Tuesday, July 13, 2010

'Draw Mohammed Day,' the Sequel

Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni cleric, put Seattle's Molly "Everybody draw Mohammed Day" Norris on an execution list. Here's what set him off:
"...Norris published a 'blasphemous cartoon' on her website in April in protest to Comedy Central's decision to censor an episode of a popular show, 'South Park' that depicted Islam's Prophet objectionably...."
(The Times of India)
I haven't seen the "South Park" episode in question, but I don't doubt that it was offensive. Or, at any rate, that it offended quite a number of Muslims.

It's not just the citizen from Seattle who's threatened. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officials spoke with a Canadian woman who, inspired by the Seattle cartoonist, set up her own 'draw Mohammed' Facebook page. The RCMP suggested that she remove that page - and not speak with reporters. Looks like she took half their advice - but talked to at least one reporter. Or maybe a journalist spoke with someone from the RCMP. (FOXNews)

Killing Offensive People Isn't Nice

I realize it's applying my values to other people, but I don't think it's nice to kill people, just because they're boors.

I don't think it's right to call for the execution of a cartoonist, based on something the cartoonist drew.

I also think it's not right to tell folks to kill someone who set up a Facebook page for the cartoonist.

Killing someone because the other person offended you isn't considered proper behavior in the West. Quite a few countries even have laws against that sort of thing, and it was regulated before that. It's one of the cases in which the beliefs I've chosen are on the same page as Western values. Which is another topic.

Islamic Terrorists aren't Nice

I also think that outfits like Al Qaeda and the Taliban are:
  • Under the impression that they're defending Islam
  • Not even close to being on the same page with Western laws and customs
The incidents of September 11, 2001, should have made nearly everybody in the Western world aware of this.

We Live in a Global Community: Deal With It

And I certainly think that it's - silly, at best - for a grown person to intentionally offend people who have a track record for killing folks who offend them.

Granted, whoever censored that "South Park" episode wasn't following contemporary American/Western mores. Offensive portrayal of sacred things, like that "South Park" episode and putting a crucifix in urine is perfectly acceptable behavior. Even, in some circles, commendable.

As long as a person is living in a closed society where everybody agrees that religion is icky - that sort of behavior doesn't do any obvious, immediate, physical harm.

The problem is that the 'proper' sort of people don't live in a nice little gated community, cut off from the world. Like just about everybody else, they live in a village with a population of over 6,830,000,000.

And we're not all exactly alike.

Outfits like Al Qaeda and the Taliban have their own way of coping with a diverse world. I think their approach is wrong.

Folks who deliberately offend their neighbors have another way of coping with a world that isn't just the way they'd like it. I think their approach is wrong, too.

I've discussed this before:
'Draw Mohammed Day' - This Does Not Help
Whatever the motives of the 'Draw Mohammed Day' organizers, I have more trouble sympathizing with their cause. It's hard to believe that many in the English-speaking world who have heard of Mohammed are unaware of the prohibitions against drawing a likeness of The Prophet.

I don't have a problem with visual depictions of living creatures - but I know that others do. I would no more invite people in a public setting to draw The Prophet, than I would to offer an orthodox Jew a ham sandwich, or insist that a strict vegetarian eat a porterhouse steak.

Not that those three examples are quite equivalent. The point is, I've lived among people who weren't exactly like me. It really isn't smart to intentionally insult and abuse another's beliefs or customs.

I understand that it may 'feel good' to fling insults at 'those people.' It may even earn you some status in your own little subculture.

But we live in a big world. I can understand Sudan's leaders having fits over a teddy bear, and a Saudi cleric who wants women to use one eye at a time. Understand, not condone.

That 'Draw Mohammed Day' has a Western feel to it - which makes the 'Draw Mohammed Day' organizers more culpable. They presumably either grew up in a culture that - in theory, at least - practiced tolerance: or learned about the concept in their studies. You'd think they'd know better.
(" 'Draw Mohhammed Day?!' Get a Grip!" (May 19, 2010))
Related posts:In the news:Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.