Archive for Molly Norris

Jeanne Ruby: Retired English Teacher Fined for Attack on Niqabi

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2010 by loonwatch

France has chose over the past year or so to focus extensively on the face-veil and Islam related issues under the cover of integrating the “Muslim immigrant” population.

However such moves have led to an increasing stigmatization of the the Muslim minority and invariably to a wider chasm in society in which bigotry is openly professed and accepted. One such case is the attack on a tourist from the Emirates who was wearing a Niqab in a clothing store by a French retiree named Jeanne Ruby.

AlJazeera Report:

She was eventually given a suspended sentence and charged 1,000 Euros. Essentially a slap on the hand.

From Molly Norris, who we support and is one the Anti-Loons of the year:

 

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Maybe He Didn’t Know…

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2010 by loonwatch

(From Spencerwatch)

Maybe the “Scholar” missed it; maybe he didn’t really know; maybe, his “Muslim police blotter” failed to pick it up. But, Robert Spencer seems to conveniently ignore exculpatory facts that strike at the heart of his relentless argument that Islam is violent, evil, etc. Just the latest case in point: hisdecrying the death threat against Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris. He writes, in part:

It should be front-page news in every newspaper in the country: Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris has given up her job, her home, and even her identity because of death threats for Islamic supremacists. That Islamic jihadists can force an American citizen into hiding for exercising her freedom of speech is bad enough; that her cause has aroused only indifference from the media and the nation’s leading officials is even worse.

Although I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, he is right: the threat against Molly Norris is nothing short of repugnant. Norris, if you will remember, started the “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” on Facebook, which turned into a vile anti-Muhammad orgy. It was so bad, in fact, that Molly Norris backed away from it completely. Yet, Spencer’s “defense” of Norris is really a thinly veiled attack against President Obama:

Molly Norris’s cause should be taken up by all free people – not least the President of the United States. Obama could have explained that human beings control their own reactions to things. If Muslims chose yet again to riot and murder because of Terry Jones or Molly Norris, that would be a choice they would be making out of an unlimited array of other choices. Instead, Western authorities have fallen into the Islamic supremacists’ trap and are starting to behave in just the way they want them to: thinking that they must not do certain things, because if they do, there will be violence from Muslims. Yet that violence is in every case solely the responsibility of the perpetrator, not of anyone else.

Yet, Spencer seems to have ignored the fact that some of Molly Norris’ most passionate defenders are Muslims themselves. Soon after the news of Norris being forced to go into hiding became public, a group of Muslim journalists, academics, writers, and scholars issued a statement:

A DEFENSE OF FREE SPEECH BY AMERICAN AND CANADIAN MUSLIMS

We, the undersigned, unconditionally condemn any intimidation or threats of violence directed against any individual or group exercising the rights of freedom of religion and speech; even when that speech may be perceived as hurtful or reprehensible.

We are concerned and saddened by the recent wave of vitriolic anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiment that is being expressed across our nation.

We are even more concerned and saddened by threats that have been made against individual writers, cartoonists, and others by a minority of Muslims. We see these as a greater offense against Islam than any cartoon, Qur’an burning, or other speech could ever be deemed.

We affirm the right of free speech for Molly Norris, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and all others including ourselves.

As Muslims, we must set an example of justice, patience, tolerance, respect, and forgiveness.

The Qur’an enjoins Muslims to:
* bear witness to Islam through our good example (2:143);
* restrain anger and pardon people (3:133-134 and 24:22);
* remain patient in adversity (3186);
* stand firmly for justice (4:135);
* not let the hatred of others swerve us from justice (5:8);
* respect the sanctity of life (5:32);
* turn away from those who mock Islam (6:68 and 28:55);
* hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant (7:199);
* restrain ourselves from rash responses (16:125-128);
* pass by worthless talk with dignity (25:72); and
* repel evil with what is better (41:34).

Islam calls for vigorous condemnation of both hateful speech and hateful acts, but always within the boundaries of the law. It is of the utmost importance that we react, not out of reflexive emotion, but with dignity and intelligence, in accordance with both our religious precepts and the laws of our country.

