members of a cult –no matter what religious garb they wrap themselves in. They are not pious. They are misguided. They deserve to lose all exemptions we grant to most religious organizations.

    I give kudos to those who respond to mockery with humor. However, those who respond with death threats, threats of terror, and other such anti-social behavior will earn my very best efforts to discredit them.

    There is no place for behavior like that in the West.

    • collapse expand

      Hello Jake Brodsky,

      You wrote;”If a religion can not tolerate mockery, if it can not tolerate criticism, if it responds to words and opinions with violence, then it loses any credibility as a religion.”

      It is not a religion that has responded but a hand full of individuals. Muslims are not members of some Borg like colony with a “hive mind” who all think and act the same way. A tiny few have engaged in criminal acts that hardly means that every Muslim or all of Islam either engages in or even encourages this sort of activity.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    I am a lib Dem who did not support the war in Iraq and did not support the recent escalation of the war in Afghanistan. I believe that Muslims have some substantial grievances against the United States to which most Americans turn a blind eye (most significantly, in my view, our unrestricted support of an increasingly reactionary Israel).

    THAT SAID …

    Every time I read blog comments, written by Muslims, in response to depictions of Mohammed, I cannot help but to feel the same visceral contempt toward adherents of Islam that I felt when watching “the Street” erupt in jubilation in the aftermath of 9/11.

    Americans of all political persuasions are very strong believers in a ROBUST freedom of speech. It’s a politically sacrosanct value, and it protects both “popular” and “unpopular” speech.

    For example, how many of you Muslims commentators are familiar with National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43 (1977)? Or Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989)? Or Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343 (2003)? I suggest that you look them up, and consider:

    – how do you think the Jewish-Americans of Skokie felt when Nazis were allowed to march through their town with swastikas and other Nazi paraphernalia?

    – how do you think (e.g.) American veterans of foreign wars feel when they see the U.S. flag desecrated … particularly if the desecration is for an entirely frivolous purpose?

    – how do you think African Americans feel that cross burning is protected speech in the United States, so long as not done with the intent to intimidate?

    Yet I am supposed to feel sympathy for you because you might take offense at a cartoon depicting Mohammed, as part of a piece of political/social satire? REALLY? Get over yourselves! And consider: If *I* find your position contemptible, just imagine what most Americans (99% of whom are more conservative than me) think about your little temper tantrums and/or thinly veiled (no pun intended) apologia for terrorist retaliation against those who DARE to depict your prophet.

    If you want Americans’ to respect your religion, you are going to have to cede on this issue; otherwise, you will just confirm that you are the pre-modern, intolerant zealots that most Americans already believe that you are.

    In closing, I encourage everyone to check this out:

    http://reason-contest.s3.amazonaws.com/index.html

    If you are offended by these images, then you simply are not capable of any type of critical self reflection. Which is your loss. But don’t expect Americans to surrender our cherished political rights merely because you are incapable of realizing your own limitations through your blind adherence to fundamentalism.

    • collapse expand

      From someone who is definitely right of center, I have to say, I agree wholeheartedly. Well said, Chad!

      We may cherish the bill of rights differently, but we both hold them dearly. An attack against these rights is an affront to the very core values of what it is to be a citizen of the United States.

      We (both the left and the right) do not accept such behavior. The Everybody Draw Mohammad Day concept is viral among every corner of American life. To those who seek retribution against the people who celebrate this freedom of speech, I have to say, I wish you peace, but I also think you’d better find it somewhere else, some other way.

      We have no room for religious hate like that.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Great comment Chad! As a progressive liberal (aging hippie) I too am getting pretty tired of practitioners of mainstream religions staying silent on the excesses of their fundamental fringe members..

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Cartoons or other forms of sarcasm of religious symbols will be absolutely offending to all Muslims regardless of any justifications.
      It is not just adherence to fundamentalism, it is the duty of all Muslims to defend our holy symbols with suitable means. It is a dead end. That’s my ‘Critical self-reflection’.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  14. collapse expand

    Jamal, Michael did not say it was incumbent upon you or any other Muslim to apologize for the acts of another. He did say that it is incumbent upon the Muslim community to fight against any Muslims who justify their violence and intolerance by claiming that Islam requires or allows it. I agree with that, just as I agree that it is incumbent on any person of faith to fight any members of their faith community who try to justify violence and intolerance in the name of said faith.

