Muhammad Cartoon Shootings Make Their Way Stateside

A phenomenon that has for the most part been limited to non-US soil made its way here this weekend. This past Sunday evening, two suspects attempted to shoot up the Draw Muhammad competition hosted in Garland, TX. Thankfully, no one was killed but the two would-be attackers; the injured security guard was treated and released.

For their part, members of the local Muslim community defended and affirmed the right to free speech of the event organizer, Pamela Geller, and anyone else interested in depicting or even insulting their most revered prophet. In fact, the gunmen weren’t even from the same state but instead from Phoenix, AZ. One of them was identified by the FBI as a terrorism suspect in the past.

As in other cases where Islam is the matter at hand, as a politically-progressive Western born-and-raised ex-Muslim of color, I don’t strongly identify with or endorse any side here. Geller and the others at the event, including Geert Wilders and the former-Muslim now-Ayn Randist who won the contest, aren’t exactly the types of people I want to have lots of power and influence in my country for many, many reasons.

On the other hand, obviously, I don’t condone violence as a way of dealing with right-wing speech, which is both ethically wrong and regressive, not to mention counterproductive. The only reason I know who Geller, Wilders, and their ilk are is because I was a Muslim and am no longer. These are people I vilified and reviled as a Muslim; as an ex-Muslim atheist, they are the types who claim to represent and defend people like me but with whom I often disagree. And now, more people know of them and their views than ever before.

Muhammad Cartoon Shootings Make Their Way Stateside

11 thoughts on “Muhammad Cartoon Shootings Make Their Way Stateside

  1. 2

    Heina Dadabhoy,

    As much as I disapprove of the event, and the people behind it, I really hope the perpetrators are caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law as soon as possible. This type of murderous behavior cannot be tolerated.

  2. 4

    @2: The perpetrators were killed almost immediately. I consider it unlikely that ISIS had ever heard of them before the event.
    The saddest part of the whole affair is that it’s nearly an ideal outcome for the despicable Geller and Wilders. Exactly what they were hoping for by organizing the event. The only way it could have been any better for them would have been if the terrorists killed a few innocent, and preferrably Jewish, civilians.

  3. 6

    This is a rather tangential issue, but something strikes me about Pamela Geller and her fellow hard-line anti-Islamists. Their attitudes remind me very strongly of anti-Communist paranoia. I’m old enough to have lived through the later years of the Cold War, and I remember it well.

    It started when Communists took over Russia, back in 1917, leading to a civil war that lasted until 1921. That provoked a nasty Red Scare in the US, something that provoked the founding of the American Civil Liberties Union. Communists also had some success in central Europe by then, but they were soon defeated. But the fear of Communism committed, and Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler rose to power with the help of opposition to Communism. Early in 1933, Hitler and some mainstream conservatives had formed a coalition government. The latter disliked the Nazis as kooky and thuggy, but better than the Commies. Then the Reichstag (parliament) building caught fire, and Nazi leaders howled about how the Commies were on the march. They requested — and got — extraordinary powers. But they were not above making a deal to divide up eastern Europe in 1939.

    The Soviet Union sacrificed the most in the fight against Nazi Germany, and they decided to remake Eastern Europe in its Communist likeness after the war. Thus provoking the Cold War. In China, the Communists had let the Nationalists do the work of fighting the Japanese, and then moved in. “Who lost China?” become a big issue in the US. Then North Korea invaded South Korea, was beaten back, and then returned with the help of a huge Chinese army. The US suffered through McCarthyism and the House Un-American Activities Committee. For all his finger-pointing and grandstanding about the Communist menace, Senator Joe McCarthy never found a single Communist.

    Then various fights in various Third World countries and attempts to buy influence in others. The two superpowers had accumulated thousands of nuclear bombs, enough to make all-out war into national suicide and a great setback for civilization. Some people on both sides talked about victory, but to call such a victory a Pyrrhic victory would be a gross understatement. There were several close calls along the way, like the Cuban missile crisis, but fortunately, someone in each of them decided against starting World War III. My favorite one is a bo

    But Communism could not produce very good economic results. Russians and eastern Europeans could visit the US and western Europe and the like, and they discovered that these nations’ economic successes weren’t Potemkin villages. I recall reading about one Soviet official who visited an American factory with lots of workers’ cars parked there — he asked why his hosts had rounded up all those cars to impress him.

    The Soviet Union had suppressed rejections of Communist rule in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, but in 1989, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev made a decision that I feel very grateful for. He let eastern Europe go free, and Communism soon fell there. He wanted a kinder,gentler, reformed form of Communism, but that didn’t work out very well. In 1991, when he went on vacation, some Communist stalwarts started a coup against him. It was beaten back by Boris Yeltsin and his supporters. Later that year, the governments of the Soviet Union’s republics (sort of like US states) voted the Soviet Union out of existence. That’s why Russia and Ukraine are now independent nations.

    Yugoslavia and Albania had been independent Communist countries, and they also rejected Communism.

    After Mao Zedong died in China in 1976, his successors attacked his “Gang of Four” of close associates, including his widow. Thus moving away from Maoism without attacking Mao directly. China soon became an enthusiastic capitalist roader, to use an old Maoist insult. It’s gotten to where Michele Bachmann once praised Communist China as an exemplary capitalist country.

    Vietnam, Laos, and Cuba have become fellow capitalist roaders, and the US has improved relations with all three. North Korea is the only hostile Communist country remaining, but its a pipsqueak of a country.

    Heina, I’m sorry if this provokes a tl;dr reaction, but I hope that you can see why I make the comparison.

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    There is some more to be said, I must concede. At least in the US, a big objection to Communism was that it is godless, that Communists believe that religion is the opium of the people. Communists haven’t make life very easy there, often suppressing religious organizations and many people’s attempts to practice their religions. However, some Communists have been at least half-willing to let the people have their opium, as it were. Perhaps the weirdest of these was Joseph Stalin bringing back the Russian Orthodox Church after Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. The head of that church then blessed Godless Commie Joseph Stalin as someone chosen by God to lead.

    Some of the hostility toward Islam seems similar, that it’s some fundamentally alien ideology.

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    Oops, I forgot to complete a part of a previous post: My favorite one is a border incident between the Soviet Union and China about an island in a river between NE China and the Soviet Far East (Damansky / Zhenbao Island). They fought a little, but they soon pulled back, deciding that they did not want to start World War III.

    But it’s so eerily similar. President Obama as a secret Muslim reminds me of President Eisenhower as a secret Communist. That was apparently believed by Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society.

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