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Anorak | Free speech and anti-Islam in Garland: ‘Never assume that you can outgun an art show in Texas’

Free speech and anti-Islam in Garland: ‘Never assume that you can outgun an art show in Texas’

by | 5th, May 2015

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Thoughts on the Garland, Texas, shootings. Was it a show of free speech to host a let’s draw Mohammed art show? Was it deliberate provocation? I’d say, yes and yes.

Around 200 people were at Pamela Geller’s New York–based American Freedom Defense Initiative’s Muhammad Art Exhibit. The event featured a contest for cartoon depictions of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. To the winner a $10,000 prize and world-wide fame.
Geller’s driving force was, apparently, a chance for her to stand with Charlie Hebdo , the French magazine whose staff were slaughtered by Islamists for depicting Mohammed. Among other things, Geller wants to ban New York’s Park51, the planned Muslim community center she denounces as “the ground zero mega-mosque”. Her committment to free speech is pretty much zero. Satire works best when it’s a scattergun aiming high and low. Geller picks away at a single target. She is no Charlie Hebdo .
Many in the UK first heard of anti-Islam bloggers Pamela Geller or Robert Spencer when in 2013 they were scheduled to address the anti-Islam party the English Defence League, itself no fan of free speech.  Theresa May, the Home Secretary, banned them from the country. Their presence would not be “conducive to the public good”.
What utter balls. Let them all in. Let them all talk. Banning speech is a sign of the bansturbators weakness. They don’t trust their countrymen to hold the nutjobs to ridicule. We are all so stupid that exposure to the invited guest will turn the sane into race rioters, bigots and mass murderers. Of course it’s not good for community cohesion to have somone spouting racist claptrap, but banning, say, Zakir Naik, who “professed his admiration for Osama Bin Laden” or the ridiculous and now dead anti-gay loon Fred Phelps only serves to make you wonder who gets to talk and why? That creates  problems  of trust in the censor.
Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University nailed it in Charlie’s False Friends :

For civil libertarians, it is clear that when leaders insist that they “Stand with Charlie” it does not mean actually standing with free speech. To the contrary, the greatest threat facing free speech today is found in Western governments, which have increasingly criminalized and prosecuted speech, particularly anti-religious speech. Once the defining right of Western Civilization, free speech is dying in the West and few world leaders truly mourn its passing.

Around the world, speech is under attack under an array of hate speech and anti-discrimination laws… The result is a growing, if not insatiable, appetite for speech regulation that only increases after violent responses to controversial publications.

The most recent tragedy in France follows an all too familiar pattern from publication to prosecution. Consider what happened in 2005 with the publication of the Danish cartoons and the global riots leading to the murder of non-Muslims and burning of churches and homes. The West rallied around the right of free speech, but then quietly ramped up prosecutions of speech. It happened again in 2012 when a low-budget trailer of a low-grade movie was put on YouTube. The “Innocence of Muslims” trailer was deemed insulting to Mohammad and Islam and led to another global spasm of murder and arson by irate Muslims. Again, Western leaders professed support for free speech while cracking down further on anti-religious speech. Even in the United States, President Obama insisted that the filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula had every right to make the film. However, the next image that the world saw after that speech was filmmaker being thrown into a police car in handcuffs for technical violations of a probation on unrelated charges..

So much for the background to the event.
And with the art class in full daub, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi of Phoenix arrived by car. They were carrying assault rifles and began shooting at a police car.Garland Independent School District police Officer Bruce Joiner was shot and injured. Very soon, Simpson and Nadir Soofi were then shot dead.

As someone put: “The would-be terrorists in Garland fell for one of the classic blunders: Never assume that you’ve outgunned an art show in Texas.”
Buck Revell, a former head of the Dallas FBI office, opined:
“Garland did a terrific job. Obviously, they were concerned,

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Posted: 5th, May 2015 | In: News Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink

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  • Achmad Osman

    Killing people because you did not like their views? Sad and pathetic. Violent provocation is simply your own arrogance – you can choose to turn away or lower yourself to match the provocateur.