A Failed Attempt to Kill Danish Cartoonist

Kurt Westergaard is the artist who drew the following picture, the most infamous of the “Muhammad cartoons” that led to riots in the Islamic world:

On Friday, Westergaard nearly lost his life.

… a 28-year-old Somalia man was armed with an ax and a knife when he attempted to enter Kurt Westergaard’s home in Aarhus [Denmark] shortly after 10 p.m. (2100 GMT) on Friday.

Westergaard, who had his 5-year-old granddaughter on a sleepover, called police and sought shelter in a specially made safe room in the house, [officer Preben] Nielsen said. Police arrived two minutes later and tried to arrest the assailant, who wielded an ax at a police officer. The officer then shot the man.

Westergaard could not be reached for comment. He told his employer, the Jyllands-Posten daily, that the assailant shouted ”revenge” and ”blood” as he tried to enter the bathroom where Westergaard and the child had sought shelter.

Thankfully he is alive. But I fear this won’t be the last time someone goes after him.

His courage is unbelievable… Can you imagine having to watch your back constantly out of fear for your life? (Or to need a safe room in your house?)

I had a chance to see Salman Rushdie speak a couple years ago, and the thought that was constantly running through my mind as he spoke was how hellish his life must have been like for years when a fatwa was issued against him.

This is what happens when religious nuts take their beliefs so seriously, that any critic must die.

Even though Christians don’t take things to that extreme in America, it’s part of why I’m proud to be associated with so many atheists, who have no fear of taking on sacred cows, left and right. We take that for granted when we read books and blogs about atheism. It takes real courage to attack religion, no matter how big your audience is or how famous you are, and atheists everywhere deserve respect for criticizing it.

The Digital Cuttlefish has a wonderful poem summarizing the story.

(Thanks to Thomas for the link)



  • http://3harpiesltd.org/ocb Judith Bandsma

    Christians don’t take things to that extreme in America? Hello…abortion clinic bombings, doctors who provide reproductive health care being shot down.

    The most certainly DO take things to that extreme in America.

  • Alpha Bitch

    Judith beath me to it. That’s exactly what I was thinking. I second your comment. I’ll also add mothers who drown their children because god told them to, people who beat gay people to death (god hates fags crowd), etc. Crazy people are usually already crazy. Religion just gives them a cause and a dogma. Gangs and cults are other outlets for crazy and for people begging to belong to something.

  • qwertyuiop

    But Islam is a religion of peace.

  • Cecilie

    As a Dane, I was shocked to hear that another terrorist attempt has been made on Danish artist Kurt Westergaard; ours is a small cosy country and until recently free of significant religious violence, so it’s almost incomprehensibly bizarre to learn that there are actually religious extremists at large here, who are willing to murder for the sake of a drawing – not least because the reason for this religious rage is the depiction of Muhammad (and thereby Islam) as a violent religion. How does killing a man refute this accusation?

    Even more bizarrely, the infamous Muhammad drawings were not created just to spite Islam, but to put focus on the fact that fear of religious violence made impossible the publishing of a children’s picture book about Islam intended to teach Danish children to accept and embrace other people with different faiths. The drawings were a sort of ‘testing the waters’ to observe the reaction of the Islamic community to satire and criticism and the limits of freedom of expression; it has been proven without a doubt that significant parts of that community do not approve of a democratic society with freedom of speech, which was exactly the point the publishers of the drawings were trying to make. I am proud of former prime minister Anders Fogh’s refusal to censure the newspaper or apologise for the publishing of the drawings; this is the mark of a true democracy, that the government cannot and will not interfere with the freedom of speech.

    Coincidentally, just yesterday I was watching a Danish documentary (in English) on the Muhammad drawings, called ‘Bloody Cartoons’, which explored the repercussions of the drawings through interviews with people on both sides of the issue, including Kurt Westergaard. It can be found online here: Bloody Cartoons.

  • Zarathustra

    Isn’t it time we lowered ourselves to their level and started bombing the shit out of the Arabs?????

  • Claudia

    Christians don’t take things to that extreme in America? Hello…abortion clinic bombings, doctors who provide reproductive health care being shot down.

    The most certainly DO take things to that extreme in America.

    Sorry, but I must disagree with the false equivalency that’s made between American fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims. Certainly there are a scattered few Christians who are Taliban-esque, but generally speaking it’s simply not true that Christian fundies create the kind of atmosphere that Muslim fundies do.

    Yes atheists get hate mail, and the occasional more menacing threat, but quite frankly you are a lot less likely to die or have your family threatened seriously or your house torched by Christians than by Muslims. Christians who go over the line into violence are also likely to find near-universal and very loud condemnation by other Christians, which indicates to all that there will be no in-group approval for such actions.

    That maybe some Christians would be inclined to do more of those things if they found a more accepting atmosphere…well maybe yes. But it’s manifestly unfair to simply wave your hand and say “they’re all the same”. They are not, fundamentalist Muslims demonstrate again and again that they are worse.

  • ungullible

    While it’s true that abortion clinic bombers are just as violent, they are much smaller in numbers or proportions. When we have mobs of abortion clinic bombers rioting in the streets, when preachers start publicly calling for the death of the creators of atheist billboards, I think only then can we draw a parallel with the Muslim fundies.

    I do think that Christian fundies could easily become just as violent if unchecked, so they are not inherently better. Which is all the more reason why it is important that we continue to defend church/state separation and publicly challenge them on the importance of their religion in our society.

  • nomad

    “It takes real courage to attack religion” or any power system.

  • http://jetson.wordpress.com Jetson

    Watch your back there Hemant, you just posted “the cartoon” :)

  • Richard H

    I feel like this sort of attack underscores why people would have created the ‘offensive’ comics in the first place.

