City of Brass

City of Brass


Draw “Mohammed” Day

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Since today is apparently “Draw Mohammed Day“, conceived as an expression of the right of free speech in our society, as a response to that tiny minority of muslims worldwide (and essentially negligible minority of muslims in the United States), I would like to participate, by drawing the Prophet SAW as I understand him, in words.

To me, the Prophet SAW is a beacon. The Prophet SAW is the embodiment of an ideal to which I personally and spiritually aspire. I do not recognize my Prophet SAW in the hateful, derisive caricatures labeled “mohammed” or the insults or the historical lies told of him. The Prophet SAW did not forcibly convert anyone to Islam by the sword; he did not have enmity for Jews or Christians; he did not preach a hateful creed or seek to subjugate women. In fact he stood for the opposite of all these things, and brought the same message of God to the human race as was brought by his predecessors, to banish the darkness of unbeliief and tribalism.

I do not see any drawings of my Prophet SAW today. All I see are reflected fears and ignorance of people expressing their own ugliness and calling it by a name. But a name is all they have.

By all means, draw Muhammad today if you so choose. You don’t need my consent, and in fact you have my support. But as you set out to defend free speech by engaging in hate, understand that you are only caricaturing yourself. And my Prophet SAW is beyond your comprehension.

Related: A stirring defense of free speech by Nick Gillespie at Reason magazine. If only the West really had such a commitment to free speech as Nick seems to imagine! But with hijab bans sweeping Europe, it’s clear that such commitment to so-called Enlightenment values is a hypocrisy of the highest order.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has blocked most of the Internet today in response to Draw Muhammad Day. I disagree with this. I think that it’s better to let people see ugliness and hypocrisy rather than pretend it doesn’t exist.

UPDATE: I’ve written an open letter to the editors at Reason magazine, Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, urging them to publish all the entries, not just the winners.



  • Hitch

    How ugly is this really: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Wuiu4ZzDrE
    No for me it is about people who agree with the claims that this is offensive. Not the extreme minority, but an apparently rather large majority that things that benign expression is offensive, not even to go to where enlightenment should go, namely that all criticism, no matter how harsh is allowable.
    But good on you, praise your prophet. This is what I hope you to do in response. As long as I can critizise world views to come up with hopefully a good solution for all in the marketplace of ideas I’m happy.
    If we respect religion, then we have conceded what the right world view is. So we cannot respect religions the way religions demand it to be respected. For then saying that homophobia is wrong, is framed as an insult to the religion, rather than a moral stance.
    But yeah you conflate reactionary EU government with a largely US movement, but nevermind. There is less hypocrisy than you assume and there is more hypocrisy within quite a few moderates that you admit. As in full tolerance for the hijab, but no tolerance for any critical opinion with respect to any religion. That form of hypocrisy isn’t any better.
    So you say let’s see Draw Muhammed Day, so that people can see how “ugly” the west is… great! Not really. You missed quite a few points about the day and the main one is that this really isn’t about Islam beyond that some believers thing that non-believers shouldn’t draw even benign images of Muhammed. The real issues are and should be larger than that.
    A smiling stick figure with a common male name is not offensive in all belief systems and frankly it shouldn’t be!
    It’s a test for wanting to be offended. If you are offended you assumed the prophet is meant and you assume that it was with negative intent. None of these assumptions are true. It’s the onlooker who imposes that meaning.
    This too is why we need freedom from religion so I can disagree with you that this is ugly and hypocritical. It largely isn’t at all. It is plain and simply standing up for the right to depict in ones own frame of reference and not from a absolutist religious frame of reference.
    In fact for me it is rather ugly to label the whole campaign as “ugly and hypocritical”, but that’s your prerogative. As long as we can speak freely I can express how I meant my part! And that’s why it’s worth fighting for this. So you and I can actually faithfully disagree and at least in principle hope to present our views, intentions and motivations.
    A smiling stick figure is a positive message and we should at least allow the chance of that interpretation!
    And Pakistani’s should see it also because perhaps that some critics have a good and positive, and respectful point.

  • http://rfmcdpei.livejournal.com Randy McDonald

    What ugliness and hypocrisy is attached to this event, or at least is necessarily attached to this event?

