Islamic sharia law still floats along under the American surface
After 9/11, the West discovered that the Muslim world imposes its blasphemy laws on Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Every few years, they remind us, sometimes with blood and sometimes without, that sharia’s proscription on images of Mohamed applies to everyone. The latest example of this “sharia for all” philosophy happened at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, where a professor was just fired for showing pictures of Mohamed in a class about Islamic art.
Most Americans didn’t pay much attention to Islamic strictures before 9/11. Sure, there was Khomenei’s famous 1989 fatwa against Salman Rushdie for daring to write about Mohamed in The Satanic Verses. Rushdie spent the next three decades living under guard. (On August 12, 2022, a Muslim fanatic finally got through the barriers and almost stabbed Rushdie to death.)
After 9/11, when people understood just how violent Islam could be, there was a debate in the West about whether non-Muslims should be bound by Islam’s restrictive (and murderous) blasphemy laws. A convincing argument in favor of “respect,” was learning that the sharia death penalty for blasphemy applied not only to heretical Muslims but to everyone.
In 2004, a Muslim fanatic knifed to death Theo van Gogh, the Dutch film director. His sin? He criticized how Islam treats women. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, his partner in making a film critical of that treatment, has lived under armed guard ever since.
Image: Hamline University, the unlikely home of sharia, by McGhiever . CC BY-SA 3.0.
By 2005, the question of whether the West should self-censor out of “respect” for Islam had reached such a pitch that Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten decided to make a statement about free speech and the free press. On September 30, 2005, Jyllands-Posten published 12 editorial cartoons satirizing Mohamed, whom Muslims identify as a prophet and the perfect man.
The Muslim world that had relocated to the West went insane, engaging in blood-thirsty protests across Europe (that is, they literally called for blood). Protests in Muslim-majority countries were even more violent, leading to 250 or so deaths. Meanwhile, the cartoonists had to go into hiding. Hiding wasn’t limited to Europeans.
In 2010, when Trey Parker and Matt Stone had death threats made against them for drawing Mohamed in a South Park cartoon, Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris created a cartoon celebrating “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” to urge people not to be cowed. Instead, nobody drew Mohammed (they were cowed), and Molly Norris went into hiding, never to be seen again.
After a few years of peaceful self-censorship, Charlie Hebdo, a leftist French publication, satirized Mohamed. On January 7, 2015, Muslims slaughtered 12 people in Charlie Hebdo’s offices and, as a bonus, also slaughtered four Jewish people at a kosher supermarket. Then, in November, as a continuation of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Muslim terrorists went to war against Paris, murdering 130 people.
And that brings us to 2023 in St. Paul, Minnesota, where a professor teaching the history of Islamic art (some of which is dazzlingly beautiful) got fired for daring to include pictures of Mohamed, all of which were drawn in the Muslim world. Despite warning her students in her syllabus and on the day of the class that Mohamed would figure in the artwork, one Muslim woman got her knickers in a twist, and adjunct professor Erika López Prater was out of a job:
Despite the warnings, Aram Wedatalla, a senior in the class complained to administrators about the imagery the day after the images were shown and gathered support from Muslim students who were not in the class, which resulted in Prater not being welcomed back at the school.
Wedatalla, who is also president of the Muslim Student Association, told the campus outlet the Oracle, “I’m like, ‘This can’t be real.’ As a Muslim, and a Black person, I don’t feel like I belong, and I don’t think I’ll ever belong in a community where they don’t value me as a member, and they don’t show the same respect that I show them.”
Fayneese Miller, Hamline’s Black president, agreed with Wedatalla, so Prater, despite showing a ridiculous amount of respect and sensitivity to Muslim students, lost her job for blaspheming a faith she doesn’t practice.
Ironically, before Khomenei’s reignition of censorship, Muslims had for centuries painted beautiful images of Mohamed. You see, the issue isn’t painting Mohamed. The issue is the Muslim world’s ability to silence people, whether because they’ll be murdered, forced into hiding, or done out of a job. By doing so, Muslims successfully prove time and again that the West is subordinate to Islam.