Jesus ‘n’ Mo and the Tweet of Death

January 22, 2014 • 9:31 am

Here’s today’s Jesus and Mo:

2014-01-22

And you probably know the backstory:  Liberal Deocratic candidate for Parliament, Maajid Nawaz, tweeted a picture of Jesus and Mo.  The results were predictable, not just from Muslims but from non-Muslim politicians who are scared of Muslim backlash. As the Torygraph reports:

Muslim politician Maajid Nawaz tweeted a picture of a t-shirt with a crudely-drawn cartoon entitled ‘Jesus and Mo’ which he describes as an “innocuous” and inoffensive.

However the image has caused fury among some members of the Islamic community who believe images of the prophet Muhammed are forbidden.

More than 7,000 people have now signed a petition calling for the Liberal Democrats to suspend Mr Nawaz.

Some have even suggested a fatwa should be placed on him while others have threatened they would be “glad to cut your neck off”.

Even the controversial MP George Galloway has waded into the row, tweeting: “No Muslim will ever vote for the Liberal Democrats anywhere ever unless they ditch the provocateur Majid Nawaz, cuckold of the EDL.”

Mr Nawaz, who is set to stand for Hampstead and Kilburn in next year’s general election, posted his controversial tweet on Sunday morning after two audience members wore the shirt for the taping of BBC’s The Big Questions.

The t-shirt, featuring a print of controversial comic strip Jesus and Mo, was at the centre of a similar scandal last year, when the London School of Economics banned two students for wearing it.

Mr Nawaz, who heads up the anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation, tweeted an image of the t-shirt along with the words: “This is not offensive and I’m sure God is greater than to feel threatened by it.”

But it sparked an immediate backlash, with Twitter user Sahara7865 writing: “Maajid Nawaz set on joining ranks with Rushdie on the fatwa-scale.”

Another tweeted: “Have spoken to someone in Pakistan. They will have a surprise for him on his next visit. He is used to surprises in Pak.”

And one user added: “I would be glad to cut your neck off, so your kufr [unbeliever] friends won’t be amused by your humour. In sha Allah [if Allah is willing] may my dua [act of worship] get accepted.”

The offending tweet? It’s this one, the same picture that caused a kerfuffle at the London School of Economics, where students wearing and selling the shirts bearing the picture were censored:

Maajid+Nawaz+pic2Oh man, is that offensive!

Now before you say that it was unwise for a Muslim candidate to tweet this picture, there’s more to the story. As both the Torygraph and Tongue Tied reports, the tweet followed January 12th’s “Big Questions” discussion on the BBC (in which Nawaz participated) about whether the image was offensive. Tellingly, the BBC didn’t show the image (cowards!), and Nawaz responded by Twitter:

The fact that the BBC chose to censor a T-shirt depicting this cartoon rather upset Muslim Maajid Nawaz, who was a guest on the show. He proceeded to tweet out the image to his followers with the message: “This is not offensive & I’m sure God is greater than to feel threatened by it.” Mr Nawaz is a former member of the Islamist revolutionary group Hizb ut-Tahrir, and became director of the anti-extremist think-tank the Quilliam Foundation. He is now the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn. Mohammed is his prophet, and Islam is his faith. But he understands perfectly that some people view Islam is a vile ideology and, for many, Mohammed is no kind of prophet at all. And depicting Mohammed saying “Hey” to Jesus does not offend him in the slightest.

What Nawaz was really unwise about was in not anticipating the degree to which Muslims, even in Britain, have intimidated everyone from criticizing their “religion of peace,” which mandates death to critics. The penalty for tweeting a cartoon? Having your neck cut off and being the recipient of a fatwa. Oh, and having non-Muslims accuse your supporters of “Islamophobia.”

Their ludicrous display of offense, which has cowed liberal non-Islamic politicians, may have killed Nawaz’s career. And can it really be “Islamophobia” when it comes from a Muslim? If “Islamophobia” means “fear of Islam,” then is it really that far off the mark in this case? Shouldn’t we fear a religion whose adherents not only try to suppress your criticisms of it, but threaten to kill you in retribution?