    Whatever people might say about Christians, violating their religious taboos doesn’t make me fear for my life.

    I think we need a bunch more ‘offensive’ cartoons. Hopefully it will desensitize people so that political criticism doesn’t carry a risk of death.

  • http://atheistcamel.blogspot.com/ Dromedary Hump

    I’ve had this picture of me with Westergaard’s cartoon of Mohammed’s face tattooed on my butt on my blogsite for about a year now.
    http://www.resonoelusono.com/Cartoons/mohammed_camel_ass.jpg

    And yet, I can’t seem to get a fatwah issued against me, or one miserable attempt on my life. I think it must be the cold weather here in NH, or Muslim’s unnatural respect for camels.

  • Another Atheist

    Even though Christians don’t take things to that extreme in America

    Posters who claim that fundamentalist christians in the US are different than fundamentalist muslims:
    Why? I would agree with the statement that the proportion of christians willing to actually commit a crime is smaller, but on an individual basis, I see no difference at all. For instance, Dr. Tiller’s murderer thought he was carrying out god’s will, just like the all the other terrorists.

    I would love to ask one of them, if god wants you to kill me so badly, why doesn’t he come down here and do it his damn self? Why must he send a puny incompetent weakling to do his work?

    And Hemant, THANK YOU for actually posting the cartoon. I am so sick of journalists who talk about the cartoon but don’t show it out of “respect” for Islam.

  • Jenniffer Groceman

    I would love to ask one of them, if god wants you to kill me so badly, why doesn’t he come down here and do it his damn self? Why must he send a puny incompetent weakling to do his work?

    Haha! That really makes me giggle. Thanks.

    Also, I have to say that one thing I love about atheists in general is our ability to laugh off the majority of small insults. I can’t count the number of times something has been said to me, and I shrug it off (which has the added bonus of further pissing off the person saying it). We just seem to better understand that no one is safe from comedians, cartoonists like Mr. Westergaard, editorials, etc. I’m also going to brag about our amazing ability to more coherently defend ourselves when we are offended. Atheists rock!

  • http://brielle.sosdg.org Brielle

    That maybe some Christians would be inclined to do more of those things if they found a more accepting atmosphere…well maybe yes. But it’s manifestly unfair to simply wave your hand and say “they’re all the same”. They are not, fundamentalist Muslims demonstrate again and again that they are worse.

    Don’t think for a second that if given the right circumstances, that the Christian fundies wouldn’t try to murder for their beleifs.

    Some examples include ‘gay rage’ to justify killing homosexual men by heterosexual males, or the killing of transsexual men/women under the claim by people that they were ‘tricked into liking them’. Or, like other posters have reminded us, abortion bombings and killing of doctors.

    I personally was raped and beaten because of who I am, with the assholes reminding me of what an abomination of ‘god’ I am.

    IMHO, the only thing which prevents the entire LGBT and possibly the Atheist community from being slaughtered by fundies is that most of the idiots here are too afraid of the reprocussions of trying such a bold act.

    The fundies in this country are a bunch of pansies compared to the kinds that were responsible for the WTC disaster. Electing a non-white president galvanized many groups (fundies, racists, etc) in ways like never before. It wouldn’t take much for them to grow a pair and decide to create, for lack of a better term, the fourth reich.

    As its been said many times before, religious fundamentalism home is just as dangerous as religious fundamentalism abroad. We may think that in this country things are different, and that we’re above that kind of behavior… But, have you checked the news lately?

  • The Other Tom

    Hemant:

    Even though Christians don’t take things to that extreme in America,

    Claudia:

    Sorry, but I must disagree with the false equivalency that’s made between American fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims. Certainly there are a scattered few Christians who are Taliban-esque, but generally speaking it’s simply not true that Christian fundies create the kind of atmosphere that Muslim fundies do.

    You’re obviously both heterosexual.
    We gay people have to live on a daily basis with the knowledge that we are hated and that we must fear christians who may at any moment attack us. AT ANY MOMENT. I have been attacked in broad daylight at about 2pm in front of Boston’s Symphony Hall, with hundreds of onlookers standing nearby.

    And these attacks are often not mild. While living in that neighborhood in Boston, we were strongly cautioned that someone was catching gay people who had exited the neighborhood gay bar and were passing through the park (which you had to cross to get almost anywhere) and beating in their skulls with a hammer.

    Gay businesses are often subject to graffiti and arson. Gay bars generally have really good bouncers, because they expect to be invaded by straight people looking to do damage. And yeah, gay bars are occasionally bombed too.

    American christians damned well do create the same atmosphere of fear that fundamentalist muslims do. The fact that we’re more likely to survive them doesn’t change the climate we have to live in.

  • The Other Tom

    Oh and by the way… Kudos to Hemant for posting the cartoon rather than backing down like practically all media outlets do.

  • Baconsbud

    I have to agree with Brielle on this one. The main reason we don’t see the types of actions from christians we see from muslims is the fear of being caught. All it would take for some of the more extreme would be a leader that is charismatic and willing to let others die for his views.

  • http://brielle.sosdg.org Brielle

    All it would take for some of the more extreme would be a leader that is charismatic and willing to let others die for his views.

    Bush v2.0 A very scary thought.

    Obama may not be perfect, but he’s inspired people like never before, and given hope to alot of people that the future may be bright again. When the results of the election were announced, I cried and cheered like never before.

    I was very very very afraid of what this country could have been like with McCain and Palin in power.

    Racism hasn’t gone away, it’s just expanded its target audience to include Atheists and LGBT people.

  • muggle

    I have to chime in with all the others who say we do have something to fear from Christian fundamentalists.

    Frankly, it’s them I fear, not Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda and other Muslims, despite the horror of 9/11 and I’m not far from NYC, have a limited ability to do me harm.

