This one’s for you, Molly Norris
Over the past 24 hours, over 30 (and still counting) muslim writers, journalists, activists, scholars, and other professionals in the US and Canada got together and write a common statement in defense of free speech.
I am exceedingly proud to be a part of this group. I’ve been a steady and consistent advocate of free speech myself, and have always spoken out against censorship, even of speech that deeply offends me. That’s because I believe that the single best response to bad speech is more speech.
Our common statement is a response to the plight of cartoonist Molly Norris, who drew an irreverent cartoon poking fun at Cartoon Central for censoring an episode of South Park. The wingnut islamophobia industry got ahold of that caroon and declared Draw Muhammad Day, installing Norris as their icon, against her explicit intentions. But despite a statement protesting the planned gratuitous insult in her name, she became identified with it too strongly - and now ironically and tragically, has gone into hiding on the advice of the FBI, fearing for her life.
We muslim Americans and Canadians are tired of this. We are tired of being pawns, we are tired of good people being collateral damage in a war between the forces of civilization and the forces of barbarism. All we have is pens, not swords, for our jihad, but our Prophet SAW said that pens are stronger. So we used them. As noted by the Seattle Times, the threat to Molly Norris merits a response. Here is ours.
May Allah protect Molly Norris, wherever she is, and shield her from those who would do her harm. And may our statement on free speech soften some hearts, and prey upon some consciences, inshallah.