Everybody Draw Mohamed Day — or, you’re not the boss of me

Sometimes, to their creator’s dismay, ideas take on a life of their own.  In the wake of Comedy Central’s decision to censor a South Park episode that didn’t actually draw Mohamed, but merely suggested the possibility of doing so, Molly Norris came up with the idea of “everybody draw Mohamed Day.” Then, terrified by the realization that people actually thought her idea was a good one — and no doubt afraid of becoming the next chick-filet in the Islamic book of dead people — Norris quickly backed off.  As I said, though, good ideas have a life of their own, and drawing Mohamed is definitely a good idea.

It’s a good idea, quite obviously, because modern Western society is predicated on free speech.  Admittedly, there are gradations to that free speech, with America standing at the pinnacle of what is allowed and protected as an ordinary part of civil discourse.  Speech becomes increasingly more regulated as one travels through other Western nations.  Nevertheless, any nation that stands on the shoulders of the Enlightenment gives a nod to the importance of freely expressed ideas and information.  When we give up free speech, we give up a significant part of our identity.

Lately, though, European nations and American TV stations have willingly abandoned any semblance of commitment to the notion of free speech.  And what’s really dreadful about this practice is that it’s not even driven by the traditional rationale for speech restriction, which is to protect the ruling party from internal challenges to its control.  Instead, this is a purely fear-based abandonment.  It has nothing to do with principles or power.  It is, instead, a craven desire to avoid screaming mobs wielding sharp swords.

The various Western nations (and American TV stations) engaged in cultural retreat dress it up as respect for the “other.”  That respect, however, exists only because we fear that “other.”  Sam Harris, in what is probably the most worthy article the Huffington Post has ever published — and one that I strongly urge you to read — gets to the heart of the matter.  After discussing (1) Geert Wilder’s martyrdom at the hands of the Dutch political class for his film Fitna, a film that reveals how closely Islam tracks on Mohamed’s incendiary rhetoric, and (2) Kurt Westergaard’s life in hiding thanks to the very first Mohamed cartoons, Harris explains how Islam is gaming the West:

Wilders, like Westergaard and the other Danish cartoonists, has been widely vilified for “seeking to inflame” the Muslim community. Even if this had been his intention, this criticism represents an almost supernatural coincidence of moral blindness and political imprudence. The point is not (and will never be) that some free person spoke, or wrote, or illustrated in such a manner as to inflame the Muslim community. The point is that only the Muslim community is combustible in this way. The controversy over Fitna, like all such controversies, renders one fact about our world especially salient: Muslims appear to be far more concerned about perceived slights to their religion than about the atrocities committed daily in its name. Our accommodation of this psychopathic skewing of priorities has, more and more, taken the form of craven and blinkered acquiescence.

There is an uncanny irony here that many have noticed. The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we will kill you. Of course, the truth is often more nuanced, but this is about as nuanced as it ever gets: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we peaceful Muslims cannot be held responsible for what our less peaceful brothers and sisters do. When they burn your embassies or kidnap and slaughter your journalists, know that we will hold you primarily responsible and will spend the bulk of our energies criticizing you for “racism” and “Islamophobia.”

When we play into this Islamic game — “We, your resident Muslims, promise to live up to our putative reputation for peace as long as you don’t exercise those of your freedoms that put us in a killing rage” — we give up the essence of who we are.  We are no longer the heirs of Voltaire and the Enlightenment, of the Founders and the abolitionists.  We are no longer free people.  Instead, we are slaves to our fears, with our lives increasingly constrained by the random and irrational demands of small subsets of our western societies.

That the demands are irrational is another reason to resist the increasingly shrill imperative to cease and desist from creating and publishing any drawings that offend Muslim sensibilities.  And please keep in mind here that this is not just about Mohamed images.  In our short attention-span world, I’m willing to bet that large numbers of people have already forgotten that, in years past, Muslims have demanded that the countries in which they live change their ice cream logos, clean up the Piglet tissue boxes, and remove their historic statutory (or have it forcibly removed).

Zombie correctly points out that, once we start ceding to resident Muslims the right to determine what is provocative (to them, that is), there is no end:

This is not an argument over the right to be “provocative” or “offensive”; rather, is it something much more significant — an argument over who gets to determine what counts as provocative or offensive in the first place. The Western world dragged itself out of the church-dominated Dark Ages and into the Enlightenment in part over this precise issue: The freedom to engage in speech and actions which formerly had been classified as the crime known as “blasphemy.” It seems such a trivial and quaint issue in retrospect, and hardly worthy of note from our hyper-secularized 21st-century perspective, but tell that to the millions of people who for centuries lived under the yoke of governments which used accusations of blasphemy and other religious misbehaviors as a primary tool of tyranny and oppression. The modern world dawned with the American and French Revolutions and the emergence of the explicitly secular state — the Americans rejecting the Church of England as Britain’s legally enforced national religion, and the French shrugging off centuries of acquiescence to domination by the Catholic Church in civil affairs. In both cases, new governmental paradigms were established in which there was an inviolable separation of church and state, which in practice meant no civil laws enforcing religious doctrines and (most importantly for our discussion) no laws against blasphemy.