    I’m not so sure about the Christian extremists, especially those of the homegrown variety. I’ve never been beaten for being Atheist but have been threatened to. On a State job where I was being harrassed for being openly Atheist. In supposedly progressive New York.

    There’s a lot of hatred out there and there’s been all these years of the contrived “culture wars” to rile people up. We’ve had Matthew Shepherd and Dr. Tiller and the Oklahoma City bombing. I think we’re literally a hair’s breath away from having a Christian version of Al Qaeda at home if we don’t already.

    Google Dominists if you really still think we’ve nothing to worry about. Then read “The Family” by Jeff Sharlet. I’m only half way through and it’s chilling.

  • http://selfra.blogspot.com dantresomi

    this is why atheists and apostates in other countries are afraid to come out of their shells.

  • Staceyjw

    All religious extremists are a problem. For the general public worldwide, I think the Muslim fundies are by far the worst. EVERYTHING offends them, and they incite riots and kill people over the tiniest things.

    Every area has their own fanatics- in the US its the xtian abortion bombers and especially the anti gay groups. It is true that gays are terrorized in many places, which is both ridiculous and inexcusable. It needs to be stopped by good people that love humanity more than an ancient book.

    Off topic:
    @ Muggle-
    That book “The Family” IS scary! I have read it, almost didn’t want too. Another one you should read is “Quiverfull- Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce”. Go buy it, anyone that cares about women should read it ASAP.

  • Claudia

    You’re obviously both heterosexual.
    We gay people have to live on a daily basis with the knowledge that we are hated and that we must fear christians who may at any moment attack us. AT ANY MOMENT. I have been attacked in broad daylight at about 2pm in front of Boston’s Symphony Hall, with hundreds of onlookers standing nearby.

    While I am certainly not diminishing the extra shit that GLBT people have to deal with even in the US, I maintain that you still cannot draw an equivalency with the Muslim world.

    Are you seriously saying you would be just as comfortable being out in Riad than in Boston, in Kabul than in Seattle? This is simply laughable. Being gay is harder than being straight due to religious bigotry, no doubt, but being gay in the Muslim world is harder than being gay in (most) of the Christian world because Muslim fundamentalists have a great deal more power, are more numerous and are on the whole more inclined to violence than the Christian ones.

    Yes I appreciate that their justifications are mirror images of one another (my god tells me so) and I even appreciate that there may indeed be a great many Christian fundamentalists that would love to have the same hold over their countries as Muslims have over theirs. But the fact remains that they don’t. It is undeniable that it is more dangerous to piss off Muslim fundamentalists than Christian ones, and that when you compare Christian to Muslim countries, it is obvious which kind of fundamentalist makes life harder for people who disagree with them.

    How shocked would any of you be if someone had drawn blasphemous cartoons of Christ and massively violent protests had ensued in all of the Christian world with authors having to be put under police protection? You don’t expect Christian fundamentalists to be nice, certainly, but if you are honest you will recognize that you are much less surprised by Muslim violence than by Christian violence.

  • Baconsbud

    Claudia I think you hit the mark when you brought up that the fundies in the muslim world have a vast amount of influence. If the christian fundies had the same type of influence it would be the same here as there.

    Yes the fundies here in the USA have influence but not enough to prevent themselves doing jail time. I believe as long as people keep speaking out the fundies here won’t get that type of power.

  • Tony

    Don’t you think it’s just a matter of time before Muslim fundies tire of issuing fatwahs against people for publishing the cartoons and state “Well your agency DIDN’T publish the cartoons, you must be afraid of muslims. That is defamatory towards muslims! A fatwah on you!”

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    I think that it must be a new year resolution or something.

    1. Lose weight
    2. Get a better job
    3. Fulfill fatwa by killing 74 year old Danish man
    4. Walk dog more often

    That kind of thing.

    Awful, awful religion and the harm that it does to people.

    I want to add that I am honestly shocked that religion has so much power in America. In England I know that we are far from perfect and we still have attacks on gay people and racial attacks but the idea of any religious leader having that kind of power over people’s minds is just alien to me. That may be because it exists on the fringes of society. I honestly don’t know. I hope it doesn’t.

  • Revyloution

    Im glad so many readers called out the ‘Even though Christians don’t take things to that extreme in America,’ line. Fundamentalists in the US are every bit as dangerous as the loon who attacked Westergaard.

    The thing that’s keeping the ‘Bubba revolution’ at bay is TV’s, beer and obesity. Fat lazy drunks might get a mean streak and gang up on a homosexual or atheist now and then, but they lack the initiative to gather into a cohesive force. If the jobless rate continues to stay high in those red regions, we might see them start to get lean mean.

    Fat well fed people rarely revolt. Its the ones with the hungry look in their eye that you have to watch out for.

  • Kourou

    Hi – I live in China, and I can’t access The Digital Cuttlesfish website. Would someone mind posting the poem?
    Thanks!

  • Chal

    It must, at times, be really hard
    To be cartoonist Westergaard*.
    To be a controversial Dane,
    Targeted by religious insane.
    Trying to live their normal life,
    A normal man and normal wife,
    But with a price put on his head—
    A million bucks to see him dead.

    His drawing was a mortal sin
    (To those who need a thicker skin):
    The Prophet (praise be unto him)
    Portrayed in features rather grim,
    With bomb in turban, fuse alight,
    Offensive to a Muslim’s sight!
    Since such an insult could not stand,
    “The man must die.” the cold command.

    Islam’s Qur’an, the central text,
    Has poor cartoonists quite perplexed—
    It calls for peace, or that’s the claim,
    While breeding martyrs in its name.
    But should one choose to illustrate
    This problem, well, we know the fate:
    The peaceful clerics draw a breath
    And send the artist to his death.

