Fear of Offending

Last week we learned that South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have suffered death-threats on an Islamist site, after they attempted to depict the Prophet Mohammed in South Park.  Contributors to site called Revolutionmuslim.com warned they might be killed, like the filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.  The Revolutionmuslim site is now down, but their threats are cached by Google:

We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.

The post also contained a link to a Huffington Post article which describes where Stone and Parker live.  The group later presented a ‘clarification’ on SlideShare, which is still live, and which repeats the threat:

As for the Islamic ruling on the situation, then this is clear. There is no difference of opinion from those with any degree of a reputation that the punishment is death.  For one example, Ibn Taymiyyah the great scholar of Islam says, “Whoever curses the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) – a Muslim or a non Muslim- then he must be killed…” and this is the opinion of the general body of Islamic  scholars.

… This shows that taking this stance is virtually obligatory, but it does not mean that our taking this stance is in some way an absolute call toward the requirement that the creators of South Park must be killed, nor a deliberate attempt at incitement, it is only to declare the truth regardless of consequence and to offer an awareness in the mind of Westerners when they proceed forward with even more of the same.

Quite chilling. In the end, Mohammed was shown on South Park in a bear suit, and then underneath a big black ‘censored’ box, with references to his name bleeped out. Producers at Comedy Central made clear that it was they, and not Stone/Parker, that inserted this censorship.  In the second of the two part episode, the man in the suit was revealed to be Father Christmas, not Mohammed.

What is odd about all this is that, before the Mohammed cartoons controversy in Denmark, South Park quite happily featured Mohammed, unveiled, uncloaked, and unbearsuited.  The episode freely circulates in repeats and on DVD, and can be viewed in this short Boing Boing interview with Parker and Stone:

This week, the saga took a strang twist, when cartoonist Molly Norris published and circulated a cartoon entitled ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day‘, highlighting the ridiculous outcome of the South Park situation, where drawing anything can be taboo if it is labelled ‘Mohammed’:

The images and the idea were dedicated to Parker and Stone, but their heritage can be traced back clearly to the beginnings of conceptual art: René Magritte’s ‘The Treachery of Images‘ (“Ceci n’est pas une pipe”), perhaps? Norris ‘Citizens Against Citizens Against Humor’ label was quickly taken to be a real movement (it was not), and the ‘day’ assumed to be a proper publicity drive (which it wasn’t). Norris quickly removed her image, and made clear that she was not attempting to disrespect religion herself.

This entire episode marks a continuation, rather than a departure, from the frustrating discourse around blasphemy and ‘offence’.  Since the Rushdie affair, and especially since more recent examples such as the Theo Van Gogh murder, the ideal and right of free expression has been on the back foot.  Matt Stone’s quote in the video above highlights the sorry state of affairs:

Now that’s the new normal.  We lost. Something that was OK is now not OK.

When people like Stone and Parker do attempt to take this on, they are foiled by their own network.  Cartoonists like Molly Norris back away from any controversy.  In the UK, the recent production of Behud by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti reminds us that no-one is brave enough to put on Behzti, her controversial play set in a Sikh Temple.   Even the board of the illustrious Index on Censorship backed away from publishing a Mohammed cartoon earlier this year.

We are living in one of two worlds.  Either

  • the fears of all these people are justified, in which case, we have actually descended into a sort of fascist dystopia;  Or
  • we are being over-cautious, and self-censoring unnecessarily

My personal sense is that it is the latter state of affairs is where we are at.  The Revolution Muslim group seem tiny, pathetic and are easily dealt with using existing laws against threatening behaviour.  Likewise with other protesting groups in both the USA and the UK, who can be easily countered if free speech activists and artists co-ordinate properly.  Moreover, public opinion is certainly with free speech, and against those who think that blasphemy is a legitimate reason to censor.

Those with a personal connection to Theo Van Gogh, or Hitoshi Igarashi (Salman Rushdie’s Japanese translator) may disagree over the nature of the threat.  Crucially, however, either situation is untenable and an assault on democracy, and cannot be allowed to stand.

My feeling is that political leadership is required.  Only political leaders can guarantee police and legal protection for those who push the boundaries of satire… and the companies that facilitate this.  We don’t have this at the moment, and artists seem to be swimming in uncertainty, lost and scared.

