What’s wrong with this picture?

The caption on the page:

Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK

To insult someone, to be offensive, provocative or racist is not only uncivilised, rude and disrespectful, but also causes societies to live in misery with anger and tension. Those that find this acceptable or support this concept should enlighten us why this is beneficial to society/an individual. How can we expect to build civilised, unified societies if we encourage everyone to insult one another? To respect others is a basic human property.

What rule exists for one community, should exist for others too; the double standards of free speech controlled by those in power against the powerless needs to be eliminated. There needs to be recognition that ‘Freedom of speech’ is not the starting point, rather respect should be the starting point, and both go hand in hand.

That’s thoroughly confused.

“Muhammed” stands for an intrusive oppressive religion that treats women as inferiors and persecutes outsiders as “kuffar.” The power of the “Muhammed” is illegitimate and harmful. We need to resist it, and criticizing or mocking “Muhammed” is one way of doing that. It is not at all the same thing as insulting Muslims as a group.


  1. iknklast says

    Looks to me like they are equating an insult to a large group of people (blacks, women, gays) with a (perceived) insult to a single, long-dead individual who is in no way hurt by the “insult”. Besides, it isn’t illegal to draw, paint, or otherwise depict blacks, women, or LGBT; they are being depicted in media all the time. And these groups are not typically killing the individuals who do not agree with them. They are using arguments (OK,. sometimes inflammatory) to make their case.

    If they want some sort of equivalence, that last would need to read “Insult Muslims”. Then it would be an equivalency, but they are allowing Muhammed to stand in for all Muslims, and a particular view of Muhammed, at that. Attacking Jews is anti-semitism; questioning Judaism is not anti-Semitism. To be a true equivalence, they would need to have “insulting Moses”. I’m not sure what they would have for the others. “Insulting Gloria Steinem”? “Insulting Harvey Milk”? Of course, most people realize that neither of these individuals stands for the entire group; nor do the “don’t ever dare draw Muhammed or we’ll cut off your blaspheming head” folks represent the entire group of Muslims.

  2. Beth says

    What strikes me about this, is that everything on that list counts as free speech.

    Nobody is allowed to murder or even arrest people for making sexist or racist comments. All anyone is allowed to do in response is to state their objections/disagreement/disgust with those sentiments or simply ignore them.

  3. ShowMetheData says

    “What’s wrong with this picture?”

    The answer is Power.
    The first four have no power. Muhammed and his followers have power. They have it internally with Islam and its followers. But they have little ability to impose their power outside that sphere.

    And as a minority in a country, the only discourse on power they can handle is HOW to control the differing elements in their own minority group. And if they do not do that (are too weak or not pure enough), they will be ousted by others willing to control their minority. One of the safest things to do is to disguise power over others in your own minority group. That is done by proclaiming yourselves and the minorities inside your minority as ALL powerless – like those other minorities listed.

    As religions live in a world where you are either in that religion or condemned by it, there is no room for minorities or minority rights. And so there is very little knowledge or experience on how to work out minority rights.

    It is very difficult. A quick look at the Christian majority through the lens of Ed Brayton’s daily dose of christian privilege. They do not discuss what it means, nor discuss the structures exposed by secularity in government. They do not want to and, should they be dragged into it, would have no tools for discussion of minority rights.

  4. rietpluim says

    What more is wrong with this picture? Many blacks, Jews, women and gays agree quite a bit about what is or is not an insult. Then some Muslims come and tell us that they get to decide what is or is not an insult. For example, they think calling Muhammad a pedophile is an insult. It is not. It is a fact.

  5. Saad says

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    So many things.

    That is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. It’s in the wingnut slogan of “gay marriage is slavery” territory of cluelessness.

    Muhammad is a historical figure who has been dead for well over a thousand years.

    Insulting a black person is not racism.
    Insulting a Jewish person is not anti-semitism.
    Insulting a woman is not sexism.
    Insulting a gay person is not homophobia.
    Insulting a religious figure is not whatever they’re suggesting it is.

  6. says

    Isn’t it weird that they act like they worship mohammed, not god? Have they conflated the two? It’s like mohammed is a graven image, or something… At least the christians dodged that bullet by saying that jesus and god were really the same, kinda.

  7. Robert, not Bob says

    @ Marcus
    That (many) Muslims clearly violate the spirit of the law by idolizing both Mohammad and the Quran has been pointed out, by Hitchens among others (the Muslim he said that to in the clip I saw was Very Much Not Amused). I think the difference may be *because* Jesus is a god but Mohammad is not: Muslims being defensive on his behalf. Jesus being god allows many Christians to shrug things off.

  8. rjw1 says

    We never hear from Muhammed (piss be upon him) himself, perhaps he’s dead.
    What’s this crap about Muslims being ‘powerless’ some will murder uppity
    Kufars who offend them. Anyone who thinks that Muslims are powerless is welcome to go to the inner suburbs of any Western city and ‘insult’ Muhammed in any public place. The placard doesn’t represent the anguished pleas of a powerless minority, but the demand for a special status for Islam above all other institutions by its supremacist followers.