  • pam munro

    When people of your faith stop threatening to kill those whose ideology differs even in this small way…then we can talk..(P.S. I don’t approve of the Inquisition, either…)

  • hlvanburen

    It would be interesting to find out how many of those who are criticizing Muslims for being offended by drawings of their prophet were themselves outraged at the depiction of Jesus Christ on a cross in a cup of urine.
    I wonder, will this Muslim campus group insist that there be Congressional hearings about the student group (funded with taxpayer dollars?) who drew these terrible drawings?

  • Dangomushi

    Hlvanburen, I can personally say that I wasn’t offended by the depiction of Jesus Christ in urine. Then again, I’m not a Christian nor am I a Muslim. I know people get all personal about religion but religion should be no more protected from criticism and mockery than any political institution would. People simply do not have the right to not be offended. On the flip side, we should all be given the right not to be threatened with violence!

  • MH

    I’m not Christian or Muslim, so I don’t get why wafers or images get people so worked up. From an outsider’s perspective it just seems kind of silly all around.

  • kenneth

    This day is not necessarily about ugly caricatures of Mohammad. The point of it is to call attention to the underlying problem. If not a majority, at least a great many Muslims in Europe and elsewhere think it’s perfectly OK to kill someone who does anything THEY consider an insult to their faith. I could draw a very dignified portrait of the man, and my life would still be forfeit in the eyes of these goons. Yet we’re supposed to accept that as all part of “multicultural sensitivity” or somesuch.
    I’m not Muslim or an Islamic scholar of any kind, but all the Muslims I have ever met insist the Prophet is not a god or messianic figure. He was just a man, albeit one chosen for a pivotal moment. If he was a man, surely he can be personafied? If he was human, than he certainly had all the aburdities and imperfections and even grace and beauty that reside in all of us. It’s reasonable to me if you want to say there is no authoritative image that Muslims should honor as an idol. I don’t see how that translates to permission to kill anyone who offends your sensibilities, or even to ascribe evil intent to them.
    The hijab issue is on a different plane from artistic expression. It’s perfectly reasonable that women should be allowed to cover their hair. Obscuring one’s face and identity is altogether a different matter. Muslims need to understand that that is incompatible with OUR values in America and Europe. Perhaps we do too much social engineering when we presume that the clothing is always imposed on women by men. Yet even if it is all women’s idea, covering one’s face is not something civilized people do in our societies. It offends our values in the same way that it’s not cool for women to wear bikinis while strolling around Tehran or a Saudi resort. Westerners don’t have the right to impose their conduct and beliefs on Muslims on their own soil, and the reverse is true.

  • smn

    I support Draw Mohammed Day. I would like to see religions as a therapy rather than some God coming from the sky and taking you away to a place where there are 72 virgins. No depiction of the Prophet law was created by regular Muslims later not by Mohammed.
    Bottom line, Muslims need to learn to take it easy. Don’t try to impose by fear and threat.

  • Abram

    Spoken like a true Muslim… well said!

  • Richard

    I have never seen the term ‘Prophet SAW’ before I read it on this blog today. I scanned the first four sites google search listed that include SAW, but I did not find a definition, or even three words in a row that begin with those three letters.

  • Aziz Poonawalla

    Richard,
    SAW is an acronym for Sallalahu Alayhi Waalayhi in Arabic which translates as “peace be upon him”
    you will sometimes see muslims use PBUH instead of SAW, accordingly. It is simply our custom to append the the phrase to any mention of the Prophet SAW, as a marker of our love.

  • Richard

    Ah. Thanks.

  • Bob

    If you know that something offends and angers a group or community, why would you persist in doing such actions? In the name of freedom? What ever happened to mutual respect and kindness. In the US, African American do not like to be called by derogorratory names, and efforts are made and public pressure is made to hold up to their desire to be called by only respectful names. I will never understand the contrary view (be it comedy or freedom) of those in Denmark, or Southpark. We should try to respect peoples dignity.

  • jose’

    AMEN, BROTHER!

