Are Cartoons Really ‘The Worst Kind of Hate Crime That Can be Perpetrated’ and ‘The Single Most Important Issue to Every Muslim?’

Vilify(Click on image to enlarge)

Well, some parts of the new strategy announced by the UK’s Muslim Action Forum (MAF) sound great.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if we all adhered to these?

This strategy and campaign will have taken its first historical step by presenting a petition supported by over 100 000 signatures of Muslims promoting the concept of Global Civility… Desecration of human dignity through insult, denigration and humiliation is ethically and morally wrong.  Reckless and malicious expressions leading to demonization and vilification must be restrained.

Then what the hell do they think their proposed law that denigrates, demonizes and vilifies religious critics is doing?

MAF intends to launch a series of legal challenges in the English Court system to establish that such depictions of our Holy Prophet peace be upon Him is the worst kind of ‘Hate Crime’ that can be perpetrated on the 3 million Muslims in the UK and 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide…

[The strategy is]…to prevent the continuous insulting and derogatory publications depicting and abusing the personality of our Holy Prophet Muhammad peace be upon Him.

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A closer look at “Sharia Hebdo,” for which Charlie Hebdo was firebombed in 2011

page1output“Sharia Hebdo” Nov 2011 cover: “100 lashes if you are not dying of laughter!”

Many opine about this now-famous Nov. 2011, issue of Charlie Hebdo, but few seem willing to let non-French speakers judge for themselves beyond its covers.  I decided to herein offer my own.

This is the “Sharia Hebdo” special edition, with “guest editor” Muhammad himself.  The November 2011 firebombing of CH offices occurred on the day the issue was to appear in newsstands.  Not only did the bombing fail to halt the issue’s release, the magazine responded by distributing over double the usual number of copies.  The issue is usually touted as the breaking point that paved the way for the massacre of its staff this month by Islamist terrorists.

The upcoming issue had previously been announced with the statement:  “To fittingly celebrate the victory of the Islamist Ennahda party in Tunisia… Charlie Hebdo has asked Muhammad to be the special editor-in-chief of its next issue.  The prophet of Islam didn’t have to be asked twice and we thank him for it.”  In an interview, a spokesman said: “What made us do this was what was happening in Tunisia and in Libya, where we have seen the reappearance of Sharia…  Ultimately, Mohammed can be a funny, nice character.”

Like many, I’ve been bemused by recent rants describing the issue, and the magazine in general, as racist, homophobic, misogynist, xenophobic, punching down on the marginalized, with no goal but pointless spiteful bullying…  In other words, pretty much all that’s opposite of the leftwing values the staff have said they hold in interviews.  How could such an output be described by the French as far-left satirists?  It made no sense.  Is Charlie Hebdo actually all these ugly things?  Or are non-French writers with agendas willfully missing a Stephen Colbert-like satire?

There’s much more to the edition than the excerpts below, but here are the best-known sections.  It has sixteen pages, not all cartoons, with plenty of text.  (The issue in its entirety is available in pdf here).  There’s plenty more context in there to help assess the magazine’s intent.

What I found bears no resemblance to the illiberal ugliness that many, who I suspect never read it, purport.  Instead, I found a progressive indictment of the oppression of women, gays and dissenters under authoritarian Islamic theocracies, and of their inhuman sharia justice system.  Most surprisingly to me, Muhammad himself is depicted as a good-natured, rare voice of reason.  Judge for yourself.

Please feel free to suggest translation corrections, improvements, additions or context in the comments.

Sharia Madame

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In Virginia, the cleric who writes ‘Kill the Apostate!’ opens children’s Islamic school, radio station, community center

hqdefault In October, Islamic scholar Jalal Abualrub announced the opening of the IslamLife Center in Richmond, Virginia.  The center will offer Islamic studies for children aged 10-16, a bookstore, and an Internet radio station, Islam Life Radio.

Abualrub, who operates the website Islam Life, recently published a Q&A lesson in an article entitled No Compulsion in Religion’ vs. ‘Killing the Apostate’.  In it he condemns former Muslims who “committed the crime of abandoning Islam.” The Quran verse so often cited by Muslim apologists, “there is no compulsion in Islam,” applies far less than claimed by those who would “corrupt Islam,” he fiercely insists.  For apostates, there is plenty of compulsion in Islam – stay Muslim or die.

If you are or ever were Muslim and stopped praying, or committed adultery, or took a sip of wine, or cursed Mohammad, he warns you that Islam has plenty of compulsion for you too.  For these “crimes,” he calls for punishment under the “Islamic Penal Code.”  I’m pretty sure that doesn’t apply in Richmond, Virginia, but sharia courts elsewhere interprets that as anything from lashes and imprisonment to death by stoning. Continue reading