33 thoughts on “Fear of Offending”

  1. OPEN LETTER TO NON-MUSLIMS – WHY WE ARE OFFENDED.

    Molly Norris, in her statement apologizes to people of Muslim faith and asks that this ‘day’ be called off. She says this day has brought together a group of people who only want to draw obscene images,which are offensive to the Muslims, “who did nothing to endanger our right to expression in the first place.”

    Despite being a predictable offense to Muslims and their repeated requests NOT to draw Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), cartoons have been drawn in defiance and published by Swedish Lars Vilks and by Danish political cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and now this…There have been numerous protests by Muslims over time, who have made it very clear to everyone that cartoons, paintings or depictions of Muhammad (pbuh) are disrespectful to our religious views. Now, to go a step further and draw ‘obscene’ cartoons is an obvious provocation even to the most mild mannered Muslim.

    We want to make it very clear to everyone, that these objections are not limited to extremists or groups. I wish I could explain to you in so many words, the passion that an average Muslim feels about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). You would have to be a Muslim to understand that bond. The men/women who attacked the cartoonists were ordinary people…not criminals, terrorists or extremists. Call these crimes of passion, they were committed in a rage.

    We don’t like it either when you draw obscene pictures of Jesus Christ (Hazrat Isa) or any of our other Prophets, peace be upon them all. We don’t like it when you use ‘Jesus Christ’ as an expletive or depict pictures with men urinating on the Bible (which you have now replaced with the Quran). Maybe that is freedom of expression for you, but WE find it extremely disrespectful. We love and respect all our Prophets, starting with Prophet Abraham (pbuh).

    There is a shared responsibility in a shared society, which includes defending each other’s human dignity. We are endorsed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Offensive cartoons have appeared over time, especially about Black American and Jews, amongst others.

    Mocking the human dignity of others in offensive cartoons depicting men and prophets seems to be the medium of those promoting disrespect and outright hatred. There are many things that we are free to do, but we do not do out of respect for others, so that we can co-exist peacefully.

    What exactly do you think you will achieve by offending ALL Muslims across the globe? Superiority? Or do you think you will defame the Prophet and Islam? I assure you that this will not affect Islam or the character of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the least bit. Chronicles prove that he was a man of impeccable character, erudite, humble, soft spoken and very well mannered and a great leader. No amount of sketching is going to change that. However, we can pretty much predict the outcome of this provocation and offense to the Muslims…more hatred and animosity. Then there will be those who may retaliate, the extremists, the terrorists and those who, in a rage of passion decide to take the law in their own hands…and we, the rest of the Muslims have no control over that. What will you have achieved?

    We want to publicly show you that we are larger than those who mock us and therefore:

    “We appeal to sensible, peace loving Americans and non-Muslims across the world, to stand with us and denounce this open provocation and disrespect. We hope for peace in the next generation, which is dependant on the history we write today. Let us choose Love, not Hate. Love always wins.”

    Shamira Kashmiri

    1. Thanks for the long comment, Shamira.

      I think the issue of Molly Norris’ cartoon needs to be quite clearly separated from the more offensive cartoons depcited in the Jylland’s Postern and other places.

      Molly’s cartoon was specifically addressing the issue raised by the South Park controversy, whereby a character that was not, ultimately, Mohammed (pbuh) was censored becuse the characters in the TV show thought that he was. She was satirising the idea that simply labelling something ‘Mohammed’ means that the drawing is a depcition of Mohammed. Obviously it is not. Calling a cup of tea ‘Mohammed’, or a cherry, or a domino, does not make it so. If Mohammed is, by definition, “a man of impeccable character” then the cartoons in Jylland’s Poster, or the depictions in Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, are by definition not depcitions of Mohammed. The faith of ordinary Muslims and the opinion of non-Muslims should not be distorted by such imagery.

      The problem is, there are plenty of people who wish to test the precise assertion that Mohammed was “a man of impeccable character”. This may be distressing, sure, but no-one has a right to have their views and beliefs shielded from challenge. The places where this occurs are undemocratic, stagnant, and hostile to human flourishing. To say “I have been offended” is the start of the conversation.