  • Filiagape

    Yes, there are paintings and drawings of Jesus PBUH out there in the world, but they are all ONLY from the artist’s imagination. In the Bible, there is no description of Christ PBUH at all. No mention of what color his hair or eyes were, how tall he was. Was his hair curly or long and straight? We can assume he probably had a beard, since it was tradition for a Jewish man at the time, but that is only an assumption, since the only thing about Jesus PBUH that is ever even partially described in Scripture is his clothing when the centurians cast lots for his garment. The concept of not drawing or making images of people is part of Judaism, Christianity as well as Islam (listed chronologically). Islam has just been more determined and faithful at sticking to that particular tenant. I USED to think that perhaps Islam took things a little too far by using only geometric designs and calligraphy to decorate, but we humans just seem to have this weakness. If we are not alert, we tend to turn all sorts of things into idols…Flags, art, statuary. I do not understand it, but I see it every few years when thousands or millions of people flock to a statue or an “image” (interpreted as such, since there is no photograph, contemporary painting, or even description given) of Mary or Jesus PBUH as if IT is somehow sacred and a special path or connection to God.
    Of course, I cannot condone any threats of violence against anyone who ignores the rule not to draw a picture of Mohammad PBUH. Religious commandments directs individual adherents how to live. But basic etiquette would dictate that people should not intentionally do things they know will offend or upset another. Of course it would not occur to non-Muslims to draw Mohammad PBUH if there was not the history of violent reaction or threats against non-Muslims who ignored the commandment. Seems to me that some people on both sides need to adjust their actions. Follow your heart and faith in not creating images of your Prophet PBUH and ignore the images others make, since it probably looks nothing like Mohammad PBUH anyway. And non-Muslims, why do you feel the need to intentionally do something that offends another human being? What ever happened to “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”?

  • Filiagape

    I know what PBUH and now what SAW means, but what does AS mean?

  • Abambagibus

    Modernistic probabilities entail that the greatest complainers and disdainers of the drawings of Muhammad and their drawers wear the drawers of mostly Muslims, of the Christians of the Christ who are the many, and of the liberals who deride these very Christians for a faith that touts compassion for the Muslims and liberals who deride them. Furthermore, from these very probabilities the inference manifested is that the groaners and scorners of the Crucifix in Urine wear the panties of the few who shout no louder than a whisper, of the Christians who are quiet in respect for Urine’s artist, and with nary a Muslim or liberal among them who’s pissed. From these final two battalions I have yet hear a murmur of complaint on the matter of a Child of God demeaned Adambages Obvos.

  • Jay kactuz

    Quote: The Prophet SAW did not forcibly convert anyone to Islam by the sword; he did not have enmity for Jews or Christians; he did not preach a hateful creed or seek to subjugate women. In fact he stood for the opposite of all these things…
    Obviously you have not read the ahadith,then. Even a superficial reading will show that your prophet conducted raids and wars of conquest against his neighbors. You will find stories of plunder, enslavement of men women and children, torture and rape of captives. These were done by the followers of your prophet under his orders, with his consent. The quran is full of hate and violence against non-Muslims.
    You words are proof of the dishonesty and lack of morals that is the essence of Islam. Shame on you!
    Kactuz

  • AbdulFattah Omobolaji

    saw means salala alehim wa salam meaning may peace of God be with you while as is short form.
    Just like Rabbi means Teacher in Hebrew as it also mean Lord in arabic.
    Before you comment about a religion you need to stdy such religion without sentiments. How many xtians knew about crusaders and their works, trinity and its history or roles of pagan king in unifying xtianity

  • Thomas R

    The drawing I did was just of a man in a red shirt smiling in a green background. I worried “red” might seem to imply evil, but I chose red because I think it’s also a color popular in Muslim flags and banners. I wanted it to be about the right of Non-Muslims to depict Muhammad at all, not about saying Islam or Muhammad are bad.
    Still to see how hostile some who participated are to Islam does make me wonder. I have traditionally tried to be respectful to your faith, but as a non-Muslim the reaction to some cartoon controversies confused me. It seemed Muslims would get just as angry about Muhammad riding a donkey as Muhammad being depicted as a bad man. I understand all depictions are forbidden to you, but for me it seems like if it all offends you equally than that almost encourages the more hostile images. And if it does not all offend you equally I’m happy to learn that.

  • http://muslimbuddhist.blogspot.com Teed Rockwell

    Muhammad’s original prohibition against making pictures of him was motivated by two reasons: 1) Muhammad was personally a very modest man, who did not want people to treat him as anything more than God’s messenger and 2) The reason stated above by Filiagape i.e. the danger that people would fall into worshipping an idol or intermediary, rather than directly experiencing God as “closer than the jugular vein.”
    The irony is that modern interpretations of this prohibition have turned its original purpose on its head. Muhammad is now seen as so sacred and so special that no one is allowed to make pictures of him. I would ask Muslims who are outraged by these pictures to consider that they may be guilty of violating Muhammad’s teaching by idolizing him in this way. I cannot make such a judgment, for I cannot see into anyone’s heart.
    Because this is the original intention to this command, it seems to me that it should not apply to non-Muslims, and it certainly shouldn’t apply to insulting pictures. Obviously the people who are making those spiteful cartoons are not in danger of making a Muhammad a partner with God, whatever their other failings.

