Drawing Muhammad on Campus Leads to Complaints

Last Thursday night, the Campus, Atheists, Skeptics and Humanists at the University of Minnesota drew chalk images of Muhammad on campus to “celebrate” Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.

These weren’t mean images. Many were stick figures. Some simply alluded to Muhammad indirectly:

Muhammad Ali

Still, it didn’t stop the Muslim Student Association on campus from getting upset about it and it didn’t stop certain students from defacing the drawings:

The event was sparked by past violent responses to depictions of the prophet and the recent anti-Islam movie, [CASH co-chair Christopher] Nolting said.

“Everyone has the right to be offended, but you can’t go out and act violently in some way,” he said. “You shouldn’t fear for your life just from a drawing.”

By Friday morning the drawings were defaced or completely erased by people who found the depictions offensive.

“It’s almost like they were doing this to provoke us,” said mathematics junior Azhar Abdusebur, president of the group. “Giving them a reaction was what they wanted, so we chose to ignore the whole situation.”

YES! That’s the right response! Ignore the drawings and move on.

The whole notion of drawing Muhammad starting because a group of Muslim radicals killed or issued death threats against people who did it. And far too many moderates responded by blaming the artists.

In fact, the article in the Minnesota Daily quotes members of the Muslim student group — and not a single person says anything close to, “This isn’t something I would do, but I support the atheists’ right to do this. I believe in the value of free speech.”

“If we did anything it would just add fuel to the fire,” [Omar] Alamy said. “We’d rather educate everyone on how to react to something like this.”

“As a Muslim that is the most offensive term you can say, and they know that,” said physiology junior Warda Odhowa, vice president of MSA. “But they did it anyway… they did it.”

They did it because you still haven’t figured out how to deal with it. It’s simple. Just say you support their right to insult your faith. Say that any violence or anger directed at the artists is absolutely uncalled for, even if the drawings are blasphemous or designed to offend.

When that happens everywhere, these drawings will stop.

By the way, it’s not just Muslim students who were angry about these drawings. Rev. Doug Donley, chair of Interfaith Campus Coalition, spoke out against it, too:

I was saddened to see sidewalk chalk encouraging people to draw pictures of Mohammed. In a university community, we ought to use our best energy to foster dialogue and knowledge about deeply held beliefs. Reducing religion to a caricature does little to move us in that direction. In fact, it does the exact opposite. While I respect people’s rights to free speech, I encourage people to not engage in acts designed to harm or insult our fellow students and community members.

Donley doesn’t get that this event was intended to create dialogue. He also makes the mistake of assuming that drawings mocking a bad religious idea is not the equivalent of insulting human beings who deserve respect.

Another non-Muslim student spoke out as well:

Even though I am not of the Islamic faith, I am angered by this event. CASH is inviting the unrest that is currently rocking the Middle East to our campus by purposefully seeking to offend. While members of CASH are protected by freedom of speech in this expression of their views, I urge them and everybody else who plans on participating to find a more peaceful way to demonstrate their opinions. How can we have an inclusive campus if we, as students, allow intentionally inflammatory events such as this to persist?

Josh Brose, the Activities Director of CASH, replied to the statements in a public email:

As the C.A.S.H activities director I think it’s important to respond to these kinds of calls for peace and tolerance because they are very appropriate and well-intentioned. However, these comments are at odds with what is really happening. Campus Atheists Skeptics and Humanists did not invite any unrest — nor does our group seek to offend. We had very specific goals for this event and none of them were to generate offense or disrespect. Blaming unrest in the Middle East on people who draw innocuous drawings with chalk is obscene. We are not out to cause religious conflict but to stop it — by showing people that they do not have to follow other people’s religious dogma out of fear. As a society we need to put the blame where it belongs — on the people who encourage and commit crimes and acts of violence.

As a group we strive to be inclusive and respectful of all people. We also strive to be unrelenting in the search for truth. We do not believe that these goals are in conflict, and we welcome all people with similar goals to our meetings and events. We are not simpleminded religion haters — We are a diverse group of people who seek to improve the future through BOTH serious activism and gentle dialogue with other groups and individuals.

In the meantime, if you’d like to see this site’s compilations of drawings of Muhammad, you can go here and here.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • ganner

    I wonder what the woman quoted in the article is referencing when she says “As a Muslim that is the most offensive term you can say.” It goes from talking about drawings to quoting someone about an offensive term.

  • Archaeopteryx1861

    The best response would be for the “offended” students to then draw vague pictures of Darwin, Carl Sagan, Hitchens, Dawkins, etc, and see how many atheists react violently.

    • icecreamassassin

      Actually, the best response would be for the offended students to ask those that did the drawings “Why did you do that?”.

      That way they may actually have the opportunity to understand the point.  Perhaps, then, dialog could ensue and all can attempt to have a better understanding.

  • C Peterson

    While I am a proponent of civility in discussion, I’ve also pointed out in the past that there are times when being deliberately provocative or offensive is useful, when such provocation can serve to create dialog, or to expose absurdity, or simply to desensitize. I love the concept behind Draw Muhammad Day, as it serves all three purposes.

    A Muslim who respects the tenets of his religion should not draw Muhammad. To everybody else, he’s just another historical figure, as subject to visual representation as any other.

    • 3lemenope

      I definitely agree with you about the larger point, but the actual question about whether Islam explicitly forbids representations of Muhammad, never mind anyone else, is apparently a historically and contemporaneously open question. And seeing as how Islam is not a strictly hierarchical religion (i.e., more analogous to Protestantism than Catholicism), I don’t think it needs to be conceded that Muslims should believe Muhammad should not be predicted when there is no consensus or even, really, a mechanism for generating consensus on the issue within that faith.

      • Nick H

         Well then, a Muslim who believes that his/her religion forbids the depection of Muhammad is free to not draw him.

        • 3lemenope

          Quite so. I just have a problem with swallowing the argument whole and unexamined. If someone says “my religion forbids me for doing that!” and someone actually looks at the stated tenets of said religion and the prohibition isn’t listed, it is reasonable to look askance at the claim. They are free to make the claim, but it doesn’t mean people have to buy it.

          I find it fascinating, especially in light of recent events and claims, the robust early history of Muhammad, Ali, and other major figures being portrayed by Muslims in religious art. Apparently among Shi’a Muslims it is still today a somewhat popular and accepted practice. Hence when someone makes the authority claim “my religion prevents me (and you!) from portraying Muhammad!”, it flies in the face of some significant segments of the history of Islamic art as well as some current practices.

      • NickDB

         Especially since there are tons of instances of Muhammed being depicted within their own religion and countries.

        They’re not getting offended by the depiction of Muhammed, they’re getting offended by someone else depicting Muhammed.

        • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

           Exactly, & they feel they have a right to make everyone believe as they do. They call it respect when it is anything but.☮

      • http://twitter.com/BBADWoman Sana Saeed

         There are 12th century and older depictions of Muhammad, but also of Jesus and others in religious-y texts/scripture, especially from the Persians. I think this is really based on cultural context….as well as the specific Muslim sect. One thing that’s ironic is that, Muslims aren’t supposed to draw any person they consider a prophet including Jesus, Abraham, Eve etc…but, people don’t get worked up over the images of Jesus or others being drawn. The more conservative on the fringe Islamic groups say that Muslims aren’t supposed to draw any type of images, hence, they use calligraphy writing to depict images as a ‘loop hole’.

        • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

          I’ve heard it called “Divine geometry” which always confuses me a little, is it “Divine” simply because it’s on religious buildings & texts or are they trying to claim it has some kind of supernatural power? Either way to me it remains just plain old Geometry.

    • WoodyTanaka

      C Peterson, your mother is a whore.

      (Don’t worry, I was just trying to be deliberately provacative or simply to desensitize you or expose absurdity.)

      • C Peterson

        But since she wasn’t, I take no offense (and if she were, I would take no offense, either). One can’t really be provocative or offensive with a simple lie, unless one is dealing with the most immature of opponents.

        It’s a curious thing: the power to offend lies not with the one being offensive, but with the one who chooses to take offense.

