Maajid Nawaz Responds to Tweeting Jesus and Mo T-Shirt

Is it haram to depict an image of the Prophet Mohammed, or as mentioned in a previous article depicting historic art work of the prophet is the prohibition on Muslims to do with respect and idolatry? People have tried (see comments) to broaden the debate to the Jesus and Mo strip. That misses the criticism, let alone death threats, centre on the T-shirt that Maajid Nawaz tweeted, to illustrate he did not find it offensive.

Maajid Nawaz has just tweeted this response on twitter to the social media backlash:




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Filed under British Society, Religion, secular

18 responses to “Maajid Nawaz Responds to Tweeting Jesus and Mo T-Shirt

  1. Mark

    It’s a bit intolerant for someone to draw a cartoon which goes against a belief, and it’s a bit intolerant of someone to post the cartoon.

    What’s the belief? It’s akin to the biblical commandment of “No graven images”, something the Christians ignore, otherwise there would be no Sistine chapel etc. However in Islam, it is reckoned it could lead to idol worship. Idols are not tolerated. Much like when the Taliban blew up the Buddhist statues of Bamiyan which had stood for 100’s of years. So there can be anger and violence at a cartoon of course. It’s follows logically does it not?

    There is a theme which runs through the Jesus & Mo cartoons, which is one of satirising the intolerance of religion, which is intolerant. It satirises the intolerance against homosexulaity, indoctrination, gender inequality and atheism amongst others. The intolerant homosexuals, atheists and unequal women don’t for some unknown reason, physically attack the religious.

    So the intolerance of a cartoon pointing out the intolerance in religion is intolerant. Something, somewhere has to get a bit more tolerant.

    As an aside, quite a few dissenters have said something along the lines of, “It is haram in Islam to depict the prophets Muhammed and Jesus.” I’m a little intolerant of the thought that depictions of Jesus have gone on for years without a peep. Bring Muhammed into the fray and all hell breaks loose. I’m also a little intolerant of the fact that the Jesus & Mo cartoons have been around for a few years without high-profile bother, but it takes a muslim who campaigns and fights against Islamic extremism, to make other muslims get angry. Funny, and a little intolerant that, isn’t it?

    • Matthew Huntbach

      You ought not to write “the Christians” here as if there is one big undifferentiated block of such people. Use of imagery such as the one you note is predominant at one end of the Catholic-Protestant spectrum, and tails off and becomes considered unacceptable at the other.

      Much of the New Testament centres around a debate on the extent to which the laws of the Old Testament apply, with the conclusion being that they don’t, they have been superseded. So to accuse Christians of “ignoring” a “Biblical commandment” is to show a considerable degree of ignorance of what Christianity is about. I will admit that there are many who call themselves “Christians” and yet display a similar degree of ignorance.

    • Interesting take on this, but it is not intolerant. In fact true freedom of expression means we can tolerate someone’s beliefs but reserve the right to also find them absurd and worthy of ridicule. The Jesus and Mo cartoons do exactly that.

  2. It’s actually not “a bit intolerant for someone to draw a cartoon which goes against a belief.” That’s the wrong terminology. Beliefs have to be open to discussion, which includes dissent and rejection. It’s not “intolerant” to dispute or “go against” a belief, as such. It is intolerant to (say) reject the belief that everyone should be tolerant, but it’s not intolerant just to “go against a belief.”

    • Mark

      I’m a bit intolerant of that.

      On re-reading my post, I suppose the sarcasm aimed at religion may have got lost in other sarcasm. The over use of the word intolerant might have made the sarcasm obvious, but maybe not.

      • This reminds me today someone said all humans deserved dignity and respect on twitter despite differences.

        I pointed out accept those humans lacking humanity – duty bound to oppose them.

        Said I was missing the point, be smart to infer what she actually meant. But then, I’ve been told by others that loving your enemies includes concentration camp commanders.

        The obvious needs stating – because some idiot will come alone, get the wrong end of the stick, make it sacred, and stick it where the sun does not shine to oppress you.

        A fear of idolatry leads to death threats for a cartoon saying “How ya doing” and a command to empathise with others needs, becomes love all no matter what they do.

        Never assume anyone knows what you mean – that is where claims of something being sacred and the only interpretation go horribly wrong.

