The irony of the Islamist response to cartoon depictions of Muhammed: Imply that Islam is a terrorist religion and Muslims will terrorize you

PZ Myers addresses the irony of the Islamist response to those non-Muslims who would dare blaspheme against Islam. He says “it’s simply stupid to try and protest accusations that you are violent by committing acts of violence.”

PZ goes on to address what he describes as a pattern of escalation:

The aggrieved Muslims are saying, “Mock our god and we will kill you.” They have the goal of suppressing images they consider blasphemous.

The cartoonists are saying, “Threaten to kill us and we will mock your god.” Obviously, they’d like to stay alive, but their goal in this context is to see their work disseminated widely.

Now ask yourself, who is achieving their goals? Who is winning?

It looks to me like a few relatively obscure cartoonists are crushing the fundamentalist Muslim world. Those cartoons aren’t even that good, and they’re being published everywhere, even appearing on blogs.

PZ concludes by pondering if perhaps he has been misinterpreting the Islamist position.

maybe their goal is actually to make sure the world thinks their beliefs are dangerous and stupid, and also ineffectual; they’re flailing pointlessly to suppress a couple of scribblings that would have vanished into obscurity, and have managed to turn them into icons of Islamic insanity.

It’s the Streisand effect, Islamist terrorist edition. I was going to do an MS Paint mock-up of Streisand wearing the Kurt Westergaard turban-bomb, but didn’t want to risk getting sued by Streisand for publicizing an image that could be interpreted as meaning that Streisand is a supporter of Islamic terrorism. It also occurred to me to make a mock-up of Westergaard’s turban-bomb Muhammed head sitting in the place of Streisand’s head in the picture below, but didn’t want to risk having to live a life under police protection. It’s a shame that this is actually not an illegitimate fear.

Barbra Streisand
2 Responses to “The irony of the Islamist response to cartoon depictions of Muhammed: Imply that Islam is a terrorist religion and Muslims will terrorize you”
  1. evolution says:

    Yep, some Muslims need to chill out.

    In the UK, I was watching the news with some Muslims who just got released after they were charged with reading terrorism related materials. They were defending their right to read such materials by using freedom of speech as an argument. Fact is, you can’t use that argument when it suits you.

    I personally disliked the cartoons because they reflect the deep mistrust of Muslims in Europe, but you can’t change perceptions with this sort of over-blown over-reaction.

  2. This Busy Monster says:

    I think PZ and others miss the point.

    As an example, lots of brand advertising is not designed to attract new customers, but to keep the existing base happy and coming back for more. These kinds of outbursts do the same thing.

    If the fundies constantly depict the religious world as being under attack from the secular / scientific world, it shores up the base support and staunches the bleeding off of less fanatical supporters. If you cast the world as an us vs. them proposition, you make it easier to keep internal dissent in check.

    Interestingly, it’s not a lot different than the post-911 US strategy of depicting the US as under attack and playing up patriotism (another form of religion). Don’t mistake a political display as being based in religious belief. Power is power, and leaders of large organizations will do the craziest things to keep control.

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