For ages, nobody drew Muhammad. Artists freely drew the Virgin Mary, Jesus the Christ, Gautama the Buddha, Hindu gods and goddesses, and whoever else that they liked. But Muhammad, fanatics have objected to his being drawn even though Muslim artists drew him in the Middle Ages. Recently someone broke the rule. A Danish cartoonist drew Muhammad. It was obvious he was angry with Muhammad’s followers who were terrorizing the world.
And then the whole world witnessed madness. The followers burned down everything and killed people. The artist had to go into hiding to save his life. The world was shocked. People became angry with the followers who were issuing fatwas and death threats against people whoever criticized Islam. They were behaving like a bunch of monsters. Monsters do not believe in democracy, human rights and freedom of expression.
Resistance against violation of freedom of expression grew. As a protest, people who believe in freedom of expression started drawing Muhammad. They even created a ‘Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.’ Muhammad was portrayed as a wise man or a saint in medieval times, but he is portrayed as a crooked man or a terrorist today even by peace-loving people who did not hate the prophet before, not even after 9/11. All artists are not peace-loving. There are some artists in the crowd who praise their own religion but criticize Islam. They draw Muhammad and pretend to be believers of freedom of expression.
It is true that if Muslim fanatics did not show their intolerance towards the Danish cartoonist, nobody would have started drawing Muhammad.
Let’s see Muhammad through the eyes of medieval artists.
Today’s pictures about Muhammad are almost all offensive, for freedom of expression encourages variety, and this has resulted in the prophet’s followers ruining his reputation.
The Internet is now flooded with Muhammad cartoons. Large numbers of professional and amateur artists have been drawing Muhammad since 20 May 2010. So how many artists do the fanatics hope to kill? Are they ignorant of the fact that throughout history whenever there is intolerance there is a resistance? When Christian churches ruled, they terrorized the world and killed those who committed blasphemy. Resistance grew, however, and the churches lost their power. In a free society today, Christian fanatics cannot harm those who loudly say, “Fuck you, Jesus!”
Amit Raj says
Mam, you have brought our attention on a such an interesting topic in a captivating way and I fully agree on this line that whenever there was intolerance, there was resistance. Keep writing 🙂
But let’s all remember that drawing cartoons of Muhammad is RACIST!
At least, that’s what Myers said back when there was an actual risk attached to republishing them.
Funny how that goes, isn’t it?
Drawing pictures of Muhammad can be racist, depending on the context. If you celebrate Draw Muhammad Day at the British National Party headquarters, you’re probably not doing it to make a principled point about freedom of speech. You’re probably doing it because you hate “foreign brown people”.
We should not say against freedom of expression only because some racists may use their freedom to express racist opinions. We should not stop scientific research only because some people may use advanced science against humanity.
Oh, I agree with you. I’m not saying we shouldn’t draw Muhammad. I’m just saying that some people draw Muhammad for bad reasons, and we should be aware of those racists.
I support people who draw Muhammad for principled reasons, especially people who are willing to offend all religions equally. I had a post on my blog called LolBlasphemy in which I desecrated pictures of Muhammad, Jesus, Mary, Krishna, Buddha etc. I will put it back up soon. I need to reupload the pictures.
And Guru Nanak! I forgot to add that I desecrated Guru Nanak too. And no Sikhs have hunted me down to stab me with their kirpans… yet!
I kinda go back and forth in my mind about where the line is between having a grevience against Islam as a religion and being Islamaphobic. Definitely, when I see BNP people doing stuff like that, I think they’re just racist and would want to ridicule brown people no matter what religion they practiced.
But on the other hand, I often see women who were raised Muslim, who have issues with Islam (like Taslima) and they’re often painted with same brush, accused of trying to “cater to the West” or use their “Western privilege.”
It’s like, when Ian Paisley ridicules Catholics by dropping wafers in the dirt, he’s just being racist. But when I see people who were raised Catholic doing similarly ridiculous things to ridicule Catholicism (singing songs like “Fuck Me, Sexy Jesus” for example), I tend to just let them off the hook and assume that Catholicism deserves it for whatever it did to them.