103 thoughts on “Jesus ‘n’ Mo and the Tweet of Death

  1. “Even the controversial MP George Galloway has waded into the row…”

    Nawaz can wear the opprobrium of Galloway as a badge of honour.

      1. Galloway is odious.
        Somehow this man’s career has survived his lavish public praise of both Saddam and Assad, pretending to be a cat on prime time TV and being expelled from the Labour party.
        His “Respect” party (which he represents as a Member of Parliament) is a bizarre amalgam of the Socialist Workers Party and the Muslim Council of Britain.
        Now he affects outrage (and deliberately erodes our right to free speech) by cynically appealing to the victim complex of his Muslim constituents.

    1. I would remind Jerry, if he was not already aware of it, that Galloway is one of the leading apologists for the fascist Islamic dictatorship in Iran and is also one of the leading Israel bashers in Britain.

  2. Deocratic

    Many a less true word spoken without a typo.
    I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever met a SDP/ Liberal who wasn’t also a god-squaddie of some description. I can’t remember one that I was sure wasn’t, but to be honest, I normally find something more interesting to talk to them about than dead proto-politicians.

    1. PS : where’s my Jesus’n’Mo tees? Damn ; both in the washing pile. It’ll have to be a “Too stupid for Science? Try Religion” tee for the evening instead then.

    2. Evan Harris, used to be MP for Oxford (West I think), scientist and atheist, supported at the last general election by a certain R.Dawkins.

      1. I’ll rephrase that then – I’m trying to remember if I’ve met a Liberal Democrat in this country who wasn’t a god-squaddie. (Scotland, not Oxford)
        Actually, I can’t remember the last time I met a LD – or even SDP – person when I was in Englandshire. It (politics) isn’t really something to discuss on casual acquaintance when abroad. I’m sure there must have been some though, but I really struggle to recall any particular examples.
        When did the SDP fold? 20 years ago?

    3. Whilst not actually a member of the party (afaik), Richard Dawkins spoke at one of their party conferences some years ago (before the coalition) saying he had always voted for them.

      You could hardly describe him as ‘god-squaddie of some description’. And as others have mentioned…Evan Harris

      1. It does have a ring to it, doesn’t it? Remember that the OED needs several uses in print (or online) without attribution or explanation as evidence that the word is in common use.

  3. Archbishop Cranmer has weighed in … on the side of reason!

    Freedom of expression is essential to the functioning of a liberal democracy, and strong passions may be aroused on both sides of any dispute. If we cease to respect such freedom, we no longer tolerate difference or dissent. And tolerance is important because the alternative is religious war or cultural conflict. Those who demand the censoring of the expression of religious beliefs have no sense or understanding of the common life, and so it disintegrates into a chaos of warring factions. Where there is no respect for pluralism or diversity, there is no grasp of the common good. And a society is only good when it sustains freedom from tyranny and the imposition of an oppressive uniformity.

    However, he can’t help himself, and pretends this tolerance stems from the UK’s “Christian culture” (remember: the British Social Attitudes 28 survey has indicated that only 44% of us are Christian!):

    … the good of the British culture arises from the historic Christian commitment to support and foster religious freedom as a shared virtue.

    /@

    1. Yeah. “…historic Christian commitment to support and foster religious freedom…”

      He clearly has a very stunted understanding of history.

      1. I have absolutely no idea how anyone with even the vaguest notion of the history of christian Europe could possibly say such a thing with a straight face.

    2. Ha ha I love that “Christian commitment to support and foster religious freedom”. Tell THAT to Mary Queen of Scots & just a couple others.

          1. Good one. I am sucker for historical novels, (almost) no matter how badly written, but Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies are some of the best I have read.

            1. Yes, I bought both after recommendations from this site. I want to read a bit of fiction as I’ve been reading non fiction pretty much continuously for the last two years at least.

    3. “Freedom of expression…oppressive uniformity.”