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    I and I think a great many people are with Maajid in his attempts to reform the more pernicious elements of Islam. Riots and bloodletting for the publication of images is not acceptable, at all, anywhere.
    Indeed, I think it wholly reprehensible that those opposed to Maajid, within the LD no less and on the taxpayers payroll, have essentially tried to instigate the involvement of others ( perhaps more literal and hard line others) in the obvious and open hopes that they may seek some form of retribution. This is contemptible as it is transparent, and should not go unanswered.

    Many Muslims I know are not at all “offended” by images like this or any other. They have grown up and realize that there is a diversity of opinion, and whether there is imagined to be a god (or a Prophet) in the works or not, does not undermine the right and duty to discuss and illustrate these issues in the hopes of progress.

    If the “arguments”, such as they are, against Maajid are upheld then it is a dark, dark day for both civilization and civil discourse. No one has a right not to be offended, I am offended every day and yet I do not seek to silence and nor do I recruit others in the hopes that they will take matters to the next level. Maajid is to be applauded for this broadening of the scope in this issue, and he speaks for many Muslims who are, as might be imagined, terrified to say anything ( we might ask ourselves why they are terrified, by the way). And any attempts to validate the asinine and peevish attacks that he has already had to suffer, to say nothing of what the fullness of time will bring, will reflect very badly on us all.

  9. Mikayl Yahyira

    Matthew Huntsbach: “Much of the New Testament centres around a debate on the extent to which the laws of the Old Testament apply, with the conclusion being that they don’t, they have been superseded.” That is merely the “conclusion” of Paul of Tarsus, whose ignorance of the teachings of Jesus (PBUH) was nothing short of breathtaking despite his success in starting off a new religion now known as Christianity. Christians who think Paul was correct when he argued that the Law had been abrogated should read Matthew chapter 5, where you’ll find that Jesus (PBUH) expressed a rather different opinion. You have every right to defend someone you believe has been attacked unfairly, but please don’t infer that the heretical opinions of Paul in some way legitimises a person’s behaviour because he hasn’t broken any Biblical commandments. The “conclusion” that the Law has been abrogated was voiced by Paul in direct conflict to the teachings of Prophet Jesus (PBUH). That his new Big Idea went down like a lead balloon is recorded in the Bible for everyone to see in Acts chapter 21, where he lied about his stance to the Apostle James. His deception was unraveled the following morning and a riot ensued. My point? That those who wish to use the Bible to defend a person’s actions need to read it first. It isn’t the harmonious, infallible library of books that some Christians like to imagine. A close reading displays the fact that there were two factions at work; those who followed Paul and his idea that the Mosaic Law had been nullified, and those mainly centred in Jerusalem, under the leadership of the Apostle James, who followed the teaching of Jesus (PBUH) that “heaven and earth will pass away” before the Law is brought to an end. Curiously, James and the other apostles seemed completely unaware that Jesus (PBUH) had supposedly made the Mosaic Law of no effect. Please don’t imply that the Bible unanimously legitimises things when it doesn’t. At best you can argue that the politician in question may have had a friend in Paul, but he certainly didn’t – as the old hymn says – “have a friend in Jesus”.

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  12. Malcolm

    I remember a previous controversy when some (white) idiot said some frankly nasty things about the Founder of Islam. My militant left wing work-colleague’s response, in my presence, was “For Chr*st’s sake, you can’t go around insulting someone’s religion.”
    And he knew I was a Christian.

    We’ve had years of casual offence to Christians and insult to any who objected, but that’s apparently OK. Now the same people do it to Muslims, only some of them react somewhat differently.

    Freedom of speech means you have the right to express any opinion you honestly hold without being threatened with violence. But it also means I have the right to consider you to be an offensive bigoted idiot.

    The danger with violence is not merely that it justifies the violence of the other side. It also destroys the credibility of those who proclaim it.

    That’s what the Christian west did in the Crusades, They murdered thousands of Muslims, together with their Christian Arab countrymen, and destroyed their own reputation in the process.

    It’s what the Catholics and Protestants did to each other 400 years ago, and the 30 years war left parts of Germany almost depopulated.

    It would an ironic tragedy if modern Islam chose to follow the example of the medaeval Crusaders.

    There is an alternative, but it demands moderation of language and tolerant respect for people you disagree with, and to be honest I don’t see this on either side at the moment.

    • Just as you posted that someone RT on my twitter timeline a model wiping her bottom with pages from the Koran – with “Fuck Allah” written on her buttocks.

      That is a different league entirely on an offensive scale to the t-shirt saying “How ya doin’?”

      Christianity is stronger for turning the other cheek.

      You might might be interested in my “Islamism and the Scapegoating of Muslims” article.

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