Oh, Jesus. It’s all in the delivery.

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Discussion (28)¬

  1. Someone says:

    Well, the niqab is part and parcel of Islam’s violent attitude.
    Rather difficult to stamp out negative stereotypes when you envelope yourself in them.

  2. Connie Vidivici says:

    “Irresponsible rhetoric…can lead to real world violence” equates exactly to “look what you made me do!” My children didn’t even get away with sloppy thinking like that. Spot on, author.

  3. anon says:

    I’m just going to point out here that in the US, we’re dealing with a certain authority figure’s irresponsible rhetoric about things like the “danger” of the free press, which will very likely lead to real-world violence sooner or later. What Mo says is not wrong; there are better ways to object to religious oppression than mockery. (That said, the cartoon is funny, and mockery by ordinary people is far less dangerous.)

  4. TIm says:

    I didn’t realize that the ‘Niqab’ was worn by men too. Or is Mohammed in drag? Is that part of the joke, or merely my demented thinking?

  5. HelenaHandbasket says:

    It’s an interesting question. What do we say to (say) women who rationalize wife-beaters? Do we have to take these rationalizations at face value? Assuming we can even see their face….
    Here’s my dilemma: If we treat these women as freely having chosen their burkhas (and we have heard burkhas defended, not niqabs or hijabs) then they are fully paid up equal members of liberal civil society, as responsible as any other competent adult–and (I would argue) therefore fair game for mockery. Just like the rest of us.
    If, on the other hand, we see them as oppressed victims to be pitied and not mocked–then we are, ex hypothsi, seeing them as not having freely chosen these things.
    We can’t have both.
    We could just argue that religion is beyond mockery–but then that takes us down other sorts of routes. Blasphemy ones. Brrr.

  6. two cents' worth says:

    What I wonder is, if a man wore the burqa in real life, and the fundamentalists found out he was cross-dressing, would they punish him? Has Mo made an “irresponsible” sartorial choice 😉 ?

  7. DocAtheist says:

    I enjoyed that. Very punny!

  8. jb says:

    Whatever we might think about the proper ways to deal with issues involving women and burkas, can we at least all agree that it was a serious mistake for Western countries to allow large scale immigration from regions of the world with such vastly different cultures?

  9. Jazzlet says:

    jb, which areas would you be thinking of? My answer will probably be ‘no’ regardless, but I’m interested in your answer.

  10. The reason Mo is wearing the burqa is in Jesus’s first line – he’s showing solidarity. So sweet and right-on.

  11. Laripu says:

    “Irresponsible rhetoric … can lead to real world violence.”
    So a Canadian tweets about human rights, and a Saudi Arabian responds with an image that threatens to fly a plane into Toronto’s CN Tower.

    That’s bad enough. But it’s also shameful that the US and UK didn’t immediately spring to Canada’s defense. Canada should strongly consider their response, the next time they’re asked send soldiers to help either country.

  12. Roger says:

    I t seems it may not be a jihadi but a particularly incompetent motorist!
    To be fair, motorists are much better at killing people than jihadis.

  13. Alexis says:

    jb- In the USA this line of thinking has been applied to the Irish, to the Germans, to the Italians, to the Poles, Hungarians, Asians of any culture, the Latinos…oh, and the Native Americans.

  14. jb says:

    Jazzlet — Well obviously in the context of this comic I’m thinking of the Middle East, but I would certainly expand that to any region of the world with cultures radically different from our own. Given the world’s history of strife over even minor differences, why risk importing potential problems?

    The main reason, as far as I can see, is moral exhibitionism. Western elites are determined to demonstrate their own moral superiority. “See! We aren’t bigots! No bigot would ever deliberately flood his own country with foreigners, so that totally proves our higher virtue!” Then when things go wrong they scramble to paper it over and pretend everything is fine.

    Alexis — You’re bringing up the American Indians? Really? Immigration was a disaster for them! If I was defending mass immigration I would never, ever mention the Indians!

