Thursday, May 20, 2010

I'm not opposed to Draw Mohammed Day


'I'm glad to see Taranto do what I was challenging my commenters to do. (I said: "If you don't think the 'Piss Christ' or the American flag hypos are sufficiently on point, then make a better hypo. That's my challenge. Make a hypo that is the same but without the Muslim element, and seriously test your thinking on the subject.")'

This is an interesting controversy. Here is a summary of my knowledge of the relevant facts:

Certain more conservative schools of Islamic thought, esp the Wahhabists, believe that any likeness of anyone, even Mohammed, can be considered an idol. Some schools of Islamic thought aren't bothered, and in many places where Moslems live there have always been likenesses of Mohammed, just like there are millions of likenesses of Jesus in the Christian world. These likenesses are expressly not to be worshipped, as that would make them idols, and therefore against the express command of God. But apart from that, they are ok.

So, forcing Moslems of a conservative persuasion to create likenesses of Mohammed would certainly be rude and unpleasant, by any reasonable standard. But given that many Moslems make likenesses of Mohammed themselves, presumably those Moslems would have no problem with non-Moslems making respectful representations of Mohammed. And if they did have a problem with it, it would be unreasonable and hypocritical.

Let us now consider the Mohammed cartoons from Jyllands Posten. Most of them were perfectly harmless, gentle representations of a man in Arabic garb. A few were intentionally insulting, and a very few were gravely insulting. The ones which were respectful would presumably cause no concern to the many millions of Moslems who have no issue with pictorial representations of Mohammed in general. The insulting ones would certainly provoke anger amongst any Moslems.

But the response to the Jyllands Posten cartoons was not organic. If ordinary Moslems outside Denmark noticed the cartoons, they didn't seem to mind them. The crazed response was ginned up after a concerted campaign by hard-core Danish Wahhabist imams who toured the Middle East and Egypt showing the cartoons to people, and posted links to them on Islamist websites. They conducted this campaign to further their religio/political agenda, which is the expansion of Wahhabist Islam and its eventual domination of the earth.

According to the Ann Althouse view, then, being polite and not 'hurting the feelings' of conservatively-minded Moslems trumps our history of robust oppositional religious and political debate. I must respect your sacred cows, no matter how stupid I believe them to be, and no matter how much they conflict with my own beliefs.

You can tell from the differing views about the pictorial representation of Mohammed among the worldwide population of Moslems that there is no clear-cut black-and-white prohibition of it in the historical Islamic body of learning. And yet, on the authority of the Wahhabist conservatives, Ann Althouse doesn't just want the Wahhabist/conservative view enforced on believers in Islam but on non-believers too.

That isn't being nice- that is alienating yourself from your own world view so far that you don't really have one anymore. It also exalts your own importance to millions of unknown and probably unknowable Moslems in countries you hardly know the name of.

It may be that a large-scale campaign to demonstrate how little respect many people feel for Moslem shibboleths will provoke some thought among the 1.3 billion Moslems on the planet why their religion is getting such a shellacing, and why normal, sane people hold it in such low regard.

Islam is getting a very bad name because of Wahhabist/Salafist violence, bullying and blackmail. This is not an issue for us. Islam needs to clean house, and disassociate itself from the people who are blackening its reputation. If Moslems don't do that, we can all assume what many believe already- which is that most Moslems secretly agree with the agenda of the Wahhabist/Salafists, but find it inconvenient to say so publicly. Whether people like Ann Althouse like it or not, that is the rule of public engagement. If it were the Republican Party, rather the Moslems of the World, who had a militant wing chopping off heads, blowing up Markets with bombs strapped to twelve-year-old girls and driving trucks of chemicals into villages and blowing them up, what would you be saying to Republicans? Would your politeness, and your generosity of spirit extend to them?

Whether we like it or not, guilt-by-association exists. If it doesn't, explain to me why the Turkish government still deny the ethnic cleansing/holocaust of Christian Armenians in 1915/16?


'If you were really a conservative, you would think where there is a problem and the only solution so far is a bad one that the right answer is first, do no harm. The default is nothing. (The Party of NO!)

There's a problem, so we must do something, and here we have something, so we must do it. That's the reasoning I have heard over and over from President Obama, and it is something I truly loathe.

Do you defend it?' (Ann Althouse in the comments of the same blog post).

That depends if you believe that Everybody Draw Mohammed is a bad 'solution'. I don't believe it is a solution at all. A solution would stop the Wahhabist war on modernity and everthing in the world which isn't Wahhabism. It is a declaration of intent, like the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of Wittenberg Church. We intend to not be browbeaten into modifying our lives every time Wahhabists threaten murder, mayhem and boycotts. And as such, the Everybody Draw Mohammed idea works as well as anything I've heard of.

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