Dear Muslim protestors


The cartoons were part of a debate on artistic self-censorship in the face of fears of violence from Muslims. They were designed to provoke a reaction. Imagining it from a Muslim point of view, we might say they were trolling Muslims. A troll wants you to respond. Some Muslims have done so in spades, proving exactly the point that the original Danish newspaper article was making.

Just as with the Jerry Springer the Opera uproar, the test of the tolerance practised by a group of believers is how they respond to someone attempting to troll them. The right way to deal with trolls is to ignore them: they hate that. The wrong thing to do is respond with cries of “help! help! I’m being oppressed!”, or with threats of violence. I’m glad to see some British Muslims have realised that such threats are counter-productive, and that a moderate Muslim group has formed in Denmark to try to calm things down.

As for the rest, we must not have a society where people (or at least, people above the age of 5) who think they have an invisible friend are able to stop certain kinds of speech merely by saying that they’re offended on that friend’s behalf. We do not extend such protection to any other opinion a person might hold. We should not extend it to religion, whether the religion is Christianity or Islam or anything else. Jack Straw’s weasel words are frankly vile (although perhaps not surprising from the government which attempted to quash freedom of speech itself with the Religious Hatred bill).

A few links: The Times has a sensible editorial on the whole business. jnala, commenting on ladysiyphus‘s LJ, writes against self-censorship. Wikipedia has an excellent article on the controversy.

7 Comments on "Dear Muslim protestors"

  1. I believe Christianity offers a third response which is different to the two options you have presented (ignore them, or violent threats, etc..). One can respond by knowing God will punish the “trolling”, hence not needing to take direct actions oneself against the “oppressors”. Not quite the same as ignoring them (although it can appear the same).


    1. Yes, but if I send the aggrieved party a mix tape including XTC’s Dear God, that would imply that I’m not buying into the third response.

      I think holding massive rallies with “don’t be a Troll” banners and a pumping House/Electronica DJ might be better, as well as more fun.


    2. Yes, that would be the sensible response, and one I’d imagine to make sense within Islam too… A better response than reacting to insinuations that Islam is a violent religion* by calling for the “massacre” of all who insult Mohammed… You’d think the logical error would stop anyone in their tracks, but not so… Ah well, people are the same the world over in this** respect…

      * This being the gist of the 2 out of 12 that are offensive (offence above and beyond the depiction of the Prophet, which surely a logical Muslim can’t expect non-believers to hold as taboo…)
      ** Glaring irrationality.


    3. So, do you think that the Penny Arcade people will be going to worse hell than the rest of the non-Christians, or is this punishment merely the one common to people who don’t accept Jesus Christ As Their Personal Saviour?


  2. Music: Let’s Face The Music And Dance – Fred Astaire

    Did Fred Astaire really do a version of Let’s Face the Music and Dance. I’m pretty sure that the “standard” version is by Nat King Cole…


    1. The MP3’s tags claim it’s Fred Astaire, but I’ve no idea how to tell. It’s one I “obtained” rather than one I ripped from a CD.


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