Silencing Critics the Old-Fashioned Way

The less deserving a religious icon’s reputation for propriety, the louder will be the call to silence his critics

Terror may earn respect for your religion and gain converts to the cause but it may not be enough if brave souls find a venue to raise the alarm as to the immorality, and the why of what is happening, such as the man who drew the cartoons and those who publicized them. To get rid of this problem you must do what Muhammad did to the poets. Thanks to security measures, a number of attempts to butcher Kurt Westergaard failed and he died from natural causes.

People at Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine that published the cartoons, were not so lucky. In 2015, twelve cartoonists and staff were shot to death and another eleven injured. Except for a one day show of solidarity by some Western papers which published the cartoons, the cold-blooded murder of Stephane Charbonnier, Franck Brinsolaro, Ahmed Merabet, Jean Cabut, Georges Wolinkski, Bernard Verlhac, Frédéric Boisseau, Elsa Cayat, Phillippe Honoré, Bernard Maris, Mustapha Ourrad and Michel Renaud effectively put the Koran and the alleged illiterate who revealed its contents beyond criticism.

What is written on the sign held up by a child under the watchful eye if its mother—photographed at a protest in Sydney, Australia on September 15, 2012 against a film showing the perfect human as being, like the rest of us less than perfect—has become the rallying cry of Islamists and holy warriors in the making. It is meant to intimidate anyone who would even think of questioning a fabricated reputation for decency and compassion.

The success of this campaign of terror to elevate a Dark Ages advocate of terror into an unimpeachable icon was evident in an editorial that mocked the dead by Canada’s spineless newspaper of record. They justified not publishing the cartoons in solidarity with Western papers around the world, writing: "We honour Charlie Hebdo, but we don’t want to be it."

For decades the Arab League (a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa) and other Muslim nations has been trying to get the United Nations to declare the Koran and a deeply morally flawed human being to be sacrosanct; to do what the United Kingdom did, but worldwide.

Two Danish imams saw their opportunity to at least raise the stakes for anyone who would dare challenge the underserved reputation for probity of the former merchant Muhammad. They manufactured truly offensive cartoons of God’s confidant indulging in aberrant sex, slipped them in among the mostly inoffensive Westergaard drawings, and travelled the Middle East inciting violence against those who would publish such cartoons.

The only cartoon published by Charlie Hebdo (as republished in the Western Standard with English captions), that has anything to do with sex (our dynamic duo’s bugaboo), and it’s a stretch, is a likeness of Muhammad telling a long line of suicide bombers making their way to Paradise to be rewarded that heaven has run out of virgins.

A Danish cartoonist and a magazine brave enough to publish his drawings brought a religious icon down to earth to the consternation of Muslims around the world. In the Free World a small minority said BOO, and the Free World got a lot less free. Western governments became more tolerant of religious fanatics and less tolerant of their critics.

A Charlie Hebdo cover of an edition dealing with the cartoon protests shows Muhammad in tears lamenting: “It’s hard being loved by jerks” (C’EST DUR D’ÊTRE AIMÉ PAR DES CONS).

This was a golden opportunity, not only to call out the “jerks” who Charlie identifies as the fundamentalists who make the Prophet cry: “Muhammad overwhelmed by the fundamentalists” (MAHOMET DEBORDÉ PAR LES INTERGRISTES), but the crying man himself and why he continues to inspire acts of selfish barbarity committed by fanatics, who the Koran has convinced that life is better in the Hereafter.

13:26 Allah enlarges and restricts the provision to whom He pleases. They rejoice at this worldly life, but worldly life is nothing but a fleeting pleasure compared with the life to come.

The cover, along with two cartoons of Muhammad, was part of a lawsuit by the Union of French Islamic Organisations and La Grande Mosquée de Paris. One of the cartoons is the one we showed you earlier where the Prophet tells a long line of suicide bombers making their way to heaven to "Stop, stop we ran out of virgins"; in the other, the so-called “turbombe” cartoon, God’s Messenger is drawn with a bomb ready to explode on his head instead of the customary turban.

During the trial “one witness, a Muslim refugee from Algiers, displayed a Saudi Arabian flag to illustrate that the 'turbombe' cartoon was not the first to associate Islam with weaponry - the flag carries the Muslim declaration of faith, the Shahadah, underscored with a sabre.” The lawyers for Charlie also argued that “the cartoons did not attack Islam, but rather the fundamentalists who acted in Islam’s name”; pretty much what I am trying to do in this book. Freedom of expression eventually won out and the lawsuit was dismissed.

