Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ The Onion ‘n’ Kenan Malik

Last week The Onion published a satirical cartoon that was critical of Islam “No one murdered because of this image.”  It’s NSFW, so click the link to see it. It shows major figures of four religions (Moses, Jesus, Ganesha, and the Buddha) engaged in rather salacious activities. There was no Mohamed, of course—that would have led to murder.

Today the Jesus and Mo artist, referring to The Onion cartoon, gets in his own licks against The Religion of Peace:

At least Mo has the sense to use a Mac.

The J&M artist also recommends a nice essay from Pandaemonium on the offendability of Muslims, “Here we go again,” by Kenan Malik. The piece reprints two earlier but related Malik essays on Rushdie’s fatwa and the Danish cartoon affair.

Malik sees a “political” cause for the Middle Eastern riots, but one based not on Western oppression but internecine strife among Muslims. And I think Malik unduly neglects religion, which is, after all, being used as a lever to incite the masses:

What is clear, however, is that the violence is being driven less by religious fury than by political calculation. In Libya, Egypt and elsewhere, the crisis is being fostered by hardline Islamists in an attempt to seize the political initiative in a period of transition and turmoil. The film is almost incidental to this process. The real struggle is not between Muslims and non-Muslims, but between different shades of Islamists, between hardline factions and more mainstream ones. The insurrections that transformed much the Arab world over the past year have created a new terrain for the battle between Muslim factions for political supremacy.

Malik also said something interesting about Rusdie’s fatwa in his reprinted essay:

The fatwa helped transform the very geography of Islam. Under traditional Islamic law, no fatwa could be valid outside those areas in which sharia law applied. Muslims may have emigrated to Britain or converted in India, but a fatwa could have no validity there because these states were not under Islamic authority. With his four-paragraph pronouncement, the Ayatollah had transcended the traditional frontiers of Islam and placed the whole world under his jurisdiction. At the same time he helped relocate the confrontation between the Islam and the West, which until then had been played out largely to the Middle East and South Asia, into the heart of Western Europe.  For the West, Islam was now a domestic issue.

h/t: Michael

45 Comments

  1. Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    Interesting cartoons

  2. MNb
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    So a few hundreds on a population of millions is a mass.

    I apologize for equating you with a creationist, JAC, except that I equated your logical fallacy with that of a creationist. Don’t bother to undo the first ban I got in 12 years – I know when I’m not welcome anymore.
    Thanks for your excellent book WEIT.
    All the best and bye.

  3. Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:53 am | Permalink

    That makes sense, but the factions would not have the power to incite these kinds of riots so easily if there weren’t a strong undercurrent of anti-western hatred in that society. And that hatred has real, political causes. Of course people who believe fundamentalist Abrahamic religions are especially easy to manipulate for political gain, whether the manipulator is an ayatollah or a US president.

    • Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:58 am | Permalink

      I was thinking of Bush (100000+ Muslim killed!) but of course it applies to presidential candidates too.

      • Dave
        Posted September 19, 2012 at 5:23 am | Permalink

        100000+ killed!! Is that all? Are you sure it wasn’t a million? Or maybe two million?? or a hundred million??? Obviously, I’ve known for a long time that George W. Bushitler is the most eeeevil person ever to walk the Earth, ever, but I’m surprised to hear that his body count is so low.

        For the record, George W. Bush liberated more muslims from tyranny in the space of 2 years than muslims had managed to do themselves in the previous 200. Not that they seem to show much gratitude, but hey ho, whatever.

        • Achrachno
          Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:52 am | Permalink

          Bush never liberated anyone, nor did he have any interest in doing so. And, yes at least 100,000 were killed in Iraq in the chaos that followed the invasion. It may be that the numbers are much higher, but it’s been difficult to document, especially with the occupying power actively resisting getting a count. The 100k is a minimum number. Of course, the number displaced, wounded/crippled, etc. is much higher.

          • Dale
            Posted September 19, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

            Yes and that’s not counting our lost Americans and our lost opportunity. No one seems to remember the unnecessary war started over lies and fabrications. I think that cognitive dissonance works that way. The Iraq war was such a huge mistake that we will never admit it to ourselves. This simply a function of the magnitude of the error. We’re still a good people since those who weren’t killed were ‘liberated’….. so now Shia Iraq is controlled from Shia Iran, just as predicted.

