Tuesday, May 30th | 5 Sivan 5777

Close

Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

Subscribe
June 21, 2015 11:20 am

Until We Draw Mohammed, We’re All Silenced

avatar by Eric Rozenman

Email a copy of "Until We Draw Mohammed, We’re All Silenced" to a friend
Radical Islam watchdog Pamela Geller. Credit: Pamela Geller.

Radical Islam watchdog Pamela Geller. Credit: Pamela Geller.

The cartoon portrays a sharp-toothed, sword-wielding Mohammed warning, “You can’t draw me!” and an unseen illustrator saying, “That’s why I must.” Rather than allow this ad to appear in a few subway stations and on buses, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) voted unanimously last month to ban all issue advertising until 2016.

Metro’s board acted on the wrong principle: equal treatment by denying all potentially controversial advertisements. The right principle, as I failed to persuade transit officials several years ago, is truth in advertising.

“My view is, you put that ad up on the side of a bus, you turn that bus into a terrorism target,” a top Metro official – speaking anonymously – was quoted as saying. Prudent, since the cartoon in question won a “draw Mohammed” competition in Texas attacked by two rifle-firing American jihadis that were shot dead by police.

Related coverage

May 29, 2017 4:57 pm
0

Taking Trump Seriously, But Not Literally, in the Middle East

JNS.org - In a seminal piece for The Atlantic last September, journalist Salena Zito explained a simple truth that most...

“These cowards [Metro board members] … are making it far more dangerous for Americans everywhere,” asserted Pamela Geller, head of American Freedom Defense Initiative, the group behind the contest and the ad. “Rewarding terror with submission is defeat.”

The threat of an exploding bus is plausible. But the United States, land of the free and home of the brave, at least according to the national anthem, requires freedom of speech and expression. A “terrorists’ veto” destroys that liberty. Squelching the ads contributes to freedom’s erosion.

That erosion, at least initially, will be – like steadily rising water temperature to a lobster in a pot – painless. Not until freedom of religion, dress, entertainment, academic inquiry, and political choice recede due to Islamists’ homicidal threats will some reconsider their hostility to Geller, the provocateur.

Hypothetical? The administration of Barack Obama has refused to acknowledge that Islamic extremists, or perhaps better, puritans of both Sunni Muslim (Islamic State/al Qaeda) and Shi’ite Muslim (Iran) varieties are at war with the United States. We are not fighting anonymous or unreligious terrorists. Denying the reality of religious war – jihad – and its powerful motivation renders our responses ineffectual. Cartoons or no cartoons, the director of the FBI has warned that Islamic extremists may strike almost anywhere in this country.

The First Amendment prohibits Congress from, among other things, making any law abridging freedom of speech or press. Yet when Islamic fundamentalists are believed, with reason, to threaten those exercising freedom of speech and anyone else who might be nearby, that’s just what happens.

Metro, Chris Core – a commentator on top-rated WTOP radio – the Washington Jewish Week, and others normally given to a liberal reading of the Bill of Rights begin banning or slamming Geller.

In the June 1 edition of National Review, Charles C. W. Cooke (“Free Speech without Apologies”) writes “unless one believes that it can sometimes be right to shoot people for expressing themselves, the content of these cartoons is immaterial, and the relevant question is whom we are going to blame for the violence: the victim or the perpetrator?”

The Book of Mormon? A Broadway hit. A figurine of Christ in a jar of urine? A museum piece. Defamation of Jews by lunatic callers to C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal”? At least a weekly phenomenon. Mocking Islam and its prophet? Intolerable.

Remember Mollie Norris, the Seattle, Wash. cartoonist, and her 2010 “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” poster? She changed her name and went into hiding after an FBI warning of threats against her life by Muslim terrorists. That’s where all of us are headed if we see Geller, not jihadists, as the problem.

The writer is a Washington, D.C.-based media analyst and former editor of B’nai B’rith’s International Jewish Monthly and the Washington Jewish Week. Any opinions expressed above are solely his own.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • Kal Palnicki

    In a nearby town hung a picture in a school that was of a man and it was claimed that it was Jesus. There was a lengthy struggle about whether to allow it to remain in the school. No one doubted that it was an image of Jesus because it said on the bottom.

    The most popular name in Muslim countries Mohammad. Can anyone so named have a picture produced that states it is Mohammad? Yes, but that is because it is a living person. An idealized drawing of a person named Mohammad is surely blasphemous since it is not provably the image of a living person.

    What Mohammad, Jesus, Abraham, Isaac or Jacob looked like is utterly unknown. Resenting any such image is an indication that the viewer lacks confidence that the image is only bit of an imaginative doodling. Such anger as is seen from Muslims is based in the massive ignorance Islam fosters among he adherents. Bah humbug!

    We need a stick figure with the legend Mohammad under it on every wall in every city on the face of the earth. Lets see if any Muslim claims that it is indeed Mohammad.

  • John

    Pamela Geller for President

  • Dan

    I am not sure a word we say will be heard unless and until we act.

    If we know Islamic terrorism spreads, and we see it spreading, and we pander to it, what kind of lives are we getting for our children?

    We are going to get rid of ISIS, or we aren’t.

  • Abigail

    Freedom of speech may be a constitutional right, but it is not a black and white issue. After World War II and the death camps, instigated by Hitler’s maniacal speeches, some European countries instituted laws banning hate speech. This has proved difficult to define, though French anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’bala was fined the equivalent of $30,000 for condoning terrorism.

    Few would condone murder as a response to cartoons. We need to acknowledge, though, that many people are ruled by emotion, sometimes very irrational, and some, such as Dylann Root (SC) are influenced by extremists.

