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:
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:
- drawmohammed.com – Hacked a long time ago.
- drawmohammad.com – Gone
- www.nordish.net/blog/ – Gone
- drawmohammedweek.blogspot.com/ Still there
- www.mohammeddrawings.com – Gone
- Free Speech? – Banned In Pakistan before it was cool! – Still there, still crappy
- http://dragonkeypress.com/blog/?p=970 – Seems to have been removed
- Jesus and Mo – Still there, still active.
- Mohammed Image Archive – Still there
- http://www.dumbreligion.com – Gone
- http://www.mohammedbomb.com – Gone
- 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, zomblog, 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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