  • http://muslimbuddhist.blogspot.com Teed Rockwell

    “Even a superficial reading will show that your prophet conducted raids and wars of conquest against his neighbors.”
    Yes, a superficial reading “shows” this, but a careful reading doesn’t. Muhammad never fought any wars of conquest, he only fought to defend himself against the attacks of the Meccans and their Allies. Islam’s wars of Conquest were fought by the Khalifs who succeeded Muhammad. War during Muhammad’s time was a violent and nasty business, even more so than it is now. Often Muhammad rose above his time, and performed acts of unprecedented mercy and compassion. Other times he had to take into consideration the realities of war, and do things that no one would do in peace time. Did he always make the right decisions? Probably not, he was a man, not a god. But I know I couldn’t have handled the moral challenges of his situation anywhere near as well as he did.

  • S.Aazfar

    @Jay kactuz
    I was very sorry to read your comments about Islam. Unfortunately this has become a widely spread idea about Islam but nevertheless that doesnt make it true. Islam itself means Peace. A religion which is called Peace would never present other ideas. As a mature and balanced indiviual , i would expect you and all others who are very hasty in passing comments about Islam or for that matter any other religion aftera” surperficial reading “that untill you know the truth and are sure about it please refrain from passing comments esp negative ones. I have kids and these days I am telling them stories from the quran and since I have named my daughter Maryam ( Mary) she listens to the story of BiBi Maryam and Jesus Christ very keenly. I dont teach them hate or that any religion is bad , but I teach them that they must respect all religions and people. This is what my Quran teaches me and what I teach my kids.
    What you have learnt I can see. And it makes me very sorry but proud at the same time that even though I get to see so much hate in your eyes, I can still offer a prayer for you and hope that Allah guides you to Peace. Amen

  • Rob the Rev

    If you really want to see satire of religious figures you have to go back to the sisteenth century and see how Martin Luther depicted the pope of Rome. It was definitely scatological.
    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/atheologies/2561/satire_is_religion/
    Essay May 12, 2010 Satire is Religion
    The debate over cartoons and prophets is not just about freedom of speech; it’s about freedom of religion. By Austin Dacey

  • Hitch

    Rob, thanks for the link. Very interesting angle. Yes it is about freedom of and from religion and how to deal with multiple religions and world views occupying the same society (or internet).
    I’d agree to the article. In fact a point of view or religion really comes of age if it manages to formulate a humorously biting comeback when mocked.
    There are multiple reactions to a charge. Taking offense is just one of them.