    @7 Saad,
    Agreed, although I’d qualify your comments with, ‘not necessarily’.

  9. says

    Jesus being god allows many Christians to shrug things off.

    Admittedly, some christians appear to worship Mary as if she was a god, and others have elevated her to semidivine status. F’in idolatry, how does it work?

  10. Robert, not Bob says

    “Powerlessness” is relative. Islamists lack the power to enforce global legal bans; hence the terrorist campaigns, which I’m sure are mainly expressions of frustration.

  11. quixote says

    (Sort of the same as what others have said. I think?)

    Everything except the last are classes of people. Insulting whole classes of people is invariably false (I mean seriously, do they ever cite research or reasoning that supports their points?) hence due to bigotry. Hate speech, not free speech.

    The last is an idea, a concept. (The fact that the historical man is dead misses the point, since what people go gonzo about is the idea they hold.) Criticizing the concept and showing your work is exactly what free speech is for. It’s discussing ideas. It’s not bigotry.

    OTOH, criticizing Mohammed purely to get his followers riled up does skate pretty damn close to hate speech. There was that idiotic film a while back, Innocence of Muslims, or something. Pam Geller’s idiotic subway posters fall into this set, as far as I’m concerned. Her fairly idiotic “cartoon contest” recently in Dallas sits right on the fence, I think. Her motivations were crap, but the actual activity has to be construed as being protected speech.

  12. rjw1 says

    @ !2 Robert, not Bob

    “..hence the terrorist campaigns, which I’m sure are mainly expressions of frustration.” That’s a widespread belief and probably a myth. Don’t agree, terrorism is a tactic, not an ‘expression of frustration’, assuming that it is, trivialises the Islamists’ responsibility for the atrocities they commit. A temper tantrum is an expression of frustration. Terrorism has been used by the more powerful side against the weaker through history and it was a tactic of Muhammed and his successors from the 7th century onwards, it’s not necessarily a last resort for the powerless. Probably the first terrorist organization in history was Muslim, they were referred to as the “Assassins” by their enemies.

  13. Jenora Feuer says

    Don’t agree, terrorism is a tactic, not an ‘expression of frustration’,

    And it’s a tactic that is often useful against your own ‘side’, as well. Deliberately riling things up and making your opponents act like frothing madmen is a way for the extremists to force the moderates to side with them just by making sure nobody on the other side will take them.

    One of the primary goals of any extremist is to poison any attempt at dialog so they can maintain control.

  14. Robert, not Bob says

    Of course terrorism is an intimidation tactic, and of course it’s used by every power ever. The US practices it right now; so does Israel. It’s used both to show existing overwhelming power-or to try to claim power you don’t yet have! Just like taking offense, in fact. And when I say frustration, I mean frustration at not dominating the entire world, which they know they have the god-given right to do (not Muslims in general, and not necessarily even all Islamists, I suppose; just the ones of concern here).

  15. rjw1 says

    @17 Robert, not Bob

    “I mean frustration at not dominating the entire world, which they know they have the god-given right to do (not Muslims in general, and not necessarily even all Islamists, I suppose; just the ones of concern here).”

    This is where we differ. There’s no evidence for a sharp dividing line between Islamists and the mass of Moslems in general. Islam, like Christianity is a proselytising religion, world domination is part of its ideological baggage, so there’s probably a not a clear demarcation, but a gradation of belief and attitudes in regard to the methods in achieving that aim. “Moderate” Muslims might not support the Islamists or their methods in achieving their aims, however it doesn’t follow that they would reject any Muslim majority society that resulted.
    I’ve encountered an alarming number of Muslims and Christians who yearn for their particular superstition to be the societal norm, it’s just the nature of totalitarian ideologies.

    The fact that the phrase “the majority of moderate Muslims ” is repeated by all the media parrots, doesn’t make it true.

  16. johnthedrunkard says

    Insulting Bill Cosby?
    Insulting Meir Kahane?
    Insulting Sara Palin?
    Insulting Ted Haggard?

    How about insulting Hitler, or Jesus for that matter?

    A complete category error. And, as always, a special pleading for the Poor Little Dears.

  17. Robert, not Bob says


    I’m just a bit uncomfortable with saying every Muslim in the world consciously desires to conquer the world (especially as I’ve known some). In fact, I’ve always feared that the main difference between religious moderates and fundamentalists is laziness, but the evidence doesn’t point that way. Muslims cherry-pick too, even if it means holding opinions contrary to bedrock fundamentals of Islam. I bet there are even Muslim feminists!

  18. rjw1 says

    20 Robert, not Bob,

    “I’m just a bit uncomfortable with saying every Muslim in the world consciously desires to conquer the world”

    Agreed, I didn’t claim that was the attitude of all Muslims. My point is that It’s naive to assume a clear and fixed division between ‘moderate’ Muslims and Islamists.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *