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Do I Have to Draw You a Picture? The Cartoon Wars Come to America
The predominant media response to the jihad attack in Garland, Texas was predictable. To wit: it's not nice to attack people with AK-47s, but, then, it's not nice to draw offensive cartoons of Muhammad either. Or as Alisyn Camerota of CNN put it, "there's a fine line between freedom of speech and being intentionally incendiary and provocative."
This was said in the course of an interview with Pamela Geller, the organizer of the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest event that was interrupted by the Islamist attackers. The exhibit itself was a response to a Muslim sponsored "Stand by the Prophet" event held in the same center in January of this year to call for restrictions on speech insulting to Islam.
Unfortunately, the Vatican response to the exhibit was also predictable. A front-page headline in L'Osservatore Romano described the artwork as "blasphemous" and the accompanying article criticized the exhibit's "provocative intent, almost wanting to throw gasoline on the fire." As is well-known, drawing pictures of Muhammad is offensive to many Muslims—not just semi-obscene pictures in the style of Charlie Hebdo, but any depiction. It's difficult to understand, however, why, from a Catholic perspective, the cartoons should be considered "blasphemous," as Muhammad is not considered a prophet by Catholics.
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