Another Awesome Week for Free Speech

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Since I am currently in Norway, where the media possesses infinite patience for the debate over causing "offense" to the religious, and considering that we will be publishing reader-submitted cartoons of Mohammad in solidarity with Matt Stone and Trey Parker next month, a few regional updates are perhaps worth noting.

Kurt Westergaard, the elderly Danish artists behind the infamous "bomb in the turban" cartoon, was forcibly retired from his job at Jyllands-Posten last week because he has been tagged as a "security risk." An understandable concern, considering Westergaard was attacked in his apartment earlier this year (He scrambled into a panic room; his attacker was shot by police), but still rather depressing. AFP reports:

"It is forced vacation but it looks a lot like I'm being retired," the 75-year-old cartoonist said, adding that he himself still had an "insatiable desire" to work.

In Sweden, the artist Lars Vilks, also under police protection for drawing a cartoon of Mohammad, was scheduled to give a speech on free expression at Jönköping University. And again, it is true that Vilks is a target and a "security risk"—a plot to kill him involving was unraveled last month in Ireland—but Vilks believes the cancellation was due to lobbying by "offended" parties. Google News only returns one English-language story on the lecture, from this site in Denmark:

Artist Lars Vilks was invited by Jönköping University to speak about freedom of speech. But the seminar was canceled for security reasons. "I've understood that Muslim students protested," says Lars Vilks. The politically independent Foreign Policy Association at Jönköping University was forced to cancel a lecture with controversial artist Lars Vilks.

Vilks, who's known in the Middle East for his cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed, was supposed to come to Jönköping on Thursday. But yesterday he was told that association canceled the lecture. Due to the security risk, the International Business School, the Culture Center and Hotel Victoria, all refused to offer their premises….

"Evidently somebody pressured the organizers and thinks that it will be xenophobic and racist. It's actually ironic that a seminar on freedom of speech should be censored," [said Vilks].

The wanted terrorist Mullah Krekar, living under police protection in Oslo, released an audiotape this week calling for the death of two Kurdish exiles living in Norway after they burned pages of the Koran that, they said, were used to justify Saddam Hussein's genocidal Anfal campaign against Iraqi Kurds.

"With this he's become a total infidel. Therefore it's completely legal to kill him, regardless of where he did this, whether the Koran was burned in Oslo in the infidel's home or in an Islamic home ruled by the Khalif. Both places he must be killed," it says in the audio clip.

The male voice, appearing with the profile name N. Krekar, then asks if there is someone brave enough to kill.

Much more forthcoming from Oslo, where I am attending the magnificent Oslo Freedom Forum.

And for those unaware, send all Everyone Draw Mohammad Day cartoons to mmoynihan at reason.com

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  1. Europe has lots of experience rolling over for and collaborating with murderous fascists. So, it really is pretty easy for them to do this kind of stuff.

    1. On the bright side, the fact that al-Quaeda sent a guy to kill the cartoonist puts truth to the lie that they hate us for our “meddling” and “interventionism”.

      1. True. But those who buy into that bullshit will just ignore it.

      2. There is no doubt that the core of al-Qaeda hates us simply for being us. But our meddling and interventionism provides them with the prestige, recruits, and protection in Muslim communities that they need to be any kind of threat to us.

        If it weren’t for our treating the Middle East like a toddler treats his sandbox, al-Qaeda would be about as dangerous to us as the KKK is.

        1. I can easily disprove of that with a positive control, a nation that has been heavily meddling for sinister, corporate related reason for decades. This nation has maintained a monopoly on uranium production in Niger through a state-owned company, ‘farms’ the UN votes of its former colonies in Africe by providing their leaders with bodyguards, and in 2007 actually had troops fight to maintain a despotic government in Chad. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the sinister foreign interventions of FRANCE, which has yet to receive any of the blowback that the dictates of non-interventionism say they should. Erego, bullshit. By the way, Canada’s total non-involvement in the Sikh separatist movement in the ’80s did not stop Sikh terrorists from murdering dozens of our citizens and committing violence against moderates like Ujjal Dosinijh (sic). Yes, I will repeat-fire this argument in future. It’s that good.

          1. This is interesting if, as you say, France has escaped terrorist activity in spite of being interventionist.
            So why have they escaped terrorism inspite of Euro-trash Western cultural depravity(invented the bikini, for instance), being rich and hedonistic, and for doing far more to piss off muslims (head scarve ban) than have Americans? France would seem to neither prove nor disprove your theory.

