Draw Mohammed! Free Speech – A War the West is Losing

Some of you may know how passionate I have been at times about the issue of violent Islam. I was ranting about the Taliban before 9/11 and it is a issue I have monitored in the years since. When the “cartoon jihad” started over a few artists depictions of Mohammed, I tried to put my support behind the artists. I drew a stick figure that actually ended up getting thousands of views (for some reason) and I decided to make a website which was really just a editorial on a page. The idea was simple, to stand behind the individuals fighting for our rights. During the ordeal we saw violence, threats of violence and as appalling we’ve seen apologies, and even media outlets refusing to portray even the most unoffensive images of Mohammed.

Before I go further I must take a step back. Radical Islam did not start telling us what we can say with the “cartoon jihad. They have long been completely intolerant of contrary views and have mandated a strict adherance to their belief system. As Islam has immigrated to the West and as the internet has grown clashes have simply become more frequent. Salman Rushdie had a fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini (Supreme Leader of Iran) for his execution in 1989. The crime? Salman Rushdie wrote “The Satanic Verses” and this was determined to be “blasphemous against Islam”. Theo van Gogh was killed and nearly beheaded in 2004, in Amsterdam. His crime? He made a 10 minute movie called “Submission” that was critical of Islam. The natural progression has continued as Kurt Westergaard (creator of the famous bomb head Mohammed) had an axe wielding Somali man break into his home in Denmark! Even the creators of South Park have been threatened.

So, before I go further into this discussion allow us to be clear, this is the climate that exists. This is the nature of the the challenge we face.

The “draw Mohammed” movement picked up again after South Park decided to depict Mohammed in a bear suit. I would like to take this time to express my personal gratitude to Trey Parker and Matt Stone for being willing to continue the fight. Predictably, there was a uproar and eventually the network caved and censored the episode. Along with the threats and outrage, ther was also a outpouring of support for the South Park creators. Perhaps most notable was this image by Molly Norris showing her support for South Park and creating a fictitious “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day“. Sadly Molly eventually caved to the pressure and clearly was not prepared to face the onslaught that being on the forefront of this issue entails (in other words I doubt she wanted to have men with axes climbing through her window).

The “Draw Mohammed” movement continued without her though. Pakistan actually drew more attention to it by once again banning a series of sites. Interestingly enough, the Draw Mohammed Facebook page has mysteriously vanished. Although Facebook denies involvement , their allegiances are highly questionable and as I can personally attest to, despite continuing to host “Everybody Draw Holocaust!!!” (not linking to that one), they were so offended by my stick figure drawing that I had this waiting in my inbox:

You uploaded a photo that violates our Terms of Use, and this photo has been removed. Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence, or other violations of the Terms of Use.

It is worth noting that Facebook does allow various political groups, anti-American, anti-Jewish, and anti-Western pictures and pages but they simply can’t tolerate my stick figure. Calling Israel (aren’t they a group?) the greatest devil, mocking the Holocaust, or depicting a Israeli soldier about to kill a child (not violent since he hasn’t pulled the trigger yet?) is acceptable on Facebook. Facebook has chosen to and allowed themselves to become censors on this issue. They could have stayed out of it, or they could have evenly moderated content, rather they have been strong armed by Islamists into censoring one point of view. Fortunately they have allowed this page to stay thus far.

I started making this post after I prepared a response to a message board post. The poster commented that this is a war that Facebook can’t win. That you can’t shut down all the Mohammed sites. I wish I could completely agree, but we’re losing this war. We are losing ground and with each battle we lose, we lose some of our freedoms. Our newspapers, TV stations, major websites and in some cases even governments are working on behalf of the violent Islamists to censor us. The other side cares more about the issue than we do. To further illustrate, I have to go back to the original “cartoon jihad”. As I mentioned earlier, I made a small crappy site and after that I moved on. I left the fight to others. Quite a while after the fact I found out that Pakistan had circulated a government memo banning my site and 11 others. If I had been checking Michelle Malkin’s blog out regularily I would have been aware, as she’s done a excellent job covering this issue and I’d like to take this chance to express my appreciation.