      As I have written before, there are different types of discourse. I personally would not want to draw offensive images of Mohammed, because I want to be seen as someone serious and willing to engage with the Muslim point of view. But if others think that their message is best conveyed in this way, then we must do nothing to stop them. As soon as ‘offence’ becomes a reason to censor, then it opens the door to anyone censoring anything with the flimsiest of excuses. In the UK, for example, a play about racism was censored because… people with racist views might be offended! Anything other than a robust and liberal approach to free expression results in absurd conclusions. This is what Molly Norris was highlighting.

  2. Thank you for your response Robert. I mentioned in my letter that we are free to do many things, but something stops us from doing them…and that is ‘respect’ for the other person and their beliefs. If we are to live together in a peaceful society, it is very important that you are tolerant and accepting. What do you intend to achieve by going out of your way to prove something which is your right anyway, (in this case is ‘freedom of expression’) just to provoke and upset millions of people, their dignity and human rights. Aren’t you promoting hatred and animosity by doing so? Thats common sense. You cannot change how we feel about our Prophet, and we are not asking you to believe in him or to judge his character. Molly should have known what she was getting herself into…what was she thinking?! While many of us are working very hard to make peace and bridge the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim, after 9/11, someone goes out there and does something like this. You have learn to differentiate between the extremists, terrorists and ordinary Muslims who are just like you and me, with families and normal jobs. As for judging characters, many could find fault with mother Terresa, and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a man. Lets face it, what the group on facebook are doing…is nothing to with freedom of expression or with Muhammad (pbuh), it is an obvious racial and hate attack towards Muslims. However, I can assure, it might have been proven that you can exercise ‘freedom of expression’, but a nerve has been pressed and no good can come out of this. Lets cross our fingers and hope for peace.

  3. Dear Molly,

    It would be a great idea to publicly denounce what the ‘Everybody draw Muhammad day’ group is doing on facebook. Your ego may take a little bashing, but it is the right thing to do to prevent a disaster from happening. You have seen extreme reactions before and this will be no different. We are appealing to all Non-Muslims to do the right thing and stand with us in denouncing this provocative act. It is call from us to respect our human rights and dignity. It is a call for peace.

    Thank you,
    Shamira

  4. PS.

    “We support creativity not violence. Encourage individuals who are offended by other videos to make their own videos, write in blogs, and write to newspapers, because that is freedom of speech. And that is the American way.” from Doc’s Talk blog

    Is your idea of creativity drawing a pigs nose and ears on a mans face and calling him Mohammad? Or calling a penis the same… If that is the American way then I would be ashamed to call myself an American! Really, i thought we were dealing with intelligent people! I am a creative director by profession and even I know that we have to follow certain rules when it comes to freedom of expression.

    This is a direct call for violence and nothing else, you can camouflage it any way you like.

    Robert, how about creating a page where we can have an open dialogue with people who make such comments?

  5. Shamira very nice response
    i have to say this hadith of our beloved prophet SAW

    BY GOD, HE IS NOT A MUSLIM MOMIN WHO DOES NOT LOVE ME MORE THAN HIS WIFE CHILDREN HIS PARENTS AND HIS MONEY

    and thats true
    we have respect of Prophet SAW and we condemn it

  6. Robert you said

    BY SAYING CUP OF TEA Muhammadd it wont be so ok??

    now how will u react if i continue flooding
    that u are the son of B****..?

    will you still say that by saying so wont be like that…
    will u ignore it???

    Definitely no same is the case dear

    as shamira said: we dont force you to believe him or judge is personality
    but freedom of expresssion does not means you hurt others feelings.

  7. Yes Robert, Shamira is right. Totally agreed. We need to hv an open dialogue wth such people !

    We Love Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) from the core of our hearts n souls n we can die in his name too..

  8. Thank you for your response Robert.

    And to you Shamira. This sort of discourse is defintiely the best form of Free Expression!

    I mentioned in my letter that we are free to do many things, but something stops us from doing them…and that is ‘respect’ for the other person and their beliefs. If we are to live together in a peaceful society, it is very important that you are tolerant and accepting.

    I agree that toleration and acceptance are important, but I disagree that the fact that other people do not show Islam ‘respect’ in any way prevents you from practicing your faith. I have plenty of views and opinions that other people do not ‘respect’ yet I am still free to hold them. ‘Respect’ is a different thing altogether from legal issues, and it is wrong to say that not receiving respect is comparable to being legally prevented from practicing your faith. That is simply not true in the USA or the UK (where I am based).