      To which theists will reply:

      “Quite right. If everyone would respect and tolerate our crazy religion in all its violent, bigoted glory, which includes acquiescing to our every demand, we would see peace in our day!”

  4. The Mighty Mo sure must have some serious self-esteem issues if he’s so terrified of seeing his own face. Did he order all mirrors within a certain radius be broken, as well?

    b&

    1. Maybe he thought all artists were shit in his time so he just thought it safer to disallow his portrayal by them because they all came out looking like elementary school clay projects.

  5. I (sorta) remember an earlier J&M cartoon in which Mo explained that he wasn’t the Prophet, but was a body double. So, of course, there is no representation of the Prophet in the cartoon at all.

    Can’t be offended by that!

  6. “Shouldn’t we fear a religion whose adherents not only try to suppress your criticisms of it, but threaten to kill you in retribution?”

    Exactly

  7. This post comes on the heels of the usual daily reports of Muslims killing Muslims as well as slaughtering non-Muslims. Is there anything more pernicious than a ‘faith’ that calls for killing those who think differently?

    1. Exactly.

      For example, Luke 19:27: “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”

      Cheers,

      b&

        1. There are peaceable interpretations of religions, peaceable sects. And before you say they cherry-pick, keep in mind they probably don’t cherry-pick any more than the warlike sects. Its all cherry picking.

          Now, you can say we should fight against both. But IMO fighting against the irrationality of theists who are generally good (charitable, peacable, etc…, support secular government and sound science education) is pretty far down on my priority list. Probably below “trim my toenails.” Converting them is a ‘nice to have,’ not a ‘social evil that must immediately be addressed.’

          1. “Now, you can say we should fight against both”

            OK, I’ll say it. We should fight against both. Because “generally good” theism enables “generally not-so-good” theism by validating irrationality. The “nice” guys legitimize the justifications supporting the “bad” guys.

            It is nice to hear that your toenails are well trimmed.

            1. IMO it enables it in the way that driving enables car accidents. You can’t have the accidents without the driving, but there’s tens of thousands of cases of safe driving for every accident. It would be silly to point to driving and blame that as the primary cause of accidents because there are other characteristics that correlate much more strongly with accidents. A rational person goes after the causal agents that best correlate; drinking while driving, texting while driving, driving more than 8 hours non-stop, etc… Given the billions of theists in the world and the, what, 0.1% or 0.01% of them that are violent extremists, I think the most rational approach is to go after the causal agents that correlate most strongly with that 0.1%,. Not the factors that correlate with the billions. Doing that ignores the 99% of false positives such a causal analysis would yield.

              1. No. It enables it by creating an environment where belief-without-evidence is considered legitimate. It enables it by denying that the reasons attested to by the perpetrators isn’t the “real” motivation. It enables it by allowing make-believe to be used as legitimate motivation for human acts.

              2. IMO it enables it in the way that driving enables car accidents.

                No, liberal theism enables extremist theism the way Alternative Medicine advocates who limit alt med to reasonable diet, exercise, and well-tested herbal remedies enable homeopathy, energy medicine, and curing cancer with vitamin C.

                Religion is like Alternative Med: the categories are DEFINED by their special standards. When theists are ALSO humanists, it’s like a naturopath endorsing vaccines. We got lucky. Or they did.

  8. To Quote someone ( I forget who…):
    ‘Blasphemy is a victimless crime’

    Those spineless media pundits should take this to heart as a guiding Maxim.
    – evan

  9. There is a civil war within British Islam between people like Quilliam and people like those who want Nawaz de-selected or worse. Nawaz deserves our strongest support, not least against the snivelling “leadership” of his own party; if you live in the UK please visit

    https://www.change.org/petitions/nick-clegg-give-full-support-to-libdem-ppc-maajid-nawaz-and-take-disciplinary-action-against-party-member-mohammed-shafiq

    More background at http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2014/01/parliamentary-candidate-maajid-nawaz-under-pressure-for-posting-jesus-and-mo-cartoon-on-twitter#

    1. Yes, there is a petition war going on at the moment, and so far Nawaz is losing, so please follow Paul’s link and sign.