I decided to check the status of the sites and here are the disheartening results:

  1. drawmohammed.com – Hacked a long time ago.
  2. drawmohammad.com – Gone
  3. www.nordish.net/blog/ – Gone
  4. drawmohammedweek.blogspot.com/ Still there
  5. www.mohammeddrawings.com – Gone
  6. Free Speech? – Banned In Pakistan before it was cool!Still there, still crappy
  7. http://dragonkeypress.com/blog/?p=970 – Seems to have been removed
  8. Jesus and MoStill there, still active.
  9. Mohammed Image ArchiveStill there
  10. http://www.dumbreligion.com – Gone
  11. http://www.mohammedbomb.com – Gone
  12. http://www.drawchrist.com – Gone

Only 4 out of 12 remaining… a pathetic group to begin with, our resistance put us in a small enough minority that we were easily singled out. Once singled out we have been picked off one by one, falling victim to hackers, TOS violations, or our own apathy. We are losing and there is much more at stake here than our right to publish art. Our very way of life is in jeopardy. Even in the chaotic world of the internet, even when dealing with seemingly unstoppable giants such as Facebook we see how easily things are whitewashed. Pages vanish and are forgotten. This is not a issue about cartoons, this is a issue about freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press. I am not trying to force my beliefs on others, I merely want to stand up for the rights of others. We must not continue caving to the thugs among us, unfortunately, we are and we are losing so much we should hold dear. It is a sad commentary on our society when a cartoon becomes one of the greatest defenders of our freedom. Do we join them or continue to cower?

Here are some links to blogs/sites that participated in Draw Mohammed day:
The New Free Speech Movement – Fellow banned in Pakistan site,┬ázomblog, posted a write up and art.
Blazingcatfur – Blazingcatfur had a “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” contest.
Today is Draw Motoon Day – Atlas Shrugs posted a collection of images.
Hot Air Poll – Hot Air put up a poll about EDMD
A run away roller coaster? – From the pulpit did a pretty good write up on the issue.
Sorry Molly! – The Blogomocracy posted a collection of images.
A contribution – Below the Beltway re-posted art from a Swedish artist Lars Vilks
DRAW MUHAMMAD DAY! – Even Neal Boortz’ blog got in on the action

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  1. you are a faggot
    Posted May 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm Permalink

    your site blows

  2. Posted May 22, 2010 at 7:26 pm Permalink

    I agree on the latter…

  3. Chaos
    Posted May 23, 2010 at 2:51 am Permalink

    Did Mohammed leave a comment??

  4. Spl!tf@ce
    Posted May 23, 2010 at 8:52 pm Permalink

    When i was in school we were told that women couldnt enjoy sex. supposedly thats against the muslim way of thinking, so do enforce this at the age of 14, all girls my have there clits removed… yeah… there is some fucked up ideologies that people enforce

  5. Posted May 25, 2010 at 7:04 am Permalink

    The interesting thing is that “female circumcision” is claimed to not be specific to a particular religion. However, every country that has at least 50% prevalence of “FMG” also happens to have at least 50% prevalence of Muslims (with the exception of Ethiopia). Having said that, it’s not practiced universally in Islam and is practiced on a minority of Islamic women (fortunately).

    It is really a greater indication of cultures that haven’t really caught up to Western ideals and values. For instance, in Nigeria a woman was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, the Taliban made it illegal to shave beards and sentenced Americans to death for giving out Bibles, Iran sentenced women to death by stoning for adultery as well, etc…

    A lot of these things are based, not even from direct interpretations of the Koran, but of various additional texts and practices. Generally speaking though, woman’s rights is of great concern in the Islamic world in general and that was the issue that Theo van Gogh addressed before he was brutally murdered.

