After four years, American cartoonist Molly Norris still in hiding after drawing Prophet Mohammed -- FBI advised her to disappear

Here's the thing, it's not "SO IMPORTANT" to draw the prophet, it's that it should be something someone is able to do without having to worry about his or her physical safety.

The whole issue of graven images and drawing Mohammed originated, as I understand it, from Mohammed's concern for idolatry, not because he was particularly worked up about caricatures. Either way, it's grossly inappropriate to apply religious dictates to the behavior of people outside the religion, just as it would be if Catholics tried to keep everyone else from eating meat on Friday during lent.

In the West, honest discussion of religion, and rejection of religion, and mockery of religion, and blasphemy, are all something that have been more or less accepted for a couple of centuries now, and it feels like we're being dragged back into the dark ages of religious totalitarianism / theocracy by having to treat one particular religion with kid gloves, because its followers have a tendency to become unhinged and violent at the merest bit of criticism or mockery of that religion.

Obviously, the real problem here is not the drawings of the prophet, but the reaction from the Muslim world. (In addition to the Charlie Hebdo killings, there were 200 deaths across the world resulting from the Jyllands-Posten cartoons a few years ago, and some of the cartoonists are still in hiding.)

For centuries now, in the West, the proper reaction to offensive cartoons and offensive ideas is to combat them with wittier ripostes and better ideas, and both of those seem to be lacking in the Muslim response.

While admittedly, the mainstream media might not give that much airtime to a witty Muslim raconteur who explains how Islamic values can improve Western society, and make it a more open, productive and welcoming place for everyone (instead of a place where women, homosexuals and atheists are forcibly suppressed, as is the general impression), it would be good to see the effort made. (If you know of any, please share them.)

Instead, we get, on the one hand, is duplicitous shills like Reza Aslan talking about what progress Indonesia is making in terms of rights for women as an Islamic state, while their female government employees up until recently, and their female police officers even now, have to undergo "virginity testing" as part of the hiring process, or talking about how well Turkey is doing as a democratic NATO member, without mentioning the fact that Erdogan is building himself a $600 million mansion and doing his best to stymie democracy. On the other hand, we get folks like Anjem Choudary excusing the Charlie Hebdo attacks on the editorial page of the USA Today, and the government of Saudi Arabia executing people for "sorcery" in 2014.

This cartoon pretty much sums up the awkward nature of the special treatment Islam receives in the West right now.](,29553/)

Unfortunately, that treatment isn't because of respect for the religion and its adherents. It's because of fear that its followers are too primitive, thin-skinned, small-minded and violent to participate in an actual discussion about religion, art, and freedom of speech. That approach is simultaneously cowardly and condescending.

Drawing the prophet should not be important at all. It should be met with the same level of "so edgy bro" disinterest that the Western world generally greeted Serrano's "Piss Christ" or Ofili's "The Holy Virgin Mary" with. The limits of art and speech should be subjects for reasoned debate and discussion, not cause for mass murder.

TL:DR - It shouldn't be important to draw the prophet, but the better response is funnier ripostes and better ideas, not bringing Kalashnikovs into office buildings.

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