        • WoodyTanaka

          Well, most people (who aren’t unfeeling sociopaths, like you) don’t take to kindly to insults to themselves or their families.  I guess if you were actually human, and not some kind of subhuman mutant, you might see that and understand the point.  I guess you are too stupid to get it.

          • C Peterson

            Not taking kindly to something isn’t the same as being offended by it. If somebody I have no respect for says something both false and obviously provocative, I’m likely to think they are a jerk. But it’s unlikely I’d take offense.

            • 3lemenope

              If somebody I have no respect for says something both false and obviously provocative, I’m likely to think they are a jerk.

              Isn’t this, like, the very definition of “taking offense”?

              • C Peterson

                I don’t think so. If I am offended, I empower the person trying to be offensive. That’s a choice I make. I honestly don’t understand how to be offended by the words or actions of somebody I don’t respect.

              • WoodyTanaka

                “Isn’t this, like, the very definition of ‘taking offense’?”

                Imagine how that happened. 

                I thought for sure he woudl think that the speaker was merely “opening a dialogue” or “simply desensitizing” him. 

          • icecreamassassin

            You know, you can insult C Peterson’s whore of a mother all day long, tell him that he’s an unintelligent piece of lint, and a raging baby-crusher with the good looks of a Lovecraftian creature, and continually do this for *years* on end, and if C Peterson took a punch at you, it would still be C Peterson in the wrong.

            His feelings can be hurt all bloody day long, but if he chooses to respond *violently*, then there the issue comes.  Or are you really going to argue that there is a threshold when someone’s feelings are hurt enough that they are within their rights to respond *violently*?

            • WoodyTanaka

              No, my whole point is that Minnesota campus is not some hotbed of Muslim radicalism.  The people who are doing these drawings are doing nothing but insulting people who’ve done nothing wrong, for no reason other than the drawers know they have a method by which they can get other people’s goat.  

              And if they just want to be insulting jerks, then they should just come out and say, “We’re insulting jersks and think that the Muslims should be happy we’re insulting them.  Why should we give any concern to their feelings” instead of pretending they’re “opening a dialogue” and teach modernism to the backward people of the world; showing them the correct (read: Western) way of thinking.

              • Findog53

                Like i said above Woody, If theists did this they would play the fantasy “seperation of church n state” game.

                • Alexandra

                  What do you mean?  That if theist students set up a religious message on campus the atheists would yell about it being a violation of the establishment clause? Cos if so, that’s total BS. 

                • Findog53

                  Total bullshit my ass!!  The first sign of a theist doing this would cause someone in your faction to wait for a courthouse to open and file a lawsuit.
                   If what you just posted is true then why are you all bitching about the Texas Attorney General supporting bible versus at football games when it is clearly not school sponsored? 

                • Alexandra

                  That’s not the same issue.  There have always been different rules for the role that religion can play in a high school vs a university. 

                • fin312

                  They are both government sponsored entities. They have to play by the same rules.

                • Deven Kale

                   Because there’s a fundamental difference between the two. A club at a University is completely populated by students, is run by students, and anything which is done by that group need only be approved by other students (within reason).

                  A cheerleading squad is populated by students, is run by a teacher, and anything they do needs approval from said teacher. Since that teacher is a government employee, they are restricted to the same level as any other government employee, by the constitution, in that they are disallowed from supporting any religion over another. Allowing only christian scripture on their banners is therefore illegal, and that’s why it should be stopped.

                • Findog53

                  Not neccessarily true about a teacher running the club. Students run the squad where my daughter attends school, but I will give you they take school buses to some events.

                • Deven Kale

                  You can’t honestly tell me that your daughters cheerleading squad has no supervisor or no coach, unless you’re telling me that it’s not a school team or possibly a private school. Every team in every sport in every school that I’ve ever heard of has a coach to guide them in the proper way to do the maneuvers and drills of that sport. Without one, they couldn’t ever hope to do well. By law, the coach of any public school sports team, including cheeleading, must be a teacher. Actually, I would be surprised if there wasn’t a law that required there be a coach in the first place.

                • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

                  In most states, there is. My niece is a cheerleader here in my hometown and it’s a private organization. Even they need coaches with proper background checks and certifications for liability reasons. So do the schools for the same reason. Fin just likes to blow hot air about things he doesn’t understand, which are many.

                • Findog53

                  Parents, volunteer there time, for supervision purposes only.

                • Deven Kale

                   If that’s the case, am I wrong in assuming this is a private school your daughter attends?

              • Alexandra

                Calling people out on their biases is important.  People should not think that they have any right to dictate what other people draw.

                I know myself, when I find myself getting offended by something that people do, I take the time to examine why and whether or not I have any right to try to do anything about it.  If I realize that I’m overreacting, and want to shut someone down, I learn something about myself and my own biases. 

                Sometimes making people uncomfortable can be useful.  And especially if you do it in a tasteful way to minimize the discomfort, it can be really great public service. 

                It’s a university, it’s a place of learning.  This is exactly the kind of thing that should be going down at a university.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  “People should not think that they have any right to dictate what other people draw.”

                  Okay.  I want to see this same group draw Swastikas outside of a synagogue near campus or fly confederate flags outside the Black Student Union.  They can do it really tastefully… it’ll be a really great public service.

                  But they won’t, of course, even though your average Muslim on campus take no more or less offense than these other groups would.  The difference is simply that the people who do this chalking, knowing that it will upset people and intending to cause that upset, only hold that intention toward this population.

                • Alexandra

                  Dude, apples and oranges.  Using really hatefully charged symbols vs drawing a neutral image of a person.  You cannot pretend these are the same.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  Nonsense.  Hindus don’t find swastikas hateful and there are a lot of people in the South who will tell you that the flag is about Heritage, not Hate. 

                  So if it’s okay for you to tell the Muslims that their reaction to the drawings is bad (because it doesn’t coincide with your reaction to the drawings), then why can’t we tell the Jews that their reaction to the swastika is bad because it doesn’t coincide with the Hindus or tell the African Americans that their reaction to the battle flag is bad because it doesn’t coincide with the “Heritage not Hate” crowd.

                  The point is that with the former, you can easily see that just because someone else isn’t insulted and offended by the symbols, doesn’t change the fact that the Jews and the African Americans  w0uld be.  You know this, so out of respect for your fellow man, you don’t post these symbols.  Yet the same is not extended to the Muslims of Minnesota.  WHy not?

                • Alexandra

                   Right, and so there’s nothing wrong with displaying a swastika or a Confederate flag in the correct context.  These symbols can be displayed in a tasteful way. 

                  Just like you can draw Muhammad in a tasteful way.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  “in the correct context.”

                  And what you don’t get is that randomly insulting your fellow citizens by picking on something which you know is offensive is not “the correct context” — it’s the equivalent of drawing swastikas on the ground in a Jewish neighborhood.

                • Alexandra

                  That might be what you think, but that’s where we disagree. 

                • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

                  Next you’ll be telling us about how the Jews became so enraged by some swastika somewhere they held a riot & killed people over it or some Black students came together smashed up some city because someone was flying a confederate flag. The US is a place where free expression is enshrined in law for a reason. Many great men (& women) have thought about this for many years & have come to the correct conclusion, but of course you want religion to have the final word because after all, it couldn’t possibly be wrong could it, it being the word of God’n all?

                • Brian Macker

                  The problem with swastikas isn’t “hate”.   This is why I dislike this leftist hate crime nonsense.  The problem is that it is a threat, and/or vandalism.  

                • Brian Macker

                  A swastika is a threat.   There is no history of genocide against muslims by people drawing Mohammad.   In fact the reverse is true.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  Factually false. 

                  And irrelevant.  There is no history of the students being insulted doing anything to anyone.

                • Georgina

                  “draw Swastikas outside of a synagogue near campus”
                  no need,
                  the jews did not massacre the nazis. 

                • WoodyTanaka

                  irrelevant to the argument.  The muslims being insulted in Minnesota have done nothing to anyone.

                • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

                  I don’t think the purpose of this was to insult the students. IF any insulting was intended (which i doubt) i expect it was directed at the religion which has most definitely done things (bad things) to people & continues to do so. When i saw this story i assumed it was more of an expression of how some students felt about the fact that a stick figure with the name Mohammed under it could be offensive or claim “protection” from anyone.

              • icecreamassassin

                Western thinking my fanny – the notion that responding to insults with violence is bad is *hardly* a Western ideology – it’s more of a ‘civil’ ideology.

                And the point isn’t *just* to be an insulting jerk; the point is to bring to light that there are some people in this world that will KILL PEOPLE for being insulted – this is standing up for the idea of having the right to insult without fear of institutionally sanctioned violence as retribution.  It is attempting to prove the point that MURDER is not an acceptable response to being made fun of.  The point is that those who do not recognize your sacred tenants do not have to abide by those tenants, and should not be expected to do so.

                Huh.  I guess I need to rescind my earlier statement; the point actually is to just be insulting to showcase the fact that people have the right to do so.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  If you are trying to make a point about other people killing over the symbols, then by all means, go over to Cairo or whereever and make your point.  They’re the ones who are doing the very thing you’re complainting about, not the people of Minnesota.  (Unless you think that it’s okay to insult them over something that some other Muslim does.  In which case, I would ask: who else gets that treatment?)

              • C Peterson

                Performing a demonstration of the very real faults of Islam is not the same as insulting Muslims. If some Muslims choose to take it that way, that’s really their problem. The demonstration remains a valid and powerful one, a way of criticizing something that is (and must be) open to criticism.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  Yes, it absolutely an insult to those people.  That’s the point.  You may not think so, but who cares what you think; they consider it an insult and you know they do.  So when you decide to do it purposefully, you do it full well knowing (and intending) for them to be insulted.     

                • C Peterson

                  You miss the entire point. It is the business of cartoonists to make statements using cultural iconography. It is obscene to suggest that anything should be off limits to them because of cultural “sensitivities”. Yet cartoonists have been threatened with death for simply doing their jobs. Novelists and movie makers have been threatened with death (and even killed) for doing theirs.

                  The point of ordinary people drawing Muhammad is not to insult Muslims, but to show solidarity with those who have absolutely legitimate cause to do just that.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  First of all, there are a lot of things that are off limits to them because of cultural sensitivities. 

                  Secondly, if you want to make a point against the people who are threatening cartoonists and writers and filmmakers, then great: go find them and insult them. 

                  But doing it on the Minnesota campus, where the only Muslims who have any chance of seeing the shenanigans are simply students who have no more to do with the people you’re supposedly targeting than you is bullshit unless you believe it is okay to insult any Muslim simply because one Muslim somewhere did something wrong. 

                  “The point of ordinary people drawing Muhammad is not to insult Muslims,”

                  But that is all you are really accomplishing; nothing but insulting your fellow Americans and pretending that you’re doing it “open dialogue” or some similar supercilious excuse. 

                  You are making meaningless gestures  in support of people who will never hear of it; in pretend defiance of opponents who will never care, but specifically insulting people who are just trying to live their lives.

                  As I’ve said before, if all you’re attempting to do is show the world that you are low class assholes who get off on insulting innocent people, then have at it.  But don’t blow smoke up everyone’s ass pretending that you’re doing anyone a service.

                • C Peterson

                  Happily, most ethical, thoughtful people see the world differently than you do.

                • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

                  I find Islam insulting, what should we do?

              • NickDB

                 Actually, I find your comments offensive so since you’re so worried about offending people who haven’t done anything, and I haven’t done anything to you. Please delete them.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  Nope.  If the people gratuitously out there insulting their fellow citizens get to claim they merely “intended to create dialogue”, I will do the same. 

              • Double Standards Suck

                And the Minnesota campuses are also home of PZ Myers (the second rate, JV squad college in the University, is home to the idiotic and childish PZ) anyway – PZ Myers shoved a nail through a communion cracker to piss off christians. And as much of an idiot and repressive bag-of-wind as PZ is, why was there no outcry of “that is politically incorrect” being hurled toward the second rate professor at the second rate campus?

                I defend his right to his behavior and would say it is no different than the Muslim slam. It does not matter on lick-shit if it is offensive or blasphemous – it is protected under the First Amendment – and should not even be questioned.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  As far as I know, Myers didn’t try to pretend that what he was doing was “opening a dialogue” or any of the horsecrap that is being posted about that.  He purposefully did something specifically to be a jerk.  Okay.  Fine.  But these chalkers want to pretend they’re not; they want to portray themselves as teh reasonable ones being attacked.  It’s crap.

                  There is no question it’s protected under the First Amendment.  that’s a straw man that’s not even at issue.  The point is that it should be questioned, because there are a lot of things what are protected speech that we nevertheless don’t do because we don’t have an interest in insulting and upsetting our fellow citizens.  Except innocent Muslims who just want to go to school don’t seem to rate that same consideration.

              • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

                  “The people who are doing these drawings are doing nothing but insulting people” Do you really believe that? IF you do, IMO you need to seriously re-evaluate your thinking. It’s a shape drawn in chalk on a sidewalk & the ONLY reason you even know it’s supposed to be Mohammed is because they told you so or you read it somewhere. It’s YOU &/or people like you who CHOOSE to be offended by it. I suggest you “lighten up” & realize that the problem lies with you, not someone with poor drawing skills.☮

                • fin312

                  It’s YOU&/ or people like you who CHOOSE to be offended by it……… Then why is a creche` on a government sposored entity so offensive to your faction??
                   Can’t wait to hear the nonsense rebuttal if one at all.

                • Deven Kale

                  I know that I myself have personally explained this to you already. First amendment has always been interpreted as government entities allowing all religions or none at all, no preferential treatment. If a government institution (school or not) shows preferential treatment to a single religion, a lot of the people who follow this blog and care about defending the constitution have a problem with that.

                • fin312

                  Okay we’ll try this another way. These likenesses were drawn by a religious faction(Atheists and Humanists) on Government funded property. It is a likeness of a religious figure. Are you telling me it is ok to leave it there and not an endorsement of religion regardless who created the pictures? Are you serious? You are right it is all or nothing as far as religion goes if there can’t be a creche` then there can’t be a likeness of a higher power period or a drawing that says a certain higher power is a myth. your faction loves to double dip. I again refer your faction to Lynch v. donnelly 1984. The high court ruled a creche` was not an endorsement of religion, yet in 1989 the county of Alleghney v. aclu ( which i can’t believe was even heard based on the 1984 decision) the high court ruled the creche` an endorsement of religion, yet a menorah not an endorsement of religion. Are you kidding me!! Does this fit under your all religion or no religion theory?

                • Deven Kale

                   Courts can be wrong, have been wrong, and aren’t required to always follow precedent in every case because of that fact. I would say a creche, a Menorrah, or anything else directly related to any religion would be considered endorsement of that religion were it allowed preferential placement on any public property to the exclusion of any others (unless it’s due to time and space conflict).

                  Atheism isn’t a religious group, (it could possibly be argued that Humanism might be, but that’s not part of this discussion) so there’s nothing atheistic to preferentially support. Would you be making these arguments if it was a Christian group making these drawings, or a Jewish group? Criticizing a religion is not a religious act in itself, it’s simply a free speech issue. Allowing you to control the language of this discussion by accepting your definition of atheism as a religious group has confused me to that fact this whole time. You personally have just as much right to criticize Islam in this way as an atheist or any other person.

                  Your anger is simply because it was atheists who did this. Well guess what: atheists are people just like followers of religions are people. They’re just as free to exercise their right to free speech as anyone else. If you’re willing to allow religious hate groups like the Catholic church and the WBC to make their statements in the public square, you’re going to have to be willing to allow atheists to make their statements as well, no matter what you think of them.

          • Brian Macker

            Sounds more like you are a subhuman compared to him.   He seems to operate on a higher plane of tolerance.    I’ve found that it’s generally the insecure honor based reactionaries who get all upset when you question their manhood, mothers, etc.    More mature people tend to let stuff like this roll off there backs.   BTW, your momma is so fat she has her own gravity well.  

            • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

              His mom is so dense, light bends around her!

