Doesn’t that suggest that you deliberately set out to court outrage?

Thanks to Chigau, here is Author talking to Jeremy Paxman, Author in a shadow with his voice distorted to sound like Some Grey Bloke.

Paxman asks how Jesus and Mo started, and Author says he’d had the idea of a religious satire cartoon for a long time but it was the Danish cartoons fiasco that prompted him to start. “Doesn’t that suggest that you deliberately set out to court outrage?” Paxman asked.

Whether it did or whether it didn’t, that’s not a reprehensible thing to do. Satire; comedy; outrage; they’re all permitted. There can be bad stupid satire and outrage done in a bad cause, but that doesn’t mean that all outrage is haram.

More talk, and back he came. “But you do understand that depicting the prophet is a great offense to Muslims.” About as much as I understand that refusing to eat fish on Friday is a great offense to Catholics. Other people’s religious taboos are their problem.


  1. Cuttlefish says

    I tried to comment at Huffpo UK, when I first saw this. I failed, with no account and no desire to start one… so I’ll just paste my response here:


    My goodness… there are cartoonists who offend me, and offend those who think like me, tremendously (see the tumblr account “A Good Cartoon” for a sample of them); my local paper carries thoughtless, knee-jerk, right-wing, anti-science political cartoons on a regular basis, which I find not merely offensive, but offensive regarding things that impact the real world, not a world that different sects can’t even agree on.

    Jesus & Mo is delightful… for its intended audience. Religious messages are delightful for their intended audiences as well. Both, of course, are offensive to those not in their target demographic.

    Any Christian sermon with the message that non-Christians are going to hell *must*, I should think, be more offensive to a Muslim than a silly cartoon. If we censor J&M, isn’t the next logical step censoring Christian sermons, just in case they offend a Muslim who wanders into a church?

    No? Then leave J&M alone. It’s not like Author is going door-to-door stuffing cartoons in mailboxes. Odds are a J&M cartoon will never enter a mosque on its own; give them their space, and they will grant you yours. Public space, though, belongs to all. As it must.

  2. says

    “If they cause harm….”

    No, Paxton, you twerp, the comics *won’t* “cause harm”: they’re comics, not people. Someone reacting to a comic with murderous intent is a problem for society. Muslims are not mindless demons of danger that are triggered when a cartoon character says “my name is Mohammed”.

  3. stewart says

    Never the suggestion that because Islam’s “holy book” contains dire warnings to unbelievers, it may be considered offensive and should therefore be repressed. If you can’t claim a supernatural being who can get scarily angry is linked to your case, you don’t have a case. No god is offended when atheists are offended, so what’s the big deal? It’s how all-powerful the putative offended party is, not how likely its existence is, that does the trumping.

  4. Omar Puhleez says

    There is a definite distinction between being in philosphical disagreement with the basic propositions of Islam (which I emphatically am; it is a terrible religion) and being hostile to those who have been brought up in it, and whose community creed it is, which I emphatically am not. Few people ever get to choose ‘their’ religion. Rather, they are born into a community for whom the religion is ideological glue binding all their minds together.

    Just what is believed is far less important than the fact that we all believe together.

    We can all believe that God is a great tooth fairy in the sky, or a vengeful, grumpy ogre, easily offended, particularly by cartoons, as long as we all believe it together. Believing is the most important precondition for belonging, and even those who have ceased to believe commonly keep quiet about it, because they do not want to cease to belong: including many clergy these days.

    Thus all religions (except perhaps Buddhism) are against disbelief, and some like Islam and Mediaeval Catholicism have severe penalties for heresy and apostasy.

  5. chigau (違う) says

    I cannot take much credit.
    I just googled the right terms at the right time.
    Does Jeremy Paxman always look that puzzled?

  6. Jenny says

    ive always wondered if those who get upset about images also get upset at all those paintings and other artwork done by muslims themselves throughout the ages (since they seem to say any depictions are a no no :S)

  7. M.C. Simon Milligan says

    All right, no one is to stone ANYONE until I blow this whistle. Even – and I want to make this absolutely clear – even if they do say “Jehovah.”

  8. Adam S says

    Anyone else follow the link to the Interview with Paddy Ashdown on the matter?

    He keeps asserting that Maajid was expressing a “minority view of British Muslims.” This maybe true but watch how he answers the challenge on how he knows it is a minority view.

    “You don’t have to know what they [Muslims] think, but what their theology is.”

    Because all Muslims are literalists? Because it’s not like there are thousands of different interpretations of Islam?

    Nah, that would be too complex and water down the message of “let’s all play nice.”

  9. sacharissa says

    Paxo suggests that there is something wrong with Author being anonymous. He overlooks why he has to be anonymous, why he has to appear as a shadow with a distorted voice. That’s the most sinister thing about the whole sequence: that a man has to appear like that because his life would be in danger if he appeared as himself.

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