The “Draw Muhammad” contest that led to an ISIS-inspired attack in Garland, Texas, might soon be bringing its controversy to the nation’s capital. Pamela Geller, the president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, said the winning cartoon has been submitted to run on advertisements in a number of DC Metro stations and city buses.
“Drawing Muhammad is not illegal under American law, but only under Islamic law.” Geller wrote on Breitbart.com. “Violence that arises over the cartoons is solely the responsibility of the Islamic jihadists who perpetrate it,”
That might be true, but it’s still hard to picture cartoons of Muhammad hanging on the walls in the liberal D.C. Metro system without significant pushback from city authorities.
Then again, Geller’s group has already demonstrated an ability to successfully exercise its First Amendment rights in traditionally liberal cities. In New York the group managed to win a case that allowed it to run anti-jihadist posters throughout the subway with the words “Killing Jews.”
Free speech, Geller argues, shouldn’t be censored simply because fanatics threaten violence. Being offended, after all, is part of living in a multicultural society.
Besides, backing down wouldn’t appease the Islamists anyway, AFDI Vice President Robert Spencer told Breitbart. “Many people on both the left and the right are saying that we should do nothing to provoke Islamic fundamentalism,” Spencer said. “The immediate answer would seem to be that we should do nothing to provoke violent jihadists, that the prudent thing to do would be to avoid doing things that anger them. But if we did that, they would not they stop coming at us.”
Of course, “tolerant” liberals aren’t exactly supporting AFDI’s proposed free speech campaign. The Southern Poverty Law Center, for example, considers AFDI an anti-Muslim hate group and has even added the contest winner to their “watch list”.
It will be interesting to see if the left will ask Islamists for understanding and tolerance toward Geller and Spencer.
Don’t hold your breath.