We uphold the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Both protect freedom of religion and speech, because both protections are fundamental to defending minorities from the whims of the majority.

We therefore call on all Muslims in the United States, Canada and abroad to refrain from violence. We should see the challenges we face today as an opportunity to sideline the voices of hate—not reward them with further attention—by engaging our communities in constructive dialogue about the true principles of Islam, and the true principles of democracy, both of which stress the importance of freedom of religion and tolerance.

The list of signatories keeps growing. There is no mention of this statement by Spencer on his website.  I wonder why? Is it because it debunks Spencer’s notions about Islam and Muslims?

Maybe Spencer didn’t know about the statement…or maybe, he chose to look the other way, because the truth is too inconvenient.

 

Draw Muhammad Day Predictably Descends into Hate Fest

Posted in Feature, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2010 by loonwatch

Yesterday, May 20th was the Draw Muhammed Day which is extending into today, ostensibly put together to defend freedom of expression/speech. The original creators of the day have backed out, including Molly Norris, due to the tremendous amounts of bigotry and hate that it engendered, but others continued with the campaign.

Taking a glance at the Facebook page, most of the freedumb expressions are hateful and bigoted depictions of Muhammad meant to anger Muslims. Is it a coincidence that the ones who are reveling most in this day are racists and Islamophobes?

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller have both been utterly gleeful over the event. Unconditionally supporting it, Spencer got in the act himself drawing Prophet Muhammad with a bomb on his head, though the depiction looks a little bit like Spencer himself, and Geller added to the fray by drawing Prophet Muhammad with the face of a pig.

As Shahed Amanullah said, this is pretty much collective punishment on the whole Muslim community for the actions of a few. The inspiration for this event was the threats that the South Park creators received from a group called Revolution Muslim.

We reported at the time that this group is composed of four or five individuals, all with dubious backgrounds. Not only are they on the fringe in terms of their beliefs, they are completely rejected in the American Muslim community. Yet for some curious reason the media took this story and ran with it as if these Revolution Muslim characters represented or had any clout amongst American Muslims. It is as though anyone can say they are Muslim or represent Muslims and they will get airtime if they do or say something crazy.

The event itself was a mixture of self-righteous internet warriors who cared less about free speech and more about offending and disparaging Muslims. The initial fan page was deleted by Facebook, shortly after that another one was started.

There were pictures of Quran’s in toilets, of Muhammad depicted in all sorts of ways which I won’t repeat or reproduce here because they are vile and disgusting, and go beyond any justification of free speech and into the realm of outright hostility and bigotry towards Muslims.  People can view the site and judge for themselves.

However, I must say that if this event was put together to defend freedom of speech it has failed. Freedom of speech, the freedom to offend, to be a racist is not in dispute but when you get called out for it don’t begin whining. There also seems to be a level of incitement, the strange and morbid wish to receive death threats, as the moderator put it, “Did you receive any death threats? If so, post them online and share the fun. :)

Interestingly enough, a few participants in the Draw Muhammad Day expressed disappointment at not receiving death threats, one Jack Burns wrote,

Jack Burns

Jack Burns

I’m really disappointed…I haven’t received any…I’m starting to feel left out!

Troels Jensen

Troels Jensen

damn, i did not get a death threat yet, darn…

The trouble seems to be one of communication. American Muslims say, “we respect free speech, and to begin with we don’t care about the South Park cartoon which was a media storm created from a small group of wing-nuts who got way more attention than they deserve.”
Unfortunately, as when Muslims condemn and fight terrorism no one cares or is paying attention. A day such as this isn’t about criticism or defense of free speech, it is more like a day when people can stroke their own egos and have some excitement in otherwise boring lives.

Online ‘Draw Mohammed’ Campaign

The Pakistani government has blocked access to Facebook and YouTube over a campaign encouraging users to post images of the Prophet Muhammad online.

