03 May 2015

Draw, Muhammad!

Details are still coming in about a shooting affray in Garland Texas, where an organization called the American Freedom Defense Initiative was hosting a "Draw the Prophet" contest with a reported $10,000 prize for the best caricature of the founder of Islam. Two suspects are reported killed after apparently wounding a policeman outside the building housing the event. The AFDI is also known as Stop Islamization of America. It appears to be a textbook example of an Islamophobic movement, its very name denoting a threat that cannot be taken seriously. Its founder, Pamela Geller, is a right-wing commentator with some libertarian tendencies; she is pro-choice on reproductive rights as well as supportive of gay marriage, though she claims to endorse the "Judeo-Christian ethical tradition." Islam, she argues, deviates from that ancestral tradition by being in essence a "political movement." She considers President Obama "post-American" if not anti-American in his perceived refusal to enforce U.S. global dominance and defend American values against Islamic attack. On her website, Geller describes today's incident as an act of "war on free speech." But while I affirm anyone's right to draw Muhammad without suffering violent reprisal or any penalty, if Geller's in a war it's one she declared. As opposed to Charlie Hebdo magazine, her event had no other purpose than to provoke Muslims. The French paper offends Muslims in the course of offending everyone, while Geller and her organization, as far as I know, are selectively irreverent. Geller herself appears to be a dedicated Zionist and her reverence for an "ethical tradition" encompassing Christianity has already been noted. If hostility toward Islam isn't grounded in hostility to monotheism in general or religion in general, then the Islamophobe resents Islam as a rival rather than a real evil.  If Geller isn't going to offer prizes for the best caricatures of Jesus, Moses or just plain God, that selectivity makes today's event look less like a free-speech celebration than a festival of hate. And on some level I suspect that today's bloody outcome is the best Geller could possibly imagine, so long as none of her own people are dead. Muslims will have themselves to blame for the publicity Geller will reap and the fresh scorn even innocent Muslims will suffer -- they really ought to let their omnipotent God take care of blasphemers wherever Muslims themselves can't make the law -- but the predictable idiocy of some in their camp shouldn't make heroes of people who have nothing better to do than provoke idiots. That sounds pretty idiotic itself.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of Texas, you are aware that Perry called out the Texas State Reserves because he was afraid that the joint training mission between the Navy Seals and Army Green Berets was actually Obama's first strike against America and that Texans were scheduled to be rounded up and shipped off to FEMA camps. I'd think that bit of idiocy would have piqued your interest. I'm beginning to wonder if something in the water in Texas doesn't make all of it's citizens prone to paranoia and utter stupidity.

Samuel Wilson said...

It is an interesting story but we can't blame Rick Perry for it. He isn't governor any more; Greg Abbott took his place as head idiot back in January. Texans themselves are embarrassed by the episode, as described here.

Anonymous said...

My mistake. I was originally going to simply say "...the governor of Texas..." because in the article I read, it didn't name the governor, then I saw (what must have been an old) commercial with Perry talking about gays in the military, stating that he was governor.

Regarding as this ridiculous contest, this woman is obviously more than willing to put American lives at risk to build up her own celebrity status. If it were truly about "freedom of speech", it could just as easily have been "Draw a prophet day" or "Draw god day". At least then they wouldn't have been blatantly picking on muslims. If fact, I'd argue that since it's freedom of speech they were allegedly celebrating, they could have simply asked for essays regarding Texans' feelings on islam and/or muslims.