    I see the cartoon issue as a sort of tipping point. While it seems trivial, if Islamic radicals learn they can exert this type of control over the West the will be greatly emboldened. If we can’t draw Mohammed, we might not be able to say anything negative about any practice of Islam even if it’s just a particular sect. It’s a slippery slope, which is why I see it of utmost importance to push back on this issue. If we can force tolerance on this issue, if we can assert the West’s right to depict these types of things then we can focus on things like woman’s rights in Islamic countries without fear of violent response or censorship. If we lose this, then obviously people like take a stand like Theo van Gogh will not only be less common, but will be very likely to meet the same fate.

  6. RW
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 11:18 am Permalink

    Female circumcision is not islam specific, that is for sure. I’ve been in Africa where it can be widespread amongst faiths / tribes of all sorts. I’ve met a few girls that have had it done… none of which were muslim; all christian. I still think male circumcision is messed up… but that’s a different matter. Mutiliation for the masses.

    Related to the post – there is no doubt what-so-ever, that we are losing the fight against true free-speech and being forced to bow to those that scream loudest. Islam is gaining more and more traction in Europe and it’s gaining ground stateside too. Both in numbers through conversion as well as birth-rate and in political power / influence. Fast forward 40 years on the current path and I’m really not sure how things will look. My issue is that I dislike any religion / religious nuts – it just so happens that while most religions have been watered down and compromised beyond recognition, islam holds fort. Christians were frickin nuts here in the UK only four generations ago and the USA still has quite a few lurking about. Regardless, islam is a threat that – still – even after everything – is not being tackled properly. I still go to http://www.faithfreedom.org from time to time. Also worth noting that some countries are at least – a bit more ‘up for it’ than others. For example, France is (suprisingly) standing by it’s motion of banning the veil. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/10129324.stm

  7. Posted May 28, 2010 at 7:57 am Permalink

    A lot of the sexism in the Middle East or Islamic countries in general is more indicative of the culture than the actual religion. Even the whole “cartoon jihad” is a example of massive cultural differences. Even if the Bible teaches something is a sin, or, a sect teaches that, it’s pretty much unheard of to see widespread threats of violence over a “sin”. For instance, the Bible says “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”. When this is violated, you don’t see any reaction really. A hadith says something about images of Mohammed and we get violence over pretty respectful depictions?

    I think it speaks more to a culture that desperately needs to have some reasonable voices take charge, rather than governments that incite hatred and violence to divert attention from their own actions. As of late, Christianity has been tamed by moderate voices, no more witch burnings and violence is rare. Islam is lacking truly outspoken and moderate voices to steer it away from it’s violent tendancies.

    France does kind of throw me with the veil thing, because they’ll throw you in jail for speaking out against Islam, but on the other hand they’re putting their foot down on this issue. Islam has the potential to bring back religious fundementalism on a level that we haven’t seen (in the West) in hundreds of years. Ironically, all religions would suffer under that because religious tolerance is one of the thing zealots lack the most.

  8. RW
    Posted May 31, 2010 at 2:49 pm Permalink

    I agree with all you have said there… and the France thing throws me too… it will NEVER happen in the UK, mark my words; there would just be far too much drama. I remember when one Euro politician (years ago) suggested that Halal (and Kosher) slaughter should not be allowed in the EU – simply because the method is banned under law in the respective countries (i.e: slaughter cannot be done unless the animal is stunned first) – whether you agree with the method of slaughter or not – the law is the law and this is ignored for ‘religious freedom’. It became apparent (through murmurs from the communities involved) that some would even resort to ‘backstreet slaughters’ as a way to continue access; aside from import. That is long forgotten but as an example of a sign of the times; all meals here in the UK; in hospitals, are halal by default. You don’t even have a choice of eating non-halal meat. It was thought that, it would save on admin as native Brits couldn’t care less. Many do though…

  9. Posted June 1, 2010 at 5:26 am Permalink

    The Halal meals thing is a perfect example of what’s happened and what’s happening. Almost any other minority group would in the least be relegated to the sidelines. Islam has such a ominous quality that if they demand something (like a Mosque near ground zero), they tend to get it. Ultimately, people are far more afraid of offending or angering Muslims than any other group. If any other group said, hey we think it’s a sin to draw this or that, the response would most likely be “ok, then you shouldn’t draw it”. The Mohammed cartoon thing? I hear time and time again “if it makes them angry just don’t do it”.

