Oct 5, 2010

It's time to fight back against death threats by Islamic extremists

Earlier this year, after Comedy Central altered an episode of "South Park" that had prompted threats because of the way it depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris proposed an "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day."  The idea was, as she put it, to stand up for the 1st Amendment and "water down the pool of targets" for extremists.

The proposal got Norris targeted for assassination by radical Yemeni American cleric Anwar Awlaki, who has been linked to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight and also to several of the 9/11 hijackers.  Last month, after warnings from the FBI, Norris went into hiding.  The Seattle Weekly said that Norris was "moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity."

There is currently no federal law making it a crime (or permitting victims to sue for damages) to threaten people exercising their fist amendment rights in such a way.  Even if there were such a law, I find it highly unlikely that it would do much to curb the amount of death threats directed at such people, especially if made anonymously.  Anonymous being the key word.

This is my take on the situation; The Qur'an includes the books of the Old Testament just the same as do the holy books of Judaism and Christianity.  Therein, it is clearly expressed on many occasions that it is forbidden to worship idols or other "false" gods.  According to Muslims, creating a depiction of Muhammad would constitute idolatry in that it creates a vehicle for people to worship an inanimate object representing a prophet rather than worshiping the god of Abraham, A.K.A. Allah, himself.

Their religion forbids them from doing those things.  I have absolutely no problem with that.  If someone were trying to force Muslims to create depictions of Muhammad themselves against their will, I would do everything in my power to stop it as that would be an affront to basic human rights and would truly be a despicable thing.  When Muslims start forcing their bronze age Islamic laws on others and backing up it up with threats of violence, murder, and even genocide however, I have a real problem with it.  It's their religion, not mine.

If we are hindered by the anonymity of those who would hope to control us through violence and fear, why couldn't one counter with the same tactic?  If one is unknown, how can they be targeted?  The internet is the first thing one thinks of when they think of utilizing anonymity, and indeed, there has been a proliferation of depictions of Muhammad online.  However, those depictions are largely isolated to places where people opposed to such things seldom frequent.  I think I may have a solution.
Muhammad (NOT the prophet!) just some guy. sticker
It's easy, cheap, effective, and most importantly, anonymous; and therefore safe.  If people were to secretly place stickers or other non property-damaging depictions of Muhammad as a happy stick figure in public spaces and en masse, the point would be made and nobody could come to any harm.

I can imagine this taking off in major cities worldwide, which would be ideal so that extremists couldn't target any one single government or people.  If it were a worldwide phenomena, there would be nothing for them do do but accept that they cannot always force their religion on others through the exploitation of violence and fear.

It's only a smiling stick figure after all.  How can that be such a bad thing?


  1. This is a fantastic idea. Why didn't someone think of it sooner? It's a peaceful, unoffensive (to anyone rational) protest against an irrational, extremist belief.

  2. the tragedy is that if it ONLY took place in the "west" it would just be seen as fodder, and major cities would be targeted. recall the dutch cartoon:not only dutch embassies were burned. it was pretty willy-nilly.

    no, the only real way to get them to cease and desist is to get real muslims (commonly known as "moderates" though they are, in actuality, usually the only ones that have actually read the whole qur'an instead of just the angry bits) to step up and be like "dude. seriously. did you read ALL THESE PARTS? they all tell you that acting like you are goes against the word of your prophet."

    you need to fight insurgency from within the insurgency. until they become educated, they will continue to fight as the sheep the extremists are. coincidentally, other religions have the same problem... they just don't burn down embassies of random countries over a cartoon.

    but the drawing is cute.


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Thank you.