Molly Norris, mild-mannered cartoonist, started a fire she cannot put out. As Rick Santelli’s “rant” on TV from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade fueled the Tea Party, Norris inspired thousands revolt against Islam. In a desiderative whim, she drew innocuous, refrigerator-door magnet caliber pictures which she claimed were images of Mohammad: a spool of thread, a teacup, a spoon, and other mundane things. Overall, they looked more like idle doodles than passionate expressions of the freedom of speech. She posted them in protest of Viacom’s Comedy Central forbidding its cartoon show, “South Park,“ to depict Mohammad in a bear suit.
That spawned the immensely popular “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” on Facebook. And thousands did draw. It is interesting to note that one can invite people to “draw Lincoln,” and we would see images of Lincoln ranging from good to unrecognizable. But how does one draw an image of a person whose face has never been seen, except in imagination? Imagination took hold.
Numerous responses have appeared on Facebook where artists comment, "We have reached 50,000 members. As the news of the rebellion against the attacks to our liberties are heard, brave people join the campaign to stave of those who would annihilate that which we believe in, freedom. Thomas Jefferson's quote is also on the Facebook page. "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."
Americans and their friends across the globe responded en masse. The defiance was overwhelming, producing more cartoons than the Danish could draw, many of them ingenious. For a while, everyone was a Guy Fawkes, or a Paul Revere, or a Joan of Arc.
But -- Molly Norris was criticized. Islam answered. Muslims demonstrated. Shut up. Molly Norris recanted. She didn’t mean to offend Muslims. She was only expressing her right to freedom of speech.
Too late. Contrition doesn’t carry much weight in Islam. No one has a right to offend Islam, or blaspheme against it. Whether Mohammad is depicted as a pedophilic ogre, as a knock-off of Charlton Heston’s Moses, or as a teacup, it matters not. It is forbidden. “Sorry” doesn’t cut it. Facebook also caved to Muslim demands and took down the page.
A fatwa has been issued against her and anyone who participated in Everybody Draw Mohammad Day. It appeared in an Al Qada online “magazine” and was issued by a former American turned Muslim cleric, Anwar Al-Awlaki, who now lives in hiding in Yemen. Molly Norris is now a “prime target” to be murdered.
"A cartoonist out of Seattle, Washington, named Molly Norris started the 'Everyone Draw Mohammed Day,'" the article attributed to the radical Yemeni cleric says. "She should be taken as a prime target of assassination, along with others who participated in her campaign. "The large number of participants makes it easier for us because there are many targets to choose from," reads the article in the magazine of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.
The killings should not, however, be limited to "Draw Mohammed" participants, the article says. "Because (participants) are practicing a 'right' that is defended by the law, they have the backing of the entire Western political system. This would make... attacking any Western target legal from an Islamic viewpoint."
Molly Norris should know that Islamic "legality" is consistently irrational and brutal. It is not a matter of a slap on the wrist and a fine. Submission to Islam must be total -- or not at all. The "justice" metted out to those who only partially submit is perilous. Even Muslims are not exempt from it.
So, Molly Norris’s life, and that of anyone who drew Mohammad on Facebook, is in danger. So is the right to freedom of speech. The law that defends it is also fair game. The First Amendment is targeted for assassination, as well, not only by President Barack Obama’s wannabe censors, but by Islamists who want to replace the Constitution with Sharia law. Anwar All-Whacky is just as determined to see censorship imposed as is Cass Sunstein (by government force) or Stanley Fish (censorship by proxy). Excuse the mocking nickname; my powers of illustration fail me.
Stanley Fish, self-appointed academic ombudsman of free speech, quibbles about the use of the term censorship, not understanding, or not wishing to understand, that if fear results in the silencing of speech -- a fear sired by the threat of direct force, or of a costly, ruinous lawsuit -- that is as much censorship as the employment of force itself.
So what Random House did was not censorship. (Some other press is perfectly free to publish Jones’s book, and one probably will.) It may have been cowardly or alarmist, or it may have been good business, or it may have been an attempt to avoid trouble that ended up buying trouble. But whatever it was, it doesn’t rise to the level of constitutional or philosophical concern. And it is certainly not an episode in some “showdown between Islam and the Western tradition of free speech.” Formulations like that at once inflate a minor business decision and trivialize something too important and complex to be reduced to a high-school civics lesson about the glories of the First Amendment.
Fish manages to denigrate not only Salman Rushdie in his New York Times piece, but also business itself. He has no grasp of what is fundamentally of “constitutional or philosophical concern.” It's all so trivial, nothing to get worked up about. Save your concern for something important. And that would be...?
“The large number of participants makes it easier for us because there are many targets to choose from,” boasted All-Whacky. True. How are he and his American proxies going to find and slay 50,000 offenders? No problem. He has designated any Western target for destruction. Perhaps someone who “drew Mohammad” will be one of the bomb victims.
How better to vitiate the First Amendment than to frighten men from upholding it? Those who refrain from drawing Mohammad, or from satirizing him and his Moonie-like flocks in word or deed out of “respect” or “tolerance,” or from sheer funk, or who counsel others to refrain, are just as culpable in the loss of that liberty as any Washington censor or duty-bound Muslim.
Of course, one needn’t have drawn Mohammad to become a prime target for assassination. Watching a soccer match in Uganda is also a punishable offense. Or publishing an Islam-friendly novel about the adventures of Mohammad’s child bride -- without illustrations. Or an imageless history of the images of Mohammad. Or employing terms that identify the enemy in national security reports (that would be “profiling” a “religion of peace”).
Those who drew Mohammad last spring cannot all go into hiding, as doubtless Molly Norris must now do. The FBI has advised her to take the threat seriously. There are countless Muslims -- itinerate loners or residents of Muslim enclaves in this country or the patrons of the proposed Ground Zero Mosque -- willing to do All-Whacky’s bidding. We are at war with Islam, and the enemy is amongst us.
Is America fated to become a nation-in-hiding? You, the reader, decide. Our government will not acknowledge the war declared against us. It is up to Americans acknowledge it, and to never surrender this country to Islam or to its secular, Obama-esque form -- to never let it go.