  15. collapse expand

    Announcing Show Mohammed Day June 3rd: Rallys in Celebration of Freedom of Speech & Religion.
    I hadn’t expected much to come of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day once the instigator
    canceled it and there was no organized effort for rally’s in support of it. Little did I know there were so many in favor of censorship
    that would arise and capture the day instead. I’d planned to to announce the new event yesterday on the wall of the
    Everybody Draw Mohammed day facebook page.. only to discover when I was ready that it had disappeared. I thought it would be back
    today but since it isn’t I need to find other ways to get the word out to suggest people being organizing real world rally’s in support
    of freedom of speech and religion. I was hoping you might consider helping announce and spread the word about the group.

    The facebook page is at
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Show-Mohammed-Day/121228857900451

    and a backup of the welcome page is at
    http://www.showmohammed.com/

    Unfortunately with the Everybody Draws Mohammed facebook page and its > 100,000 people following it perhaps having been censored.. I seem
    to be suddenly starting from scratch to find sources to spread the word.

    thanks.

  16. collapse expand

    Mr. Peck, do u think ur right of freedom of speech can only be fulfilled if u do something that offend others ??? Could u find no other way ??? Is ur creativity so limited that every time talking about freedom of speech and expression u end up offending Muslims????

  17. collapse expand

    heh, lookie everyone ! ! !
    here’s my ASCII representation of mohammed…

    ||
    ||
    ||
    ||
    0 0

    er, or is it baby jeebus…
    or buddha…
    or the dolly llama…
    or is it all their wormtongued whining followers (who don’t follow)…
    whatever would most offend you, please consider it a representation of *that*…
    dicks
    hee hee hee
    ho ho ho
    ha ha ha
    ak ak ak
    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

  18. collapse expand

    I am coming here from an article by Qasim Rashid who cites you as source.

    I would request for the source of the claim that the AHA students are complaining to the administration. I have no evidence that this is true. In fact the inverse is true. The MSA students did complain to the administration before the event in an attempt to stop it.

    This can be seen from the blog posts chronicled by the AHA. The events go like this: AHA notifies MSA per email of the planned event. MSA reacts negatively and complains to the administration. Dean meets with AHA in response to the complaint. AHA and MSA have friendly behavior at the drawing/redrawing event. AHA continues to reach out to MSA after the event. There is no evidence at all that AHA ever complained to the university.

    Here is how the AHA characterized the event:

    “You’ve got to hand it to them, it was a creative and non-confrontational way to minimize the intolerable offense of seeing stick figures labeled Muhammad. It was a celebration of free speech for everyone!”

    The AHA blog starting with the email to MSA before the event starts here:

    http://wiscatheists.blogspot.com/2010/05/letter-to-muslim-student-association.html

    the response of the MSA and the meeting with the dean are covered on the next two pages. The reaction of the AHA on the subsequent pages.

    If there are other sources that show that the AHA students did complain please clarify. Else I would ask for a correction.

  19. collapse expand

    Real humans sneer at and mock all religions.

    • collapse expand

      …and religionists generally do what to unbelievers ? ? ?
      hee hee hee
      i sneer and mock *all* nekkid apes, the religionists just make it easier for this nothing-is-sacred cockroach to do so…
      ho ho ho
      there are only about 10% of religionists who are sincere, tolerant, gentle, kind-hearted souls who aren’t major hypocrites and liars; and the other 90% use their religion to beat The Others ™ -including infidels like me- over the head…
      ha ha ha
      oh, and i am about 100.00% certain that those 10% of kind-hearted, ‘ideal’ religionists, would be kind-hearted souls even *without* religion…
      ak ak ak

      to aanneess and aattuurrkk -
      you (AS WELL AS far too many americans) do NOT understand what the principle of free speech is about until you can grok this chomsky paraphrase:
      You are NOT for free speech unless you defend the right of your worst enemy to their vilest speech.

      *THAT* is simply the ultimate litmus test for whether a society, culture, gummint ACTUALLY practice free speech…
      anything short of that simply leads back to let’s-pwetend-land…
      based on a true story…
      art guerrilla
      aka ann archy
      eof

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    About Me

    I'm a writer in the not-so-sunny Northwest. My work has appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, Wired.com, the Philadelphia Inquirer, National Defense and the Military Times magazines.

    I like to blog about national security and foreign affairs, though I'll write about any topic on which I have a strong opinion (which is most anything). I'm a bit of a contrarian, which drives people crazy. That's a good thing.

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    Contributor Since: December 2008
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