    Kurt Westergaard is still alive
    His freedom, also, will survive—
    He will not bow to terrorists
    Although his name is on their lists;
    He chooses still, by all accords,
    To set his pen against their swords
    To freely live, as best he can—
    So, fuck Muhammad—Kurt’s the man!

    By Digital Cuttlefish

  • Renacier

    Anyone know where I can get a few shirts with that cartoon on ‘em?

  • Bacopa

    Brielle speaks the truth. We are just a couple steps away from becoming as oppresive as any middle-eastern regime. I was held down and had my face beaten with a twirling baton for being an atheist in elementary school. My homeroom teacher looked on with approval. I was banished to special education classes. Tested out of special-ed but got called “retard” the next two years.

    The US fundies would beat, kill, and imprison us if they could. They have no sense of right and wrong. Things are wrong to them only because their imaginary man in the sky says so. We must seek a position of strength over them.

    US fundies don’t screw around. They have been attempting to gain control of nuclear weapons for the last 20 years. Why have the fundies focused their efforts on Colorado Springs? They are attempting to create a cadre of USAF officers loyal to the fundies. They want The Bomb, and may be close to getting it.

  • Camille

    I also agree with Claudia — pissing off Muslim fundies as a whole is a lot more dangerous than pissing off Christian fundies.

  • Stephen P

    The Netherlands is frequently thought of as a beacon of reason and tolerance. I was surprised to be told recently (by someone who witnessed it first-hand) that as little as 50 years ago it was commonplace for fundamentalist protestants to arm themselves with sticks and gratuitously beat the hell out of a few catholics.

    And let’s not forget Northern Ireland.

    I think it is fair to say that Christian fundamentalists do resort to violence less than Muslim fundamentalists – but only because in Christian countries the forces of secularism are stronger and keep the fundamentalists in check. I know of no reason to suppose that Christianity is intrinsically less violent than Islam.

  • GribbleTheMunchkin

    No one has yet mentioned Timothy McVeigh. Christian fundamentalist (and then some) responsible for the worst terrorist incident in the USA before 9/11.

    While he may not have done his crime for explicitly religious reasons, islamic terrorist often have a secular reason too. Al Qaeda was formed to drive foreign troops out of Arab lands, Hamas was formed to fight the Israeli invasion of Palestine, Hezbollah the same for Lebanon.

    Islamic terror groups often spring from situations, frequently imposed by western governments, far too horrific for us comfortable westerners to understand. For all we rail against the Taliban (and rightly so), can you imagine living in Afghanistan during the soviet invasion? Although we disagree with Hezbollah, it must be remembered that they formed to fight foreign occupiers, much like the French Maquis, who we celebrate.

    Can you imagine what the Christian right in the US would turn into if the US got invaded by an Islamic government. Any percivable difference between christian and muslim fundamentalists would disappear utterly.

  • GribbleTheMunchkin

    No one has yet mentioned Timothy McVeigh. Christian fundamentalist (and then some) responsible for the worst terrorist incident in the USA before 9/11.

    While he may not have done his crime for explicitly religious reasons, islamic terrorist often have a secular reason too. Al Qaeda was formed to drive foreign troops out of Arab lands, Hamas was formed to fight the Israeli invasion of Palestine, Hezbollah the same for Lebanon.

    Islamic terror groups often spring from situations, frequently imposed by western governments, far too horrific for us comfortable westerners to understand. For all we rail against the Taliban (and rightly so), can you imagine living in Afghanistan during the soviet invasion? Although we disagree with Hezbollah, it must be remembered that they formed to fight foreign occupiers, much like the French Maquis, who we celebrate.

    Can you imagine what the Christian right in the US would turn into if the US got invaded by an Islamic government. Any percivable difference between christian and muslim fundamentalists would disappear utterly.

    Also lets not forget that under a fundamentalist christian leader, the US went to war against 2 muslim nations and threatened several more. Bush even told Chirac that he needed his help in Iraq to drive out Gog and Magog, two fallen angels that lived there (i’d have loved to see Scott McClelan try to explain at the time). Over 1 million Iraqs lay dead, a similar number fled as refugees, an unknown number of Afghans and both nations are still death traps. Exactly how are christian fundamentalists not more dangerous than muslims?

  • tubbah sasab

    Nice piece here, but Kurt should have been more intelligent than picking on Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) as his material. Osama could be a nice one. I think he doesn’t know much about Islam too nor knew that illustrating alone the face of the Prophet is already a crime. I know you’re too old for it, but go to school Kurt, its never too late for seeking knowledge is from cradle to grave.

  • http://thebitchreport.blogspot.com/ Milena

    Very well put, GribbleTheMunchkin.

    While I don’t think anyone has a right to make an attempt on anyone else’s life because of a cartoon, I also really hate the Westergaard cartoons. By illustrating Muhammad, Westergaard is sending the message that Islam is inherently violent and that all Muslims are terrorists. It’s a very ethno-centric thing to do and it doesn’t advance debate so much as polarize people and make the conflict worse. tubbah sasab is right that calls of fundamentalism should be centered on specific individuals or fundamentalist groups rather than on the entire religion and all its followers.

  • Pingback: Still Murderously Hung Up On Cartoons | Miscellanea Agnostica

  • Brian Macker

    Judith Bandsma,

    Killing a unborn baby is not the same as drawing a cartoon. So there is certainly a difference in what will trigger the violent act.

    Also, on the other end, some Christian Churches do maintain that abortion is murder, but don’t actually advocate killing abortionists (to my knowledge) whereas in Islam the Mullahs are issuing Fatwas that directly call for murder.

    So there are differences in extremes.

  • Brian Macker

    GribbleTheMunchkin,

    Almost everything you wrote was propaganda.