    What do you intend to achieve by going out of your way to prove something which is your right anyway, (in this case is ‘freedom of expression’) just to provoke and upset millions of people, their dignity and human rights. Aren’t you promoting hatred and animosity by doing so? Thats common sense.

    Two of my previous posts are useful here. First, see Areyeh Neir’s speech on the difference between provocation and incitement (which I quoted here).

    Second, see my speech on Political Correctness to the Cambridge Union (and indeed more recent reflections on the same subject). I have always been of the opinion that deliberately being offensive is rarely useful.

    However, the gross distortions of the Jyllands Postern cartoons are different from more subtle forms of art. I think the Satanic Verses is a fantastic book, a work of fiction, within which the author Salman Rushdie is saying something very sincere and heartfelt about India, religion, and the immigrant experience in the UK. If you ask people to accept that your faith is genuine, then you must not deny that other people have genuine thoughts and feelings which do not reduce to simply “provocation”. That is to dehumanise them, which I assume is not what any religion asks of their followers.

    As an aside, I should emphasise that this point is not a specific attack on Islam. Think of The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (Jose Saramanga) or The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ (Philip Pullman) which are both sophisticated critiques of Christianity from men with genuine feelings about the church… not all of them positive.

    Molly should have known what she was getting herself into…what was she thinking?! While many of us are working very hard to make peace and bridge the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim, after 9/11, someone goes out there and does something like this.

    I fear that you have not interpreted the story correctly here. The people who initially caused controversy were the South Park creators, Parker and Stone. They tried to put a Mohammed character into one of their shows, and were censored by their own TV network. A small band of idiots who claim to be Muslims issued death threats.

    Molly Norris was saying something much more sophisticated, philosophical, and benign. She was questioning whether a drawing can really be a representation of something, just because you give it a label (this is why I mentioned Magritte in the post above. Duchamp asked similar questions). Let’s engage with the key point here. Are you really saying that a picture of something that bears none of the accepted characteristics of the prophet, actually becomes a picture of the prophet just because someone writes the letters M,O,H,A,M,M,E and D beside it!? I think to maintain this view is ridiculous, and I think Molly Norris is right to satirise it.

    What is unfortunate is that her jibe (“everyone draw Mohammed day”) was taken literally. She was adamant that she did not intend to encourage other people, but that the way she drew the cartoon did just that. She apologised for this and made her intentions clear.

  9. Hi Saddam, thanks for the comments.

    we dont force you to believe him or judge is personality
    but freedom of expresssion does not means you hurt others feelings.

    Unfortunately, that is exactly what Free Expression must mean. Otherwise, anyone can censor anyone else, just by saying “my feelings have been hurt.”

    To give just one example, there are plenty of passages in the Qu’ran I find offensive. Take this one from the fourth book (‘The Women’). Concerning inheritance, it says:

    Allah enjoins you concerning your children: The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females;

    That book is full of similar phrases which suggest that women are less valuable than men.

    Now, I find that idea offensive. It hurts my feelings. It contradicts a core belief I hold, which is that men and women are equal in creation and before God (or Allah, as Muslims choose to call Her).

    Does that give me the right to stop people reciting that passage? Or to issue threats to those who do? By your rationale, Saddam, that is precisely the absurd conclusion we must reach.

  10. To Robert,
    Sir it means you wont say anything to someone who abuses your parents ur ideals for the sake of FREEDOM OF EXPRESSIONS??

    What Type of Freedom is it?

    What type expression you want to forward with that CARTOONIC CHART?
    what type msg you want to give??

    If you have any objection on the personality of Muhammad SAW say it to us
    imenmyself4u@gmail.com we will defend the honour of our beloved prohpet.

    and you have pasted here the quranic passage
    i will say you to refer

    DR ZAKIR NAIK’s VIDEO TAPE a renowned MUSLIM SCHOLAR OF INDIA HAVING ITS ORGANIZATION ISLAMIC RESEARCH FOUNDATION.

    WOMEN RIGHTS IN ISLAAM.

    I hope you will get ur answer if u are acceptor of TRUTH.
    if you are unable to get it we will upload it for you to remove ur misconception.

  11. Listen Robert,

    A small band of idiots who claim to be Muslims issued death threats.