              Can you feel your jimmies rustling, Woody?

            • WoodyTanaka

              You don’t really have any idea what’s actually going on here, do you.  LOL!!

          • Georgina

             RAH said: Offence is like alcohol – it can only affect you if you take it.

            Personally, I am only offended by rude comments ferom people I respect.
            When being insulted ALWAYS consider the source.

          • NickDB

             Unfeeling sociopath?!?!?! What the fuck and that needs to be spelt out with that comment.

            Someone didn’t get offended by some moron on the internet saying a lie about his mum and he is an unfeeling sociopath.

            Fuck that shit, YOU’RE the problem not someone who is mature. In fact if you consider someone not getting offended  by someone on the internet a sociopath then you have some major fucking issues and you need to get help.

            • WoodyTanaka

              LOL.  :)

            • fin312

              Wow with that tirade you have the audacity to school someone about maturity?

          • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

            “Unfeeling sociopath”? Seriously? I guess I’m one sick bunny too since I rarely take insults from random internet strangers seriously.

            Thanks for the laugh! I needed it.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

             He made YOU upset because he didn’t get upset? Kind of says it all really, lol.☮

      • Drew M.

        And you failed spectacularly. A  random ad hominem does none of these things; there needs to be a point behind it.

        EDIT: Actually, it does help desensitize. My bad.

        • WoodyTanaka

          “there needs to be a point behind it. ”

          There is.  People shouldn’t react badly to people calling their moms whores. 

          • Drew M.

            Hrm. Attacking someone’s mother vs. refusing to kowtow to Islamic superstition.

            Not even close.

            • WoodyTanaka

              Respecting your fellow citizens enough not to gratuitously insult them v. respecting your fellow citizens enough not to gratuitously insult them.
              Pretty close.

      • MichaelD

        And right into the slut shameing sexism. We can now have a nice discussion of why women are allowed to engage in sex for pleasure and or profit and how this shouldn’t be held against them.

        • WoodyTanaka

          “And right into the slut shameing sexism.”

          No, just a random schoolyard insult. 

          • amycas

             A random schoolyard insult that is based on slut-shaming  sexism.

            • WoodyTanaka

              No, it’s a random schoolyard insult based on the fact that random schoolyard insulters are juvenile.

    • Findog53

      So if a theist did this would there be 1st amendment issues?

      • C Peterson

        If a theist did what?

        • Findog53

          If a Muslim,baptist, catholic, protestant, etc. etc. drew these images would you all whine about first amendment issues?

  • TheExpatriate700

    So basically what this group accomplished was convincing a large portion of the campus that they (and by extension atheists in general) are a group of immature jerks engaged in provocation for provocation’s sake. And people wonder why I choose to identify as an agnostic rather than an atheist.

    • Badassmother

      Yea, because there is no such thing as “immature” “jerk” agnostics right?!

      • C Peterson

        Basically, there’s no such thing as agnostics.

        • TheExpatriate700

          @daf2335999abd273bbfc3a4d6ce22c68:disqus  Actually, there are. I’m one of them. I’m honest enough to say I don’t know whether there’s a god or not, and to act accordingly. By acting accordingly, I of course mean not acting like a douche bag. If Muslims don’t want me to draw their “prophet,” fine and dandy, I have no interest in doing so. Just don’t force me to go to a mosque.
          My philosophy in life is to hassle people I consider jerks. If I see religious people being jerks by trying to force their religion on others, I get in their faces. If I see atheists acting like jerks just to be offensive, I’m pretty unpleasant to them as well.

          • C Peterson

            Nobody knows if there is a god or not. That doesn’t make everybody agnostic. The word does NOT mean you don’t know; you are confusing skepticism with agnosticism.

            There may be a few philosophers who are truly agnostic. The other 99% of people who self identify as agnostic are just atheists too cowardly to call themselves that, or ignorant of what the concept of agnosticism is all about. Being an atheist doesn’t mean you know there are no gods. Every honest atheist will say what you say: that they don’t know if there are any gods. In what way is your view different? Are you seriously suggesting that you have no opinion at all on the likelihood that gods exist?

            • TheExpatriate700

              Who the hell do you think you are telling me what I am? I am at most fifty percent convinced there are no gods. The other half of the time, I suspect there is a god, and that it is just a sadistic bastard. Either explanation would go perfectly with my observations of the world.

              • C Peterson

                If you suspect there is a god you are a theist. That was simple. You certainly aren’t an atheist or an agnostic.

                • TheExpatriate700

                  So the fact that I have doubts counts for nothing? I’ll continue to identify as an agnostic whether you like it or not.

                  You really are an idiot, aren’t you?

                • Alexandra

                  He is.  He’s a narrow sighted pedantic jerk.  Ignore him. 

                • C Peterson

                  Identify yourself however you want. You’ve made it clear enough what you actually are, however.

                • 3lemenope

                  If you suspect there is a god you are a theist.

                  A suspicion is not a belief claim, not least because it is fundamentally tentative in nature.

                  I don’t know why you insist on restricting the definition of “agnosticism” to what is usually referred to as “strong agnosticism” and discarding “weak agnosticism” as not-really-agnosticism. What is your justification for unilaterally tossing half the definition of the term?

                • C Peterson

                  Because the concept of weak or strong agnosticism serves no purpose. The use of the word to mean “I don’t know” is modern and adds nothing to our understanding. So I eschew it.

                  A person either believes there is a god or doesn’t. I find it very hard to believe that anybody who has actually thought about the matter sits exactly on the 50/50 line between the two choices. The vast majority of people are in one of two camps: probably there is a god, or probably there is not. The former are theists, the latter are atheists. All are skeptics unless they claim to be certain (which many theists but few atheists do).

                • 3lemenope

                  The use of the word to mean “I don’t know” is modern and adds nothing to our understanding. So I eschew it.

                  The guy who coined the term, Thomas Huxley, said:

                  I neither affirm nor deny the immortality of man. I see no reason for believing it, but, on the other hand, I have no means of disproving it. I have no a priori objections to the doctrine. No man who has to deal daily and hourly with nature can trouble himself about a priori difficulties. Give me such evidence as would justify me in believing in anything else, and I will believe that. Why should I not?

                  [emphasis mine].

                  Clearly, the term as originally intended hews closer to weak than strong agnosticsm, since he is articulating that a belief stance on these matters ought to be defeasible by evidence and/or argument.

                • Rose

                  But people’s beliefs change slowly over time.
                  It isn’t as cut and dried as either theist or atheist. What about the progression from one to the other?
                  You can drift from Christian to liberal politically correct Christina to vague belief in God to agnostic.  Then you might change again and strongly identify as atheist. Or you might drift back to Christianity, become Catholic and call your doubts the ‘long dark night of the soul’. It doesn’t mean you were never agnostic.
                  People don’t fit into neat little boxes. What about non-theistic religions like Buddhism or New Age spirituality?

                • C Peterson

                  You are a theist, or you are not. As you move between the two, you decide what you want to call yourself, presumably based on the point where you consider it significantly more likely that one or the other possibility is true.

                  I don’t consider a drift to agnosticism to be something that can really happen- while either a theist or an atheist can be agnostic, I don’t think may of either actually are.

                  What about non-theistic religions? Their adherents are atheists, what else?

                • 3lemenope

                  The notion that “I don’t know” as a response to an existence claim is not a legitimate option is truly bizarre. You are correct that you are either a theist or you are not, but the “not” encompasses other responses than the simple negation; theist is but one stance among several. A person can just as easily say “maybe”, “I don’t know”, “the very question is nonsense”, “what do we even mean by ‘God’ in this question” or others. 

                  Those are all legitimate and substantive positions; most of them even have names, like “deist”, “agnostic”, “ignostic”, and so forth.

                  Even a Jamesan approach doesn’t negate the possibility of agnosticism, it only comments on the practical effects of a given position (as one might expect, since William James himself called himself agnostic). If every position either “cashes out” as either theism or atheism, it does not mean that the fine-grained distinctions don’t have phenomenological import simply because they do not have a similar behavioral import.