So Everybody Draw Mohamed Day is a good thing because it affirms who we are — an Enlightened Western civilization dedicated, in varying degrees, to free speech — and because it reminds everyone that, in a pluralistic society, no one group gets to use violence and intimidation to engage in capricious, and increasingly restrictive, decisions about what is offensive.

To me, though, the most important reason for observing Everybody Draw Mohamed Day is to remind us, not of who we are, but who we are NOT.  As a nation, we are not Muslims.

Of course, some of us are Muslims, but those who are, at least in America, are Muslims voluntarily.  This is, after all, a a nation dedicated to the proposition that its citizens can worship freely.  Provided that we do not impinge on the public well-being, we are allowed to choose our faith, follow our chosen doctrine, and engage in the many and varied religious observances so freely available in this great land.

If I’m Catholic, I get to go to Mass and, if I’m very traditional female worshiper, I can wear a lovely lace mantilla in church.  If I’m Jewish, I attend my services on Friday night and Saturday morning.  If I’m ultra-Orthodox and male, I wear a prayer shawl; if I’m female, I wear a wig and modest clothing.  If I’m Mormon, I wear my ritual undergarments and have reserved to me the special privilege of access to the Temple.  If I’m Buddhist, I engage in contemplation.  If I’m Muslim, I pray five times a day and abstain from alcohol.  If I’m Unitarian, I believe anything I damn well please, as long as I do so in civil and liberal fashion.  Heck, such are America’s blessings that I can be nothing at all, turning my back on God, and sneering every time I see a coin with the imprint “In God We Trust.”   I am what I believe I should be, what my family raised me to be, and what my chosen religious community practices.

But if I accede to Muslim demands that I refrain from drawing Mohamed or pigs or boars or ice cream logos or buddhas, I have tacitly conceded that I am Muslim.  After all, I am conforming my behavior to Muslim doctrine.

Muslims understand this.  Their rage over these images isn’t about the images themselves.  It is, instead, about incrementally drawing all of us into the Muslim faith.  The reality is that, once you’ve stopped creating images offensive to Muslims, and stopped making movies offensive to Muslims, and stopped writing books offensive to Muslims, and stopped saying things offensive to Muslims, and stopped your stores from selling the pork and alcohol offensive to Muslims, and attired your women in burqas to protect them from rampaging Muslims, well — you’re pretty much a practicing Muslim.  You’ve been converted, and you didn’t even realize it was happening.

And once you’ve crossed that invisible line, a line known only to your new Muslim overlords, woe unto you if you try to reverse that conversion process.  Apostates, by turning their back on Mohamed, deserve death.  So really, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  If you don’t comply with all the Muslim restrictions, they threaten to kill you — and if you do comply with all the Muslim restrictions, they still threaten to kill you.

So this is where the rubber hits the road.  You’re between a Muslim rock and an Islamic hard place.  Do you take a stand now, while your freedoms still mean something, or do you simply acquiesce, step by step, until you find that you have no freedoms at all, that there are no compatriots willing to stand by you in the fight, and that y0ur remaining options are between a living or an actual death?

By the way, it’s that fighting compatriot thing that really matters right now.  As Sam Harris says, after describing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s life (emphasis mine):

The problem is not, as is often alleged, that governments cannot afford to protect every person who speaks out against Muslim intolerance. The problem is that so few people do speak out. If there were ten thousand Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s, the risk to each would be radically reduced.

Whether you realize it or not, this is war.  When we draw Mohamed today, we don’t do so to be offensive, or provocative.  We do so to assert our identity and to declare, standing shoulder to shoulder with our fellow soldiers in this war, that we are Westerners dedicated to freedom of speech and freedom of worship.

In that spirit, and with all due respect to Muslim sensibilities (meaning I won’t draw Mohamed immersed in urine, covered in fecal matter, attached to animals, or any other such demeaning imagery), here is my image of Mohamed, pictured in this reverential medieval Islamic art as a swaddled baby on the day of his birth:

OTHERS BLOGGING:

Rhymes with Right

Looking for Lissa (who reminds us that Islamists aren’t averse to their own, very vile, cartooning to achieve political goals and intimidation)

Michelle Malkin

You can take the Hot Air poll (with numbers now currently strongly favoring Draw Mohamed Day)

James Hudnall

Brad Thor

Liberty Pundits (which has a nice nod to me, which I very much appreciate)

Mark Steyn

Facebook

And please re-read Broken Windows, which explains why standing up now is so very important

Robert David Graham

JoshuaPundit explains why he isn’t participating, and where our energies would be better spent

[Small update:  I've very lightly edited the post to get rid of verbal tics and redundancies.  They do tend to slip in.]

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Comments

  1. garyp says

    O<–<
    [^-------]
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Mohamed Sleeping (on bed with small pillow near a small stream).