    They are not ediots, they are the person who knows the to protect the honour of their MUHAMMAD.

    u said naming to someone doesnt matters??

    WILL YOU TOLLERATE THIS SOMEONE DRAW THE PIC OF DOG AND CLAIMS IT TO BE YOUR FATHER OR YOUR MOTHER..

    i dont want to ask he has the right todo that or not.. but i want to ask will u be angry to that person responsible for drawing those pictures or not??

    just answer that… will be angry to him or make him ur friend discuss with him that HOW my father is dog?? how can u say that?

    grow up buddy

  12. A QUESTION ROBERT YOU TO ANSWER IN YES OR NO

    CAN YOU CALL YOUR DOG BY YOUR FATHER’s NAME??

    if yess then we MUSLIM feel sorry for you…

    if no then WHY cant you call it with your father’s name??
    according to you by just calling the name the dog wont become your father.

  13. Hi Saddam –

    Sure, I would be angry if someone insulted by family. But being angry is very different to asking for censorship or making threats. The Tallenter formulation applies here: “I hate what you say, but defend your right to say it.” Anything else leads to absurdity, as I think I explained.

    Moreover, I think your reference of Dr Zakir Naik’s video makes my point perfectly. If we cannot have robust and (at times) offensive exchanges freely and without censorship, how can the dialogue continue? If someone were to kill Matt Stone and Trey Parker, how would that improve their understanding, or anyone else’s?

    I stand by my suggestion that those who issue death threats are indeed idiots. The more intelligent response to being offended is to do exactly what you, Saddam, have been doing here: Engaging in debate. Death threats and violence cannot be a part of civilised debate. I doubt very much that anyone who issues such threats could be a “good Muslim”, but one thing is for sure – they’re not being good humans.

  14. CAN YOU CALL YOUR DOG BY YOUR FATHER’s NAME??

    Herein lies an interesting cultural difference. From where I sit, naming a pet after your father might actually be seen as a sign of affection and tribute! However, I think most people would find it… weird. But at no point would the connection be made that the dog and the father were the same.

    Consider the dictator Saddam Hussein: Only fools think that Barack Hussein Obama is the same person, because they share names. You and the dictator share the same first name, yet I do not equate you with him. If there are no characteristics in common with the two people (or, the real prophet and the cartoon) then the metaphor doesn’t work and becomes nonsensical. That’s the point that Norris was making, I think.

  15. TO ROBERT

    ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION OF INHERITENCE

    Why Islam proposes a discriminatory share of Inheritance by giving women only half of what men receive?

    The Glorious Qur’an contains specific and detailed guidance regarding the division of the inherited wealth, among the rightful beneficiaries. The Qur’anic verses that contain guidance regarding inheritance are: Surah Baqarah, chapter 2 verse 180, Surah Baqarah, chapter 2 verse 240, Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 7-9, Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 19, Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 33 and Surah Maidah, chapter 5 verse 106-108.

    There are three verses in the Qur’an that broadly describe the share of close relatives i.e. Surah Nisa chapter 4 verses 11, 12 and 176. The translation of these verses is as follows: “Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females, if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; If only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; If no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies and debts. You know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.

    In what your wives leave, your share is half, If they leave no child, but if they leave a child, you get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what you leave; their share is a fourth, if you leave no child; but if you leave a child, they get an eight; after payment of legacies and debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; after payment of legacies and debts; so that no loss is caused (to anyone). Thus it is ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-Knowing Most Forbearing” [Al-Qur’an 4:11-12]

    “They ask thee for a legal decision. Say: Allah directs (thus) about those who leave no descendants or ascendants as heirs. If it is a man that dies, leaving a sister but no child, she shall have half the inheritance. If (such a deceased was) a woman who left no child, her brother takes her inheritance: If there are two sisters, they shall have two thirds of the inheritance (between them). If there are brothers and sisters, (they share), the male having twice the share of the female. Thus doth Allah (swt) make clear to you (His law), lest you err. And Allah has knowledge of all things. [Al-Qur’an 4:176]

    In most of the cases, a woman inherits half of what her male counterpart inherits. However, this is not always the case. In case the deceased has left no ascendant or descendent but has left the uterine brother and sister, each of the two inherit one sixth. If the deceased has left children, both the parents that is mother and father get an equal share and inherit one sixth each. In certain cases, a woman can also inherit a share that is double that of the male. If the deceased is a woman who has left no children, brothers or sisters and is survived only by her husband, mother and father, the husband inherits half the property while the mother inherits one third and the father the remaining one sixth. In this particular case, the mother inherits a share that is double that of the father. It is true that as a general rule, in most cases, the female inherits a share that is half that of the male. For instance in the following cases:
    1. Daughter inherits half of what the son inherits,
    2. Wife inherits 1/8th and husband 1/4th if the deceased has no children.
    3. Wife inherits 1/4th and husband 1/2 if the deceased has children
    4. If the deceased has no ascendant or descendent, the sister inherits a share that is half that of the brother.

