It's no shock to anyone that I'm not a fan of Muhammad. Nevertheless, I also believe in being nice to people, unless there's a very good reason not to be nice. Thus, I don't go around calling Muhammad a "pedophile" or drawing pictures of him--not because I care about Muhammad's feelings (he's dead), but because there's no need to pointlessly upset people. The same attitude is held by most critics of Islam, as well as by most of the people who visit this blog.
Yet many of us believe that it is morally wrong to comply with terrorist threats. To back down when threatened is to encourage further threats. When terrorists are attacking our fundamental rights, the situation is even worse. The Founding Fathers of the United States were willing to lay down their lives so that future generations would have certain freedoms. Success for groups like Revolution Muslim would mean the end of these freedoms. Thus, when terrorists say, "Don't do X, or you'll end up like Theo Van Gogh," the natural response is to show the world what all the fuss is about, and how silly it is to want to kill someone over something like this:
(I posted the Danish cartoons several years ago here when the riots started.)
But Revolution Muslim got what they wanted. Comedy Central is now terrified of even mentioning Muhammad in a cartoon. Even Molly Norris, who suggested an international "Draw Muhammad" Day, backed down almost immediately. She's now going to Muslim meetings to show that she's repented of her sin (of standing up for free speech). Yet others aren't so quick to give up their freedoms, and there is a desire to teach terrorists a lesson when they try to intimidate people. The attitude seems to be: "If you threaten us for doing X, we're going to do X even more. Eventually you'll learn to quit threatening us."
Of course, there are many different positions one may take. On one end of the spectrum, there are people who want to draw cartoons of Muhammad simply to offend Muslims. Their desire to offend Muslims has nothing to do with the recent threats to Matt Stone and Trey Parker; they're simply using this as an opportunity to vent the anger they already had. On the other end of the spectrum are Muslims who want to slaughter anyone who dares criticize, insult, or draw Muhammad. Some of them are dying for an excuse to kill a kafir. Most of us, whether Christian or Muslim, are somewhere in between these extremes.
Take Sami Zaatari, who offers a different response to cartoons of Muhammad:
Consider some of the differences between Sami's method and Revolution Muslim's method.
(1) Sami's method is less likely to start a massive cartoon campaign against Muhammad. There's nothing in the video that would be considered a threat to free speech, and therefore nothing to upset people. The angry folks at the end of the spectrum are going to continue drawing pictures of Muhammad (just as Muslims at the opposite end will continue shouting threats), but the rest of the world will have no desire to go overboard.
(2) Revolution Muslim's method is more likely to cause networks like Comedy Central to back down. That is, like it or not, the threat of violence can be effective to a certain degree. In the long run, however, such threats may be counterproductive. Consider the Danish Cartoon Controversy. If Muslims of the world had remained quiet and peaceful in response to the cartoons, no one would even remember the cartoons, and South Park wouldn't have bothered responding.
(3) Both methods are in line with Muhammad's teachings. We have records of Muhammad enduring persecution without immediate retaliation, and we have records of Muhammad ordering the deaths of those who insult him. Indeed, since the position of Muslims in the West is similar to the position of the early Muslim community in Mecca (i.e. they are a minority), and since Muhammad didn't resort to violence when he was significantly outnumbered, one could argue that Muslims in the West should not resort to violence when Muhammad is insulted (at least until the Muslim population increases dramatically).
(4) If success is the goal (that is, if Muslims really don't want to see Muhammad insulted), threats certainly aren't the way to go. It's only a matter of time before people like Parker and Stone go on a cartoon rampage, and this wouldn't happen if Muslims weren't trying to intimidate people into giving Islam a privileged status.
(5) Sami's approach leads to further dialogue and investigation, while Revolution Muslim's approach leads to further threats (from Muslims) and insults (from non-Muslims). For instance, Sami proposes videos about Muhammad's wonderful teachings. I'll most likely respond to those videos, arguing that Muslims are ripping the teachings out of context, ignoring other teachings, etc., at which point Muslims will disagree with me, and I'll disagree with them, and they'll call me an islamophobe, and I'll do three episodes of "Jesus or Muhammad" on the issues, etc. But isn't this back-and-forth better than the threats-insults-more threats-more insults exchange?
With all of this said, I think it's too late. Sami will likely get a good response, but groups like Revolution Muslim will continue to threaten people, and people will respond with insults, and so on. I see a spiral starting.