“Friday’s show of support for Muslims was organized by Rabbi Hillel Katzir of the Temple Shalom of Auburn. Katzir also represents the Lewiston-Auburn Interfaith Clergy.” — from this article on the Muhammad lost dog poster
“Show of support” for what? For a display of hysteria by local Muslims about the attempt (successful as it turned out) to provoke their hysterical reaction to anything they deem other than deeply respectful of Islam, when part of the achievement of the West, sometimes abused, is that aspects of various religions are mocked all the time. And when the faith in question is Islam, and there have been repeated examples of murderous Muslim reactions to such criticism — to, for example, the Danish cartoons — it is not only not wrong to criticize, but useful to protect, such criticism of Islam. This is true even if it is meant to test the Muslim reaction — let that reaction be tested. If they wish to live in the West they will have to accept the legal and political institutions of that West, and that includes free speech, as defined by us, and not by them.
As for Rabbi Katzir, who “represents the Lewiston-Auburn Interfaith Clergy,” one can imagine him thinking of himself as some brave Atticus-Finch (Northern Division), standing tall “with my Muslim friends” in their “time of need.” But it’s nonsense. It is Muslims who need to be told, or need to be shown, that this lost-dog sign, while hardly a brilliant sally of wit, is neither prosecutable as a crime nor, in the civil law, actionable. And that the hysteria that they are showing is designed of course to force everyone to go after anyone who dares to display an attitude other than one of respect, or even reverence. It is designed, that is, to force non-Muslims in a non-Muslim land to behave as circumspectly, or deferentially, toward Islam in all of its aspects, as possible. Yet when such deference and such circumspection is not demanded of us, we do not demand it of ourselves, in regard to any non-Muslim faith.
The transparent attempt to manipulate non-Muslims is aided and abetted by the moral-preeners who choose never to quite come to grips with the collectivism and the aggressive nature of Islam. Because to begin to study and analyze Islam is to find out that it is not, pace George Bush, one more “religion” like any other. This would throw cock-a-hoop the worldview of those wedded, coute que coute, to the pieties of interfaith gatherings. Such gatherings are perfectly fine when they do not involve those whose “faith” is a Total Belief-System that mandates a “struggle” to spread that faith until it not only can be found everywhere, but until it everywhere dominates. They are not at all fine when they becomes one more instrument for those conducting Jihad by using, as Muslims have set out clearly their intent to use, the naivetÃ© and weaknesses of the West (including mental weakness), and that strand of self-righteousness that the more rigid, and willfully ignorant, interfaith-healers display in Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of central Maine, or anywhere else in this land of ours — during what is looking more and more like, if more people don’t pull up their socks and come to their senses, what Karl Kraus would have called “the last days of Mankind.”
In the Netherlands, an Iranian photographer has just had to close her exhibit (something about Islam, and homosexuality, and hypocrisy, a point apparently made by her photographs of naked Muslim men wearing face-masks of Muhammad and Ali), first at one museum, and then at another, in response to death threats which still stand. Leaving aside the question of tastefulness, leaving aside that eternal problem of defining “what is art” — “Chto takoye iskusstvo?” said Tolstoy, and stayed too long to give his own long answer — there is still the little matter of those threats to commit murder, that successful attempt to intimidate, in the Netherlands, by Muslims “defending” the image of Islam.
The moral-preening interfaith-healers of sweet Auburn and nearby towns, as they congratulate themselves on their display of solidarity with their “Muslim brothers,” should bethink themselves.
The dog poster was clearly an attempt to flout the wishes of those Muslims who, not only in sweet Auburn but around the world, think that they have every right to stop all criticism of Islam, to shut it down, by playing the poor victim and waiting for the rabbi-katzirs to come running at one end, and by death threats, and then by murdering, the theo-van-goghs at the other end.
What the rabbi-katzirs and other interfaith-healers fail to understand, in their mediagenic indignation and outrage and “standing with our Muslim brothers” treacliness, is that they have a duty not to promote themselves as morally superior beings, but rather a duty to the legal and political institutions, including the individual freedoms, of the advanced democracies of the Western world. They have a duty, that is, not to take the side of the Muslims behaving as if a single poster applying the name of Muhammad to a dog is practically Kristallnacht, but to calmly explain that in the West such making-fun of this or that faith is permissible, is done all the time (simply turn on Bill Maher), and that by far most of the mockery is directed at the religions of the West — but that Islam will not be considered to be immune to criticism, discussion, or mockery, and they had better get used to it.
Everyone in the Lands of the Free West should be able to mock Islam, just as they can and do mock Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, or as they mock those who mock Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism. Whether the mockery hits home, whether it scores a palpable hit, is another matter.
In the affair of the photographs, no doubt the kind of mapplethorpian thing that are not to everyone’s taste, Wouter Bos, the deputy prime minister of the Netherlands, said the right thing when both museum directors, and other political figures, were saying the wrong one.
And here is what he said:
“In a democracy, we do not recognise the right not to be insulted.”
Put that in your interfaith peace-pipe and smoke it. For that, Rabbi Katzir, trumps your desire to show just what a swell fellow you are.