    You bent over backwards to make all these Islamic terrorist groups seem like they some kind of political freedom fighters. Meanwhile you attempt to hide Timothy McVeigh’s political motivations by calling him a Christian fundamentalist.

    Why would you do that?

    McVeigh was entirely motivated by his political beliefs, and was attempting revenge of Ruby Ridge and Waco. He was upset with government bullying, was a former army member who had a pay dispute with the government. He was not a member of any Christian fundamentalist church as you claim. He was Catholic, and an avowed agnostic.

    McVeigh had zero religious motivation.

    The Islamic terrorist organizations (including the Muslim Brotherhood) are all about religiously motivated Jew hatred. Your claims are ahistoric nonsense. The main problem the Muslims have with Israel is that they are Jews. Islam hates Jews. Muslim organization in the region have been discussing and collaborating in genocide of Jews going back to working with Hitler.

    I suggest you read some literature from the other side and then try an verify the actual history instead of taking only one sides view of things.

    Here’s a good starting point for your enlightenment: “BIG LIES: Demolishing The Myths of the Propaganda War Against Israel”

    Here’s an excerpt:

    “Zionist pioneers from the middle of the 19th century onward joined the local Jewish communities in rebuilding a Jewish homeland in what was then the Turkish Empire by purchasing land from the Turkish Crown and from Arab landowners (effendi). There was no invasion, no conquest, and no theft of Arab land – and certainly not of a land of Palestine, since the Arabs living in the region had been Turkish subjects for 400 years. Unarmed and possessing no military, the Jews bought so much land from Arabs that in 1892, a group of effendi sent a letter to the Turkish Sultan, requesting that he make it illegal for his subjects to sell land to the Jews. Their successors did the same thing, via a telegram, in 1915. Evidently, the very presence of Jews owning land in the Middle East – however legally acquired – was offensive to some.”

    Read the whole thing.

  • Brian Macker

    Milena,

    “Very well put, GribbleTheMunchkin.”

    I assume this is cheer leading from ignorance.

    “While I don’t think anyone has a right to make an attempt on anyone else’s life because of a cartoon, I also really hate the Westergaard cartoons.”

    Apparently you do think it’s ok. You give Tubbah Sasab, a thumbs up on his comment, and that was dripping with blame the victim blood.

    “By illustrating Muhammad, Westergaard is sending the message that Islam is inherently violent and that all Muslims are terrorists.”

    The former is true and the latter is not implicit in the cartoon.

    Your sentence is either not specific enough or entirely offensive. Are you claiming that the mere illustration of Muhammad sends the message?

    “It’s a very ethno-centric thing to do and it doesn’t advance debate so much as polarize people and make the conflict worse.”

    Yes, very ethnocentric of Westgarden to protest Islamic violence via a cartoon. Which the followers of Islam were very quick to validate. However, you with your blinders don’t realise that. Instead, it’s Westgarden who has committed some crime against Muslims.

    “tubbah sasab is right that calls of fundamentalism should be centered on specific individuals or fundamentalist groups rather than on the entire religion and all its followers.”

    You are woefully ignorant. The religion itself is violent, and supremacist. Mohammad was one of the most evil people in all of history. The religion he set up is vile. It is my right to make these true claims whether via written text or via cartooning.

    Muslims sects unlike Christian ones are predominately “fundamentalist”, although the word doesn’t translate well from one religion to the next.

    That’s why the most world renowned Islamic leaders and institutions back these Fatwas on cartoonists.

  • tubbah sasab

    Brian Macker,

    You are wrong when you wronged The Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Islam.

    Educate yourself further to see the beauty
    of Islam and simplicity of the life of The Prophet (PBUH)

  • Brian Macker

    Tubbah Sasab,

    Nice way to blame the victim. Do you have any comments on how Danish rape victims should know that failure to wear a burka is an invitation to rape (in their own country.)

    “Nice piece here, but Kurt should have been more intelligent than picking on Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) as his material. Osama could be a nice one. I think he doesn’t know much about Islam too nor knew that illustrating alone the face of the Prophet is already a crime.”

    I think it is you who doesn’t know much about the subject. Kurt did the cartoon in concert with a bunch of other cartoonists in a project where the specific point was to illustrate Mohammad. Old news that has been repeated in many of the new articles about the attack.

    “The reported target of the alleged plot was Kurt Westergaard, one of 12 cartoonists commissioned by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper to produce caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed two years ago.”

    “I know you’re too old for it, but go to school Kurt, its never too late for seeking knowledge is from cradle to grave.”

    What a snotty attack on the victim here. Frankly, you couldn’t intellectually polish Kurt’s shoes..

    In fact there is a long history in Islam of depicting Mohammed, and whether it is permissible or not does stir some controversy, and depends on the sect. There is nothing in the founding religious texts that is specific about Mohammed’s image.

    What is forbidden by the religion (via the Hadith) is the visual depiction of human and animal figures in general. However the concern is to prevent idolotry. Again generally accepted, controversial, and commonly violated by Muslims. They don’t have such images in their temples but they certainly don’t refrain from drawing people and animals.

    Because of the concern of idolotry, the general prohibition carries more weight when the depiction is of Mohammad. There is a fear of idolatry of Mohammad. If you’ve read the Qur’an, which you probably haven’t, I have, the thing is obsessed with hatred for idolatry. Want to get a Muslim pissed, point out the truth that his religion is in large part pagan idolatry (the black stone is a Shiva Linga idol, worse the phallic portion of a genital idol), and that Allah is one of the original idols at the Kaaba.

    None of these reasons apply to a non-muslim drawing an image for a purpose other than worship. Sure, Islam commands that you exterminate idolaters, but having images for other purposes is not idolatry.