    There is something (rituals, people,and/or places) that is sacred to everyone, and it is different for different people. We may avoid much violence and hatred by acknowledging and respecting this

  • S

    I would like to know if someone draw a cartoon about Jewish people and make fun of the rabbis would she be okay with that ? I am sure she will cry anti Semitic , would she let kkk have adds against Jews on the busses and train station?

    • Dennis Beckley

      @S Really I don’t suppose you’ve seen “Christ Piss” and all the other “art” against Christianity. But I’ll let you in on a little secret only known to millions of Christians, that my savior is bigger then Muhammad because he gave us free will to accept him or deny him. He didn’t tell us to go out and kill non believers, instead we pray for them, and we shake the dust from our feet and continue on. While I don’t particularly agree with Pam, I more than understand the reasoning behind it and I respect her right to do it. There is no amount of reasoning that will sway the demonic curse in which these people are bound to. They will continue to hate forever more.

      • Lisa

        amen

      • S

        Wow this is not about who is bigger than who it is about hate, no matter if you Christian or Muslim or Jew . Which Pamela Geller is all about. See a young man goes to church in South Carolina killing eight people just because they were black . Hate is a problem not religion.

  • Sean

    We need to be able to tell the hard truth about what Islam really is and who Muhammad was. Warts and all. I support Pam Geller.

  • SARA RIFKA

    IF DRAWING PICTURES LESSONS ONES PAIN IN THE END….THEN WE SHOULD ALL DRAW ‘OBAMA’…….NOW LETS SEE IF ALL AMERICANS CAN PUT THEIR HANDS WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS.

    USLESS WORDS JUST AS USELESS AS ‘THE POPE’S’ RECENT COMMENT TO THE WORLD….EXCUSING ANY POSSIBILITY OF HARMING JEWS.

    TWO FOR ONE IN ONE PICTURE…..WHY NOT…..AS A CDN…..AMERICA IS AT THE BOTTOM OF MY LIST FOR VACATIONS…..WAITING FOR NEW ADMINISTRATION AND DEFINITELY CHANGES EVERYWHERE

    CHANGES FOR THE BETTER AND ABOUT THE PEOPLE…..

    • Dennis Beckley

      Sara just pray that we don’t replace a mistake with another (Hilary, Jeb) sick and tired of dynasties. Really damn near 400 million people (not including illegals) and this is all we can come up with????

  • This is the REPUBLIC OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA NOT SOME GOD FORSAKEN PIECE OF THE DESERT WHERE THEY ARE STILL LIVING 1400 YEARS AGO. We live under the laws our forefathers ironed out to give us a good solid basis for our country, NO WHERE IN THE CONSTITUTION DOES IT TELL US TO ALLOW THE LAWS OF A CULT OR ANY OTHER FORM TO SUPERCEDE THE LAWS OF THIS REPUBLIC. SO IF YOU WANT SHARIA LAW PLEASE LEAVE YOU ARE WELCOME TO ASSIMILATE INTO OUR WAYS, IF NOT PLEASE FIND ANOTHER PLACE TO LIVE.

    • Tom Wood

      Spot on….I would think people in all developed westernised countries feel the same way about their own county.

      In short if you don’t want to play by our rules go find a hole that let’s you do what you want.

  • Stephane Berlaud

    Freedom of speech only disappears when you don’t use it.

  • Feel free to print this if you want. Please just be sure to spell my name correctly. I’d like to say just this one little thing. Ms. Gellar is correct in her statement about our free speech. If we do not say in print or audio how we feel about Muslim blackmail ( no drawing muhammad or we kill you) , well then they win. Right? If I had the ability to draw that guy on a national platform I surely would. Just to show those who say not to that I follow the laws of my country. The United States of America. Yes believe it or not I’m still proud to be an American. Even in spite of the past 61/2 years with B. Hussein Obama. Keep up the good fight Ms. Gellar, there are millions behind you!

    Sincerely ,
    John Heaton

  • The idea of ​​the subway in the United States: “We can not put anti-Islam ads on buses, because this could make the vehicles a terrorist target potential.”. I guess no one told head of the subway organization, that it just does not enshrine Islam, or their country militarily stop the killing perpetrated by them, it’s been potential targets of the country’s citizens. There was a cartoon that caused the attacks on September 11, 2001, were outside issues to any type of artwork, to disturb the susceptibility of Islamic terrorists.

    The London bus that was blown up, had no announcement against Islam. What was the motivation then? It is unfortunate that the Americans after September 11, instead of courage became great cowards. That fateful day meant nothing to them, they think those people shooting the buildings as what? Examples of future submission that they are to perform. How pathetic. Pamela Geller is quite right: attitudes such as these will make the freedom of speech please erosion. The only thing that can combat extremism, not find sweetened words, or socio-educational initiatives for them to learn what is respect, and human rights. The simple fact that there is freedom for Islam, as anyone who makes it enjoy a potential enemy. How long will it take until the cowards understand this?

  • Randy Keyes

    I Totally Support you Ms. Pamela, God Bless You,

  • THE BOOK OF MORMON promotes love. Pamela Geller promotes hatred.

    She has no right to make bus riders the target of a terrorist attack. She puts herself at risk and then goes around with body guards in her hefty black vehicle. She doesn’t ride the buses and subways she is using to provoke terrorist attacks.

    Her stated goals are legitimate – but her goals do not justify her means. She has to find means that do not promote hatred and put lives in danger.

  • Robert Word

    Nothing is so fundamental to a democracy as freedom
    of speech. Political cartoons of every type
    are not only fully legal, but should be
    encouraged and supported .

Algemeiner.com