A group of free speech advocates declared May 20 “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” to protest censorship of an episode of South Park that featured illustrations of Muhammad. In 2006, the show poked fun of a controversy over Danish cartoons with images of Muhammad. For Muslims, it’s blasphemous to show an image of him, but the episode aired without much notice.

 

That’s part of the freedom of speech. It’s not always neat and clean. It’s not always nice and smooth. Sometimes it’s a little ugly and a little bit dirty, but it’s free speech.

– Liam Fox, NewsJunkiePost.com

Then last month the prophet appeared on South Park, again, this time in a bear suit. In response, a radical Muslim website posted a warning to the show’s creators saying they could end up like Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who was shot and stabbed to death after making a film that protested domestic violence in Islamic cultures. Comedy Central censored all references to Muhammad in the followingSouth Park episode.

That sparked cartoonist Molly Norris to establish “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” in protest; a Facebook page was created for people to post drawings, and the campaign spilled over into YouTube.

“The reaction of people drawing cartoons and encouraging people to draw cartoons is to make the point that one group cannot impose its ideology or its theology on others simply by saying we don’t allow that or it offends us,” says Liam Fox, who writes for the website News Junkie and says he supports the protest.

But many of the drawings and comments posted on the Facebook page weren’t just depictions of Muhammad; there were some very anti-Muslim comments. That prompted Norris and many other professional illustrators to withdraw their support for the protest.

“It may be a sincere attempt at trying to make a statement about free expression,” says Rex Rabin, president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. “It just kind of strikes me as unnecessary and childish.”

Rabin says he believes in free speech and he thinks cartoons can be a great way to make a statement. But he says he sees no point in cartoons that are simply meant to offend an entire religious group.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has condemned the threat of violence against the creators of South Park. But a spokesman for the organization, Ibrahim Hooper, says the protest has created a worse situation.

“It was being taken up by Muslim bashers and Islamophobes and those who have a deep hatred for the faith of Islam and that’s what we’re seeing today,” he says.

Still, Hooper and CAIR are asking Muslims to respond to the situation by organizing educational events about Islam.

Fox thinks all groups have to have a thick skin in a free society, so he stands behind “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.”

“That’s part of the freedom of speech. It’s not always neat and clean. It’s not always nice and smooth,” he says. “Sometimes it’s a little ugly and a little bit dirty, but it’s free speech.”

Facebook briefly took down the “Draw Mohammed” page, but then put it back up. By Thursday afternoon it had more than 100,000 members.

 

Creators of “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” Appalled by hate

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2010 by loonwatch

04-25-sheila

The recent firestorm over South Park not drawing Muhammad caused some cartoonists to create a campaign called “Everybody Draw Muhammad day.” The creators of the campaign were shocked when they were deluged with offensive and hateful portrayals of Muhammad (what did they expect?) and dropped their gag. What do you think of all this?

Creators of ‘Everybody Draw Muhammad Day’  drop gag after everybody gets angry

“Everybody Draw Muhammad Day?”

As South Park’s Sheila Broflovski would say: “What, What, WHAT?”

The outcry from Comedy Central’s decision to censor an episode of South Park with depictions of Muhammad last week led a cartoonist and a Facebook user to fight back. That is until they realized it might be controversial, apparently.
In declaring May 20th to be “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day,” Seattle artist Molly Norriscreated a poster-like cartoon showing many objects — from a cup of coffee to a box of pasta to a tomato — all claiming to be the likeness of Muhammad.

Such depictions are radioactive as many Muslims believe that Islamic teachings forbid showing images of Muhammad.

“I am Mohammed and I taste good,” says the pasta box in the cartoon. On top of the cartoon images (but no longer on her website) was an announcement explaining the rationale behind the event.
“In light of the recent veiled (ha!) threats aimed at the creators of the….

…television show South Park (for depicting Mohammed in a bear suit) by bloggers on Revolution Muslim’s website, we hereby deemed May 20, 2010 as the first annual “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day,” the original artwork reads.

