by Jesse Galef –
I have quite a lot to say on the subject of drawing Muhammad. At my day job as Communications Director for the Secular Student Alliance I’m watching the recent developments closely, and on a personal level I feel passionately about the issues of free speech, respect, and taboos.
But I won’t get into all of that quite yet. I just wanted to take a moment to dispute something in Eboo Patel’s OnFaith paean to religious respect. In criticizing the SSA-affiliated groups at UIUC, UW-Madison, and Northwestern who chalked images of Muhammad, he writes:
Part of what’s disturbing about the Draw Muhammad campaign is its implicit attempt to draw a direct line between mainstream Muslims and violent fringe groups. It’s the “We have to stand up against you people” message.
You people? That line ought to make us a little uncomfortable. [emphasis in original]
My goodness, this is beyond creating a strawman! I don’t remember reading those words in anything the student groups said, so Mr. Patel must be making it up. That’s a fair and common use of quotation marks – paraphrasing someone else’s message.
But if you do that, you can’t go on to object to the language that you yourself created. When I read the “you people” in italics, the words seem to be dripping with disgust for those “racist fucking bastards with the audacity to draw a smiling stick figure and label it Muhammad.”
Racist fucking bastards?! How dare – Oh wait, that one was me.