          • Gary W
            Posted September 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

            Bush never liberated anyone

            The U.S. invasion of Iraq deposed Saddam Hussein, a brutal dictator with a 20-year record of mass murder and military aggression who started two wars by invading Iran and Kuwait, attacked Israel with missiles, used chemical weapons on his own people, and was the cause of an enormous amount of death and destruction. Although the invasion and war have caused enormous problems in Iraq, the country now has a democratically-elected government, a constitution guaranteeing basic civil rights, a free press and a booming economy. Sounds like liberation to me.

            • Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

              A few points you again oh-so-conveniently overlooked.

              First, nasty as Saddam Hussein’s reign was, Iraq was the least barbaric and least religious regime in the region. He was bad, yes, but his neighbors were and are worse.

              Iraq was also the only secular Arab nation. It isn’t any more.

              Women had the least-bad lot in Iraq amongst the Islamic world, and many Iraqi women got degrees at Iraqi universities.

              And, before the sanctions, the Iraqi economy was doing just fine — hardly surprising, considering the vast oil reserves now being watched closely by the US military.

              You might also want to ask the millions of survivors of the hundred-thousand-plus civilians who died in the Iraq war if they think they’ve been liberated…or conquered.

              You also might want to ask the rest of the Islamic world that question, too. Hint: they don’t give a flying fuck what excuses some privileged idealistic Libertarian American guy dreams up in order to justify his jingoism. They care about the body count and about the collaborative puppet regime backed by the US military.

              b&

              • Gary W
                Posted September 19, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

                First, nasty as Saddam Hussein’s reign was, Iraq was the least barbaric and least religious regime in the region. He was bad, yes, but his neighbors were and are worse.

                I think the claim that Iraq under Saddam was “less barbaric” than Israel, Lebanon and Turkey is pretty absurd. But even if it were true, so what? Ditto for your claim about his treatment of women. “Sure, he was a genocidal maniac, but at least he was relatively nice to women.” That’s your argument?

                And, before the sanctions, the Iraqi economy was doing just fine — hardly surprising, considering the vast oil reserves

                Again, so what? Before the sanctions, Saddam used those oil reserves to fund his 20-year campaign of wars and mass murder. Are you suggesting that we should just have let him continue doing that, indefinitely into the future?

                You might also want to ask the millions of survivors of the hundred-thousand-plus civilians who died in the Iraq war if they think they’ve been liberated…or conquered

                Then you might want to ask the millions of survivors of the one-million-plus people killed in the Iran-Iraq war and the hundreds of thousands of people Saddam murdered in Iraq itself whether they think getting rid of him by force was a bad idea.

                You also might want to ask the rest of the Islamic world that question, too.

                Why?

                Hint: they don’t give a flying fuck what excuses some privileged idealistic Libertarian American guy dreams up in order to justify his jingoism.

                You know when Ben Goren realizes he doesn’t have an argument, because he starts with the personal attacks. It only took him a single comment this time.

              • Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

                Every argument you and the neocons have ever offered up for the conquest of Iraq is triply an argument for the conquest of Iran, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and more. Of all the Islamic nations one could make such arguments about, the arguments were the weakest against Iraq — and by a significant margin.

                Yet it was Iraq that we conquered (first), and we’re completely ignoring all those other countries who, by neocon logic, are even more worthy of conquest.

                …since you once again managed to miss the whole point of the post….

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

                Every argument you and the neocons have ever offered up for the conquest of Iraq is triply an argument for the conquest of Iran, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and more.

                No it isn’t. None of those countries has the record of aggression and violence that Saddam had. None of them poses as great a threat to peace and stability in the middle east as Saddam did.

              • Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

                Sorry, Gary. Your ignorance of the history of the Middle East isn’t something I can address here and now in anything even vaguely approaching the depth required.

                You might start, for example, by comparing the number of foreign terrorist acts sponsored by Iraq and by Libya….

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

                You might start, for example, by comparing the number of foreign terrorist acts sponsored by Iraq and by Libya….

                If you seriously think Saddam’s record of military attacks and genocide is somehow offset by some difference in sponsorship of terrorist acts, then produce your evidence.