                • C Peterson

                  “I don’t know” is the response of any skeptic. Not knowing is not the same as evaluating the evidence and having an opinion as to which view is most likely. I don’t know, and I’m an atheist. Others don’t know and are theists.

                  The sorts of evidence available to support the two positions are radically different in quality. I don’t think it is rationally possible for somebody to believe that the odds are equal that there are or are not gods. A person who makes this claim is either ignorant or is being intellectually dishonest with themselves or others.

                • 3lemenope

                   I don’t think it is rationally possible for somebody to believe that the odds are equal that there are or are not gods.

                  Your personal opinion about the ignorance and/or mendacity of agnostics is quite a different thing than claiming that weak agnostics either don’t exist or that the term has no meaning, which is what you’ve been doing most of the thread.

                  You having a personal opinion about agnostics is totally cool. Making a claim that agnostics either don’t exist or that agnosticism means only what you want it to mean rather than the definition that, yet again, hails back to the founder of the term and his contemporaries and has been used from then till present day in a similar way, is totally silly.

          • michael both

            I think you’re missing the point. Drawing someone should not be a reason to have the person doing the drawing killed, even if that ‘someone’ is a so-called prophet. By labeling the behaviour ‘offensive’, you’re giving in to the pressure being exerted by Muslims. Going along with this kind of behaviour is far, far worse then being a ‘jerk’, IMHO.

            • TheExpatriate700

              How are the Muslim students on that campus threatening to kill anyone? If you want to make a statement about that, just go to the Middle East and do it.

              Confronting people who are actually dangerous is brave. Hassling people who are bothering you just makes you an asshole.

              • TheExpatriate700

                I mean not bothering you.

              • Alexandra

                1) How is drawing Muhammad “hassling people”?
                2) Why do you assume that they Muslim students weren’t bothering the atheist students?

          • TnkAgn

             Even Richard Dawkins admitted a sort of “agnosticism,” saying that even though there’s no evidence for fairies at the bottom of his garden, he cannot prove that they do not exist.

            • ortcutt

               Sure, but he’s still a a-fairyist, in that he doesn’t believe there are fairies.  Atheism and agnosticism are orthogonal.  What is puzzling is why some people are so vehement in denying the label “atheist” when it does apply to them, because they don’t believe there are gods. 

              • TnkAgn

                No argument there. Just pointing out the silliness and self-deception of hedging one’s bet against eternity by proclaiming to be an “agnostic” when in truth, and down deep, one is an atheist.

                • C Peterson

                  Exactly. Because the vast majority of those who call themselves agnostics are, in simple fact, atheists. They make the entirely false claim that by saying they don’t know for sure, that makes them agnostics. But it doesn’t. It makes them properly skeptical atheists. Unless, of course, they believe that gods are likely, in which case they are skeptical theists. Neither are agnostic.

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      “Atheist” has nothing to do with chalk drawings and Draw Muhammad Day. No more than “black” has anything to do with urban violence and drug dealing, or anything that a portion of black people may do. This is as silly as saying “This is why I choose to identify as a Person of Color rather than a Black person.”

    • Alexandra

       I’m still wondering why you chose to identify that way.  It doesn’t make a difference.

    • ortcutt

      We’re going to need to keep being “jerks” until the right to speak freely and challenge religious claims is acknowledged. I have no problem being the “unfriendly atheist” if that’s what is necessary.

    • C Peterson

      This is a good reason why groups shouldn’t generally use “atheist” in their name. There’s nothing remotely atheistic about this event- or any other. It is closely aligned with both skepticism and anti-theism, however (both of which are descriptive words to use in organizational names).

    • ganner
      • amycas

         I didn’t even have to look at the link to know what that was. Yes.

  • ortcutt

    Why does something being a “deeply held belief” entitle that belief to be applied to people who don’t hold that belief and entitle that belief to no challenge or rebuttal? That’s something that religionists have never been able to explain to me.

    • 3lemenope

      The only thing it might indicate, for me, when a person tells me that a belief is deeply held, is that it is probably prudent to be cognizant of how important it is to them to determine an approach to criticism that is respectful of them as a person even while criticizing the belief they hold.

      It’s not a requirement, by any means, and the integrity of the critique should not be actually sacrificed just to preserve someone’s feelings about a belief, but then again in my experience that is almost never necessary when pursuing a critique. There is almost always a respectful way to substantively disagree with someone.

      • ortcutt

        Respecting someone as a person might mean treating him or her as someone capable of bringing their beliefs in accord with the world.  It might not mean privileging his or her current deeply held beliefs.

  • http://twitter.com/bostongraf bostongraf

    I like what CASH did. And, while I do find the offense taken to be silly, I wonder if the quotes cited in the couple of linked articles are trimmed by the writers/editors in a manner that might increase tension. The speakers may have had a *lot* more to say along the lines of “who cares” that the paper decided not to include…

    But I also recognize that I am taking an optimistic view of the quoted while taking a pessimistic view of the writers/editors.

  • DelAnaya

    So, this is a microcosm of the current int’l debate. Is it ok to suppress free speech about religion because it offends someone? I personally disagree and think that speech should never be suppressed. I think we’ll only progress in eliminating religion as an antique hindrance to modern society if we give it the ridicule it deserves.

    But if the world actually goes in this direction and the social norm becomes “don’t offend the religion of others” can we expect that Islam and Christianity will refrain from inflammatory statements about atheism? Christian reactions against things like FFRF billboards and bus ads will have to stop. No more killing of infidels and apostates in islamic countries. How do you think that’s going to work? I’d be willing to bet that religion doesn’t regard this as symmetric. 

    • Deven Kale

      The worst part of that particular scenario is that, were such a thing to ever happen (and I really hope that it doesn’t), only then would theists finally agree that atheism isn’t just another religion. They would finally admit that atheism is actually a lack of religion but only because that would allow them to keep criticizing it and, worst of all, making laws against it.

      I fear the day that something as simple as blasphemy laws come into effect. The eventual escalation is all too predictable. We’ve seen it dozens of times all throughout history that it’s almost inevitable that non-belief will eventually become a crime. I’m one of those that would not denounce my atheism, even if the consequences of that is death, and that scares me more than little else. Or at least, I hope I would be strong enough to do so, but I wish I never have to find out.

  • WoodyTanaka

    Well, I think you’re completely off base on this.  How would you react if someone who you did not know wrote, in chalk, outside your home or office, a vile slur against your mother or your wife?  Probably not so well.  Would you say, “Wonderful.  I accept your right to insult my mother.”  Somehow I doubt it.  Same principle here.  I doubt you would be much interested in “dialogue” about how you react to having your mother or wife slurred.

    • Alexandra

      You’re completely missing the point, Woody.  For one, it wasn’t a slur, it was a drawing of Muhmmad.

      • WoodyTanaka

        No, I’m not.  I know the point that the drawers think they’re making. 

        The people who are doing the drawing are taking an action which is purposefully insulting to people who’ve done nothing to deserve it.  We need not agree with the insult to know it’s an insult. 

        • Rubahtics

          It’s not an insult, it’s a picture. The actual equivalent would be if they put a portrait of your family in front of your house

          • Alexandra

            No, that’s not quite true.  There’s the difference that there’s a well known prohibition on depicting the prophet.  I can’t think what an equivalent would be, but it wouldn’t be chalking slurs about someone’s mother. 

            To me it feels like it’s on par with someone buying dark roast for the office coffee machine.  I find it disgusting, and really wish that no one would ever do that, and sometimes I accidentally drink some and it makes me cranky, but in the end it’s not a big deal.  Different people believe and like different things, and they have every right to share their dark roast with the office. 

            But you know, this is just what I can come up with through my rage at having been tricked into drinking dark roast.

            • WoodyTanaka

              “To me it feels like it’s on par with someone buying dark roast for the office coffee machine.”

              But to them, it’s a gravely offensive, not a minor inconvenince.   

              • Alexandra

                Well then that’s the problem right there.  I have no responsibility to tailor my life and choices to what offends them.  If I really want to draw Muhammad, they should be mature enough to accept that and move on.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  Let me ask you, would you have the same reaction if someone was having Orthodox Jewish people at their house and purposefully decided to put bacon in the food because the person thought the bacon opposition was stupid and wanted to teach the Jewish people the “correct” way to view bacon?  