    It doesn’t work with bullies and it’s not working with Islam. In a sense, we’re making Islam more violent. If you reward a bully for being a bully they don’t stop, they do it more often. We are gradually teaching Muslims that as long as they are big enough asses, as long as they kill people or threaten people they can have their way…

    How many things that are commonplace in the Islamic world might we eventually see forced upon us? Head scarves (you already see a lot of western women, even powerful women such as Hillary Clinton wear them while abroad?). Then of course you have Sharia law which could trample on a lot of our rights. I just hope they hurry up and get modernized, but I fear we are going to have to help them with that…

    I find this particularily offensive because I’m a Libertarian in a lot of ways. I want to legalize most if not all drugs, prostitution, gambling (pretty much any victimless crime). A lot of Muslims want us to go back to the days of the Puritans.

  10. RW
    Posted June 5, 2010 at 7:23 am Permalink

    Read: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1284118/Tesco-offers-halal-range-barbeques.html

  11. Posted June 9, 2010 at 3:35 am Permalink

    This kind of ventures into another territory, in my mind, the issue of integration. In America, we have seen at increasing rates a move towards use of Spanish (yes, some other languages but primarily Spanish). We’ve had a Democratic presidential debate in Spanish, we have almost a dual language policy in a lot of government doings) yet Spanish speakers make up only 10% of our population (one has to presume that about a third of those are here illegally). Rather than focus on integrating these people, we have catered to them with increasing regularity. Immigration offices have signage in Spanish and they speak Spanish. Mind you, you are out of luck if you speak Russian, German, Chinese, etc… but Spanish? You’re able to abide by a separate standard.

    To me, it is when we set aside our standards to specifically cater to one minority, that we start to lose our identity. Either our values and our way of doing things matter or they do not. If they truly do not, then why do these people insist on coming here? I have no problem with immigration, but if you do immigrate is it not a statement that you prefer this place over the one you were coming from? What does it say in turn if you refuse to integrate? What does it say if you insist on waving another flag? What does it say if you insist on speaking another language? What does it say when you force your ideals and values on others, a tyranny of the minority? In Germany I saw Muslim woman after Muslim woman forced to walk behind her husband, carry the bags and while she was wearing strict Islamic dress, he was wearing fully western clothing. What are they doing in Germany if the woman isn’t allowed to live as though she’s in the west? If that set of values is so great then don’t come to a country with different values!

    To me it would be like a Christian conservative moving to Amsterdam because they think it’s a better place, but once there trying to change things. If you’re a Christian conservative I think you could find a place that already shares your values better, just stick with that! A missionary is another story, at least in their mind they are going to a area simply to better it, not because it is better. However, what does it say about someone that comes to a area knowing it is a better place, yet they seek to turn it into a place like the one they just left? What does that say about them? What does that make them?

  12. anonym
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm Permalink

    I cant understand such a behavior. You make fun of the Prophet Mohammad but you even don’t know him. And there is no Muslim who offended your belief whatever it is and if there is one then he’s not a muslim because that doesn’t go with Islam. So why are you thinking so bad about this religion and you only heard about what media says and not what it is truly. I don’t want you to be a Muslim. I just want more tolerance. There are so many muslims in the world and if you didn’t accept them as they are then don’t expect that they are going to accept you and to tolerant you. Because its the right of every human being to believe in whatever he wants and to be tolerated and not discriminated. I don’t know your religion but whatever it would be I as Muslim have to accept that it is your decision and i have to tolerate it. So i only want you to show me the same kind of behavior.

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  1. By More cartoon jihad | The Asylum on July 17, 2010 at 4:52 am

    [...] the “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” fuss, I made a rather lengthy post complete with images and links and all that fun stuff. To me, the matter was clear. We simply can [...]

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