            1. America is more visible than France simply put. France just sits there while America is perceived to be a great champion and exporter of modernity and freedom. The reason America is hated is because it is perceived to be a great threat to the system jihadists want in place. Mcdonalds, heavy metal, etc. BTW, how do I use italics and bold? I wanted to italicize the word ‘perceived’ to highlight that the perception is not necessarily true.

              1. And American intervention is more visible too! You’re seriously comparing France’s financing of a few bodyguards to the US invasion of two Muslim countries?

              2. typing <i>perceived</i>

                will give you perceived

          2. OK, so I’m going to think about this one. Don’t know how I feel about this yet.

          3. The French are just more subtle than we are. They KNOW it’s an issue, so they keep it on the downlow. The US is more like a clumsy oaf just blundering about.

        2. With you on the meddling/interventionism, Tulpa, but there is no excuse for Muslims to threaten or carry out violence because someone *gasp!* draws a picture of Mohammed.

          1. But they will until you stop them. And stopping them means ending regimes that support terrorism which means, for starts, a regime change in Iran precipitated with extreme force in Iran.

          2. I’m with you on it not being an excuse for violence too.

            Just saying it’s mighty childish to respond to this whole fiasco by purposely offending ALL Muslims.

  2. And manbearpig will apparently be roaming the beaches of Los Angeles.

    http://www.latimes.com/feature…..3538.story

  3. Thanks John,
    Enough said.

  4. The annoying thing about Europe going Nazi again is that the commie/enviro teamup and the broad-left/jihadi coalition over there are both called “The Red-Green Alliance,” because I guess they ran out of colors to name political things after. USE OTHER WORDS, YOU INBRED TWATS.

    (The actual Nazi stuff isn’t “annoying.” It’s just who they are.)

  5. Repeating myself of course, but this whole draw Mohammed thing is so damned childish. Just because you think the KKK has the right to organize a parade doesn’t mean you put on the sheets and cheer for the victory of the white race with them.

    I sincerely hope that Reason at the very least refrains from including truly insulting depictions of Mohammed. Not out of fear of jihadi nutjobs, who will be pissed regardless, but out of basic human courtesy of not offending people for offense’s sake.

    1. First, not all Muslims find the depiction of Muhammad to be offensive. So, how is drawing Muhammad akin to being in the KKK?

      Second, would you apply the same rule if Reason refused to show some insulting depiction of Hindus or Christians?

      Third, I would say the Kurd who burned the pages of the Koran that were used to justify the gassing of his people to be the opposite of the KKK.

      1. If Reason made a special point of publishing cartoons insulting to someone’s religion, I would disapprove. They have the legal right to publish whatever they want, but that doesn’t impugn my right to criticize their boorishness.

    2. This is a joke, right?

      If it’s not, I hope the images are as fucking offensive as possible. I’ve already contemplated doing a goatse with Mohammed’s head on it (anyone steals this, and I will destroy you), and I hope to come up with something much worse.

      1. I want to do a Muhammad as Che t-shirt. OR maybe a Muhammad as Obama in the Shepherd Fairy poster style.

        1. Sorry, dude. I already did that a long time ago, and that was before this contest.

          http://tinyurl.com/y9z8o8g

      2. Mohammed as Mr. Hands?

      3. The point of making the pictures non-offensive will not only show how completely crazy the radicals are, but also stave off accusations that people are doing it just to piss off Muslims in general rather than just the extremists. Most Muslims don’t seem to have a big deal with simple depictions of Mohammad.

        That was kind of the point of the stick figure drawing in South Park. If you drew a picture of Santa Claus and wrote “The Prophet Mohammad” on it, does it count as breaking whatever rule the crazies are citing?

        1. This is a good point. Displaying even non-insulting portraits of Mohammed just because it offends people, as Reason and others are doing, would be childish in my book, but not nearly as bad as what’s likely to happen.

          And don’t give me the “show solidarity with South Park” nonsense. There are plenty of other ways to show solidarity.

          1. But some Muslims don’t consider depictions of Muslims to be insulting. Is it your position that even they should refrain from doing so out of respect for those who do find it offensive? And if they can, does that mean that only Muslims can comment on the religion?

            1. If anyone was going to depict Mohammed for some other reason, that’s fine. My issue is with people who are making these drawings just because they know many Muslims are offended by them. Especially those who are trying to make them as insulting as possible.

