Friday, April 30, 2010

Why Draw?

The purpose here is not to offend or anger or insult or ridicule Islam.

The purpose for drawing is simply to "speak" out for free speech and to refuse to be intimidated into self-censorship.

This is serious stuff--complete with death threats, fatwas, violence and actual murder.

Ayan Hirshi Ali has a recent editorial in the WSJ explaining the importance of actively resisting attempts by radical Muslims to prevent images of Mohammad from publication. Ali's friend, Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh, was murdered for the film Submission (written by Ali and directed by van Gogh) because of its graphic critism of the abuse of women perpetrated in the name of Islam. Ali herself was threatened and evenually forced to leave the Netherlands as a consequence of the subsequent controversy.

Here is part of what Ali has to say:

One way of reducing the cost is to organize a solidarity campaign. The entertainment business, especially Hollywood, is one of the wealthiest and most powerful industries in the world. Following the example of Jon Stewart, who used the first segment of his April 22 show to defend "South Park," producers, actors, writers, musicians and other entertainers could lead such an effort.

Another idea is to do stories of Muhammad where his image is shown as much as possible. These stories do not have to be negative or insulting, they just need to spread the risk. The aim is to confront hypersensitive Muslims with more targets than they can possibly contend with.

Another important advantage of such a campaign is to accustom Muslims to the kind of treatment that the followers of other religions have long been used to. After the "South Park" episode in question there was no threatening response from Buddhists, Christians and Jews—to say nothing of Tom Cruise and Barbra Streisand fans—all of whom had far more reason to be offended than Muslims.

Islamists seek to replace the rule of law with that of commanding right and forbidding wrong. With over a billion and a half people calling Muhammad their moral guide, it is imperative that we examine the consequences of his guidance, starting with the notion that those who depict his image or criticize his teachings should be punished.

Ali's courageous work resisting the tyranny of the Muslim religion is told in her autobiography, Infidel.

Freedom is of a piece. Each attack must be vigorously resisted.
The old adage "safety in numbers" takes on a new meaning as we draw in support of those under threat.

Mohammad by Lynne