      Direct link here.

      Check the competing petition here. It’s a bit wordy!

      1. Signed. They still need 900 or so signatures. How insane that the even has to be this petition.

        I hope most people here see your comment so they consider signing.

    2. But they have made it impossible for me to sign that!?

      The petition claims: “We note that this, rather than being based on legitimate concerns of Muslims, is a political campaign spear-headed by a group of Islamist reactionaries with a track record of promoting extremism.”

      Those _are_ the “legitimate” concerns of many mohammedanists (“muslims”)that may or may not be far from wishing a theocratic “islamist” rule. Meaning that when you show an image of their myth personas, it is on record that whole communities blow up in demonstrations, protests, and death threats (“fatwas”).

      So I can’t put my signature under that petition. Nor would it be my strongest support, which is to ask all mohammedanists to refrain from supporting medieval behavior, attacking basic human rights, by participation or by silent consent.

  10. It is about time that politicians stood up & said that these over kill tantrums of offense will no longer be indulged. That we live in a democratic society that relies on the freedom of speech to ensure that democracy and any one who threatens free speech, threatens democracy.

    Related to this, politicians need to emphasize that citizens have a right to feel safe (I know in Canada we have security of the person as one of our freedoms) so threats, even tacit ones, will be treated as all other threats are treated.

    I suspect if politicians did this, these silly outrages and and legitimate fears would stop and Muslims themselves would appreciate it because they too would fell more safe.

    1. I was thinking along the same lines. A unified defense for reason and rights of personal expression could reduce the hyperbole we are seeing now. The collective quaking in the shoes and silence only encourages the extremists.

  11. I’m curious as to whether the British citizens are generally worried about the influence of Islam on their political environment. Are the people who raise the alarm over this viewed as the KKK or White Supremacists are in the US?

    1. To a degree.

      Its just grist to the mill for BNP and other extreme right organizations, but more level heads also express some concerns. See, for instance, One Law for All, fighting the encroachment of sharia.

      /@

    2. It is indeed a serious problem that legitimate protest etc about islam etc is usually lumped in with the nuts like EDL, BNP, SNP, UKIP etc.

      Not least because its so easy for one to veer into the other.

      1. Of the alphabet soup of parties you refer to:the SNP is very much a mainstream party of the liberal left; the BNP is an old style fascist party but is bankrupt and has minuscule support; the EDL has just lost its leader, Tommy Robinson, following talks with the very same Maajid Nawaz (which suggests Nawaz is doing his job very effectively) and UKIP, while having more than their fair share of eccentrics, fruitcakes and God botherers cannot reasonably be described as fascist.
        It is a standard tactic of Islamists and their apologists to libel their secular critics as fascists. See the recent spat between Glenn Greenwald and Sam Harris.

  12. This is exactly what keep me up at night. And I see far too strong signs of appeasing intolerance, maybe not Neville Chamberlain level just yet, but very worrisome.

    Also George Galloway is a stooge for Assad and for Iran’s official Press TV, which embraces every sort of religio-madness, well, as long as it’s Shia
    madness

    1. Galloway also sucked up to Saddam before the latter was executed, so he’s a non-discriminatory sucker, so long as the beneficiary is Moslem.

  13. How do you cut someone’s neck off? That seems like a lot of work, and the second cut would be a little anticlimactic.

  14. ““This is not offensive and I’m sure God is greater than to feel threatened by it.””

    The folks who are upset by Maajid Nawaz’s statement imply that they take the opposite position – that God not great enough to not feel threatened by what people think of him. I find it odd that such an easily threatened deity would have more than a few, or even any, adherents.

  15. I saw a documentary about the life of Mo some months ago. I am not familiar with all details, but it was interesting to see many ancient illustrations with his image. So some centuries ago it was apparently not a problem to show his face. In each case, however, his face has been scraped away. So it looks like this prohibition against imagery is more recent.

