Friday, September 17, 2010

Koran Burning and Everybody Draw Mohammed Day and Molly Norris

Three or four months ago, radical followers of Mohammed, AKA Muslims, somehow forced Comedy Central to censor an episode of South Park that supposedly featured Mohammed in a bear costume. 

The cartoonists briefly went into hiding, and South Park went on attacking and caricaturing everyone but Muslims. 

A cartoonist named Molly Norris came up with the idea of EVERYBODY Draw Mohammed Day - the idea being that they can't kill us all. 
Well, on the advice of the FBI, Molly Norris has now gone into hiding
Here's a quote from what passes for a "leader" in Islam:
The Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki - the radical who's also been cited as inspiring the Fort Hood, Tex., massacre and the plot by two New Jersey men to kill U.S. soldiers - singled out artist Molly Norris as a "prime target," saying her "proper abode is Hellfire."
Here's something from the FBI agent in charge:
"We understand the absolute seriousness of a threat from an Al Qaeda inspired magazine and are attempting to do everything in our power to assist the individuals on that list to effectively protect themselves and change their behavior to make themselves less of a target," David Gomez, the FBI's assistant special agent in charge of counter-terrorism in Seattle, told the News.
Mr. Gomez, we don't change our behavior because of threats from muslims.  Sir Salman Rushdie didn't pull The Satanic Verses out of print after death threats from muslims.  When I worked at Bookstop, we proudly put his book on the shelf and sold it to anyone who asked for it.  Any employee who feared muslims had the option of declining to handle the book, shelve the book, touch the book, or ring up the sale for it. 
We sold it like crazy.   
That's the way we do things here. 

This was my entry for Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.  It features the Prophet making his midnight flight to Jerusalem on the back of a winged horse that had the face of a man:

Believe it or not, I have no professional art training. 

Flash foward from Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, to Everybody Burn A Koran Day.
I didn't put anything online about the Koran Burners, but kinda made fun of them for several days on Facebook.  People have emailed me (ok, a grand total of two people emailed, and one person at work asked me) why it is that I wouldn't hesitate to draw a picture of Mo on his horse in Jerusalem, but was against Koran burning in Florida. 

I didn't know what to tell them.  Here's the best I can do....

I am passionate about Free Speech.  As long as it is under the heading of "Opinion", I believe you should be allowed to spread your opinions far and wide. 

The religion that shut down the opinions voiced on South Park, that group was infringing on our right to Free Speech.  Draw Mohammed Day was a reaction to that shutdown.  There was a point to Everybody Draw Mohammed Day. 

Burning a Koran is a way of saying "I fear this book".  There is no other purpose in it.   

I don't understand book burning in general.  As a former bookseller, I wouldn't burn a copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf, Marx's Das Kapital, or Dean Koontz's House Of Thunder (the worst book I've ever finished).  Book burning says that you fear the ideas in a book, and therefore you want to destroy it.  

Drawing a picture of Mohammed, on the other hand, is a way of saying "Look at what I just did.  Were you harmed?  Was anything destroyed?  Did you lose any income?"   It's also a way to show solidarity with cartoonists and writers who might want to say something about a religion that isn't known for tolerance. 

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day is May 20th.  
Until Molly Norris can come out of hiding, we might need to have it 4 or 5 times a year. 

Hope this clears things up.  


ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Sorry Allen of the correct spelling; a book is but a manufactured object of pulp and ink. If you acquired it legitimately you have a right to dispose of it as you wish.


CenTexTim said...

I'm not in favor of book-burning either, but...

1. IMO there can be more than one reason to burn a book. In this case it was not so much "I fear this book" as "I oppose what this book advocates."

2. There is also a property rights issue. It's my book. I can put it on my shelf, throw it away, or burn it as I see fit.

Similar to flag burning, book burning can be considered a form of symbolic free speech. It may very well be "an inarticulate grunt", as former Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist said about flag burning, but that doesn't negate its categorization as a form of expression.

And FWIW, I supported, and continue to support, Everybody Draw Mohammed Day. Your drawing skills put mine to shame so I just republished one from a professional cartoonist.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Leonidas and Tim,
I know that you have the right to burn any book that you own. All I'm talking about is effective vs. ineffective protests.
Just because of the anti free speech symbolism involved, and yes, book burning is probably a form of speech, I don't think I could burn a bad book to start a campfire in the Arctic. said...

I am so sad you
I pity you, because there are still people who believe what you feel through the screen of news lies
And believe what you hear without thinking, but we Muslims do not like you do not insult one of your symbol does not make fun of them religious, because each one has a belief in your

read this:(The Divine Book)

But remember one thing: that the style cynicism and insulting others is always the style of weakness, not strength
Also, remember the important thing: that my words that bear right and wrong and you think you are right ..