Dean Obeidallah writes: Anti-Muslim advocate Pam Geller has the absolute right to draw any cartoon she wants of the Prophet Muhammad. That was not just the response from Muslim-American leaders I spoke to after news broke Sunday night of a shooting outside a Garland, Texas, event that Geller had organized—offering $10,000 for people to draw images of Muhammad—but before that event as well.
As of the writing of this article, we know that after the conclusion of Geller’s event, two gunmen drove into the parking lot of the venue and fired shots that wounded one security officer. The two suspects were then reportedly killed by the police officers outside the venue. The identity and motivation of the gunmen is still not known as of press time. [One gunman now identified as Elton Simpson.]
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that some Muslims (and even people of other faiths) aren’t offended and/or disgusted by the idea of Geller offering $10,000 for people to draw despicable cartoons of Muhammad. This is akin to offering a prize for people to draw the most anti-Semitic or racist images imaginable, with the true goal being to stoke the flames of hate versus Jews or Blacks. But the reality is American Muslims deeply value freedom of expression.
Plus, to be blunt, we are used to Geller, a person who has been denounced by both the Anti-Defamation league and the Southern Poverty Law Center for her anti-Muslim hate. She’s been demonizing us Muslims for years and we fully get that her goal is to provoke and demonize in the hope of inspiring a response that attracts the media attention that she so desperately craves. Indeed, Geller is so over-the-top in her rabid hatred of Muslims that she has become a punchline in our community. [Continue reading…]