Eboo Patel and “You People?” May 11, 2010

Eboo Patel and “You People?”

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.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Matto the Hun

    Well, if the Christians can have Liars for Jesus, I guess Muslims get Liars for Muhammad.

  • Siamang

    Anyone else imagining Robert Downey, Jr. in Tropic Thunder?

  • At first I read his comment,
    “the Draw Muhammad campaign … implicit attempt to draw a direct line between mainstream Muslims and violent fringe groups.” as saying draw a line Separating the mainstream from the violent fringe.
    However, after reading his article, it does sound like he meant drawing a line Connecting the mainstream to the violent fringe.

    Religious people of all types need to draw a line separating the 90% mainstream from the violent fringe wackos.

    Come on folks, this IS about Free Speech vs. Fundamentalist of all sorts.

  • I read that part and thought the same exact thing. Disgusting.

  • brent

    actually i find the nature of this particular mohammed drawing campaign to be spectacularly insensitive.

    being blasphemous just for fun is mean, and doesn’t help our cause.

  • Damn, the Muslims need to GROW UP and GET OVER IT, already. Muhammad wasn’t some super-special man “chosen” by “god” — he was a dirty old man with pedophilic tendencies. NOT something to be celebrated.

    And drawing him is about as offensive as drawing, say, George W. Bush, or Tony Blair. That is, NOT AT ALL.

    Or maybe they know their faith is silly and ridiculous, and don’t like people pointing that out….

  • Ciaphas

    I think the fact that Eboo Patel said “you people don’t deserve free speech” should make us a little uncomfortable.

  • Perhaps if mainstream muslims don’t want to be associated with fringe groups they should stop tacitly accepting and approving of what the fringe groups do.

    Oh, and the adding boxing gloves and “Ali” to the stick figures of Mohammed, was done by mainstream muslims. It very clearly proved the point that the mohammed drawers were trying to make.

  • fiddler

    @WMDKitty
    Tendencies? He married a freaking 9 year old, that isn’t a tendency it’s a freaking fulfilment!

  • Christophe Thill

    Having seen “Religulous”, I wish to ask :

    Mr Patel, what is your position concerning this “death penalty for apostate” thing ?

  • @fiddler — point taken. And they WORSHIP this guy… *blorf*

  • Shawn

    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.

    So now Hemant is saying “every religious person is a lying drama queen”!

    “Lying drama queen”, Hemant? I think you need to take a sensitivity class.

  • Casimir

    being blasphemous just for fun is mean, and doesn’t help our cause.

    It’s not for fun.

  • Eboo Patel basically says to all Atheists, “Sit down and shut up, you assholes!”

    “You Assholes!”? That’s so insensitive and offensive to such a large group, Patel should be ashamed of himself.

  • @Shawn
    It was Jesse Galef that wrote this post. I didn’t see anything in this post implying that he thought “religious” people are “lying drama queens”. He certainly didn’t write it.
    He needs a sensitivity class? I think not. The gentlemen who run this blog are educated, honest, culturally aware and good people. You think THEY need sensitivity? Wait ’til you get a load of me. I’ve got your sensitivity…

  • JT

    @The Godless Monster
    I think Shawn was being facetious. Though I can’t hate because I actually wrote out my own “Oh yeah, well here’s why you’re wrong and you suck” post. Then I noticed that they had made a paraphrased statement and were being offended by the wording of their paraphrased statement, as mentioned in Jesse’s writing. So I had to delete all my quality anonymous internet snark and was left with simply pointing out that this wasn’t Hemant’s work. Hardly seemed worth hitting submit over, so I didn’t.

  • @JT & Shawn…oops.
    My bad. My apologies.

  • Shawn

    @The Godless Monster
    NP, I didn’t notice it was Jesse. 🙂

  • Brian Macker

    Brent,

    In my friends religion naming your kid Brent just for fun is blasphemous and carries the death penalty. He wants to know where your parents live.