                You’re going to need rather a lot of deaths from “foreign terrorist acts” to offset the more than one-million people who were killed in the Iran-Iraq war, or the hundreds of thousands of people Saddam murdered in his attacks on the Kurds.

              • Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

                Sorry, Gary. Get your own history tutor.

                If you knew anything about the history of the region, you’d know about the incessant hostile incursions by Iran, developing into an open armed conflict before Hussein formally declared war. You’d also know that his use of chemical weapons, horrific as it was, was no more than him lifting a page from the same WWI playbook that both Iran and Iraq were following, and a desperate attempt on his part to regain the momentum.

                Excusable? Hardly. Horrific? Absolutely.

                But not any worse than what Iran was doing to Iraq.

                I mean, you do know that the Iran-Iraq war was a trench war, complete with mass bayonet charges across open spaces? No, I doubt you do.

                Again. Not my job to try to condense a dissertation-worthy subject into a random blog post just for the sake of your enlightenment. Especially given your undue fondness for oversimplistic He-Man “Us Good! Them Evil” caricatures.

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted September 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

                Sorry, Gary. Get your own history tutor.

                It’s not my job to produce evidence for your claims. That’s your job. You can’t produce evidence that Saddam’s record of killing and destruction is somehow offset by terrorist acts sponsored by Libya because there is no such evidence. Compared to Saddam’s record, the number of deaths from terrorism is trivial.

                the incessant hostile incursions by Iran, developing into an open armed conflict before Hussein formally declared war.

                Er, Saddam started the war by invading Iran. Not the other way round. And he started another war by invading Kuwait. He attacked Israel with missiles. He engaged in numerous acts of military aggression during his time in power. Now show me what you claim to be an equivalent record of military aggression by Iran.

                You’d also know that his use of chemical weapons, horrific as it was, was no more than him lifting a page from the same WWI playbook that both Iran and Iraq were following,

                No, Saddam actually *used* chemical weapons against the Kurds in his own country, and also against Iran after he invaded that country.

              • Posted September 19, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

                One last try.

                Prior to 9/11, the worst terrorist attack on an airliner was carried out by Libyan agents acting in their official capacity. The Saddam Hussein regime had never carried out terrorist attacks on Western nations; Saddam Hussein hated Usama bin Laden; and Al Qaida never gained a foothold in Iraq until after we conquered it.

                Which is why, in the name of fighting state-sponsored terrorism and Al Qaida, we invaded Libya Iraq.

                Thanks to the UN inspectors and subsequently confirmed after the invasion, we know that Saddam Hussain had no nuclear weapons development plan. Iran has one, and has threatened Israel with annihilation.

                Which is why, in the name of protecting our interests in the Middle East and stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons, we invaded Iran Iraq.

                Usama bin Laden was a Saudi prince and 14 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. And, as I mentioned, Saddam Hussein would have nothing to do with bin Laden and Al Qaida.

                Which is why, in the name of striking back after 9/11 and ending the Al Qaida menace once and for all, we invaded Saudi Arabia Iraq.

                Gary, this is all basic, introductory-level, uncontroversial stuff that you don’t even need to have studied to know; keeping up with current events is plenty.

                Unless, of course, as you have, you’ve drunk the Neocon Koolaid. In which case you’ve left the reality-based world behind, and there’s no hope left for you.

                b&

    • gbjames
      Posted September 19, 2012 at 5:44 am | Permalink

      What drives me nuts is the argument that religion isn’t the central element of all of this. It is as if we should believe that religion isn’t central to today’s Republican Party platform and politics.

      When people are rioting and telling us explicitly that they are doing so because their deity and his BFF have been insulted, why do so many of us to respond with “no, you are _really_ doing it because of something else”?

      • Sigmund
        Posted September 19, 2012 at 5:51 am | Permalink

        I think the response to that point is that it takes a combination of political extremism AND religion to create the conditions necessary for these sort of incendiary protests.
        Yes, they are justifying their protests by refering to their religious beliefs, but other co-religionists (who don’t fall into the Islamist category) are not rioting or threatening and consider those who do to be in the wrong.
        As is the case of every extremist, they do not consider theie own views to be extreme. In fact they will probably label muslim moderates as extremists (extremely liberal = virtual or actual apostates.)

      • Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:14 am | Permalink

        It is as if we should believe that religion isn’t central to today’s Republican Party platform and politics.