    In Islam a woman has no financial obligation and the economical responsibility lies on the shoulders of the man. Before a woman is married it is the duty of the father or brother to look after the lodging, boarding, clothing and other financial requirements of the woman. After she is married it is the duty of the husband or the son. Islam holds the man financially responsible for fulfilling the needs of his family. In order to do be able to fulfill the responsibility the men get double the share of the inheritance. For example, if a man dies and after giving the shares of other relatives, if the children (i.e one son and one daughter) inherit Rs. One Hundred and Fifty Thousand, the son will inherit One Hundred Thousand rupees and the daughter only Fifty Thousand rupees. Out of the one hundred thousand which the son inherits, as his duty towards his family, he may have to spend on them almost the entire amount or say about eighty thousand and thus he has a small percentage of inheritance, say about twenty thousand, left for himself. On the other hand, the daughter, who inherits fifty thousand, is not bound to spend a single penny on anybody. She can keep the entire amount for herself. Would you prefer inheriting one hundred thousand rupees and spending eighty thousand from it, or inheriting fifty thousand rupees and having the entire amount to yourself?

  16. Can you tell me what are the reason behind that sir??
    to draw such cartoons. what message you want to leave by this??
    what do you want to show that you can disrespect anyone you want??

    is it benifitial for you?
    or it becomes the controversial and the source of income for you…

    if you think its not correct then why the DANISH NEWSPAPERS ASKED FOR SORRY TO MUSLIMS?

  17. Thanks for this Saddam. I am not sure I agree with the initial premise that men and women have different financial obligations. Refusing to allow women control over their own finances doesn’t really chime with my values.

    But this is beside the point. Which would you rather – that I “allow” you to post this on my blog (free speech) or that I “censor” you from posting on my blog (I can delete any comments I wish)?

    Death threats are a form of censorship. Dialogue – even with people you dislike and disagree with – is much more civilised. You clearly put this idea to practice yourself, so why not demand it of RevolutionIslam and their ilk?

  18. Scores of Mohammed images here. These images are respectful and, if you are of the right mind, awe-inspiring. If they cause distress it is because of something very different to calling a father a dog or drawing someone with a pig’s nose. Cerebral, not visceral.

  19. Robert, with freedom (of any kind) comes responsibilty. As I said I am a Creative Director where we do many ads, commercials…we have guidelines, we know when not to cross them. Therefore I’m rubbishing this argument about ‘freedom of expression’. Molly Norris had and has a responsibilty to end what she started. Apart from a cup, Molly drew a dog too, or did she not? If Molly does not denounce the obscene cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the Muslim world will consider her to be part of those who share the same vile ideas. The terribly offensive videos which are being posted clearly say that these are in support of the cartoonist who started it all. I repeat again, with freedom comes great responsibility. And we (I speak for the Muslim Ummah worldwide) will not tolerate abuse of our Prophet (pbuh). It is up to the non-muslims to re-concile with that fact. Perhaps you should start drawing flowers for creative expression? These always bring a smile on faces.

  20. Robert

    I am a Muslim, and I think you have been OVERLY POLITE.

    I am talking definitions here that the “so called” Muslims more by birth then choice wildly accusing you and displaying their “anger and hurt” at you with a garb of education that atleast I cannot fathom or digest.

    LET THEM READ THIS, I don’t care if they respond or not, it will be BETTER for them to save themselves from HELL and understand the REAL Islam then distorted Hadith and the teachings of Idolators who gave them emotional fire to defend something which is NOT Islam, in the name of Islam? Made them BODYGUARDS for those who guard us? Made them protectors for those who protect us?