                  Should the Jewish people just simply be mature enough to accept that their anti-bacon views are foolish and move on? 

                  Or might you understand that even if you, yourself, find the prohibition against eating pork stupid, purposefully doing something that you know will cause great offense to people who’ve done you no harm is a rather awful thing to do? 

                • Pluto Animus

                  Their religion makes them pathetic crybabies.
                  You can respect that all you want, Woody.
                  Those of us who value freedom never will.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  This isn’t an issue of freedom.  You have the freedom to stand outside a black church and repeatedly scream the n-word.  But you don’t, do you?

                • Pluto Animus

                   Are you trying to be stupid?

                • WoodyTanaka

                  NO.  You’re the one crying tears about “freedom”.  So, why do you refrain randomly insult black people who didn’t do anything to you, but don’t refrain from randomly insulting Muslim people who didn’t do anything to you?

                • Deven Kale

                   Yet again: if random black people were going around murdering people in the name of black people, because of some behavior they found insulting, then repeating that insulting behavior to make a statement is not only reasonable, but as I said before, almost required.

                  Why can’t you get this distinction here? This “Draw Mohammed Day” isn’t just about offending muslims. It’s making a statement that the terrorist behavior of the extremist muslims does not scare us, and that they need to grow up. It is our peaceful reaction and protest to the terrorist actions of the extremists. If the moderate muslims aren’t bothered by it, that’s fine, because it’s not directed towards them anyway.

                • Alexandra

                  There’s a distinct difference between tricking people or destroying their food and drawing a picture.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  No, I’m not saying to trick them.  I’m saying that you bring out the food and you highlight the fact that there is bacon in everything.  Simply because you want to make the point that being opposed to eating bacon is stupid.  Would you do that?  no, you would respect your fellow citizens enough not to insult their beliefs, even if you thought they were stupid. 

                • Alexandra

                  So now you’ve downgraded it to just saying there’s bacon in everything but not actually doing anything to their food?  Sure there’s nothing wrong with that.

                  I’d argue a wedding isn’t the best place to make that point because it’s insensitive to their festivities, but a university would be a great place to do it. 

                • WoodyTanaka

                  No, I just used a slightly different analogy.  The point is that you clearly have it in you to be sensitive to other people’s feelings, and you seem to all but admit that you wouldn’t intentionally force Jews to confront their irrational pork hatred.  Yet you don’t extend the same to Muslims.  Why not?

                  And if “wedding” is the issue, find.  Change it to serving pork at a College mixer after inviting a bunch of Jewish Orthodox  people.  Would you do it then?

                • Alexandra

                  Of course I have it in me to be sensitive to other people’s beliefs.  But a university is a place to challenge ourselves and each other and confront our biases.

                  I don’t know what you don’t seem to get about that.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  So then you would have no problem with chalking swastikas in front of the Jewish dorm on campus, so as to confront the Jewish student’s biases??? No, because you know that that is nothing more than a post-hoc rationalization.  You seem to simply believe it is okay to do this to Muslim students but not other students.

                • Deven Kale

                   Again, if Jews were going around burning any building with a swastika on it or killing anyone who posted a picture of one on Facebook, this would be a perfectly acceptable response. You’re completely ignoring the context and focusing on the act alone, which by itself is morally neutral.

                • Alexandra

                  I don’t even know why I’m playing this game with you.  Your point is that it’s never okay to insult someone.  Mine is that it is okay to do it in the correct context and if it’s done with taste and consideration. 

                  These scenarios you are coming up with are offensive, and I’m agreeing with you that they’re things that people shouldn’t do.  But none of them are comparable to what happened at Minnesota.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  “But none of them are comparable to what happened at Minnesota.”

                  Except to the Muslim students, it’s exaclty comparable.  That’s the point that you don’t get. 

              • ortcutt

                If they choose to be offended, then they have two options.  They can either accept that I, not being a Muslim, may do things that will offend them, or they can choose to live in a different country where they can be assured of never being offended.  That country is not the United States.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  That’s not even close to the issue.  These people did nothing to you, but you are willing to go out of your way to insult them.  And if it’s just a bunch of atheists being dickheads, that one thing.  To futher add insult to inury and be offended when people didn’t buy into the horseshit that this was supposed to be some “learning” experience is pathetic. 

                • Findog53

                  So it is ok for you not being Muslim to offend a religion by mocking its’ higher power and it has to be accepted? Yet a banner in a high school has to come down because it’s offensive? You can’t double dip Ortcutt!! which you are doing with that comment. Why don’t you go to these other countries you speak of then come back to see how good we all have it here!!  You are pathetic!

                • ortcutt

                  A public high school prayer banner legally must come down because it’s government speech and government endorsement of religion.  Private speech in a public forum such as on a sidewalk isn’t.  You really need to familiarize yourself with basic First Amendment jurisprudence.

                • Findog53

                  It’s a religious drawing on a PUBLICLY FUNDED SIDEWALK CAMPUS.  Again you all forget the 6 words after the comma “OR PROHIBIT THE FREE EXCERCISE THEREOF” If the founders wanted it any other way they would have said “the free excercise thereof except at universities,highschool auditorims, graduations etc. etc. etc.

                • ortcutt

                  Private speech in a government-funded public forum isn’t government speech.  The government pays for public parks, but that doesn’t give it the authority to limit the content of speech in public parks.  I defend the right to street preachers to say whatever they like in public fora (subject to content-neutral time, place, and manner restrictions).  I don’t know why you think that it’s acceptable to place content-based limits the speech of others in public fora.  Government speech is another matter though.  That’s limited by the Establishment Clause

          • WoodyTanaka

            “It’s not an insult, it’s a picture.”

            The insult is you drawing the picture because you know it would be an insult to them.  If you go to an Orthodox Jewish wedding and sprinkle bacon in all the entrees, that’s an insult, even if it makes the food taste better, if you do it because you know it will upset them. 

            • Rubahtics

              If the Jews are upset at me eating a bacon cheeseburger how is that my problem? And if they threatened me for doing so, even if I eat it right in front of them, isn’t the threat the unreasonable response?

              • WoodyTanaka

                None of the people in Minnesota were threatening anyone.  

            • Alexandra

              Rubahtics is right: that’s the wrong analogy.  The proper analogy would be eating a bacon cheeseburger, not going to a wedding and destroying all of their food. 

              • WoodyTanaka

                Okay, if you know that bacon is offensive to Jews and you stood in a Jewish neighborhood and made a big show of eating the bacon — knowing that it would cause offense and intending to do so – that would make you a jerk.  Just like these chalkers.  Nothing else.

                • Alexandra

                  Do you not see the difference between going out to an ethnic neighborhood and doing it at a university?  There is a huge difference.  This is the sort of dialogue that is supposed to happen at a university.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  Okay.  Then change it so that it happens on campus to Orthodox Jewish college students.  You’re fixated on finding differences but purposefully missing the point that the issue is whether purposefully doing something that is no big deal to you but which is a huge insult to someone else, and you doing it specifically because you know it will cause them great insult, isn’t dialogue, it’s being a jerk.  No different than if you stood outside the Orthodox Jewish dorm on campus and ate bacon specifically because you know they would be offended. 

                • Alexandra

                  That’s because the differences are important.  You can’t just make shit up and pretend they’re equivalent acts. 

                  What happened at U of Minnesota was completely tasteful and probably productive.  These other things you’re bringing up aren’t so much.

                  You’re right, being super insensitive and  insulting someone for no reason isn’t super cool.  But that’s not what happened here.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  “But that’s not what happened here.”

                  That’s exactly what happened here.  The atheists decided that they were going to be purposefully super insensitive and insulting for no reason.  (Or, maybe, some bullshit reason.)

                  Nor was it particularly productive.  Just read the reactions above.  Teh students who were the intended victims weren’t fooled by the nonsense about this being a learning experience.  

                  The fact that you refuse to even consider an equivalent sitatuation where non-Muslims are the target of an equivalent episode of purpseful insuts is telling.  