        But religion is far from the most important factor in the Republican Party.

        Money is. Far and away, no questions asked.

        Sure, Romney and Rove and the Koch Brothers are using religion to further the ultimate goal of continuing the rape and pillage of the American economy — but no more so than they’re also using racism and jingoism.

        Romney has made it quite clear what his top priority is: for him and his ilk to steal wholesale from the Treasury, in the form of liquidating the Federal Government and appropriating the assets (sold, as is usual for Bain and friends, for pennies on the dollar) for himself (in the form of huge tax cuts for themselves).

        Is it any surprise that those behind hedge funds such as Bain that drove the liquidation of corporate America are now striving to do the same to the government as well, using the exact same tactics?

        b&

        • gbjames
          Posted September 19, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          I don’t know how you divvy up how important money is vs. how important religion is. I stand by my version. There may be (and is) a high stakes monied interest in (mostly) leadership roles within the R party but without the religious component the party would hardly exist. The money guys are willing to go purchase Democrats when they can, but without the religious right, today’s (R) Party would evaporate.

      • Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:31 am | Permalink

        Yes, of course religion plays a central role (as Jerry said in an earlier post, we’d have to be neurologically impaired if we thought otherwise), but there is much more going on. The Christian and Jewish holy books have many of the same sorts of horrible divine commands as the Muslim holy book; Christians and Jews have been just as bloody as Muslims in the past (Crusades by Christians, genocide by Israelites in distant past). So its not just religion. There are deeper sectarian and geopolitical reasons why many Muslims are so easy to roil up.

        Nevertheless, if the faith of Middle Eastern cultures was Bahai or Jainist, probably none of this would happen. But if they had been Jains, the Middle Eastern countries would probably still be colonies or puppet states of the US, Britain, and France.

        • gbjames
          Posted September 19, 2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink

          Exactly. (The part about “if they were Bahai or Jains”)

          All religion is poisonous but not all poisons are equally toxic.

      • Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

        “Religion is the greatest fomenter of hatred in the history of mankind.” — HL Menken

      • Sastra
        Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

        My understanding is that one of the reasons adherents value the religion of Islam so much is that it infuses itself into all areas of life: morals, meaning, politics, science, marketing, lifestyle, law, and so forth and so on. They don’t compartmentalize.

        This makes them more consistent. It also makes them more dangerous, and their mistakes more intractable. Because their religion is medieval bullshit.

        • JonLynnHarvey
          Posted September 19, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

          Unless you mean “medieval” in an informal slang way, the word wouldn’t apply to anything outside Western European history.

          Actually during the medieval period, Muslims were ahead of Western Europe in astronomy and math. In the 900s Muslim astronomers were the first to observe material outside the galaxy (Andromeda galaxy), figured out the tilt of the earth’s axis, and developed several new uses for the astrolabe. During that same period, Muslim mathematicians introduced the concepts of secant and cosecant into geometry. They were wayyyy ahead of medieval Western Europe.

          • Sastra
            Posted September 19, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

            I’ve already commented on the tendency to over-estimate how advanced the Muslims were in science over on the “anti-islamic film” thread, quoting from Taner Edis’ Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam. Yes, their knowledge and skill in understanding and dealing with nature was far advanced over what was going on in Europe during the Dark Ages, granted. But they weren’t really engaged in a ‘less developed’ form of modern science because their mindset was still in the classical/medieval tradition. And it wasn’t going to progress out, he argues — because it lacked too many of the characteristics and contingencies which eventually lead to the European enlightenment.

            At any rate, I wrote that their religion was medieval bullshit: revelations, mysticism, and a lot of rules about purity and ritual. The fact that they infused it into everything else doesn’t mean we ourselves have to see it all as a continuous whole: we can pick apart where it makes sense, and then where it doesn’t, from a secular perspective. You might have a good case, though, that the bullshit isn’t specifically medieval, but a more generic kind of bullshit found throughout history.

          • TJR
            Posted September 19, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

            I always think it is a bit misleading to talk about “moslem” or “arab” science. We don’t say “christian” science we say “western” or “european” science. Unfortunately the geographical extent of the arab empire and its successors means that there is no equivalently neat geographical term, so we fall back on the aforementioned misleading ones.

            “Lands which fell to the arab conquest” science would be the most accurate, but it isn’t catchy.

