Saturday, September 18, 2010


I already read the sad news that Molly Norris, the Seattle Weekly cartoonist who came up with Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, has gone into hiding and left the paper. For some reason, the following entry on the subject at Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog drew my interest (because of how often I look at comic book news to see how far the industry has fallen? I guess), because I found that it's written by an admitted journalist named Brigid Alverson, who unfortunately takes a leftist stance (not that she admits it), and may have even resorted to moral equations. Let's see what we have here:
That’s a little harsh. I’d say Norris made a rookie mistake: thinking the whole rest of the world is like her and her friends. What she regarded as a political comment is literally blasphemy to observant Muslims, a fact that she either didn’t know or shrugged off. Unfortunately, she’s paying for this mistake rather dearly — and so are a lot of innocent bystanders.
A mistake, is it? Gee, that's a little harsh. I'd say Alverson is oblivious to what Islam and the Koran are built upon. For example, "When ye meet the unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks..." -- Qur'an 47:4, and check this recent example built on that kind of mindset.

Alverson then goes on to say:
Here’s why: Probably 99.99 percent of the Muslims who heard about this and were offended by it shrugged it off or kept their feelings to themselves and their immediate circle. A handful may have protested quietly, by writing on their blogs or sending a letter to the editor. Al-Awlaki seems to be the only person who has actually made a threat, but it only takes one: The comments to every article I have read about this have consisted almost entirely of slurs on Muslims, ranging from the snarky (“There’s your religion of peace”) to the frighteningly hateful. What started as a tongue-in-cheek comment on freedom of speech has ended up bringing out the worst aspect of that freedom, the freedom to hate in public.
And so, as we see here, Ms. Alverson makes the grave mistake of suggesting it was just one who made the fatwa, without even considering how many Muslims take it seriously, and almost instantly too. And, she otherwise just focuses upon the reactions by non-Muslims to the whole case, without even considering many of the threats of violence made by Islamofascists themselves. Take this, for example, and even this.

Alverson then says:
It’s hard to do this on the Internet, but sometimes you have to distinguish between crazy people and the rest of the group. Right now, with regard to Islam, some Americans are not doing a good job of this, and Norris, without really meaning to, has made things worse.
Things have been made worse long before Norris supposedly did. It is sad that what we have here is someone with no ability to research the history of Islam properly.

Alverson then says in the comments:
I’m a former newspaper reporter and a big believer in freedom of speech, even offensive speech. But as [...] says, you have to think before you speak.

Drawing a picture of the Prophet Mohammed is not just mocking Islam, it is blasphemy in the eyes of observant Moslems. You may think that’s absurd, but that doesn’t give you a license to go stomping all over their religion just for the fun of it. If you do that, there will be pushback, because people take these things seriously.

Here’s the best analogy I can come up with: Although I’m not Jewish, I rented a room from a conservative Jewish woman for almost a year. She kept a kosher house. Now, it’s perfectly legal for me to eat a cheeseburger or a ham sandwich anywhere I want, but out of respect for her, I did not bring them into the house. It’s not just about me. It’s about coexisting with other people whose beliefs I respect, despite not sharing them.
If that's the best "analogy" she could come up with, it's the worst. No observant Judaist would ever react violently if you ate a cheeseburger in their household, and wouldn't consider the premises permanently desecrated either, and it's forbidden in Judaism to do that.

Another commentor on the post, possibly from Europe, said:
Respect is a two-way street, Brigid. Religions and their adherents have no compunctions about denouncing the perceived flaws of non-believers, opposing sects and modern society in general, often in virulent, disrespectful ways. Saying “yes, but to them it’s *blasphemous*” (which means what, extra super-annoying?) could be applied to the fundamentalist Christian and Muslim perspective on homosexuality as well. Does seeing two men walk hand-in-hand warrant or excuse a violent ‘pushback’ (nice euphemism there!), as is happening more and more often here in the Netherlands (which has both gay marriage and a sizeable Muslim minority)?

