Wednesday, September 27, 2006


On Criticizing Islam

James Lileks doesn't mince words:
Clip and save, for this may come in handy: If you mock Islam with a drawing or a novel, you get riots and dead people. News of mishandled holy books yields riots and dead people. Insufficiently reverent short films by a Dutchman yields a dead person, specifically the Dutchman.

Now we add this detail: Quoting medieval religious colloquies is a reasonable justification for burning churches, shooting a nun and holding up signs demanding that the pope convert to Islam or saw off his own head. [...]

This is a new twist: Now history itself cannot be discussed. Since it's difficult to predict what else will enflame the devout, Islam has to be treated with unusual deference, like a 3-year-old child with anger management problems.

Andrew Bolt of the Herald Sun has a similar list:

But let’s now sum up our list of artistic must-nots, based on recent history. We must not:

  • draw or publish pictures of Mohammed, however respectful, for fear of causing deadly riots
  • make films criticising Islam for fear of having our head nearly sawn off by a furious Islamist a la Theo van Gogh
  • tell a joke against a Muslim for fear of having our act banned by the Melbourne Comedy Festival’s director
  • preach to our Pentacostal congregation about the danger of Islam’s jihadist preaching for fear of being found guilty of vilifying Muslims and sentenced to run full-page advertisements to tell the world of our guilt
  • quote the verdict on Islam of some 14th century Byzantine emperor for fear that a Catholic nun might be murdered, churches in Palestine torched and demands be issued for an apology or violent else
  • perform Mozart’s Idomeneo (or, for that matter, his Aduction from the Seraglio, which is set in a harem and features a dumb Muslim guard) for fear that our theatre might be blown up
Other than that, we should be right. Or not, given how badly we tremble.
Remember this, boys and girls. There will be a test later... and the grades could be just deadly.

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