    I think it is quite clear that Kurt was not drawing the image of Mohammed in order to idolize and worship him, especially since he isn’t even Muslim.

  • Brian Macker

    Tubbah Sasab,

    “You are wrong when you wronged The Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Islam.”

    In fact telling the truth cannot “wrong” anyone.

    “Educate yourself further to see the beauty of Islam and simplicity of the life of The Prophet (PBUH)”

    I’m highly educated on the subject. It is you who is uneducated.

    Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was a mass murdering warlord, a practicing pedophile, a robber of caravans, a slaver, a bigamist, a pimp who traded in sex slaves, an adulterer, a pagan idolater, a torturer, a religious pretender, a criminal, a trespasser on religious and private property, a warmonger, a charlatan, founder of one of the most violent religions known to man, a hypocrite, delusional, a plagiarist, a cult leader, a sexual pervert, an abuser of charity, a criminal conspirator, antisemitic, religiously intolerant, a liar, a murderer of pregnant mothers, poets, and the innocent.

    All those charges are based directly on incidents chronicled in the Qur’an and Hadith. Through the centuries up to the present Muslims have been quite proud of these activities.

    Finding beauty in Islam is like finding beauty in Nazism. He got the trains running on time, or he set up a youth program, are insufficient reasons to admire Hitler given the rest of his achievements. Others have done so without committing genocide.

    Fuck Islam because it is an irrational supremacist religion founded by a maniac. It’s adherents knowingly or unknowingly foment hatred of non-Muslims and it’s religious texts are a defamation of innocent non-Muslims everywhere.

  • Brian Macker

    Milena,

    How ethnocentric is gaining political sanctuary in another country, living off welfare, then insisting the host country abandon its hundreds of years liberal tradition to conform with Islamic sensibilities (aka oppression).

  • http://atheistcamel.blogspot.com/ Dromedary Hump

    Tubbah Shit said:

    You are wrong when you wronged The Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Islam.

    Oh lets quit dancing around here.
    Fuck the Profit Mohammed (Piss Be Upon Him) Now what? Gonna kill me?

    If your Profit is so offended, let him ride his damn camel to NH and tell me so himself. A child molester, tyrant and warlord, he’s memory is due nothing more than disgust and condemnation. A relgion that demands the death of apostates calling itself the religion of peace is abhorent to any thinking person.

    If this offends you here’s an idea, don’t visit atheist blogs where your mindless superstition is called what it is: the biggest threat to world peace and security the planet has ever known; and your religious figurehead a hideous murdering pervert.

    http://www.resonoelusono.com/Cartoons/mohammed_camel_ass.jpg

  • Brian Macker

    Hey, I just though of some parallels between this Somoli terrorist and Mohammad himself.

    a) Mohammad was also a political refugee when he moved from Mecca to Medina.
    b) Mohammad also was invited in with open arms by the non-Muslims of Medina (the Jews and Idolaters).
    c) Mohammad also turned on those who were charitable to him. He ended up slaughtering and subjugating the Jewish tribes of Medina. He cut the head of ever adult male of one tribe that because they decided not to join him in battle against Mecca after his raiding of Mecca’s caravans. By the time he was done he had outlawed idolatry on the entire Arabia peninsula. A big fuck you to his Median saviors.
    d) Muhammad had a long history of assassinating poets, artists, and intellectuals. Having one pregnant poet put to death by stabbing her through the stomach. FUCKING BASTARD!!!!!

    Mohammad’s ingratitude matches the Somali perpetrator here in kind and exceeds it in magnitude. Mohammad certainly set a fine example for his followers, and at least one took him up on it.

  • GribbleTheMunchkin

    Oh brian, can’t we be friends?

    Firstly on the Prophet Mohammed, I actually agree with you about most of the horrid things you called him, however the vast majority of the things you call him apply to about 95% of the warlords and major historical leaders of the time. Mohammed was an exceptional leader, conquered himself a large empire and founded a religion based on his teachings. Far from being appalled by his actions as we folk in the 21st century are, most of his contemporaries would have been envious.

    Of course, I don’t think he had it right or that Islam is a sensible way to live ones life, but you list these crimes of his as if every other leader of the time wasn’t either doing them or desperately wishing they could do them.

    Now on to your charge of propaganda.
    Put yourself in the position of a Palestinian. One day a bunch of heavily armed Israelis turn up, turf you and your family off your land, farm, whatever. They claim to have gods blessing and they threaten you with violence if you don’t go.

    This is wicked. This is something worth fighting against. Resistance movements in such situations are inevitable. If it happened where you live, you’d cheer those who fight back. Why is it right for the French to fight back against the Germans in WW2 but not right for the Palestinians or Lebanese to do so when invaded by Israel? While the methods of terrorists are vile, its not like they can simply assemble and army and fight it out nice and fair.

    I don’t deny that anti-semitism doesn’t have its part to play but i’m gonna go out on a limb and say that armed invasion, resettlement and war crimes against civilians play just as big a part. Call me crazy. And i do see it from the side of the Israelis too, they get rockets fired into civilian areas, suicide bombers, random mad gun men. But the settler movement goes beyond that into religious war. They are trying to steal land off people by force of arms for explicitly religious purposes.

    Osama Bin Laden has repeatedly said that he fights against foreign troops in the holy land. Do you think he is lying and he just hates Jews and Americans? Why do you think he hates them?

    If we ignore the reasons people do these terrible things and just clutch for simplistic nonsense (“they hate us for our freedoms”, “Islam is intrinsicly violent”, etc) ten we ensure that these things happen again and again.

    Finally on Islam, of course it has supremicist themes, of course its exclusionary, of course its founder was a madman, of course it forments hatred of those outside it and of course its religious texts slander others. This is different from other religions how? Most religions work like this, certainly the three religions of the book do. Islam is hardly unique.