    1. Wikipedia says about 9th century. So Islam went 300 years without the proscription, but then the next 1,100 years with it. Given that timeline, IMO its fair to call it part of mainstream islamic belief, not a “recent” invention. If you want an analogy, consider that Christianity didn’t have a standard bible for the first 300 years. Unless you want to call the use of the bible by Christianity a recend fad that is not really part of the religion, we probobaly shouldn’t try and imply that islam’s prohibition against iconography is that, either.

        1. Doesn’t Islam have prohibitions against any representations of this world’s objects?

          Which is in part why their calligraphy is so highly developed.

  16. The “Torygraph” article is bizarre!

    First it describes the carton as “crudely drawn”. Aren’t ALL cartoons crudely drawn? Isn’t that almost what entirely defines them as cartoons?

    Second, it states “EVEN [my emphasis] the controversial MP George Galloway has waded into the row…” Like it’s a surprise Galloway would get involved! It describes him as “controversial”, so why the surprise that he gets involved?

    Third, it later states “The t-shirt, featuring a print of controversial comic strip Jesus and Mo, was at the centre of a similar scandal last year…” WE ALREADY KNOW THE T-SHIRT FEATURES A PRINT OF CONTROVERSIAL COMIC STRIP JESUS AND MO! IT’S WHAT THE WHOLE ARTICLE IS ABOUT! WHY SUDDENLY FEEL IT NECESSARY TO TELL US NOW THAT THE T-SHIRT FEATURES A COMIC STRIP PRINT OF JESUS AND MO??? Does the journalist not think any of his readers have understood the preceding paragraphs, or, as I suspect, does he not even understand them himself?

  17. Mohammed’s image is forbidden? Why, because it is sacred? Why is anyone upset?

    At a fundamental level those who are offended know that nothing in this existence will happen to someone if they draw Mohammed. By drawing such images, they are reminded that they are the only defense against their religion. Why? Because it is made up. And when the image is made, they are reminded that only they are the defenders of their delusion. If they execute the artist, they do so on irrational grounds.

    1. My understanding is that the reason for the prohibition is to prevent either Mohammed or his image from being worshipped. I.e. not because the image is sacred in Isalm, but because people might wrongly imagine that it was, which would be idolatrous. And the chance of the Mo in jesu and Mo, even if it had been of No himself and not his double, is hardly a temptation to idolatry.

    2. It comes down to the concept of “honor.” Religious honor and tribal honor are trying to demand respect in a modern culture which threw out the violent, purist concept in the name of progress, human rights, and tolerance. Ironic that those obsessed with Honor are trying to use the idea of tolerance in their own defense.

      It’s the same sort of reasoning which requires a man to literally punch the face of someone who insults them, or seems to insult them. Not reasoning at all. Retribution.

      1. There was an article that circulated the web a while back, arguing that “honor culture” was the most pernicious ethic. And it sure seems to be a lot of examples to support it.

        Vaal

        1. Steven Pinker discusses this in his Better Angels book as well. He talks about how the southern states (settled by the Scots Irish who were farming folk) to this day places more emphasis on honour and how honour results in violent interactions. It convinced me that honour cultures are an anachronism in a modern society and they harken to a more violent, less reasonable and less empathic time in our history.

          1. “It was obvious at once that Vicenzino was “a man of honor,” one of those violent cretins capable of any havoc. Lampedusa, The Leopard

      2. It is interesting that actions that are done in the name of honor are seldom done for good reasons. Usually the resons are provincial, distinguishing ‘us’ from ‘them’.

        Those who idolize someone or something tend to be less pernicious. Healthy idolizations, if there are such things, may come in the form of a teenager lionizing a guitar hero or singer or actress or athlete or even a fictional character in science fiction movie.

  18. How do they know that Mohammed looks like he does in Jesus and Mo? I bet it looks nothing like him. Therefore they’re mad just because it has his name attached. So would they be as upset if the tweet was a picture of George Clooney with the name Mohammed under it?