    Islam is NO BRAND to be protected as Ms Shamira enlightened us. It is a FAITH not just CONFINED to Muslims, it is calling YOU too Robert, BUT these people are stifling the voice of LOVE of the prophet with THEIR hate so you and the WHOLE WORLD HATES ISLAM. They are against Islam a ZILLION times more than ANY cartoonist in my humble opinion.

    No HUMAN BEING can “protect” God or His Prophet (peace be upon him)

    Allah protects us and the Prophet (PBUH) is SO POWERFUL that his recommendation and prayer can save Muslims on the day of judgement.

    Why would such a man need a bunch of idiots like these WHO DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEIR REAL IDENTITY IS? Who fight amongst themselves, who divide each other on the basis of:

    Arab vs Non Arab Muslims
    Zillions of sects Shia, Sunni, Aga Khani etc etc
    Punjabi vs Pathan
    Mohajir vs Sindhi
    the list goes ON AND ON

    Robert, the enlightened Christians are FAR CLOSER to ISLAM then THESE PEOPLE. I BEG OF YOU TO INDEPENDENTLY STUDY THE QURAN, ONLY THE QURAN, IT’S THERE ONLINE and you will know that Muhammad SAWS was a man of PURE LOVE, who forgave people who came to KILL him, who forgave his enemies…

    It wasn’t by the “sword” that Islam spread, you will agree, atleast not till Muhammad SAWS had even a meagre following? How did those guys with so much money and power (his companions) LEAVE it all for him? IT WAS HIS PURE LOVE.

    If He was alive today I can bet my life on it that he will have forgiven these people, he will have smiled and said “let go of them, may Allah GUIDE them” and carried on his good work.

    Robert can you compare such a man with these self righteous idiots?

    They DON’T represent him, people like YOU do. The day you open your eyes to his love MINUS the cloud of hatred and intolerance these assholes give you…

    They are NOT even humans, they kill for money, they kill for power, their OWN brothers and sisters and mothers… they don’t marry their daughters and sisters if they are not the right “CASTE” in other words RIGHT FAMILY TRIBE… many women in the Muslim world cannot marry for these reasons, they are SOLD even by their fathers.

    But the TRUTH Robert, is that these are NOT Muslims as the day of judgment shall reveal to them. HELL AWAITS THEM unless they ASK ALLAH FOR FORGIVENESS and YOU too.

    I know bullshit filled hate filled responses await me, but I only PRAY to ALLAH to open these dumb wits eyes, that are closed due their HUGE EGOS which STOP them for recognizing their OWN internal flaws and jumping at everyone else like a mad dog…. like they jumped on you and Molly…

    This is not Islam, this is not even HUMANITY… I echo your feelings and SALUTE your patience and tolerance, YOU, ROBERT are following Muhammad SAWS in letter and spirit, READ ABOUT HIM, READ THE QURAN for Islam needs Muslims like you, who can question, who are not afraid to ask, who can learn, who can improve, who can BOND with others… for ALL came from Adam and Eve… No follower of Abraham House will disagree with that…

  21. Imran, that was a whole load of nonsense you wrote up there. I dont think you are a Muslim. We are aware that There are many out there pretending to be one and writing against Islam…Munafikeen. I dont think anyone will respond to this nonsense, be glad I’ve given you time of the day. We would really like to have discourse with non-muslims.
    And I dont think Robert or Molly are interested in converting into Islam yet 🙂

  22. Dear Shamira,

    After Reading all this discussion We shall comeback to your first point of view ( which in my perspective is very wise and clear)
    “the passion that an average Muslim feels about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). You would have to be a Muslim to understand that bond” that What we felt abt all this situations is only can be feel by a muslim it self…and Robert won’t understand this…

    I respect Robert for his Respect,Trying understanding and Tolerance… May Allah SWT show him a GUIDANCE whatever it Takes. Allah SWT IS GREAT WITH ALL HIS WILL……Kunnfayakuun.

    Lets cross our fingers and hope for peace…
    keep the LOVE,Respect,Understanding and Tolerant to stay in peace….

    Love
    Ms.Andarina

  23. And we (I speak for the Muslim Ummah worldwide) will not tolerate abuse of our Prophet (pbuh). It is up to the non-muslims to re-concile with that fact. Perhaps you should start drawing flowers for creative expression? These always bring a smile on faces.