  • DevinWL

    To me trying to make school teachers teach ID or Creationism in schools is a deathblow to science and critical thinking.

    We rank 1 above Turkey…and this isn’t a threat? We might not have to worry about christian fundies killing us on a daily basis but we do have to worry about our children being taught rubish in school. We might not have to worry about our lives but the onslaught of psuedoscience is just a stepping stone for fundies. Give them an inch and they take a mile. We have to stop the fatwa on reason. To me this is just as bad and worry some.

  • Brian Macker

    “Now on to your charge of propaganda.
    Put yourself in the position of a Palestinian. One day a bunch of heavily armed Israelis turn up, turf you and your family off your land, farm, whatever. They claim to have gods blessing and they threaten you with violence if you don’t go. This is wicked.”

    That however is a complete lie. It’s propaganda. It is ahistorical.

    Jews lived in the area continuously and for 2000-3000 years before Muslims even existed. They did NOT arrive with guns and take over the way you describe. They bought land and improved things. Read the article. You are fabricating history.

    Think of the Jews as the native Americans, and imagine if instead of being wiped out by disease, intermarriage and war, that the Indians were scattered around the world, yet a large number remained in the US. Now imagine that in europe some crazy guy started a campaign to exterminate Indians.

    Also suppose those Indians had spent centuries being persecuted in the countries to which they fled. So now those Indians have a dream of moving back to the US, buying up land from private individuals, and also buying government land to homestead.

    Now suppose that the racist usurpers in the US had never given Indians the vote, were extremely racist and treated them like second class citizens. These racist see the improvements the Indians are making for themselves to they create laws that say Indians are not allowed to buy government land. They also start harrassing any private non-indians who sell to the Indians. Going so far as to lynch any whites selling to Indians. They set off bombs and terrorize the Indians.

    They also start to cooperate with the foreign exterminator, the Indian hating hitler.

    But it turns out that the US was not in fact an Independent country (the ottomans controlled palestine and it fell into British hands). Suppose the British were in control still and decided they’d had enough. With the full sanction of the UN they divide the country into areas where Indians are concentrated and not. Out of the entire US the Indians only get a small portion, say Florida.

    But then Britain backs off on their promise to the Indians. The Indians get fed up. They declare themselves independent.

    Now imagine that the white racists aren’t happy. They openly call for extermination of all Indians. They drive the Indians out of all the other states into Florida. Not only that but they get racists from Mexico and Canada (mostly racist countries too).

    They amass armies at the border of Florida, preparing for the extermination. The governments of the amassed armies openly call for all whites in Florida to evacuate in order to make it easier exterminate the Indians. They will be able to pound with artillery without worry of killing other fellow racists. White racists flee florida, other whites don’t.

    But the racists lost. The Indians set up a secular government and allowed whites to keep their properties, and even vote and hold office. The white racists in Mexico, the rest of the US, and Canada expell almost all Indians confiscating their property.

    Not only don’t they allow voting for Indians they don’t even allow the displaced white racist floridians to vote or buy land. They keep them in barb wire ghettos. They don’t like them because they are a little different, they speak with a floridian accent they don’t like, they have different customs, they are useful for keeping the war with the Indians alive.

    That is a much, much more accurate account of how Israel was founded. A little one sided but I don’t think you need to be pulled in the other direction.

    Read the article I linked to.

  • cathy

    Brian, calling Israel a ‘secular government’ is a joke and you can’t claim that land is unoccupied when people are living there (and have been for thousands of years). Israel was not founded by ethnically middle eastern jews living in the area, it was founded by european jews pushing out middle eastern peoples. Yes, the jews were displaced from their homes and communities in europe and it was easier for the allies to ship them off than to try to give social reparations to reintigrate jews into european nations. However, that does not make the routine human rights violations of the Israeli government acceptable. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a two sided one with violations on both sides, but let’s not forget who the white occupiers are here.

    Also, shut the fuck up about native americans and genocide. “Imagine that someone genocided native amercians” They don’t have to imagine that, it is an ongoing historical process. How about you start working on land rights, water rights, language rights, etc. before you fucking open your mouth and presume that you can appropriate their history.

  • muggle

    How shocked would any of you be if someone had drawn blasphemous cartoons of Christ and massively violent protests had ensued in all of the Christian world with authors having to be put under police protection.

    This would really surprise you? So sorry. It really wouldn’t me.

    They’ve come close and like someone said above are only checked by western nations’ secular law, so far.

    Stacey, I’ll have to check it out. I’ve read a bit about it on-line.

  • Brian Macker

    Cathy,

    Much of what you wrote was false.

    ‘Israel a ’secular government’ is a joke’

    It’s also called a fact. In fact at one point it was a socialist secular government, but don’t let facts get in your way.

    “Israel was not founded by ethnically middle eastern jews living in the area, it was founded by european jews pushing out middle eastern peoples.”

    It was founded by both middle eastern Jews who always lived there, middle eastern Jews who legally migrated there, and European ones who had legally migrated their. The migrants bought land, and established themselves as citizens. You twist reality. My analogy fit the facts.

    Also the immigrants did NOT push out any middle easterners.

    The reality is that when the European & Middle Eastern Jews migrated the result wasn’t a pushing out of non-Jews. The non-Jewish populations also increased. This trend also continued after Israel was founded in the occupied areas.

    A substantial portion of the non-Jewish increase in population from immigration too. Apparently, with the influx of Jews and Jewish money it was better to live there than in the oppressive Muslim countries.

    “Yes, the jews were displaced from their homes and communities in europe ”

    Which the Palestinians are partially responsible for because they cooperated with Hitler, look up Grand Mufi Jerusalum.
    Much of that migration happened prior to WWII, and millions of Jews were expelled from Muslim countries during the conflict, and their property confiscated as in my analogy.