But I don’t know. I haven’t figured this one out at all.
Um, no. What you are describing is perhaps bigotry, but not racism. Catholicism is not a race. Neither is Islam. This distinction is important.
Oh yes, that’s true. In Paisley’s case, I guess it’s still not racism; it’s bigotry toward Irish people (with a hint of classism stirred in) disguised as….critique of religion? And actually, I don’t feel too bad for Catholics when he does stuff like that as they’re not institutionally discriminated against in the North anymore.
But as far as Islam. Yes Islam isn’t a race, but sometimes, when people are pretending to critique Islam, they’re just being racist against South East Asians or people from the Middle East. I’m all about critiquing religion (and even ridiculing it in certain respects), but when you see a conservative white Christian in the USA bitching about Islam, it always seem slightly disingenuous. Because if that guy is so interesting in critiquing religion, who does he buy into something as ridiculous as Christianity?
And context is key. The conservative Christian in the USA should shut up about Islam because Christians are running the USA and Muslims are a minority (who tend to face bigotry and often racism). Whereas if a Christian in Egypt was ridiculing Islam, I’d cut him some slack.
Oh whoop-de-do. Yes, it can be magically racist and not-racist depending on who is doing it and whom it makes good. And skip the false-flag stuff about the BNP – they are a tiny handful of peabrained sados who have zero significance in the broader argument.
What this is an all purpose get-out card – a chance to say that all those who did republish the cartoons in solidarity were not doing it out of principle and courage, but out of racism, and those – like Myers – who ran away when the ammo was live were not guilty of cowardice and hypocrisy, but of principled anti-Racism, a principle that neatly dovetailed with the line of least resistance.
The basic reason this is all balls is that an act committed for racist reasons does not therefore become racist in and of itself.
Albert Bakker says
You resolutely reject an intentionalist stance then. That is fine. It is much simpler in a way. Yet other people do take intentions into account when evaluating ethical decisions and then from this basis do run into the question whether they want to make common cause with other people leaving from what they see as abject points of view, often working towards truly irreconcilable ends.
Skip it, sonny. If you want to see someone failing to be internationalist about things, ask Myers, who cut the Danes – in fact, all Scandinavians were being attacked at the time – off when they could have done with some.
But Winterwind, intent isn’t magic. Even if some of the cartoonists were motivated by racism, the actual cartoons may not themselves be racist and the whole point here is for freedom of expression.
Racism sucks and is utterly stupid.
So is telling everyone on the planet that they cannot draw certain cartoons because group X doesn’t like it – and thinks its ok to try and kill you for expressing yourself!
Funny too given that Mohammad and other Arabs are about as white-skinned as most Jewish and other Semitic peoples are.
No, I don’t think this is about skin-colour at all – its about standing up to bullies who want to impose their own brutal reigion upon everyone else in the world.
Its aboutfreedomof speech and expression and allowing peopel to mock everything including a historical “prophet” / desert bandit who richly deserves mockery.
reigion = religion. Typo correction, sorry. I did preview but one always seems to slip through anyhow.
Seriously. I would love to see even one realistic portrayal of Jesus and Muhammad where Muhammad has lighter skin than Jesus.
P. Mondol says
Thanks Taslima N.
Whatever you have expressed, those are also my opinion and troubles with Islam.
Best of luck.
Ned Champlain says
True believers would let Allah strike down the blasphemers. When that doesn’t happen maybe they will learn that their god, as with all others, are tales to scare children and finally grow up.
The mocking will continue until Islam can see cartoons depicting Mohammed without passion, offense, or desire to seek retribution. Islam will be ready-for-prime-time when it can laugh at itself and its prophet.
As long as the buttons work to inflame passions people are going to push them. The way to avoid having your buttons pushed is to disconnect them. Stop being offended and people will act less offensively. It is a matter of growing up and taking charge of your own mind.
Exactly Art. Seconded by me.
The Rose says
No Christian fanatic can harm us today if we say, ‘Fuck you, Jesus!’