    This sort of statement is what makes me uneasy, Shamira. You are dictating what Molly should draw (flowers) based on your own sensibilities. That might have some weak validity if you and she were part of the same local community which subscribed to the same set of values (e.g. say you were both members of the same mosque). But you’re not. Globalisation and the internet have allowed two very different value systems to collide. However offensive Molly’s drawing may be, they in no way censor or constrain your beliefs, values or faith.

  24. Robert

    We will not tolerate abuse of our Prophet MEANS that unlike Christians who have no problem with obscene images of Jesus and who use the name ‘Jesus Christ’ as a profanity… We have a huge problem with that, we will object and protest, we will NOT say…its ok with us…carry on. I think it’s become a habit with the west to take such comments and take them out of context so that you can paint all of us as extremists. Please read the article by CAIR and you will see the response from the moderates which reflects the response from one third of the worlds population (including mine).

    The irony is that everyone is competing with each other to put up deeply offensive posts, all religions are being insulted, Muslims, Jews, Christians (which is quite idiotic if you ask me)

    The groups mainly consist of Bigots and Islamophobes who are trying their best to offend Muslims, and a large number of Muslims, some who are appealing with them, and others being equally offensive (and immediately being labelled as extremists). The admins are removing all our posts where we are trying to talk intelligently to the people and hold a discourse. The good thing…many non-muslims from the group have spoken to me and have actually removed themselves from this ‘glorious’ event.

    The comment about drawing flowers was actually a joke (a lousy I admit)

    Peace

  25. Amen, Salaam.

    Where we agree:

    we will object and protest

    Indeed you must. This is Freedom of Speech in action (so long as these protests are peaceful, with no threats). It is important you try to persuade as well, which means using arguments other than “Its our faith” which are weak at persuading non-believers.

    Where we disagree:

    all religions are being insulted, Muslims, Jews, Christians (which is quite idiotic if you ask me)

    Actually, I think it is essential that all religions are insulted from time to time. Satire is a very powerful form of criticism, and it is this which allows all faiths to evolve and improve.

    We also disagree over whether Imran (see above) is genuine or not. I’ve just re-read his comments and checked out his website and his aims seem to be positive and humane. To deny that such values can be inspired by a muslim upbringing is an insult to the religion! Who are you to prescribe how other muslims should interpret their faith!?

  26. Salaam,

    There are no threats Robert and no one is listening to persuasive talk on those groups. The worst kind of filth is spewing forth for the entire world to see.

    I really doubt Imran is a Muslim, but if he is…my apologies to him. I am nobody to judge anyone, but he called all of us assholes for bringing our grieviences here, which was a sort of giveaway.

  27. And now, i’ve seen enough of obscenity and hatred to last a lifetime so im going to retire to my relatively uncontroversial world of Art…

    Peace

  28. Please first investigate before you draw conclusions…
    This SouthPark hype is nothing more than a scam.

    Played out to get you outraged against muslims, but why?
    It’s simple, all $$$ folks, all weapons and oil.
    Get the oil, sell the weapons, but first create fear and a terror treath, same old story as Iraq and 911..

    Who made these treaths? Not a natural born muslim, the site was owned by jewish settler who was converted to Islam?!, what the F*#@!!
    All other participants of the site were converted Islamists, who became Islamists later, mostly in University. The University most frequented by CIA to recruit students for information war purposes, just 20 minutes from headquarters. If you think I am just talking bullshit please follow link hereunder…and no, I am not just another anti-semite or something alike…

    http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/the-radical-muslim-group-the-threatened-south-park-creators-was-run-by-joseph-cohen-a-former-israeli-radical-who-used-to-live-in-a-settlement-in-the-west-bank/

  29. I think it’s ridiculous for any group of people (ethnic/religous/etc…) to say “sorry but its not right to make fun of us or our culture”. Freedom of speech and expression is also the freedom to offend (Salmon Rushdie). So you have to be able to take a joke and smile. If you look at all the revolutions in the Western (developed) world, they have all been towards the ultimate goal of achieving more and more freedom. And so the West is now secular, because religious dogmas prevent true freedom from being developed.
    If you’re not happy in our world, you can always go home! If you want to stay, you need to grow up and learn to take a joke, without killing the joke teller.
    Peace
    P.S. If I offended you, go f**k yourself 😉

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