    As for the rest, I don’t see the point you are trying to make. People and peoples are not interchangeable. Most of the groups you mention were European and Christian, and even when they didn’t like each other they shared a lot of commonality. East Asians were fairly alien, but they are highly intelligent and industrious, and as it turned out they haven’t been much of a problem. Hispanics on the other hand appear to be stuck in mediocrity. We get told that the Jews came as immigrants and eventually produced a lot of Nobel Prize winners, and therefore it logically follows that if we just wait long enough the Hispanics will start producing Nobel Prize winners too. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen.

  15. Donn says:

    Alexis – people from those origins have all turned out to make valuable contributions in the US, and I think we too generally recognize that for there to be any chance that we’ll try to solve our problems by really closing immigration per specific ethnic origins.

    But they don’t really have the full potential to make those contributions, until they join the larger community they moved into – speak the language, wear the clothes, send the kids to school, etc. That seems to be a problem particularly with refugee groups of one kind or another, who bring their country’s customs and language and everything with them and, having come to their new country more out of necessity than any long standing desire to be there, they may not be super motivated to change. That’s where jb’s different cultures issue can be a long running source of friction. His ideas about Hispanics are off base, but we might note that there are large slow-to-integrate Hispanic communities in the US, so to some extent that could be an example of what I’m talking about. And likewise with East Asians – they aren’t more “highly intelligent” than anyone else, and they didn’t account for much until they started moving out of isolated Chinatown districts, learing English etc.

    So … that clothing. You can’t very effectively force adults to take up the ways of their adopted land, but you can hope that the next generation does. Unless there’s something going on that tends to keep them isolated even after they’ve learned the language and customs – like, possibly, that clothing. I don’t know what you do about it, but I sure approve of making it the butt of humor!

  16. HelenaHandbasket says:

    Alexis There is one, rather pertinent, difference between “Irish… Germans… Italians…Poles, Hungarians, Asians of any culture, the Latinos…oh, and the Native Americans” and Islam.
    The former do not constitute a set of beliefs, the latter does. To see this difference consider whether one can convert to being ” Irish, …German…Italian….Pol[ish], Hungarian, Asian… Latinos…and Native American”
    Not only that, Irish folk do not–even if “orthodox Irish” ever proclaim that other people should convert to being Irish, or be killed as unbelievers.
    Islamists are known to do that. In addition, Native Americans do not kill people who leave the reservation as apostates.
    The list goes on.
    Obviously there are complex relationships between identity and ethncity and religiosity, but a simple-minded “Islamophobia is racism” cannot be supported. Islam is not a race. Or an ethnicity. It is a set of beliefs. Not a homogenous one, to be sure, but versions of it are utterly toxic and incompatible with every other set of beliefs. The same cannot be said of any ethnicity or most cultures. There are exceptions.
    Imagine if someone said what you said of “White supremacism” (another set of poisonous beliefs incompatible with every other set of beliefs). Would you similarly respond with “people said mean things about the Irish”?

  17. Vittal says:

    It seems to me that we’re not too far off a time when the pious busy-bodies who want to interfere with how other people dress or look will soon be put to the test.

    With improvements to AI, image recognition and portable display hardware, a pair of augmented reality glasses specifically for such religious types will allow them to block off the bits of the world they don’t like. Fear that seeing a bit of ankle will spark your lust? BAM! – virtual-burqa applied. Don’t like seeing pictures of women in the newspaper? BAM! – they’ll be digitally morphed into beardy old men. Just upload a pre-made package of your religion’s hang-ups and the world will be edited to suit. It’ll offer people the ability to see the world as their religion dictates rather than how it actually is; and in reality, isn’t living in a fantasy world much of what religion is anyway?

    Of course, if such a device was made, few would use it. Because although the claim is about preventing lustful thoughts, the reality is that it’s about control – control of others, not yourself.

  18. PeterN says:

    jb, I fully agree, Europeans should never have let the Christians in and corrupt their culture. The White God should have been refuted at its earliest invasions. To forsake their polytheistic roots has caused irrevocable harm to the world.