Being a non-believer myself, I find it strange that being religious should permit believers to be allowed harsh, uncompromising positions on a vast range of hot-button issues yet also shield them from direct critiques of said views. That way, freedom of religion trumps freedom from religion, resulting in a situation where professing adherence to a god-based worldview gives one a licence to insult others freely and claim offence at any act of peaceful defiance. Religion is not the sole purveyor of passionate morality, nor does guarantee it – so I would argue against a statement as inane as “…because there are few things as deeply felt as [religion].”

The reason Everybody Draw Mohammed Day ‘went viral’, I think, is because it’s an emminently egalitarian, nonviolent way to mock fundamentalist Islam, to poke fun at it. Excusing the implied or explicit threat of violence in response to mockery, satire or spirited opposition of any peaceful kind is imbecilic beyond belief.

(addendum 1: maybe less so in the US of A, but here in Europe and in vast swaths of the rest of the world, we don’t need to be reminded that Muslims are ‘real people’ since we see and interact with them every day)

(addendum 2: how does your Kosher House analogy apply to the internet? Or say, the Danish cartoon controversy? Shouldn’t Muslims worldwide and in Denmark have STFU since its the Danes’ corner of the world and they’re the local majority, and drawing whatever you like is part of their ‘house rules’?)

(addendum 3: I once visited an Orthodox Israeli girl in Tel Aviv. Kosher food, strict observance of the Shabbat with no usage of electricity, all that jazz. Me being a goy had an unexpected upside for her: she asked me if could make her a cup of tea on Saturday – now that was coexisting with mutual respect.)
I like that last part. It shows what you can do for a friend who's religiously observant, and that they really don't have much of a problem with you using the electricity.

But now, here's where Ms. Alverson really blows the tire big time:
d, I am not afraid of Islam. What I am afraid of is feeding the rampant Islamophobia that I am seeing more and more of in the media and even in people around me.

I’m fine with saying “This cartoonist is a victim of psychotic fundamentalists” (I try to avoid the capslock key) as long as we keep the word “psychotic” in there. It’s important. Fundamentalism alone is not a reason to call for the death of someone half a world away and expect them to be killed.

Here’s my armchair analysis of what happened: The cleric in Yemen was scoring some political points. It’s easy to denounce Norris because what she called for is, in fact, an abomination in their religion, just as it was easy for her to call for an “Everyone Draw Mohammed Day” because prohibitions on drawing a particular person are an abomination to our notion of free speech. His rant was more violently worded than hers, but basically, it’s propaganda. I don’t think he seriously intended anyone to kill her. I bet he forgot about her an hour after he said it.

The problem is that there are plenty of unhinged people out there, and it’s possible that one will take the cleric’s words seriously. Mixing mental illness with something as deeply felt as religion leads to trouble, and that’s not exclusive to Moslems.

That’s why Norris is in danger. I seriously doubt there is an organized movement to eliminate her. What she and the FBI are probably worried about is the possibility that Awaki’s rant will set someone off.

In other words, what JK said: The whole group should not be judged by the actions of a few—and looking at the reactions to this incident, I’m afraid that’s exactly what is happening.
Hmm. She could've admitted to being a leftist as well, because I assume that's exactly what she is. And, a]she even implies this is merely the result of some mental illness, and religion can have nothing to do with it, b]acts naive in thinking Awlaki, the mentor of Nidal Malik Hasan, will actually forget this (did Khomeini forget about Rushdie? Not until his death he didn't, and his followers certainly didn't either) or even the other Muslims he's incited against Norris, c]does not think Muslims can organize, and d]thinks, along with another contributor there, that this is merely the actions "of a few" without even considering the teachings of the Koran. Naive thinking at its most utter tragic.

Let this serve as an example of what the mindset of the leftist MSM can be like, spectacularly failing to do any proper research on any religion.

It's very sad that Norris has gone into hiding, in America, of all places. It's really not a good example to set, since, if we're to stop the Islamist threat, we can't let ourselves be cowed.

Update: speaking of Nidal Hasan, here's a video for the Fort Hood Memorial Convention:

Via Big Peace.

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