Above is the winning cartoon. Please note that it won both the Judges Choice and the Peoples Choice Awards. In the midst of many genuinely, deliberately insulting cartoons of Islam's prophet attempting to make him look as demonic as possible (I won't show them here) this is the one chosen as the best both by the organisers and by the attendees.
That should highlight to everyone that the contest was not merely to "poke Muslims in the eye" or to be "Islamophobic" but to continue in the theme of upholding Western Free Speech and freedom of thought. Look at the cartoon. Consider its message. Who, or what, is it that decides what I can and cannot say or draw? Think of Jesus on the dart board again. Should that artist be killed for doing that? Even if the artist really really hates Jesus and Christianity? Absurd, even the idea of prosecuting the artist for "hate speech" is preposterous.
Do I reproduce the cartoon here to also "poke Muslims in the eye"? Of course not. It is part of my Christian call to ensure I do not place a stumbling stone in the way of those I seek to bring to Christ - gratuitous insults are not part of my evangelistic toolbox. At the same time I cannot betray the hard won freedoms my forebears earned for me by not pointing out to my Muslim friends that this cartoon - no matter what we may think of it - is representative of a part of the underlying base values of New Zealand and all the West. If I talk with Muslims about Christ I do so with sensitivity, however I should not compromise to the point of betraying who I am.
I also post it here because most people probably have not seen it because most people rely on normal news sources. Now you can see what the fuss was about. Now you can see the kind of thing that also led to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Charlie Hebdo has produced, in my opinion, far more insulting cartoons of Christian and Jewish representatives yet no attacks ensued. Why was that? Remember Je suis Charlie ("I am Charlie")? We were all standing up and saying that mass murder over a cartoon was NOT okay.
Did we mean that or was it just talk? Judging by the rapid capitulation by all and sundry since then - it was just talk, meaningless - and worse - self-deluding, talk. Muslims, we are told, are offended by pictures of their prophet and further more by insults to their prophet. Well Kiwis are offended when people are physically attacked & murdered just for drawing some cartoons.
I post it here too for similar reasons to why I also posted "Jesus on a dartboard" - not so I could offend Christians (or Sharia observant Muslims, again, who hold any insult to any "prophet" - which is what the Islamic Isa is to them), but to contribute to a discussion about the necessity of being offended as being worth the price of freedom of thought and of speech.
Robert Spencer from Jihad Watch writes:
"I was co-organizer of and a speaker at the free speech event in Garland, Texas one year ago today. Jihad Watch was a co-sponsor. It is this simple: when jihadis say that they will kill us for drawing Muhammad, we have two choices: draw Muhammad and show that we are not submitting to violent intimidation, or refrain from drawing Muhammad and surrender. The West has largely chosen the latter."
So, do you believe murder over a cartoon is wrong? Do you really? Then I encourage you to email the offensive cartoon to all your friends and remind them that one year ago there was an event that sought to stand up for that ideal. Without free speech we haven't got any freedom.
Are we all really "Charlie"? Or maybe we are simply so unsure and afraid we'll just take the fifth on this? My father would have gone ashore at Normandy had he not contracted pneumonia (maybe I wouldn't be here today if he hadn't) - how would my cowardice honour his memory and the memory of men like him? Will we now begrudgingly, but slowly and surely, simply swap the tyranny of Fascism for the tyranny of Sharia?
A lengthy article by co-organiser of the event, Pamela Geller is to be found here. It is a challenging read and I commend it.