Drawing with Words

By Martin Hackworth

“Come get some.”
— Ash, Army of Darkness

Ahmad Fouad Ashoush is an obscure Egyptian cleric who would have remained blissfully anonymous in an indifferent world except for the fact that he claimed his fifteen minutes of fame by becoming the most recent megalomaniac to issue a fatwa (religious decree) calling for the deaths of infidels – in this case anyone associated with the production of the laughable YouTube sensation “Innocence of the Muslims.” The fact that the cast and crew of this film had no idea that the indie film they made about a meteor crash in a desert would be ultimately edited by producer Nakoula Basseley in such a manner as to be offensive to Muslims, matters not. So now these folks now get to join Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, author Salman Rushdie, filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, the creators of the television show South Park and free speech advocate Molly Norris as individuals with bounties on their heads over historically inaccurate nonsense.

Before I get wound up, with special deference to my Muslim, Jewish and Christian friends, I want to state, as plainly as possible, once again and for the record, that I have absolutely no objection to the peaceful observation and practice of religion. Though it’s not for me, I am just one guy with a column, not an entire encyclopedia of spiritual wisdom. You want to represent with a kufiya, a cassock and surplice, a yarmulke, magic underwear or a tinfoil hat – hey, it’s all the same to me, which is to say, your business. And as long as you don’t come peddling your wares at my door I’m down with it all. I do, however, take an active interest in what’s up when your practice of religion begins to interfere with my interest in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – especially the life part (I kind of have a thing about that). Along that line, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are nothing, in my book anyway, without the ability to say what’s on your mind. The right to speak freely you will remove from my unresponsive corpse.

So I’ve had just about enough of self-appointed conduits of god’s will issuing death threats, under the guise of religious decrees, against people that they simply don’t like – be it an infidel, an educator or an abortion doctor. If I had any skill as an artist, my column this week would consist of a drawing of the Prophet Mohammed cowering in the shadow of a 15-year old girl reading a school book. Since I do not possess such talent, I have to use my words instead. So here it is. If these prophets, saints, thetans and other gods of the heavens who inspire such devotion and obedience are supposed to be so all powerful and omniscient, why do they all seem to need dingbats here on earth to do their dirty work?

Well alright you fatwa-issuing chuckleheads, listen up. As the founding member and chief potentate of the decidedly ersatz Church of Perpetual Motion (check us out on Facebook), I am issuing my own religious decree, something that we call a wheelie-wa. I am calling for Ahmad Fouad Ashoush to get a taste of his own medicine in the form of ji-haw (voluble abuse). Anyone who can provide evidence that they’ve planted a foot, rhetorical or otherwise, square in the bum of this rascal gets a six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer and a shot of Maker’s Mark, courtesy of the brothers and sisters of the CoPM. The offer’s good for up to a year. That’s because I doubt that any of us can maintain interest it this screwhead for much longer than that. Yo, Ahmad – you feeling me, brother?

I’m with Molly Norris, who drew ire for her “Everybody draw Mohammed Day” protest. Molly’s idea was to get everyone to draw respectful pictures of the Prophet Mohammad on May 20, 2010 in protest of a series of fatwas that had been issued against various artists (particularly against the creators of South Park) by those who claim that any depiction of Mohammad is blasphemy. The more depictions that are out there, she reasoned, the less potent death threats become. I could not agree more. The best way to defend freedom of speech is through its intelligent and creative exercise. Molly Norris, a big old CoPM salute to you, and a PBR with a shot if you ever wander by.

So there you have it. You say jihad, I say ji-haw. Ahmad Fouad Ashoush partner, you’ve got a six-pack bounty on your head. You can take that anyway that you’d like. If you want to discuss it in person, the brethren and I are easy to find. Come get some.

Martin Hackworth of Pocatello is an award-winning columnist, physicist and editor of MotorcycleJazz.com.