              1. Why should we worry about offending muslim extremists when they are not worried about offending anyone else? Do you think the offensive pictures will be published in moderate muslim countires?

              2. What about my right (my duty, more like)as an Atheist to mock all stupid religious beliefs, like saying any depiction of your high exalted one is offensive I find THAT offensive

      4. I also lean toward the “make the images offensive” theory because I’m so fond of teachable moments: if someone with an Allah-shaped stick up his ass is offended by a mere drawing of a bearded man, he needs to learn what a TRULY offensive picture looks like.

        I re-submit my idea: find an over-the-hill porn star willing to make stylistic sacrifices for The Cause, and hire a tattoo artist to draw Mohammed on her. The combination of proper placement and skillful razor work should result in a beaming Mohammed with a wide (albeit toothless) smile and a beard that actually grows.

        1. Not all inks are permanent; the body model wouldn’t necessarily have to make that big of a sacrifice.

      5. I wish it were a joke that I have to explain basic human decency to people who are purportedly socially-functional adults.

        1. I wish you had a sense of humor.

          1. Saying, “I was just kidding,” after you get caught revealing more than you intended about your thoughts is a common tactic of 7-year-olds and Democratic senators from Massachusetts.

            1. Who here said “I was just kidding” after revealing more than they intended? I don’t think that you intended to reveal how craven you are, but neither did you say “Just kidding.”

            2. LOL WUT

            3. I don’t think he was kidding, just that you can’t appreciate the humor in offending people who deserve to be offended.

        2. “Basic human decency” = “not threatening violence against people just because they offended you.” It also entails “accepting that if something offends you, you do not have the right to insist all 6.5 billion people in the world tiptoe around your delicate sensibilities.”

        3. How does a picture labeled “Mohammed” violate ‘basic human decency’? Just because some insane people are deeply offended, pissed off, and bloodthirsty?

          If a person or group of people are threatening to kill people over some nonsense like “offensive pictures”, then a reasonable response is for as many people as possible to violate the edict; it’s sort of a reductio ad absurdum of stupid, backward, violent, evil religious rules.

      6. Two Mohammeds, one cup?

      7. There’s some irony in that comment somewhere.

    3. Repeating myself of course, but this whole draw Mohammed thing is so damned childish.

      Sincere question, then: what would you consider an appropriate means of protesting bigots who threaten murder against those who draw Mohammed? Is it childish to believe such people should not be appeased?

      1. If they’re threatening murder, they should be arrested and charged for that crime.

        If their activities don’t rise to that level, they should be either ignored or denounced in the marketplace of ideas, depending on how seriously they are taken. You don’t need to draw Mohammed to denounce those nutjobs.

        1. You don’t “need” to do anything except eat, breathe, stay warm and sleep. God save humanity if too many people buy the idea that you shouldn’t really do something unless you “need” to.

          The people who show up at Fred Phelps protests carrying mocking signs like “God Hates Flags” or “I Have A Sign” don’t really need to do that, and furthermore they’re being dreadfully childish, no? They should content themselves with a simple letter to the editor saying “Fred Phelps is a bad man. Boo on bigots.”

          1. Are you being intentionally obtuse? Offending people who are doing you or others wrong (such as the WHO idiots) is A-OK with me. Images of Mohammed (especially insulting ones) are offending the vast majority of Muslims who had nothing to do with RevMus.com’s foolishness. And don’t give me the shit about how “they didn’t denounce the jihadis loud enough.” No other religion’s adherents are held responsible for opining loudly either way about every action of their coreligionists.

            1. And don’t give me the shit about how “they didn’t denounce the jihadis loud enough.

              I’ve never said that, so kindly stop conflating me with someone else.

              Incidentally, my comments demonstrate more respect for Muslims than yours: I’m not the one promoting the condescending belief that Muslims are just too emotionally fragile to handle the knowledge that someone, somewhere, might be showing lese majeste toward their prophet.

              Incidentally, the South Park episode which started this whole brouhaha also had a couple wholly gratuitous shots of Buddha snorting lines of coke in full view of impressionable children. Why do you not stick up for the poor offended Buddhists and Hindus, the way you have been defending the poor offended Muslims? Showing Buddha as a drug addict is a hell of a lot more offensive than showing Mohammed as a tattoo; my tattoo suggestion doesn’t imply that Mohammed engages in any bad behavior.

