Some authors and cartoonists have objected to PEN giving the Freedom of Expression Courage Award to Charlie Hebdo. Their reasoning seems to be that Muslims are an oppressed minority and, therefore, making fun of their religion is intolerance and/or bigotry.
When people are threatened with death for drawing pictures, especially when some actually try to kill them for drawing pictures and sometimes succeed horrifically, the victim card is off the table. It is simply a non-starter.
I have posted Muhammad cartoons before and I have promoted the creation and publishing of such cartoons. Of course, I’ve received death threats. When one dares to speak out publicly about Islamism, one must expect death threats. Many of the responses I’ve received from quite a number of Muslims have been rather more interesting than that, though. I was told that Muslims love and respect the “prophet” Muhammad even more than they do their own mothers and that is why it is so offensive to mock Muhammad.
Two things. First, your poor mothers! Do you really love them less than you do some dead guy who started yet another bullshit religion? I think that’s disgusting. I think it’s perverse. If I’m offending you by going against that perversion, then I think I’m doing something right.
Second, the primary reason that one must not create images of Muhammad is supposedly that it might lead to idolotry. People might begin to worship the image of Muhammad instead of worshipping Allah. Well, if you revere Muhammad so devoutly that you are willing to kill or even just approve the killing of those who create mocking images of him, then I think you have already committed idolotry. Think about it.
The jihadists and other violent Islamist extremists are most probably not representative of Muslims in general. To see Muslims as Muslims first and only secondly as ordinary human beings is wrong. They’re people and they have just as much right as anyone else to believe whatever bullshit they want to believe. If they’re not the ones calling for legal sanctions or outright murder for those who make fun of their religion, then I have no quarrel with them. They might feel offended but, hey, I find the basic tenets of the three Abrahamic religions offensive but I’m not going to riot or killing anyone because of it. They’re allowed to feel offended and I’m allowed to not let their tender sensibilities control what I say and do.
Some years ago, shortly after the kerfuffle with the Danish cartoons, I commissioned this image. The childishness of the taunt is meant to satirize the childishness of getting so terribly upset about a mere cartoon.