Cartoonist Bill Leak has easily the best column I've read in The Australian in months.
Political correctness has been thriving in the Islamic world since the seventh century. Not even the smuggest, most self-righteous social justice warrior in Australia today could hold a candle to Mohammed, who made the anti-guy guy David Morrison look like Rodney Rude. Mohammed occasionally smiled but would never display his tonsils, though one of his disciples once did report excitedly that he “indeed saw the Messenger of Allah laugh till his front teeth were exposed”.
He also advised his followers not to laugh because “laughing too much deadens the heart” and warned them off joking by saying: “A man may say something to make his companions laugh, and he will fall into Hell as far as the Pleiades because of it.” In other words, the reward for anyone telling jokes and making his mates laugh was to spend eternity burning in the fires of hell.
If you want to crack a gag at an Islamist open mic night you’ve got to make sure you stick within the guidelines as laid down in the Koran and Hadith. And that means “for humour to be in accordance with Islam, the joke should not insult anyone, should not frighten anyone, should be within the limits of Islamic tolerance, should tell the truth, should not be offensive, should not contain un-Islamic material or promote immorality or indecency”.
I'll tell you what does sound familiar Bill after my 2GB Muhammad-the-Paedophile commentary:
The keyboard warriors of the humourless Left could learn a thing or two from that old prankster, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who said: “Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humour in Islam. There is no fun in Islam.” And he wasn’t joking.
In 1989 he issued a fatwa on Salman Rushdie for writing a book. Sixteen years later a group of cartoonists in Denmark proved you no longer had to go to the trouble of writing a whole book to put your life, and the lives of others, in danger; drawing a cartoon would do the trick.
Two hundred people died in riots that swept across the world because a single page full of cartoons was published in a Danish newspaper.
Ten years later, 12 people were shot dead in the office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, five of whom were cartoonists.
Two days later I drew an innocuous cartoon in response to this atrocity and woke up the next morning with a roaring fatwa. Officers in the counter-terrorist unit were picking up instructions to “fellow mujaheddin” in Australia from some wannabe gangsta of Islamic State to hunt me down and kill me for having offended the delicate sensitivities of adherents of a religion that imposed restrictions on humour.
I hope someone can help me with this - these final few paragraphs as I read them online this morning start with "Islam has declared war on...." I'm sure when I first read this piece online in the early hours of this morning it said, "We are at war with..."
Islamists have declared war on our civilisation and the best our politically correct politicians can do is assure us that if we all delete the word Islam from our vocabularies the threat, along with the word, will somehow just magically disappear. And our cartoonists, whose job it is to ridicule politicians when they spout nonsense like that, are letting them get away with it. Well, they shouldn’t.
You may not be able to ride your pushbike without a helmet, you may have to look at close-ups of corpses while you’re outside in the rain having a smoke, and old Nanny State may have assumed the right to tell you when it’s time to stop drinking and go home to bed, but here in the Lucky Country you can still find a space where it’s safe to tell a joke and people like me can still make a living out of poking fun at people in power.
It was hard enough to find somebody who hadn’t already heard the joke I told at that disastrous dinner party and now, after it has been circulating for nearly 40 more years, it’s almost impossible. But my mate Ramin, who comes from Tehran and knows a thing or two about what it’s like to live in a country where you can be thrown into jail and flogged for dancing, hadn’t heard it until I told it to him a week ago. I hadn’t even reached the final word of the punchline, “And why do you ask, Two Dogs …”, when he threw his head back and laughed until his tonsils showed.
Bill Leak draws the daily editorial cartoons in The Australian.
He has won nine Walkley Awards, 19 Stanley Awards and two News Awards.