Here is the winning entry American Freedom Defense Initiative‘s ‘Draw the Prophet’ Muhammad contest.  What’s the problem with this?

H/T to Reformation at Keith DeHavelle. Keith has a great post on this, BTW.


  1. Cartoon drawing of space aliens, like the example in the post, shouldn’t create problems for anyone, although when I was a little tyke, I used to have bad dreams about these things so my mother forbade the reading of comic books. Maybe it’s just a matter of not letting the very young see these things if they are suggestible or have sleeping problems.

    I note, on closer reading that the post says that this is a “Mohamed cartoon”, but I assume that’s not right – who knows what Mohammed actually looked liked, but it is highly unlikely that he was a demonic, half-animal, type with jagged teeth etc. No one trying to draw a likeness of Mohammed would come up with something so frightening unless they were trying to be insulting. If someone drew a picture of Jesus looking like that, I would assume the intention was not to render an accurate likeness.

    As to the larger issue, discussed in the previous thread, and apparently of some continuing relevance here (although the drawing’s relevance is unclear), it’s complicated. It is at the intersection of two fundamental First Amendment rights, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. For me, the issue is one of respect, politeness, and even reverence for our system of protected speech and religious freedom. Yes, we have free speech – I can shout from the rooftops the most blasphemous things as defined by my religion or other people’s religions. The Constitution permits this. However, my personal ethics and moral codes forbid it, just as I would not be very pleased to have someone of another faith utter blasphemies about my religion.

    The free speech right is and should be pretty near absolute (the limitations are quite narrow), but that doesn’t mean that we are compelled to say anything and everything for the right to be useful. I would not say things that feed the propaganda mechanisms of radical violent Islamist groups like ISIS or Al Q’aeda. I would not walk up to my Muslim neighbor and knowingly say something blasphemous to his face simply to vindicate my free speech rights at the expense of causing him great personal distress. The fact that I have free speech rights suggests, to me at least, that I use some judgement about how I employ those rights.

    In the 1960s there was a “Free Speech Movement” largely based on the campus of University of California at Berkeley. One of its major personalities (his name escapes me – it was something like Mario di Salva – perhaps Keith remembers) would stand in a public space and just say obscene, blasphemous and outrageous things to push the boundaries of free speech. That is an empty concept of First Amendment rights. It is, under our system, protected speech (as are, I suppose, demonic cartoons of Jesus, the Buddha, or Mohammed) but it is not speech that can be respected, or applauded.

    1. We don’t know about the teeth. But as for the rest, Muhammad was, by his own recorded statements and actions as well as histories considered reliable in Islam, a horrifically evil, vindictive, power-mad warlord and cruel tyrant inclined to world domination and who used genocide as a convenient path to that end. Making him pretty in a poster would be a greater injustice, and an insult to the populations slaughtered or subjugated by his vicious troops or who died by his own hand.

      As for Berkeley, you almost have the name right: it was Mario Savio. But you are completely wrong as to his actions. He was promoting the right to do political activism on campus, and his speeches and writings were no more likely to contain profanities than mine are. His movement won its goal, and it caused Berkeley, and almost all other universities in the US, to lurch to the hard left. (Savio the student promoting leftist advocacy went on to become Professor Savio, of course.)

      The goal of Fawstin’s work, and that of others including me, is not to gratuitously insult Islam. This is merely a necessary component of defying Islam’s attempt to deny anyone the right to insult or criticize it. This sort of speech and expression — the ability to criticize a person or movement — is an essential natural right that is at the absolute core of our liberties.

      Islam has been successful in denying more than a billion people this right to free speech. Not just through the adherents to Islam itself, but to those who live in the countries where Islam (i.e., Shariah law) is also the political system, and where Islam has sufficient influence to pull it off, which includes an increasing number of European countries. The man who was arrested last year, for quoting a speech by Winston Churchill critical of Islam, is an illustration of the problem — and it is a giant one.

      Bosch Fawstin now has a death penalty against him by Islamic religious leaders for what he has done and new death threats sent to him frequently. It is obvious from the events in Garland and around the world that this is not just talk.

      Fawstin’s work should be and is respected and applauded, because he and those like him are defying the attack on free speech and freedom of religion that is represented by Islam’s murderous hypersensitivity. Islam will force you to “use some judgment’ as you put it, by reminding you that acting against Shariah law will get you killed.

      Were it not for this hypersensitivity, there would be no need for the criticism. Note that Christianity, whose adherents will NOT kill you for insulting them or acting outside their faith, do not have a great outcry from the media for those people who continue to insult the faith and create obscene depictions of Christian figures. Part of this is because the media pundits are active participants and cheerleaders of this process, but another part is that it is just not newsworthy. Any reaction from Christians to yet another attack, such as a television show or work of “art,” is played up — the media always hopes for death threats and attacks, but is disappointed.

      With Islam, the issue is cowardice in defense of freedom. Islam does not, as currently constituted, fit into a free society, and their goal is to replace that free society with one under the strict control of Shariah law, complete with stoning, beheading, and amputation for people like you and me. The insults to Islam included in this art — and some of them are insulting indeed — are an unfortunate necessity in order to force Islam to desensitize itself to such things.

      War is ugly, and soldiers do things that are often terrible and have lifelong consequences in their own psyches. But these are needful things when the country must be defended, and being unwilling to fight a necessary war means that the country is coming to an end.

      Here, we can wage the conflict against Islamic domination by the use of pencils rather than missiles. But know for sure that American liberty (with its beacon of freedom for the world) is still very much at stake, and every media pundit or commenter who clucks at this and deigns to suggest that they will refrain from offending Islam out of “judgment” is aiding and abetting the jihadists who mean to destroy our ability to do so.

      All those people who are happy to offend Christians but who shy away from offending Muslims are obviously not avoiding offense, they are simply operating from fear. That fear is completely wrong in this country.

      In a better future, religions will be respected and offensive work will fail in the marketplace of ideas. And war will be unnecessary. But right now, this effort to fight against Islamic domination needs to be supported by all who believe in our Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    2. @scout

      I should have known there was someone I could count upon — a “Conservative” no less — to criticize this post.

      Thank you.

  2. Hah! Thanks for the link … but can it be that most of your regulars are afraid to appear here?

    Most of the conversation is going on at the previous post; perhaps that’s it.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    1. Afraid to even comment? That had not occurred to me, but perhaps a few might be.

      Yet what are the folks who might have disapproved of the cartoon going to say? It kind of takes the wind out of their sails, and it only takes it a “like” to approve.

      As UP TO EARS IN WORK indicates, I have not been blogging much, and comments on other blogs does draw traffic. So I suspect it as is you suggest. Besides, we came to this controversy a little late.

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