    “Also, shut the fuck up about native americans and genocide. ‘Imagine that someone genocided native amercians’. They don’t have to imagine that, it is an ongoing historical process. “

    Here’s a clue. When you put quotes around a piece of text that means you are claiming the other person wrote the text. Since I didn’t write that text you are putting words in my mouth. I didn’t say that, or anything like it. So perhaps you should follow your own advice. Also here’s some more advice, work on your reading comprehension skills.

    How about you use your real name, you coward. I use mine. You certainly wouldn’t talk that way if you weren’t anonymous.

    “How about you start working on land rights, water rights, language rights, etc. before you fucking open your mouth and presume that you can appropriate their history.”

    I didn’t appropriate their history if you read it. Indians didn’t migrate to other countries in large numbers, indians for the most part did not survive European/Asian disease, Indians did intermarry unlike the Jews in my example, and the Indians were massacred in war. I told the reader to imagine those differences at the beginning.

    The Jews are the natives of Palestine, just like Indians are the natives here. Islam is anti-Semtic just like Hitlers Nazism. Jerusalum was a Jewish capital, etc.

    I didn’t appropriate the Indians story for myself because I’m not a Jew!!! I was baptized Lutheran, and I am an atheist.

    “However, that does not make the routine human rights violations of the Israeli government acceptable.”

    Much of the claimed rights violations do not occur. They are fabrications. There was no Jenin massacre, there was no Al Durah shooting, etc. They are harsh with the families of terrorists but you try living with neighbors who want to exterminate you and send in bombers to purposely target women, children, and babies.

    The Israeli government has bent over backwards to accommodate the other side. I don’t agree with some of the policies, and the many acts of retribution by individuals, but they are trying to live in peace. Unlike the bloodthirsty Palestinians who literally raise their children soaked in hatred, and with the purpose of being martyrs.

    I’ve seen video interviews of children (and parents) from both sides and it’s clear that one side is raising their children as psychopaths, while the other side is teaching their children to be open to friendship.

    Perhaps the three places in the Qur’an that say not to befriend a Jew is part of the problem. Plus all the places in Muslim religious texts that denigrate Jews as “Pigs” and “Apes”, and call for their subjugation and extermination. Also the parts that say Muslims must rule, and must not work for Jews. There is a hairs breath of difference between Hitler and Muhammad.

  • Brian Macker

    GribbleTheMunchkin,

    “Firstly on the Prophet Mohammed, I actually agree with you about most of the horrid things you called him, however the vast majority of the things you call him apply to about 95% of the warlords and major historical leaders of the time.

    Wow. That’s quite a Tu Quoque you got going there. Which might count for something if I claimed that any of that 95% were the most noble of examples that God says everyone must emulate. You can’t use a “you too” argument in this case. Nobody is worshiping the teachings of that 95%.

    I think it preferable to follow the other 5% and being honest men they choose not to claim they were the mouthpiece of an infallible deity.

    You see the problem is that Mohammad claimed that Allah had set the rules down once and for all, frozen in time, as the worst, not best examples of that period.

    There are well respected clerics in Saudi Arabia right now arguing for the resumption of Islamic slavery based on the frozen nature of this morality. A slavery they never abandoned by choice.

    In fact, there were hundreds of examples of great men and philosophers who live at the same time or before Muhammad who were far superior in every way. Confucius predated Muhammed by a millenia and his teachings were centuries ahead of Mohammad.

    Saudi Arabia was on trade route to China and these ideas had diffused long ago into the area. In fact, many Christian moral standards were far superior to Mohammad’s teachings and behavior. He was well aware of those.

    In fact, Mohammad even violated the comparatively low standards of his own tribe, and they kicked him out for it. They knew a bad apple when the saw one.

    “Mohammed was an exceptional leader, conquered himself a large empire and founded a religion based on his teachings.

    He only conquered the Saudi peninsula, before he died at the hands of one of his involuntary wives.

    “Far from being appalled by his actions as we folk in the 21st century are, most of his contemporaries would have been envious.”

    Not unlike many socialists who were envious of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. Noam Chomsky comes to mind with his praise of Pol Pot as having “constructive achievements for much of the population.” A population of which he exterminated 25%.

    Speak for yourself. Many of his contemporaries were appalled by his behavior and wrote so. Not only in other countries but from his own tribe. He dealt with these poets, and intellectuals, by assassination.

    So you set your moral standards by what evil men of the time are envious of, that’s enlightening.

    Let’s do that for the present. Most countries now are run by evil men. Most chinese, all of russia, most middle eastern, and african countries, and many south american ones. I’d say we’re at a majority.

    We’ve had many evil men who were envious of other evil men’s accomplishments in both the last and this century. Both Hitler and Stalin were envious of the Turks for their Armenian massacre. Chavez is envious of Castro. I could go on for a long time.

    Is Hitler to be excused as a man of his times because of the existence of Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, etc. ?

    You propose an evil calculus, my ‘friend’, you do.

  • Brian Macker

    Cathy,

    I’ve decided I’m not done with you yet.

    “How about you start working on land rights, water rights, language rights, etc. before you fucking open your mouth and presume that you can appropriate their history.“

    My Sanchacantacket ancestors would be laughing at how you appropriate our history to berate one of us. I know I am.

  • Brian Macker

    Cathy,

    “Brian, calling Israel a ‘secular government’ is a joke and you can’t claim that land is unoccupied when people are living there (and have been for thousands of years).”

    I see that I missed this one. There is plenty of US government owned and unoccupied land in the US. Much of it desert. Same was true of the land in the Ottoman empire. The Jews came in an bought government land. If anything is a joke it is your thinking processes.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X