  19. It is tragic that we have got to a point in the UK where the display of an obviously benign cartoon can provoke such a storm.
    This demonstrates that the tactics employed by the Islamists and their apologists have been both varied and highly successful.
    Their key approach is always to react to every “slight” with outrage, parading their “offence”.
    The second tactic employed is to make straightforward threats of brutal violence. When these threats are palpable and believable (Rushdie, Van Gogh etc etc) then many people are simply cowed into silence.
    The third, most insidious tactic has been the invention and shameless use of the term “Islamophobia”. By conflating this slippery concept with racism then the most sophisticated and reasoned critics can be denounced as fascists; their views unworthy of debate. Many elements of the liberal left have either fallen for this line (Student Unions) or (Galloway style) have cynically used it to appeal to Muslim voters.
    The result has been an ever increasing brake on our ability to criticise and satirise anything Islamic. We should be very angry.

  20. Oy vey!

    But this makes me confused:

    Oh, and having non-Muslims accuse your supporters of “Islamophobia.”

    I can’t see that anywhere. The accusations is from Galloway, which may or may not be into mohammedanism according to his Wikipedia entry:

    “By his own account, he decided, at the age of 18, never to drink alcohol. He disapproves of it and describes it as having a “very deleterious effect on people”.[11][221] He stated at a March 2012 rally “We stand for justice and haqq” and “A Muslim is somebody who is not afraid of earthly power but who fears only the Judgment Day. I’m ready for that, I’m working for that and it’s the only thing I fear”.[222]
    In April 2012, Jemima Khan interviewed Galloway for the New Statesman magazine. In the article, Khan asserted that the politician had become a Muslim around 2000, but had not advertised this fact.[223][224] Galloway subsequently denied that the ceremony had taken place: “I have never attended any such ceremony in Kilburn, Karachi or Kathmandu.* It is simply and categorically untrue.” He does not answer questions about his religious beliefs saying that this is a “personal matter”.[220]”

    [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Galloway#Personal_life ]

    * Clearly not a generic denial of being a member, on account of the specifications.

    1. Other parts of that section imply that he is a Muslim. He’s taken part in two Muslim marriage ceremonies, and since Muslim women are only supposed to marry Muslim men it seems plausible that he must be one. He also talks about Muslim concepts as an apparent insider.

      1. Trying to find clarity about what Galloway does or does not believe is probably pointless.
        This is a man who has built a career in a party that mixes old style socialism and Islam; he has different constituencies he wants to please and is highly adept at adopting stances that on the face of it are cntradictory.Hence he can lavish praise on Saddam (Sir, I salute your indefatigability..) and can also be employed by a mouthpiece of the Iranian state.
        That most that can probably be said is that it suits him politically for the question of his “faith” to be uncertain.

  21. A religion is free to promote the idea that you can’t eat certain foods, draw pictures of Mohammed, or wear hats on Thursdays. However, a religion has no right to expect me, a non-member of their religion, to follow or respect their particular teachings. That’s their game, their rules, not mine.

    If drawing pictures of Mohammed is bad, it’s ONLY within the context of Islam. Atheists, Christians, Jews and Hindus are all perfectly within their rights to picture Mohammed as much as they like. Likewise, Christians and atheists can eat pork, despite the prohibitions of Islam and Orthodox Judaism. Muslims can throw people out of their religion for “doing it wrong” but they can’t rightly inflict any punishment on those outside their circle. They likewise have no right to injure those who leave their religion or decide to follow it in an unorthodox manner. Religions can ask people to leave — but nothing more.

    Muslims don’t have the right to kill members of other Muslim sects (Ahmadi, Sufi, Shia, whatever) for doing it wrong. There should be no coercion in religion. One of those influential “holy” books says that.

  22. The EU And GB’s nervousness about causing offense in the the Islamic community plays right into extremist hands. The more the west cringes the more outrageous islamists become.

  23. There have been numerous instances of the UK police pursuing users of Twitter over comments that seem innocuous compared to this lot. Users have been convicted and sentenced. Will we see a thorough investigation? I suggest one doesn’t hold one’s breath.

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