On Friday, Norris told a radio talk show host in Seattle that she came up with the idea because “as a cartoonist, I just felt so much passion about what had happened…” noting that “it’s a cartoonist’s job to be non-PC.”
That passion, it appears, has lessened. And fast.

Her stark website today reads: “”I am NOT involved in “Everybody Draw Mohammd [sic] Day!”

“I made a cartoon that went viral and I am not going with it. Many other folks have used my cartoon to start sites, etc.  Please go to them as I am a private person who draws stuff,” she writes.

It went viral, however, because she was the one who passed it around. Sending it to people like Dan Savage, a popular Seattle-based blogger and nationally syndicated sex advice columnist.

Once it became a national story she reeled back, asking Savage — in an email he provided to The Ticket — if he would “be kind enough to switch out my poster” with another one — a much tamer version which has no images attributed to Muhammad.

“I am sort of freaked out about my name/image being all over the place,” her e-mail reads.

He didn’t change it, nor did he post the tamer version. Besides, after Savage posted it, many other sites picked it up including The Atlantic and Reason.
When asked about her change of heart, Norris told The Ticket that she didn’t intend for the cartoon “to go viral.”

Then why did she send the cartoon to the media in the first place?  ”Because I’m an idiot,” Norris replied.

“This particular cartoon of a ‘poster’ seems to have struck a gigantic nerve, something I was totally unprepared for,” she said.

She doesn’t appear to be alone.  The creator of a Facebook page dedicated to the day has bowed out as well.  Jon Wellington told the Washington Post (before abandoning ship) that he created the page because he “loved [Norris’s] creative approach to the whole thing — whimsical and nonjudgmental.”

While he was still associated with his own event he said: “To me, this is all about freedom of expression and tolerance of other viewpoints, so I hope you’ll help make this a sandbox that anyone can play in, if they want. I don’t think it’d be right under the circumstances for me (or anyone) to censor inflammatory posts *ahem*, but let’s be welcoming and inclusive, mmkay?”

Apparently the posts weren’t “welcoming” enough, as on Sunday morning he announced his departure from the cause. “I am aghast that so many people are posting deeply offensive pictures of the Prophet,” he writes. “Y’all go ahead if that’s your bag, but count me out.”

Did he think people were going to post flattering images?

That’s what Facebook user Douglas Armstrong wondered too.  “You created an event inviting people to submit pictures of Mohammed,” Armstrong wrote.  “And apparently you’re so new to the Internet that you didn’t foresee what would happen?”

Although Wellington had abandoned his cause, he apparently was sticking around to answer questions.  To Armstrong’s question, Wellington responded: “I guess I had more faith in human nature than was warranted.”
Another user, Paul St. George, had little patience for Wellington. “If you’re not going to attend your own event then take it down dumbass and quit boring us.”

Related items:

Muslim group warns ‘South Park’ creators after Muhammad scene

Jon Stewart says Comedy Central censors South Park for ‘safety reasons’

Muslim threats to ‘South Park’: Did Comedy Central cave in to knucklehead extremists?

– Jimmy Orr

You can always attend our events (if we ever have any) by clicking here to receive Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot And our Facebook FAN page is right here.

Photo: South Park’s Sheila Broflovski. Credit: South Park screengrab

 

Anti-Loons of the Year: 2010

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2010 by loonwatch
From Molly Norris, one of the Anti-Loons of the Year

We reviewed the Year in Islamophobia, and it was a crazy year. However, we noted that at the end of the day there was “hope.” There were those willing to stand up, take a stand firmly against hate directed towards Muslims and Islam. Here we recount some of the best anti-loons of 2010. There are many more whom we may have omitted and who deserve equal attention and recognition.

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald published countless articles on Salon.com in which he took to task the complicity of the media in regard to Islamophobia, the double standards that exist when Muslims commit crimes as opposed to when non-Muslims do and the stark difference in coverage. He was outspoken on the root causes of terrorism and the willful neglect and negligence of our government and politicians when it comes to honestly discussing the causes of terrorism, namely — occupation. Greenwald’s colleagues Justin Elliot and Alex Pareene also contributed significantly to the discussion and had great coverage of the tidal wave of Islamophobiapalooza.