                • Findog53

                  Yes it is!!!

                • Deven Kale

                   Actually, if Jews were going around murdering people for something as ridiculous as eating BLT’s, I would think a perfectly reasonable response would be to going to the local Orthodox Jewish dorm and having a pork BBQ where BLT’s were the main course. Along with pulled pork sandwiches, roast Pork, and whatever other pork related foods you can come up with.

                  Just wandering into a place full of people who are doing nothing wrong and deliberately provoking them is, you’re quite right, being a jerk. But if you’re making a statement such as “your actions don’t scare me,” or “you need to do something about your brothers and sisters,” by doing the exact same thing is more than acceptable. I would say it’s almost required.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  Demonstrate that any of the people who were subjected to these chalk drawings were responsible for anything.   Or is every muslim automatically responsible for everything any other muslim does in your view?

                • Deven Kale

                   That’s just it, I don’t have to. It’s the statement that’s being made that’s important, not the specifics of who it’s done to. Here’s the rundown: Someone, somewhere, does x thing which makes extremists from group y go out and murder people. A few days later in the news, these same extremists see thousands of people going out to various gathering places of group y and doing x thing to show that their attempts at terrorizing them into submission have failed. What’s the most likely reaction? After seeing their terror attempts failing enough times, they will realize that they cannot win this way, and eventually stop the terrorism and work towards a more diplomatic solution. Ironically, doing this in itself will stop the protests that the terrorists find so offensive.

                  Of course, there is also always the possibility of the terrorists gaining political power and going to war to try and stop the protests, but in no way would I think that’s a good reason for us to stop said protests. As just about every police department and every government says these days, “we do not negotiate with terrorists.” Eventually they will have to realize that no form of terrorism will work, even through war, and that their only option is to grow up and stop over-reacting like a spoiled child.

                • ortcutt

                   Sidewalks in Jewish neighborhoods are public spaces.  They can’t expect me not to eat bacon there.  They can’t expect me not to drive or work on the sabbath there either.  They are free to observe those restrictions, but they can’t impose them on me in those public spaces.

            • ortcutt

               A wedding is a private event.  A sidewalk is a public space.  It doesn’t belong to Muslims exclusively.  They can’t expect to control the speech that occurs there.  The quotation from Flemming Rose posted above is appropriate.

        • Alexandra

          What’s the insult?  And why do you argue that they’ve done nothing to deserve said insult?

          • WoodyTanaka

            The insult is the drawing of Mohammad.  To them, it’s very grave offensive and you’re purposefully mocking their beliefs. 

            And so far as I know, none of the Muslims at this university did anything to deserve to have someone insult them like that.  It’s not like they’re responsible for what people do in foreign countries.  

    • NickDB

       Yes I would. You can say what you want. If you want to be a dick then go ahead and be one. I have no right to stop you.

      Hell I got bullied as a kid and me and my family got called all sorts of things. I went home and cried and felt kak and my mother (the one that was insulted) taught me to ignore people being dicks. It’s part of being a civilized person. If the bullying goes past name calling and picture drawing and moves on physical violence, then do something about it. But being insulted by someone who you don’t even know or even respect is nothing to get upset about.

      Trying growing up and moving past the kindergarten stage of life, it does make things easier.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elly.pemberton.3 Elly Pemberton

    “I urge them and everybody else who plans on participating to find a more peaceful way to demonstrate their opinions.”
    …What? Just… WHAT? What the hell is “more peaceful” than making art? These are drawings, not attacks or assault or violence. 

    • 3lemenope

      The act of making art is (almost always) peaceful, but art itself, esp. it’s social effects, are not necessarily so. Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin involved no violence in its creation, but almost certainly moved American society closer to civil war. Art’s very essence is to induce an emotional and/or intellectual reaction in its viewers, so violence is always a possible outcome to artistic expression.

      Which is not to say that that violence is acceptable or appropriate in any way. It is only to say that when artists make art they are indeed playing with live ammunition. Mind bullets! :)

  • TnkAgn

     Since the very historicity of Muhammad is questioned by scholars, as is the historical Jesus, it is all the more instructive to observe the power that legend, lore, myth and fable have on humans, and the lengths to which people will go to “protect” their myth.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Quest_for_the_Historical_Muhammad_%28Ibn_Warraq%29

  • Islam and Muhammed SUCK

    Once again, in a disgusting fashion, this whole issue becomes a debate or a contrived and false sideline. Whether or not the pictures of the Assmuch Mohammed – who legend has it was a homosexual who enjoyed the company of young boys and really enjoyed buggering them (yes, this was done deliberately and without any shred of guilt or fear) – are blasphemous or provocative has no bearing on ANYTHING.

    We have a protected right to express ourselves and parody anything we want. If some idiotic and misguided pack of neanderthal muslims get pissed and offended – TOO EFFING BAD. 

    The only issue I can see here would be if using chalk on the sidewalk is considered vandalism. All else is nothing but a disgusting sidetrack for the namby-pamby PC buttholes.

    • Findog53

      Then why is it a problem to display say a “creche” on public property if  ” We have a protected right to express ourselves and parody anything we want”?
       By your factions ideals, no religious tenets at all can be displayed on public property.
       Can’t wait for this bullshit rebuttal.

      • Deven Kale

        These things are done on a Public University Campus. Same rules apply there as everywhere else that’s government owned: all or nothing. Universities generally allow all, so any religious display is generally okay as long as permission is asked to avoid time and space conflicts.

        At least, this is how things are done at the University I went to. Each one is allowed to make its own rules.

        • Findog53

          You are right, Public Public Public. That’s why if a theist did it the university endorses it by allowing it. This is by your factions ideals.

    • Findog53

      Also, as has been said on this thread several times so far, if the name calling and offensive drawings to some should just be brushed off a shoulder, then why is something like a banner at a high school? so offensive to your faction. Something that doesn’t mention the word “God” at all, just good will towards thy neighbor and fellow students and stuff like that. Why won’t you all just brush that off your shoulders?
       Again, can’t wait for the bullshit response, you know starting with “It’s not the same”.

      • Deven Kale

         Public school: government entity. All or nothing is all that’s allowed. They’re only allowing one, which is unconstitutional. “It’s exactly the same.”

        • Findog53

          A college isn’t a public entity?

          • Deven Kale

            Like I said somewhere else, I think probably even in this thread: Most colleges and universities are also public entities and so have the same rules, all religions or none. They generally go with all. The only reason anyone needs to get permission is to make sure there are no time and space conflicts. This is how most of them that I’ve had any experience with do it, but each one makes its own rules and so there may be some which go with none.

  • Pluto Animus

    Clearly the appropriate response for CASH would be to leave several drawings showing stick figures bawling their eyes out, crying “You insulted my religion!  Waaaah!!!”

    Then watch the hilarious reaction.

  • CanadianNihilist

    I’m extremely offended.
    Don’t they know that Everybody Draw Muhammad Day is May 20th?

    How dare they get my favorite not stat. Holiday wrong.

    • Findog53

      And again, the name fits you well.

  • Philbert

    They find chalk drawings offensive, I find religion offensive. We just have to tolerate each other.

  • sexyheathen

    Josh Brose the C.A.S.H activities director here – I am willing to field any questions about the event.

  • 3lemenope

    @WoodyTanaka:disqus 

    Except to the Muslim students, it’s exactly comparable.  That’s the point that you don’t get.

    But the standards for judging whether a thing is properly understood to be actually offensive in the same way cannot be completely subjective.

    As an analogy, take a small child who has just skinned their knee or received a paper cut on a finger, or has a splinter that has to be tweezed. Now to very small children, whose experience with pain is usually rather limited both qualitatively and quantitatively, often they perceive such injuries as extremely serious, prompting protestations of agony and requiring consolation and immediate treatment (such as it is). Now, from an adult perspective such injuries are very minor. And the adult is objectively correct to think of such injuries as minor, despite the child’s subjective experience of the injury. The adult may sympathize with having the experience, but would not confuse it with an injury actually threatening life or limb or even requiring significant medical attention, and of course react concomitantly with that judgment.