            Mesopotamia and its near neighbours had led the world in science and civilisation for most of the 4000 years prior to the arab conquest, so its no surprise that the central part of the arab empire in particular was still doing well. (If you think I’m unjustly ignoring China then substitute “the world outside of east asia” in the first sentence).

            • Posted September 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

              Your best bet is “the Islamic world,” or else something more specific such as “the Middle East” or “the Arabian Peninsula” or the like.

              “Arab” doesn’t work. (Modern) Iranians (mostly) aren’t arabs; they’re Persians. And they get rightfully upset at being mislabeled as arabs.

              The unifying feature of the countries generally under consideration really is the predominant religion of Islam. Indonesia, for example, is an Islamic nation, and is rightly grouped with Saudi Arabia in many of these discussions.

              And “Muslim” as a noun refers to an adherent of Islam, so its use in these constructs is often grammatically problematic.

              b&

              • TJR
                Posted September 19, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

                Fair point, and I was rather carelessly omitting places like indonesia which converted without being conquered first.

                My main point, which again carelessly I didn’t actually say, was that its misleading to say “islamic science” (or similar) rather than “science in the islamic world” (or similar), as this has greater connotations of “islam and science are great buddies” which are not justified.

  4. Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    Similarily, Occupy Wall Street was a politico-economic protest, but assembling the chutzpah for violence in such flagrant display throughout the Eastern Hemisphere requires a formal agreement with paradise.

  5. Tim Harris
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    I tend to support anybody who throws rocks at McDonalds (though not perhaps Mohammed). But I wish, Jerry, you would explain in greater detail precisely why you think Malik, who might be supposed to know something about these matters, ‘unduly neglects religion’in his analysis of the situation.

    • Dave
      Posted September 19, 2012 at 5:17 am | Permalink

      And if one of those rocks were to smash through the window of a McDonald’s and seriously injure a child drinking a milk shake, or perhaps a teenager flipping burgers behind the counter for minimum wage, would you still support the person who threw it?

      Are there any other legitimate businesses, patronized by ordinary people of their own free will, that you think deserve to be violently attacked? Do tell.

      • gbjames
        Posted September 19, 2012 at 5:39 am | Permalink

        I suspect Tim Harris is speaking of metaphorical rocks and that you are being overly literal in your read of his comment, Dave.

        • Tim Harris
          Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:13 am | Permalink

          I think Dave should be left to get his rocks off. Thank you, gbj.

      • Posted September 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        …ordinary people of their own WHAT?!

  6. Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    I think it is pretty darned obvious that Jesus n’ Mo liked my comment about Hindus attacking McDonalds for serving beef. No brag, just fact. ;>D

  7. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    With his four-paragraph pronouncement, the Ayatollah had transcended the traditional frontiers of Islam and placed the whole world under his jurisdiction.

    Interesting indeed. That may explain why an egyptian prosecutor’s office has decided to sue 7 copts and the producer involved in the production of The Innocence of Muslims, though no one lives in Egypt or should be under its jurisdiction.

    • Sigmund
      Posted September 19, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure about that. If I recall correctly, it has long been the case that the Egyptian courts would hear cases over which they had no hope of jurisdiction. Publicity seeking lawyers would lodge these cases just for the news coverage.

      • Posted September 19, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        And why shouldn’t they? The United States has a long tradition of doing the same, with some prominent examples in the news right now.

        b&

  8. frank sellout
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I think what is really sad about this situation, is that no one criticizes the vioelnce who is a Muslim. None of their leaders say anything and without that what can one think but that they totally agree and support this completely irrational violence.

    There is no visable moderate Islam that I can see and the reason I think this happening is because it keeps the people focused on demonizing foriegn powers for their poverty and ignorance rather than looking towards those who are ruling them.

    • Posted September 19, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      I think you may need to look a little harder. We just saw a series of photographs here showing protests by moderate Muslims.

    • horrabin
      Posted September 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Well, the president of Egypt got on TV and called for an end to the violence. Said it was anti-islamic. He’s kind of a high-profile leader.

  9. Leigh Jackson
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    “Newborn loses faith in humanity in a record six days.”

    Pure brilliance Onion!

  10. Dominic
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Wow – Jesus reads Viz! The artist must be British.


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