The winning cartoon by Bosch Fawstin
Listening to Laura Ingraham's interview with Pamela Geller, I made some notes on their lines of argument. Geller, obviously, is for the cartoon contest as an exercise of the American right to speech free from Islamic dictates; Ingraham supports Geller's right to free speech but opposes the contest, nonetheless, as not "helpful."
Geller opens by taking exception to Ingraham's earlier comment calling the cartoon contest needlessly provocative. Geller argues that, on the contrary, it is murdering cartoonists that is needlessly provocative, and then says something about the importance of not surrendering to violent sharia enforcement. Once established, she says, we will enforce it again and again and again.
Ingraham replies with a list of her own bona fides regarding freedom of religion, persecuted Christians, the war in Iraq, also professing her own Roman Catholic faith. She then says she doesn't think the US effort to combat the Islamization of the globe is "necessarily helped" by putting on Mohammed art contests, although she supports PG's right to do so. She then intimates that PG was merely grandstanding, which PG takes exception to. (PG: Where did I say I was "brave," LI: I didn't say you said that -- although LI did imply exactly that.)
When they come back to topic, LI says: I'm a Roman Catholic. I don't like it when the Virgin Mary is smeared in dung. I don't like it when the crucifix is dipped in urine. She says that while this was protected speech, she doesn't like it, doesn't think it is good for anyone.
Here we see unfolding the "religious equivalence" argument, an argument born of cultural relativism that must avoid comparisons between the teachings of Christianity and Islam, Jesus and Mohammed, to sustain itself. It then advances by implication. The first implication is that since Christianity and Islam are generic "religions," they may be and should be lumped together. This negates the legal and political roles of Islam, which, even before we compare principles and morality, Islamic collectivism and Christian invidualism, distinguish it from all other religions. The second implication is that drawing or caricaturing Mohammed sends the same message as immersing the symbols of Christianity in excrement. LI doesn't like the latter, so, projecting religious equivalence, she doesn't like the former.
I will return to these false equivalence arguments below. But first, back to the ladies.
LI next states that she didn't think a lot was accomplished with the cartoon contest, by making Mohammed cartoons "the hill to die on, literally or figuratively." Die on a prophet Mohammed issue? LI asks incredulously. Why not debate them on the issues?
What issues might that be, I wonder? In the case of the cartoon contest, the issue is Islamic slander law, which protects Islam's prophet Mohammed from all forms of criticism (including cartoons, drawings of Mohammed being forbidden; including factual discussion that is not an apologetic) on pain of death. Can Americans regard such law, which renders even a political cartoon such as the winning entry (above) a capital crime, as "debateable"? I think not.
It may be, however, that most commentators remain unfamiliar with the totalitarian mechanisms of Islam. They seem not to recognize the existence of Islamic slander law, which extends to the "crime" of "aspostasy," and which makes "leaving Islam" -- rejecting the Islamic faith, converting to another -- also a capital crime. If so, if they really do remain ignorant of these sharia basics all these years after 9/11, I submit that they had better bone up on them and quick. They form the epicenter of Islam-West clash.
Geller then replies by observing that Roman Catholics don't kill when their religion is mocked.
True, of course. What needs to be underscored, though, is the doctrinal reason: neither Christianity nor Judaism call on their followers to kill on being "mocked" (critqued, rejected, etc.). Thus, in societies that have Judeo-Christian roots, such violence is against the law. In Islamic societies, however, it is the law. This means the Muslims who attacked the cartoon contest in Texas were not outlaws under sharia.
This crucial point, lost in the media "mockery" focus, was underscored in a surreal exchange on the Hannity Show when Anjem Choudary blatantly and outrageously stated that for sponsoring a Mohammed cartoon contest, Geller, American and Jewish, should nonetheless be brought before an Islamic sharia court, tried and convicted to death.
ISIS, meanwhile, issued a fatwa calling for the "slaughter" of "khanzeer (pig) Pamela Geller."
Andrew Bostom explains the vicious, deadly and, of course, Islamic "khanzeer" (pig) connotations:
Muhammad used the epithets “apes/monkeys” and/or “pigs,” per Koran 5:60, to characterize Jewish victims of his jihadist campaigns, notably the Qurayza tribe, whose males Muhammad subsequently beheaded. Tafsir al-Jalalayn, which remains one of the most popular, as well as the most authoritative Koranic commentaries provides this gloss on 5:60:
[5:60] ..those whom Allah has cursed and put far away from His mercy and with whom he is angry—turning some of them into monkeys and into pigs by transmogrification—and who worshipped false gods. These are the Jews…“False gods” refers to Shayṭān [Satan]. They [the Jews] worship him by obeying him. Such people are in a worse situation—because they will be in the Fire—and further from the right way (the Path of the Truth) [i.e., Islam]
Just prior to orchestrating the en masse execution of the adult males from the besieged Medinan Jewish tribe the Banu Qurayza (and distributing their women, children, and possessions as slave “booty” for the Muslims), Muhammad, according to his earliest Muslim biographer, Ibn Ishaq (d. 767-770), addressed these Jews with menacing, hateful derision:“You brothers of monkeys, has God disgraced you and brought His vengeance upon you?”Another early Muslim biographer of Muhammad, Ibn Sa‘d [d. 845], reports that Muhammadstated, “brothers of monkeys and pigs, fear me, fear me!” A third account, Al-Waqidi’s (d. 822),The Life of Muhammad, reports that as Muhammad approached the Qurayza’s fortress, he proclaimed they were “brothers of monkeys and pigs and worshippers of evil.” Following a later campaign against the Jews of the Khaybar oasis, Muhammad told those surviving his slaughter, and rapine, “As for you, I hate you more than monkeys and pigs.”
In such authoritative texts lies the unbridgeable chasm between Islam and the West, depths our leading commentators leave unplumbed. Wed to the false narrative of religious equivalence, they reduce our enveloping existential crisis to an exercise in scolding about the need to be "respectful" and not to "mock" "someone else's" generic religion.
Is it the enforcement of "respect" that should be a free media's first duty toward a belief system under which it would be perfectly lawful to put Pamela Geller to death -- and whose followers have tried to do exactly that here, in Texas? Whose very existence, as Yusef al Qaradawi recently declared, is due to this same law making freedom of speech and conscience capital crimes?
Geller's contest tried to show that we Americans reject such laws of the sharia, but the widespread critical reaction says something else again. No matter how many disavowals or violence, no matter how many avowals of free speech rights (these staunch defenders of free speech never display the cartoons), nothing can take away from the fact that sharia norms constitute the media's status quo. Knowingly or not, such attitudes are actually enabling central tenets of Islamic law -- death for slander -- to trump our own.
And then what happens? History points to the stunted, repressed existence of the dhimmi, who, subject to Islam's violent blackmail, for centuries traded silence for "protection," diminished rights for "tolerance." Finger-wagging about "mockery" will never scratch this ghastly surface. Historical cycles of Islamic conquest and real-time Islamization tell us this sharia "crisis" won't be the last.