Come and get me
(And if you’re not sure how to find me, I look like the cartoon above. Maybe I myself am an image of Muhammad, and thus haram.)
Did the U.S. State Department ever condemn “Piss Christ” or Chris Ofili’s dung-encrusted portrait of the Virgin Mary? Of course not. They’re only condemning the Motoons because of the anti-free speech campaign of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which kicked into high gear in response to the original Danish cartoons of Muhammad. So the U.S. State Department is demonstrating that violence and intimidation work — which only ensures that we will see more of it.
And with its fig-leaf defense of the freedom of speech below, issued in the context of deploring and denouncing the Motoons, amounts to a call for self-censorship. Now, self-censorship is something we all do all the time, in innumerable contexts: if everyone always said what he thought, there would be a lot more broken relationships and lost jobs, etc. But politeness and respect are not what are at issue here, and the point of publishing the Motoons is not to cause offense, although they will certainly do that. The key fact is that the cartoons arouse in Muslims not only murderous rage but attempts to restrict the freedom of speech through legal avenues. As such, self-censorship amounts only to self-imposed dhimmitude, and to acquiescence to the supremacy and rule of Sharia.
That’s why the Motoons are not a stunt, not a joke, not a raspberry to anyone, not an exercise in obnoxiousness or gratuitous offense. The Motoons are rather the foremost battleground in the defense of the freedom of speech today. Every newspaper in the country should be printing them today, to show they are not cowed and will defend free speech. The State Department should be explaining what I am explaining now. Instead, this.
“US slams blasphemous Facebook images,” from the Daily Times, May 22 (thanks to Neil):
WASHINGTON: The US has deplored blasphemous images of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) on Facebook as “deeply offensive to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike”, saying America does not condone expressions that lead to violence or hatred. The US State Department also expressed respect for any actions that need to be taken under Pakistani law to protect their citizens from offensive speech, but expected a balance between restricting offensive material and ensuring flow of information for the Internet users. “Obviously, this is a difficult and challenging issue. Many of the images that appear today on Facebook were deeply offensive to Muslims and non-Muslims alike,” Philip J Crowley, assistant secretary of state, said.