Jon Stewart

The Daily Show brought us plenty of laughs but also penetrating analysis and insight into the state of affairs in America today. Stewart’s mock news show was hailed for bringing more news to us than mainstream media. He was all over the coverage of the Park51 mosque controversy, and even before then he was seminal in covering and satirizing the rhetoric on Fox News, amongst Tea Partiers, as well hate crimes that were rising all over the country. His seminal “Rally to restore Sanity” which he co-hosted with Stephen Colbert was a watershed moment and though its detractors tried to minimize its importance, it frankly eclipsed Glenn Beck’s ghoulish “Rally to restore Honor.” His show also coined the word of the year, “Islamophboiapalooza.”

Stephen Colbert

The Colbert Report is a show that many are in love with, the host’s over the top adulation of himself combined with the incisive satire and biting sarcasm that no doubt turns Bill O’ Reilly and others in the Right-wing into a heaping pile of anger during the weekdays beamed onto our screens and left a residue of warmth and compassion. Colbert was everywhere, Capitol Hill for hearings on immigration, on the Mall for his “Rally to Restore Sanity and or March to Keep Fear Alive.” His commitment to justice led him to take on the pervasive atmosphere of anti-Muslim hysteria and in doing so he contributed to restoring sanity and dispelling fear.

Reza Aslan

Aslan is the man that Islamophobes love to hate. They can’t stand him. Robert Spencer published dozens of blog posts on him alone. Aslan has been vocal in the mainstream media about the anti-Muslim Islamophobia that swept America in 2010 and its main progenitors. He has delivered speeches, engaged in debates, written articles and books all towards attempting to foster understanding, and his implicit nod to Loonwatch on the Colbert Report was much appreciated.

Max Blumenthal

Max Blumenthal’s pieces on Pamela Geller, SIOA, video footage of rabid anti-Muslim rallies, and coverage of the Great Islamophobic crusade bring him into the spotlight as one of the leading anti-Loons of 2010. Blumenthal is also notable for being one of the first investigative journalists to quote and link to Loonwatch.

Lee Baca

Sheriff Lee Baca is a tough as nails LA County Sheriff who went toe-to-toe with a right-wing republican Representative over the politicians attempts to intimidate Muslims and cast Muslim leaders as affiliated with terrorist organizations.

Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) impugned Baca during a House Homeland Security subcommittee meeting, saying the sheriff had allied himself with a Muslim American group that engaged in “radical” speech by going to its fundraisers. Baca not only attacked that description of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, but he also told Souder he would be fine with going to more fundraisers for the group.

“If he thinks I’m afraid of what he said, I will go to 10 fundraisers because he said it,” Baca declared Tuesday afternoon, just a few hours before a town hall meeting with the Muslim American community.

Actually, Baca said, he’s been to only two fundraisers for the organization in four years, but that, he added, is not the point. What rankled Baca — aside from what he took as Souder personally challenging the sheriff’s patriotism — was what he saw as the congressman’s inaccurate assessment of the group.

“In other words, he’s an amateur intelligence officer,” Baca said.

Several times a year, the Muslim American Homeland Security Congress — an independent group set up to advise Baca and forge a partnership between the department and Muslim Americans — and the Sheriff’s Department’s Muslim Community Affairs Unit hold forums to discuss issues. The one Tuesday night was scheduled before the dust-up in Washington offered a charged topic for discussion.

When Baca spoke at the Tuesday event, he was given a standing ovation by the 75 or so people at the Omar ibn Al-Khattab Foundation near USC.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Mayor Bloomberg stood up at a crucial moment during the Park51 (Ground Zero Mosque) controversy and didn’t back down. He gave an impassioned defense of religious liberty and freedom in a historic speech during the firestorm and took a lot of heat for it from people in his party.

Honorable Mentions:

-Wajahat Ali

-Richard Silverstein

-Keith Olbermann

-Rachel Maddow

-Molly Norris

-Cenk Uygur

-Lesley Hazelton