    So a person may come to convince themselves that to draw a picture of a particular subject is a horrible crime, but that does not automatically mean that their opinion on the matter should be treated as dispositive. Their perspective on the matter might be distorted by any number of factors which would cause an outside observer to rationally discount their opinion; people can easily convince themselves that their positions on such issues should be privileged above others based merely upon the intensity of the belief, or what their peers reinforce, or what they are told is correct by authority figures. 

    In essence, just because a person is offended, it doesn’t mean that they actually necessarily have a legitimate cause to complain. There needs to be a way to situate that offense in an external context and see if it still is coherent or compelling; if not, perhaps the assertion that one is offended should be discounted or diminished in force. And as for this case, I see no way to situate their claim in a context that doesn’t already accept as true all the axioms that led to the original assertion of offense and still have any force at all. People who assert substantial injury at the hands of a chalk stick figure are exactly analogous to a child who believes their skinned knee is the apex of agony.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    If a group of Muslim students left drawings on the sidewalk to deliberately provoke an angry response from atheists, I’m sure y’all would be expounding upon how prejudiced and intolerant those terrible Muslims are.

    Nevertheless, it’s perfectly fine to do something similar to another minority religion/philosophy, isn’t it?  Especially one that’s had it’s meeting places burned down.  Especially one that has been the focus of increasing levels of prejudicial legislation.  Especially one that has been the focus of increasing levels of violence and xenophobia.  Especially one whose home countries have been abused for decades upon decades by Western governments.

    With each passing day, you eagerly reveal your ignorance, hypocrisy, and lack of empathy to those beyond the boarders of your group.  You deny being a religion and yet you have come to reflect some of the worst aspects of religion.  You have become like that which you oppose.  You are the embodiment of irony.

    • Deven Kale

      When a group of atheists start going around burning down homes and murdering people, in the name of atheism, because somebody has done something which they consider offensive,  I will be one of the first to say that they are overstepping their bounds. I will still be encouraging that the exact thing which caused the offense needs to be done more, in order to protest that behavior. And yes, I myself am an atheist. It’s not about the offense that caused the aggression to most of us, it’s about the aggressive action itself that is being protested (by repeating the offensive act).

      • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

        How many Muslims have been killed by the West’s military/imperial adventures in the Middle East? How many murderous dictators in the Middle East have been propped up by US foreign policy?

        And wasn’t it Hitchens and Harris who have supported continuing variations of this foreign policy?

        Your group is hardly innocent.

        • Deven Kale

          You’re talking government actions here, where we’re all talking about civilian actions. There is no comparison. Plus I guarantee you, whatever the reason behind these actions, it definitely was not in the name of atheism.

          • Findog53

            Of course, it was to encourage Muslims!  I get it.

        • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

          A tu quoque argument? Really? Fuck me. Also, as 3lemenope accurately pointed out, false equivalence. The West bombing the shit out of Muslim nations makes it okay for Muslims to murder and rape and burn if we hurt their religious feefees by drawing that asshole prophet of theirs in chalk. Riiiiiight.

    • 3lemenope

      Do you imagine it possible to anger atheists by making chalk drawings of prominent atheists and then labeling them accurately?

      The fact is, the behavior exhibited by people who are angered at a simple drawing of a human being is (here) childishly out of proportion and (elsewhere) murderous. There really are no excuses for that. People that have convinced themselves they are beyond reproach can justify the absolute stupidest things, and the only social cure for that is confrontation. It can be polite confortation in the form of debate and discussion, but when the claims become absurd (“How DARE you draw a picture of a guy we care about?!”) or the behavior unconscionable, ridicule and forceful rejection of the claims can be the order of the day.

      I personally empathize with the plight of other people as they pertain to our own foreign policy sins. That does not diminish the gravity of the crimes of arson, assault, mayhem, and murder. A person can be legitimately and seriously aggrieved by actual attacks against their places of worship and their persons, and yet these attacks are in no way alike to drawing a chalk figure on a sidewalk. Black churches have historically been burned in the South over racial animus; does this mean that criticizing the acts and beliefs of those churches is off-limits? Being a victim of an actual crime grants no privileges beyond one demand: to seek justice for the crime. It is not a shield against criticism, nor a bar against ridicule. Empathy does not entail letting important stuff slide, nor treating victims like they are made of fine china, broken easily by a stray unkind word.

      And for what it’s worth, the US has a neat thing called the rule of law, which along with a  robust civil society guarantees that at least a serious attempt will be made to seek justice for actual crimes (like mosques or Muslims being physically attacked) where the same cannot be said in the places where mobs have been taking out their rage on their victims; they act with absolute impunity, nor fear of ever being caught and punished for what they have done. 

      I’m curious, since you’re in full false equivalence mode, whether you’d rather be a Muslim in the US or an atheist in Egypt. What do you think is the worse situation? Does your equivalence hold any water whatsoever there, do you think?

  • Hard Righter

    So yet again the Robinson Crusoe myth rears its arrogant head. ALL cultures and societies shall respond to the same insults and pressure points as the civilized races of the West, even in their own countries. They shall not be offended by that which doesn’t offend us, and we’ll test them by provoking them, and their uncivil response will then give us the right to bomb entire nations, bust down doors in their quiet neighbourhoods and drag out and brutalize mothers fathers daughters and sons in front of each other, and butcher them into submission. Is that about right?

    • Deven Kale

      “Is that about right?”

      To put it simply: No.

  • Tim


    “When I visit a mosque, I show my
    respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church,
    synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a
    nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my
    respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with secular
    democracy.”
     -Flemming Rose (Jyllands-Posten editor).  I am disappointed that it takes a Dane to get this right.  Concepts like this were America’s gift to teh rest of teh world.   Judging by so many of the comments here, it seems you have forgoten that. 

  • http://twitter.com/BBADWoman Sana Saeed

    Honestly, I think there are better ways of going about or ‘creating’ a dialogue exchange, than having a Draw Muhammad Day. I understand the goal of the event, but trying to reclaim the idea of drawing Muhammad w/out backlash during this sensitive time is misguided. It would have probably worked better after people have had time to process or understand the violence that had erupted across the world.

    Also I believe- the frustration that led to the violence in the first place, is the same frustration that is shown by others of faith or non-faith in the Middle East or South Asia- mainly because of the dictatorship like governments, oppressive laws, high unemployment rates especially for youth, poverty, food shortages, and lack of access to water. That frustration has always been easily manipulated and misdirected by people in power to target groups or issues. I agree even that doesn’t warrant violence, but it is important to recognize that there are layers to this issue beyond the simple idea that if you mock or draw Muhammad = Muslims rage. Example: Muslims in the US didn’t go raging in the streets torching buildings etc….why? Because their basic needs are met, they have opportunities here, and they know how to non-violently voice their concerns.

    In this case, I think it was a misguided idea to have a “draw Muhammad day”, and if dialogue was really the goal, they should have consulted the MSA to co-sponsor the event or even ask them for ideas of how to have a dialogue about drawing Muhammad & art. CASH didn’t even attempt to do that (at least it doesn’t seem like it based on this post). If they had talked to them about it, they would have realized that calligraphy is one way art has been incorporated in Islam to draw pictures and objects as a way to be sensitive to cultural/religious traditions. I agree CASH has the right to draw whatever they want and how they want in public (even sexual images- I’m sure they wouldn’t get in trouble over that?). But, they obviously weren’t genuinely trying to create dialogue on this issue, they were trying to make a point- which has already been well understood and so has the reaction by people on that point.

    • sexyheathen

      We are currently trying to contact the MSA – we want to have a roundtable discussion.  It might have been good to contact them beforehand, but it probably would not have influenced our event.

      It is important to generate dialogue (which this event did) but it is also important to make the points that we want to make.  In this case, the point was to protest the incursions of Islam into the speech rights of non-Muslims worldwide.  It would be contradictory to be overly “religiously sensitive” when our goal is to defend speech that opposes religion and religious figures.  We did try to make our drawings of Muhammad as respectful as possible however – to demonstrate that we are not actually out there to be offensive and disrespectful.


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