  19. jb says:

    PeterN — You’re right! European pagans were defeated by the Christians, and in many parts of Europe they were so thoroughly erased culturally that today we know very little of what they actually believed. I don’t know about “irrevocable harm to the world,” but they lost something they cared about deeply, and from their point of view it really was a disaster for them.

    And whose point of view were they supposed to be taking, if not their own?

  20. Donn says:

    I’d go along with “irrevocable harm to the world.” Would not be materially different from Islam – say if Charles Martel hadn’t turned the Moors back at Tours and they’d gone on to dominate the west. Same difference, branches of the same burning bush, and there is no good branch.

  21. M27Holts says:

    I lost a job yes sacked for repeating a quote that the Burka was similar to sado-masochistic clothing….freedom of speech….don’t make me laugh…

  22. HelenaHandbasket says:

    JB. Its never too late for a revival. Reject that “son of a virgin light-bringinger redeemer” upstart that they have brought over. Mithras is good enough for us!

  23. Dr John the Wipper says:


    Mithra was Assyrian/Babylonian, exported to Rome.

    I much prefer our own (local) Wodan (also known as Odin) & “friends”. Those were a merry lot!

  24. Donn says:

    I’d like to think “our” local imaginary friends could be retrieved from old Welsh tales, but unfortunately that’s a mystery (and not in the lodge routine Mithras sense.) Believed in reincarnation, that’s about all I can dig up.

  25. HelenaHandbasket says:

    Dr John: Blasphemer! We have a large wicker non-binary-effigy for the likes of you

  26. Dr John the Wipper says:


    Mithra’s holy day was mid-winter (as soon as it was visible that the solstice had passed, ie, 3 days after the astronomical solstice.)
    In order to get more acceptance for christianity, as soon as that became the official Roman religian, the birth of JC was moved from the spring equinox to the apparent winter solstice. (yes, several CENTURIES after the assumed fact!)

    At least we have Mithra to thank that Xmas is in midwinter.

  27. HelenaHandbasket says:

    Imagine a god with a magical birth, who died for our sins and was resurrected, who will finally bring justice to the downtrodden. This could be describing Christ…
    It would also describe Krishna son of Devi (Hinduism); Attis son of Nana; Adonis of the Greeks; the Babylonian Tammuz and Baal; Quetzlcoatl of the Mexica; Mithras of the Pagans/ Persians; Attis of the Galatian Phygians; Osiris of the Egyptians; Dionysus of the Greeks; Zoroaster, or the Buddha (in some versions).
    In some cases these are clearly the same person (e.g. Dionysus comes from Osiris; Adonis, Tammuz, and Baal are the same character) but in other cases they arose separately.
    For example, Mithras predates Christ by 600 years. In many cases the life histories (e.g. virginity of mother, cannibalism of the martyr) and words used about them (e.g. “light”, “redeemer”) are strikingly similar. Some Christian apologists have tried to debunk such associations there is little doubt that they are there. Indeed, this was seen as such a problem in the early days of the Christian Church that Justin the Martyr—writing scarcely a hundred years after the death of Jesus–coined the term “diabolical mimicry” (later popularised by Augustine) to attempt to explain away such similarities.
    In chapter 21 of his Apologia he wrote
    “And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding [the pagan son’s of god] before going on to describe Mercury, Æsculapius, Bacchus, Hercules, the sons of Leda and Dioscuri, Perseus son of Danae and Bellerophon who all had properties in common with Jesus. In a similar vein the Neoplatonist philosopher Celsus satirised Christians for trying to appropriate pre-existing scenarios.
    In other words–we’ve seen this crap before. A hundred times. It’s a known glitch in human reasoning to keep generating a god who fits these patterns. My guess is that this type of god marks a transition from nomadic following of seasonal food opportunties to sedentary agricultural cycles of death and rebirth with attendant hierachical structures being adopted. But–I could be wrong.
    It annoys or befuddles the bejaazus out of any Christian who thinks about it for more than a few minutes. C. S. Lewis tried to explain it away as “getting us ready for the real thing” but you could see his heart wasn’t in it.


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