  • Mike

    Do you have memory problems? Since 9/11, it has been reported that 15,334 people http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ have been killed due to Islamic terrorists. The problem with Islamic terrorism is *your* faith in Islam.
    Muslim-Americans (and Muslims world-wide) are pouting they are clean from the terrorist’s sin. It’s not us, the nice Muslim-Americans, who are sinning, it’s the terrorists.
    Your belief is exactly why the terrorists exist. Are terrorists born terrorists? No. They start out with no faith. Then Islamic adults indoctrinate them into the Muslim faith. People start with a small faith, then they are encouraged to grow their faith. They grow it more and more, until they want to kill others!
    The actual problem is the Islamic liberals, moderates and fundamentalists, and all those in between. This is the pool where terrorists are recruited from.
    If all liberal, moderate and fundamentalist Muslims stopped their faith right now and made a mass statement that their faith is simply mythology, it would take the fuel out of the fire of Muslim terrorists. There would be no more terrorists.
    The real truth is you love the control your ancient primitive religion has on people. You don’t want to give this up. People love to quip that the world will go to pot if everyone gave-up their religious faith.
    What happens when children find out that Santa Clause is not real? Do they say I need a moderate belief now? I’ll just believe in the reindeer and sleigh but not the man? No. They go on to live productive adult lives. They can live without their belief.
    We as humans, don’t respect religious beliefs. It’s only the religious who demand respect because of the insane teachings their scriptures propose. The religious are afraid to criticize other religions because this would now allow their own religion to be open to scrutiny.
    The religious pronounce their religion is the only real religion and all other religions are rejected. Pronouncements leave no room for conversation or debate. The religious know what it is to reject all other religious belief systems, except their own.
    We simply go one religion further and reject all religious beliefs. Which is why we don’t respect any of today’s religious beliefs. Which is why we know, a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. And a terrorist is a threat to modern civilization.
    Anyone can claim their god demands they kill people. It’s an old trick that has been used for thousands of years to justify the murdering of people. And another old trick religion proposes is: we versus them.
    The institutionalization of dividing people. There is no them. We are all part of the same humanity. There are no real religions. It’s only us. We are all in it together. It’s called humanity.
    Which religion celebrates that we all share the same humanity whether we are believers or not? None.
    If all people stopped believing in all religions overnight, the world would not fall apart. The world would immediately become a better place.
    If your Islam (or your own religion) is so great, then why isn’t the world united by Islam (or by any religion) completely, whether people believe in Islam (or other religions) or not? Because all religions are simply mythology.
    All religions (and the concept of sin) are man-made. Many men made many gods, not the reverse. Good morals and good ethics come from people realizing it’s better for people in society to work together than against each other, not from religion.
    Ancient primitive men wrote the Koran and the Bible (and all other religions) in the culture and science of their day to try to explain the world around them, and they did a bad job of it.

  • Professor M. Aslam

    It is most unfortunate that the Prophet of Islam SAW is being subjected to all this. The person who initiated this has already given a statement that he never meant what it has turned out. It seems that we have lost respect for humanity and other religions. To all those who intend to become popular and receive media attention, I would like to tell them to please read ‘Quran’ and life and teachings of Prophet(SAW) then venture in to this cheap popularity propoganda. It is difficult to become an ideal human being while as it is easy to follow ‘Shiatan’. What do they get out of this and what type of freedom of speech they are talking about. Instead of dividing humanbeings, they could have united them by good deeds. I pray to God, show them the right way and make them better human being who by their good deeds can attract appreciation rather than rebuke.

  • R Luna

    @ MIKE (May 23rd,2010)
    Forgive me Mike if this comes off harsh…but those are primitive views of religion…very narrow, elementary and most importantly flawed. Do not blame religion for the acts of a few…and again more importantly slow down and acknowledge the difference between religious/faith teachings, and the application of religious/faith teachings. what you are ranting about and where any true problems are found are with the latter…the former stands alone as guidance and instruction…the latter is where the human factor comes in and you get positive fruitful results or negative and harmful results…all dependent on the application. The same dynamic and process can be seen in any religious or non-religous model of belief. Now, in response to your question and answer of: “Which religion celebrates that we all share the same humanity whether we are believers or not? None.”…Actually the BAHAI FAITH explicitly makes this claim and it is a major theme in the message. It also holds as a central theme and teaching something that is contrary to your statement “The religious pronounce their religion is the only real religion and all other religions are rejected.”…again proving your statement false and making it clear that it would help if folks that think like you would just go to your local community college and just take a simple comparative religions course…find out what’s out their on your planet earth and be properly informed before making rash claims. If you did this you would find that also in more ancient religions, while not as pronounced and highlighted as in the BAHAI FAITH…you can find these same themes in the teachings of CHRIST, MUHAMMED, BUDDAH, ZORASTER and others. Honestly, I think you really need to consider the question…if there were no religion in the world…how would people be responding in the face of oppression and violence in regions such as the middle east…i think there would be way more violent act as forms of expression and a desire for change. Instead i believe faith base systems and even just ethical instruction increases the possibilty that the sentiment of anger based on unjust treatment will be expressed constructively and non-violently and less likely to manifest in a violent form. I’ll end with actual quotes from the Bahai Writings…one is a quote and the second a portion of a Bahai Prayer…
    “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”-Baha’u’llah
    “O Thou kind Lord! Unite all. Let the religions agree and make the nations one, so that they may see each other as one family and the whole earth as one home. May they all live together in perfect harmony. O God! Raise aloft the banner of the oneness of mankind.
    O God! Establish the Most Great Peace. Cement Thou, O God, the hearts together. O Thou kind Father, God! Gladden our hearts through the fragrance of Thy love. Brighten our eyes through the Light of Thy Guidance. Delight our ears with the melody of Thy Word, and shelter us all in the Stronghold of Thy Providence. Thou art the Mighty and Powerful, Thou art the Forgiving and Thou art the One Who overlooketh the shortcomings of all mankind.” -Bahai Prayer
    http://www.bahai.org/
    PEACE!

