[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]
EricPWJohnson told me this was going to happen a two days ago and it went off as promised, a real palate cleanser after the sad news of today. Recently the Coptic Christians of Egypt have come under terror attack for nothing more than practicing their religion. But many good Muslims of the region have stepped up in the best way possible to address this threat:
Egypt’s Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as “human shields”
Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.
(Apparently the Coptics celebrate their Christmas on a different date.)
From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.
“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.
As they say, read the whole thing. It is really uplifting stuff.
As almost everyone here knows, when terrorists threatened the creators of South Park, I was a participant in the Everyone Draw Mohammed protest. From early on, a popular metaphor for this protest was this key scene in the movie Spartacus:
As Bagoh20 wrote toward the beginning:
“I am Spart[a]cus” is the perfect analogy to what this is. The South Park guys are the real one[s] being threatened and the only response that will defeat that is if millions stand up and say: [“]You will not confiscate our pens.”
So I salute every single person who has put their lives on the line to protect freedom of speech and religion. That includes the over 700 people who drew cartoons at the site I created, the 100K+ people who participated at facebook before being shut down by a jihadist hacker, and those Muslims who sat with their Coptic brothers and sisters this Christmas. Those Muslims are Good Samaritans in the truest sense.
Of course it is fair to note that the Everyone Draw Mohamed protest had the effect of offending many good Muslims, especially because those cartoons were often insulting beyond a mere depiction of Mohammed (pedophilia be upon him). I acknowledged as much right at the beginning of the controversy:
But Ann Althouse, and James Taranto (who gives a nice backgrounder) reply (in paraphrase), “but you will offend moderate Muslims.” Indeed we will and I want to be very clear. If I could think of any other way to do this, I would do it. I berated Althouse on her blog over and over, “what is the alternative?” No one has offered anything.
But they are correct that there is a cost to this approach. We will be posting messages that are dang near guaranteed to offend good Muslims who both respect their Prophet and the First Amendment. To them I say your sensibilities are collateral damage in the fight for freedom. To them I say it is a necessary evil.
I would have preferred to see our Federal Government show a more vigorous response to this, or just to see a stronger mainstream media response. Imagine if during the Danish cartoon controversy every paper in the U.S. decided to reprint the cartoons or simply to create their own. Instead, we were treated to pathetic display of Cnn showing pieces of paper showing the Mohammed cartoons, with Mohammed blurred out, reducing them to blurry piece of paper. And Comedy Central not only censored images of Mohammed, but even a speech talking about the need to be courageous, while announcing that they would “courageously” mock Jesus Christ in a weekly TV show. Regular people, Glenn Reynolds’ Army of Davids, stepped up because no one else was doing it. As I said over and over again, if someone had a better idea, I would welcome it.
But still this story should be filed away and recalled when someone says that all Muslims are bad or intolerant. Muslims are capable of being positively heroic in defense of freedom, as this story attests. And that is cause for optimism as we struggle against our common enemy in the terrorist movement.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]