The Danish cartoons marked an identical watershed. The assassination of Dutch provocateur and filmmaker Theo Van Gogh marked an identical watershed, as did the death threats against his collaborator and Danish parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who had his satirical drawings removed at a Tallerud art exhibition and who has an ISIS bounty on his head and is living under police protection, marks an identical watershed. The fatwa against Salman Rushdie and the killing of his Japanese translator marked the same watershed. Geert Wilders living under police protection marks the same watershed. Though later acquitted by the Danish Supreme Court, Lars Hedegaard’s remarks about the lethal dysfunction of many Muslim families, which led to his conviction for hate speech under the Article 266b of the Danish penal code and a subsequent assassination attempt, marks the same watershed. The South Park controversy over the appearance of Mohammed dressed as a giant teddy bear marked the same watershed — the producers instantly caved following a threat issued on the Revolution Muslim website. Molly Norris, of “Let’s all Draw Mohammed” fame, still in hiding, marks the same watershed, as does the imprisonment of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula for producing a low-rent, little-watched video trailer, Innocence of Muslims, ridiculing Mohammed. Yale University Press refusing to print the Danish cartoons in a book dedicated to the subject marks the same watershed. The list goes on.
It’s been a long time since most ordinary or even celebrated people would dare to represent Mohammed or say anything mocking or even critical about the religion of hate. Our pusillanimous leaders and members of the intelligentsia buckled under to Islamic triumphalism some years back and evince a growing tendency to Sharia-compliance. If, after the Danish cartoon controversy, every single intellectual or public figure of any note had posted the cartoons, we would be in a different place today. But instead they joined in the chorus about responsibility and not unnecessarily offending pious people.Re using the excuse of not wanting to offend in order to try to hide one's fear/cowardice, Barbara Amiel nailed it when she wrote:
Terror can backfire in the sense that some people finally dislike being scared and react by doing whatever terror is discouraging. This is generally a temporary response. As George Jonas pointed out in a 2013 column, human beings find a way of rationalizing their behaviour so that they can claim they are refraining from publishing or saying something not out of fear but because they don’t wish to offend. They convert the base notion of being scared into a noble weapon of seeing someone else’s point of view. In fact, this is one of the most insidious aspects of terrorism: we wash our brains and convert our fear into understanding.