  • Joile

    Filiagape
    Yes, there are paintings and drawings of Jesus PBUH out there in the world, but they are all ONLY from the artist’s imagination. In the Bible, there is no description of Christ PBUH at all. No mention of what color his hair or eyes were, how tall he was. Was his hair curly or long and straight?
    In Greek philosophy it was said that if horses could draw an image or create a sculpture of the their God, they would draw him in their image. Everyone wants their God to look like them. You like many are so confused. There are indeed passages in the bible that describe how Jesus(PBUH) looks including his hair, skin and eye color.
    Images of Jesus(PBUH)have been around for centuries. European Churches depict him as white and Ethiopian Churches depict him with African features (black). These images of him being black is oftentimes associated with text in the Bible which refer to the color or race of the Israelites, Jews and Hebrews. And nope, they were NOT European. (No more than South Africa was European). I don’t care what some of the south Africans look like today. I know the truth.
    As for the drawings of Mohammed(PBUH) they are offensive and disrespectful. I doubt that true Christians or those striving to be Christ-like are the culprits of this hate, the same way, I doubt that true Brothers and sisters in Islam are the culprit of the hate we see today. We must not blame the majority who want peace for the behavior of just a few.

  • http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/pages/Face-Islam/102848816430265?ref=ts Abdur Rehman

    A special thanks to the “Draw Muhammed Day” team.
    We are proud and
    heartily pleased to announce that 37 Non-muslims have converted into
    Muslims after Islam gained popularity by “Draw Muhammed Day”.
    For more information and details about “people converted to islam” follow us. We will keep you updated.
    __
    “34,000 Americans have converted to Islam following the events of
    September 11, and this is the highest rate reached in the U.S. since
    Islam arrived there.”
    _

  • Abu Rafi

    Hello,
    We present our site
    Have a look to
    http://www.islam-documents.org
    (which is the improvment of the other islam-documents.com, once based in Tunisia).
    There is thousands of texts (around 20 000) about the origins of islam, with a critical, humanist, democratic and scientific view (and even ironical). It is now the bigger “sourcebook” on that subject, with often unpublished documents: Muhammad biographies (SIRA), the main books of traditions (HADITH) , muslim chronicles (TABARI…), companions biographies (TABAQAT), quranic verses, quranic commentaries (TAFSIR). It is sometimes funny, or stupid, ugly, frightening, but always interesting!
    A new version is now available, improved and corrected: around 3700 pages. We are working for a new version published every year.
    All is in french. so sorry. but you need to read it to understand muslim thinking and acts. It is a rare opportunity to reach genuine information from islamic doctrinal texts.
    Now, you won’t tell again: we just don’t know…
    Bye. Take care.

  • Moohamad

    to the author, your an idiot.

  • LOLzzzz

    You say: “The Prophet SAW did not forcibly convert anyone to Islam by the sword; he did not have enmity for Jews or Christians; he did not preach a hateful creed or seek to subjugate women. In fact he stood for the opposite of all these things”
    It would appear there are direct quotes from the Koran that contradict this statement. How can you make such a ridiculous assertion? The religion of peace material is getting old…

  • Plymouth Belvedere
  • http://images.encyclopediadramatica.com/images/e/ec/Meccanukeanyquestions.jpg Plymouth Belvedere

    Cliquez.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment roberto

    “”if there were no religion in the world…how would people be responding in the face of oppression and violence in regions such as the middle east…””

    that made me lol so hard, what caused opression and violence in the first place???

    The “respect religions” catchphrase is manipulation and rethoric, I respect your right to believe in fairies, but I don’t need to respect fairies.

    You happen to consider fairies sacred because some book told you so, well I don’t and it is my right to say so in any way I desire.

    The whole issue is childish, and religions presumably high ideals are not manifested when someone takes offense for such petty crimes.

    Religions aim for and make use of emotions and faith to control the naive masses and ease them of the burden of critically thinking by themselves and be self reliant on what is right or wrong as any human being is capable of doing, alas if he only would bother…

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