              1. That Stone and Parker are tasteless boors is a well-known fact which they would probably agree with. I’m not protesting what they do here.

                I’m protesting the idea that it’s morally (as opposed to legally) OK for people to go out of their way to insult other people’s beliefs. If a plan to publish insulting cartoons of Buddha, or Zoroaster, or Confucius were afoot, I would criticize those too. But they’re not.

                1. So you’re saying it’s not morally acceptable to insult people’s beliefs, then?

                  1. How far does this “it’s not morally acceptable to insult people’s beliefs” thing go, anyway? The Christian Identity movement believes white people are the only ones who have souls and qualify for heaven; is it morally acceptable to insult their beliefs? The Taliban — we already know what they believe about the female half of the human race. Is it morally acceptable to insult their beliefs? What about the fundamentalist Christians who teach that natural disasters are God’s way of punishing countries with homosexual citizens: is it morally acceptable to insult their beliefs, Tulpa? Bestow upon me your moral teachings, pray do.

                2. I’m protesting the idea that it’s morally (as opposed to legally) OK for people to go out of their way to insult other people’s beliefs.

                  In general I would say, no, one should not mock other people’s beliefs for the hell of it. However, sometimes it rises beyond “for the hell of it”, such as when there is a widespread movement which takes itself way too seriously and needs to be mocked to prove a point. I’m reminded of an old quip about offensive humor…

                  …we believe in healthy, hearty laughter — at the expense of the whole human race, if needs be. Needs be.
                  –H. Allen Smith, “Rude Jokes”

            2. Err, people restricting my ability to view and produce entertainment, parody, and satire that I find valuable ARE “doing me wrong.”

              1. Then direct your ire toward Comedy Central.

                1. …which caved under pressure from idiots who think it’s kosher* to poke fun at Mohammed… which puts the onus of self-restraint (read: personal responsibility) on the sliver of radical Muslim culture that thinks it’s such an insult, people have to die over it.

                  *Yep, I said kosher. Maybe I’ll get a death threat now.

                  1. I think you mean “not kosher”.

                    And Comedy Central doesn’t usually censor content because it’s offensive to religion, so they obviously have another motive in this case.

          2. Jennifer nails it. Offensive people (Phelps, Islamists who call for the deaths of others) desrve to be mocked. Their most cherished beliefs should be ridiculed in the most offesive way possible.

        2. Pardon my insolence here, Tulpa, but your argument on this topic could have come from the mouth/keyboard of a typical Democrat.

    4. Tulpa|2.9.10 @ 1:23PM|#
      Tits killed my father. They literally suffocated him.

      1. Reason should print THAT. They don’t have the guts, I reckon.

    5. Your comment about having the courtesy of not offending people offend me. As a canadian citizen, I intend to use the full power of the HRC against you, you damn offender.

      But seriously, comparing people who draws stupid cartoons to people who lynch blacks? Bit lame, no?

      1. KKK doesn’t lynch blacks anymore, and in any case, I was only talking about marching in a parade with them.

        1. Then let me rephrase Franky’s comment: “But seriously, comparing people who draw stupid cartoons to people who advocate the complete disenfranchisement of all non-white non-Christian people in the country? Bit lame, no?”

        2. But… but… there’s Klansmen everywhere! I saw ’em at the tea-party rallies! Thousands of ’em!

  6. I think this is a fitting companion to the stick-figure Mohammed seen in South Park. And win for free speech.

  7. Even in Islamic history, the ban on drawing Mohammed was not complete. The Brooklyn Museum of art has a painting of Mohammed made by Muslims a few centuries ago. It is a shame that today’s Muslims do not draw inspiration from more tolerant periods of their history.

    1. Christian iconoclasts thought the same thing. People act like it is settled tradition. It is not.

    2. more tolerant periods of their history.

      Would that be the period when they were trying to conquer the Middle East and northern Africa or the period when they were trying to conquer Europe?

      1. Militarists can still allow religious freedom for the people they invade and subjugate.

        1. They can, but that doesn’t describe Muslims.

    3. Depictions of Mohammed isn’t a settled issue as you point out. The objections of Many Muslims to the Danish cartoons is the bomb thing, not the depiction itself. People who pretend otherwise have their own agenda.