    Not very artistic, perhaps.  But it gets the point across.  Americans can draw or say what they like.
    I wish people would refrain from insulting others for fun.  That applies to the people that disparage Christians in the media (extremely common) or those that are disrespectful of other religions.
    However, if you find a movie or piece of (so-called) art offensive don’t watch it or look at it.
    Dogma (a movie with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) was constantly denigrating religion (but it had funny moments).  The Mapplethorpe pictures were offensive to any person (religious or not) and were certainly not art, even by today’s loose standards.  However, if someone wanted to display them in a private gallery and others wanted to see them (why?) that is,  and should be legal.
    The libs were all over insisting that the government should help pay to display the silly stuff.  However, how many libs are drawing Mohamed today? (very few, is my guess)
    The liberals love to denigrate Christianity (because it upsets people but brings no retribution).  They will never have the nerve to draw Mohamed, even without any offensive aspects, because they are cowards and will never “speak truth to power” (as they love to go on about) unless they know that they will not be threatened.  Notice they constantly rant about “human rights violations” in the US (where it perfectly safe to do so) but they never go to Sudan, China, etc., etc. because they are afraid to confront real evil. 

  2. says

    I Snapshot’d the Supreme Court frieze for my Mohammed.  And I try to remind people that the Danish cartoon riots didn’t start in earnest until the Danish imams hit the Middle East on an Outrage Tour . . . with three ADDITIONAL, MUCH MORE OFFENSIVE cartoons that they’d created/added themselves.

  3. Jose says

    “But if I accede to Muslim demands that I refrain from drawing Mohamed or pigs or boars or ice cream logos or buddhas, I have tacitly conceded that I am Muslim.  ”

    Brilliant.
    ————————————-
    “Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we will kill you.”

    Our libs just don’t understand how alien the their mindset actually is. 

    As a GI, I spent time in and near Iraq in 1991, immediately following Desert Storm.  It didn’t get a lot of news coverage but we worked hard to restore utilities, etc that had been destroyed by Saddam when he chased the Kurds into the mountains.  When our work was done and we prepared to leave Kurdistan, they tried to persuade us to stay and protect them.  Their argument?  If we left they would attack us.

  4. says

    I posted for today and drew a not so good picture (because I am lacking artistic ability), but I couldn’t let this day go by without acknowledgement.  Thanks for posting and reminding us why we do not need to bow down to the Muslim.

  5. jj says

    “Mohammad Having Carnal Knowledge of a Goat” is the first masterwork hanging in the museum of the mind.  I’m not good enough to draw it – but I can see it!

  6. says

    I’ve noticed that young people tend to be either obsessed or exclusively focused on repetitive actions. I think it is a mark of evolutionary instincts that need them to learn new physical actions in a short amount of time. For those older, repetitive action as seen in video games is quite literally out of this world boring. But to the young, more complex media or decisions are boring, because they lack the interconnections in their mind to fire up “interest”. That’s why they need to learn things Now by repetition, so that they can get additional experience by trying hard. More experience, more chances that they will understand more complex issues.
     
    The sort of monomania present in the young, to an extent, mirrors that of the Beta. A beta always thinks the solutions to problems are simple. It either requires more power, more strength, more force, more money, or more speed. An alpha looks at a problem and thinks about using all of the above and more. Beta is single minded and laser focused on something, because he needs to get good at many many things to ever become an Alpha. An alpha, instead, deals more with people and their problems than trying to excel in any single field.
     
    That’s why monomania and young people are often times not adequate leaders. They are too busy developing things that run counter to actual leadership or social awareness. It doesn’t help that the things they learn about (accounting, math, art) has little to do with getting the cooperation of people. Politics does require that, yes, but the monomania there concerns power and influence. So in some sense, you can have a Beta like Obama take an Alpha leadership position. The consequences are obvious. Sociopaths taking power in social fields that ultimately require the cooperation of others always have predictable consequences.

  7. says

    “Then, terrified by the realization that people actually thought her idea was a good one — and no doubt afraid of becoming the next chick-filet in the Islamic book of dead people — Norris quickly backed off. ”
     
    She is a Leftist hypocrite.
     
    All you have to do to find the evidence is to go to her website, compare the cartoon she originally drew with the modified version in which she placed comments on the various iconography, and then listen to the interview she gave on (probably conservative) radio.
     
    Molly Norris is the kind of person that will publicly berate and taunt Comedy Central for not having the guts to stand up to Islam, and then back down herself because when making fun of how other people got afraid, “she became afraid”. She, who only has to protect herself or her close relatives, calls Comedy Central a coward for protecting their many many employees and backing down from any potential slight or offensive against murderous Muslims.
    This is the public education “critical thinking” the Left taught Molly. What’s amazing here isn’t how stupid and cowardly her fake attempt at being brave ultimately came out to be. What’s amazing is that Molly actually thinks she has freedom of speech, when she makes no effort to defend it or defend the security of others. Instead of attacking murderous Muslims for scaring Comedy Central, she attacks Comedy Central. She continued to do so after she became “afraid”. Now that’s cowardice for you. So trembling with fright that she won’t even accuse who she is afraid of, Muslims, and instead attacks “evil corporations” that have “power” or some such retarded slogan.
     

Trackbacks

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