Actually, they can and periodically do. Don’t underestimate Christian fanatics.
Also, someone ought to introduce the fatwa issuers to the term “Streisand effect”.
Off-topic but hopefully of interest here :
This story of a brave and defiant woman strongly standing up to the religious “police” thugs in Iran via Aussie online news media. Good on her!
@mynameischeese – May 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm :
But the Muslim culture even in the US and other western nations (Aussie myself FWIW) is often extremely repressive and misogynist and bigoted and has issues that need to be criticised. Everywhere they happen including in terms of the cultural mindset generally.
Read the other day about an English girl (or was she Australian or Amercian and does it matter?) of, I think, Pakistani origin whsoe own family murdered her – after years of physical and mental abuse for behaving in a Western way. There was a recent doco discussing arranged marriages – occurring in or with complicity from Western nations. Bad is bad wherever and whoever is doing it. I don’t think we should bar people fromspeaking out critically just because they live in the West. Its possuible and desireable for everyone, everywhere to criticise *both* Christian extremists in the majority – and Muslim extremists in the minority.
I’m not a fan of censorship even self-censorship nor the idea that peopel have any sort of right to tell others to shut up if they want to speak out.
Albert Bakker didn’t say “internationalist,” he said “intentionalist.” That is, taking intent into account when evaluating an action. Personally I think this is about broader social, cultural, poltical and racial context as well as simple intent.
Two possibilities here. Either you genuinely misunderstood what “intent isn’t magic” means or you’re trying to subvert it to justify privileged groups offending less privileged groups.
“Intent isn’t magic” is a teaching aid to help people understand that their words and actions can be hurtful regardless of their intentions. It actually supports my own point rather than yours. We have to take the social, cultural and historical context of the things we say and do into consideration. Suppose I make jokes about Black people liking fried chicken and being violent criminals, and Jews having big noses and being stingy, and as a result my black and Jewish friends tell me they’re hurt and offended.
I can’t claim that they shouldn’t be hurt and offended because it was “just a joke.” My benign intent won’t erase all the discrimination they’ve experienced, or indignities they’ve suffered as the result of belonging to minority groups. If I choose to reinforce stereotypes that are used by racists, I end up perpetuating that racism regardless of my intentions.
“Intent isn’t magic” doesn’t mean that intent doesn’t matter. It means that people who use “I didn’t intend it that way” as a defence of their prejudiced words/actions need to realise that they are hurting people regardless of their intentions.
So, for example, saying, “I intended my anti-Islamic cartoons to defend freedom of expression and attack violent and backward Islamists, rather than the peaceful Muslims who face discrimination due to belonging to a minority group,” will not protect say, minority Muslims from the ignorant and hateful attacks that they sometimes experience in countries where they constitute a minority.
I presume this wasn’t directed at me, because I didn’t say anything remotely like that. I said:
There is no way to interpret what I said as “no one should draw Muhammad.”
I think we all agree that thugs who murder people for artistic licence or hurting their feelings deserve no sympathy. I don’t give a fuck about radical Islamists. They can’t complain that they’re being offended, because their own views on murder, freedom of expression, women’s rights, intellectual freedom, gay rights, etc. are offensive to everyone else.
The people I’m concerned about are the ordinary, everyday Muslims, the kinds of people I’m friends with, who are experiencing discrimination because of the actions of fundamentalists within their communities.
Ned Champlain says
I have to repeat this, when shown the moons orbiting Jupiter, the clergy stated they saw nothing. That same blindness exist in Islam, as well as all religions. Pointing it out aids in dispelling the myths. We as free thinkers should persist in dispelling myths.
Albert Bakker says
I agree with most if not all of it Winterwind. I wish it would be much simpler. There is still also the word thinking in freethinking.
For the lesson on “intent isn’t magic”: thank you! +5 internet points.
women be worshiped in hindu religion ..like akkamahadevi in karnataka everyone should reach god thorough eternal power…every country should become a country perticularly to women, we indians hartly wish..