      For the record, the Danes have every right to draw whatever they want. But, let’s not pretend that the West doesn’t ban speech. It is not just Europe either. The US jailed people for selling broadcasts of TV stations that were banned in the US.

  8. Much more forthcoming from Oslo…

    Well, for the most part, you could just embed a feed from the International Freedom of Expression eXchange site.

  9. It is rich how N. Krekar talks about the courage to kill a cartoonist when he doesn’t even have the chuzpa to show his face during his call to war. It’s a bit difficult to be afraid of people who wear bandannas over their faces every time they riot.

  10. Are Swedes, Norwegians and Danes allowed to carry guns to protect themselves?

    1. Pretty sure the answer is “absolutely not”.

      1. I know it’s fucked up, but only children are allowed to carry guns there.

    2. Sweden and Norway still have pretty active rifle shooting and hunting traditions (Norway is always at the top of International biathlon competition). Handgun ownership is more restricted than long gun ownership but permits and competency tests are required for both IIANM.

      But carrying for protection is highly restricted I believe, and not really open to the common folk.

      There are US jurisdictions more restrictive, but not many.

      1. They also do a lot of biatholon.

  11. Hey, btw, i have started a site dedicated to the Everyone Draw Mohammed movement. There are two important differences between my approach and his.

    First, I am publishing them now, if you are willing. I am hoping to create momentum.

    Second, I have just about no standards. Really, no artistic talent necessary, and be as offensive as you want, etc. As long as depicts mohammed and isn’t actually porn, anything goes.

    http://everyonedrawmohammed.blogspot.com/

  12. I’m a little surprised that nobody here is standing up for the Muslims’ free speech rights when it comes to responding to cartoons they find offensive.

    1. Cue the troll enablers.

    2. Murdering some artists who offend you and then threatening to do the same to others isn’t speech, it’s initiating force. Libertarians are typically against that.

      1. Dan’s the type who would say something like this:

        “Fuck those Christians! They oughta – oh, hey, there’s a Muslim! I’m gonna go kiss his ass!”

      2. If burning a flag is speech, why isn’t burning an artist or writer?

        1. Nice troll attempt.

          Beaten your wife lately?

  13. I hear Norway is an amazing place.

    Lou
    http://www.post-anonymously.us.tc

    1. And those trees! What are those amazing trees?

  14. My religion fears what you say about it so I’m going to kill you.

    Sounds like an inferiority complex to me. Rather than convert others through argument or example these less than true believers fall back on threats to others. It’s kind of pathetic when you think about it.

    1. I think it’s a distinction between Christianity and Islam based on methods of being saved.

      Christianity – You’re an asshole, you will probably go to hell. I get extra credit points for helping you not go there.

      Islam – You’re an asshole, you will probably go to hell. I get extra credit points by helping you along your way.

      1. Of course, the Grand Inquisitor thought he could help you along to heaven by torturing and killing you, so maybe my argument ain’t so hot.

        1. True. But that was centuries ago. Modern Christianity is very tolerant.

      2. No, you misunderstand. It’s:

        Islam – Your nation is filled with infidels. If I leave your people alone, you will all go to hell. If I start killing some of you so that the rest submit and convert, the majority of souls will be saved. Also, it means we get to totally pwn you Western pussies, which fuckin rocks.

        1. See you in hell, pigfucker.

  15. just quickly scanned over the comments – and I didn’t see anyone mention (or reason mention) that the person who started the draw mo day is now scared and takes it all back. …am trying to find the link….

  16. here’s the fine lady’s site: http://www.mollynorris.com/

    1. She didn’t say as such, but I’ll bet she’s scared of being killed in the name of The Religion of Peace.

  17. Some more background and info about it here.

  18. Okay, I’m not truly shameless at all. Buy I was going to post my childish thoughts on the “childishness” aspect of the issue. However, if you really care, you can see them on my vlog about it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNsTV-fxpng

    Love, Kevin

  19. Great site dedicated to pictures (contemporary as well as historical) with descriptions of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad: http://zombietime.com/mohammed_image_archive

    Great Wiki Article on Mohammad Pictures: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D…..f_Muhammad

    It details pictures/depictions of Mohammad made by Muslims as well as non-Muslims. Gotta love Wiki. They’ve got more balls, and love for free speech than Comedy Central or any violent extremist garbage religious idiot!

  20. Glad to see other taking up the this event the original creators seem to be dropping out, probably from people sending them nasty death threats no doubt.

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