Actions speak louder than words and nothing speaks louder than a cold-blooded massacre. Freedom of expression was reaffirmed by a French court only to be dampened by the murder of twelve men and women who dared to live it. No more satirical cartoons of the perfect human being for Charlie Hebdo. Freedom of speech however, is still alive, at this writing, at the magazine. That was evident in its spirited defence of a teenaged girl who, according to L’OBS (formerly Le Nouvel Observateur) may have received up to 100,000 messages “threatening her with rape, beheading, burning her with acid…“ for expressing her opinion of Allah.

At 16, Mila posted to her Instagram account that she preferred women to men. The young atheist appears to have had enough of being told that Allah did not approve when she responded with a video telling her critics what she thought about Islam and the Koran, adding, for good measure, that she would like to give God the equivalent of a prostate exam (my translation):

I hate religion… in the Koran there is only hatred, Islam is a piece of shit… I have said what I think; you are not going to hold that against me? There are people who are going to get all excited. I don’t care. I say what I want, what is on my mind. Your religion is a piece of shit. Your god, I stick a finger up his ass, thank you, goodbye.

RTBF (Belgium public broadcaster)

Hatred is what God readily admits He has nurtured with His Koran. You cannot separate the hatred for unbelief from hatred for the unbeliever of which the Koran is a prime example.

49:7 Know that Allah’s Messenger is in your midst. Were he to obey you in much of your affairs (take your advice), you would suffer hardship; but Allah has endeared belief to you and embellished it in your hearts, and He has made you to hate unbelief, sin and disobedience. Such are the rightly guided.

For the hypersensitive believers, the teenager had gone too far; much too far. Her video was blasted as a call to hatred. Mila’s response:

Unlike them, I did not insult anyone, threaten or call for violence against anyone. What I did was blasphemy; it is a general criticism of religions, and nothing other.

In the defence of her right to her opinion about God and what she would do to him given the opportunity, Charlie started off by stating the obvious: “inserting a finger in the divine posterior is not meant to be taken literally; God remaining unlocatable so does his asshole.” The magazine then proceeded to quote famous authors such as Antonin Artaud who wrote: “If God really does exist, He is a piece of shit.” In the novel The Marquis de Sade, the character Vespoli fantasizes about sodomising the Almighty while doing the same to a boy in an insane asylum who claims to be God. In Les Chants de Maldoror, the magazine informs us, the author has “humans defecating on the face of a sprawling dead drunk God.” The defense ends with a quote from Georges Bataille who asked himself if “God could possibly be a prostitute, a crazy person, even a pig.”

I would add Not Wanted on the Voyage by Canadian Timothy Findley. In his retelling of the story of the Flood, God is a vindictive, doddering old fool, Noah a tyrant and, in the immemorial battle between the armies of the Archangel Michael and those of Lucifer, the good guys lost. You cannot get more blasphemous than that. Findley died a celebrated award-winning author of natural causes at the age of 71. But that was a different time, a time before the embodiment of the thin-skinned militant religion became a force to be reckoned with in the West.

Mila knows she is being stalked: “The stalkers brag about imprisoning me in my own country, locked up like a rat.” In a TV interview she admitted that, in spite of police protection, it was only a matter of time before she was murdered for her remarks.

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

We have come to a point in our history where criticism of Muhammad and the god for whom he claimed to speak is equated with insulting Islam, thereby making anyone who would offer a contrarian opinion, such as that Islam is not a religion of peace, a target for reprisals that include threats to life and limb. These types of threats, along with acts of terrorism, have greatly contributed to a fear of Islam and effectively silenced many of the religion’s critics as they were meant to do.

Through defamation and threats of murder and mayhem, Islamists and holy warriors in the making have taken control of the message and a key component of that message is that if you fear Islam you are an Islamophobe and you should be ostracized, if not sanctioned. Should you challenge the designation with horrific quotes designed to terrorise from an implacable deity and its self-proclaimed mouthpiece, expect more accusations that your fear of Islam is unfounded and to lose that fear or else! Welcome to the Twilight Zone.