Somali protestors demand teacher resign over Mohammed cartoons

Somali American protestors gathered outside the offices of the nonprofit Refugee Women's Alliance on January 30th. (Photo by Alex Garland)
Protestors gathered outside the offices of the nonprofit Refugee Women’s Alliance on January 30th. (Photo by Alex Garland)

Controversy over cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed hit home in Seattle recently, culminating in a protest outside of southend refugee service provider on Friday.

A group of Somali Americans gathered outside the Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA) on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way to demand the resignation of a teacher who showed the cartoons to her teenage students on the day after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.

“We’re not gonna be silent when it’s something that’s not right,” said Hassan Aden, who was one of between 15 to 20 people who attended the protest. “We’re trying to show that we’re not happy with what she did.”

The teacher, Deepa Bhandaru, recently earned her Ph.D from the UW Political Science department, and works for ReWA teaching a free class on world affairs for youth, where she showed the cartoons during a lesson on free speech and religious pluralism.

A post by the Stranger (where Bhandaru has written a number of film reviews and other articles) came to her defense, saying that she’d already sent lengthy letters of apology to her colleagues at ReWA and to a local mosque attended by some of her Somali students.

Bhandaru told the Stranger she thought the protest organizers were harping on the issue to score political points, and manipulating community members who didn’t speak English fluently. You can read the full post here (warning: the linked page contains a copy of one of the cartoons in questions).

Hassan Diis (left) and Ubah Warsame at the latest in a series of demonstrations at ReWA Friday demanding a teacher be fired. More protests are planned for next week. (Photo by Alex Garland)
Hassan Diis (left) and Ubah Warsame at the latest in a series of demonstrations at ReWA Friday demanding a teacher be fired. More protests are planned for next week. (Photo by Alex Garland)

When protesters arrived Friday afternoon the ReWA offices were shuttered, with all staff gone for the day, and an official statement taped to the door (posted in full below).

Shahzad Qadri, a member of ReWA’s board of directors said the decision to close was based on fears for the safety of the staff, following incidents of vandalism early in the week.

“A lot of teenagers in our community were very angry and frustrated,” said Fatma Yessef, who attended the protest with her daughter Sumaya. “We told them we have to vent our frustration in a peaceful, nice way and say ‘you cannot do this to our prophet.'”

Like Yessef, many at the protest said they’d lived in the U.S. for decades and emphasized that they embraced American values of freedom of speech and religion. But more than one participant said they felt that showing the cartoons to youth had crossed a line, and insisted that they would only be satisfied if Bhandaru were fired.

Qadri said the decision about Bhandaru’s future at ReWA would be made based on an ongoing internal investigation, the results of which would be public.

“We serve a multicultural group. Seventy percent of our client base is of Muslim descent, and I myself am a practicing Muslim,” he said. “Our goal is never to offend anyone.”

For Yessef, who said she’s know Bhandaru several years, the apologies were too little too late.

“She should respect us as much as we respect her — her religion, her personality,” she said. “I don’t want to disrespect anybody for the way they are…I don’t think it’s free speech to talk about somebody’s religion, somebody’s beloved prophet like that.”

The letter posted on the doors of ReWA Friday. (Photo by Alex Garland)
The letter posted on the doors of ReWA Friday. (Photo by Alex Garland)
Signs carried by Somali American protesters alluded to complaints about policy at ReWA beyond just the cartoons. (Photo by Alex Garland)
Signs carried by Somali American protesters alluded to complaints about policy at ReWA beyond just the cartoons. (Photo by Alex Garland)

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Alex Garland
Alex Garland is a freelance photojournalist in the Pacific Northwest covering local news with an emphasis on social justice and activism. If he's not in the streets tracking down stories, you might find him deep in the forest or near a river.

76 COMMENTS

  1. So, we pay to import these Somali muslims, give them free housing, food, cash and health care. Spend millions trying to get them functional in our society. And what do they do? They demand we change to their stupid culture. We don’t care about their prophet. He is not my prophet. Mo calls me a kafir, an infidel and commands his slaves to slaughter me if I mock him. Thanks State Dept PRM for bringing these worthless trolls to the US and giving them citizenship. The new Americans!

    • It is outrageous that we bring downtrodden people from third world countries supposedly to give them a better life with taxpayer’s handouts, and the least they can do is adapt to our values and also learn the language of those who compassionately are giving them a chance at a new better life, not the other way around! To add more insult to injury, they turn around and demand from us and even sue us too! And even worse yet, I do not see them protesting with this, or any, fervor against the Islamonazi cockroaches extremist acting in the name of their prophet Mohammed. I’m no expert but their religion, which I call an ideology because it excuses head-hacking, killing, torturing, abusing women and keeping them subjugated, is not one I want in my country. I do not want Sharia law here, it’s a backward justice in our modern millennial world. What, are supposed to now go back in time too for these people? If it is so important to them, then don’t come here. Nobody is forcing them to come or change their so-called religion! IT’S FROM ANOTHER GALAXY OR BEFORE THE MIDDLE AGES…FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS WHAT WE HAVE HERE, AS LONG AS ONE DOES NOT CAUSE A CRIME, WE CAN SHOW MOHAMMED SATIRIZED, JUST LIKE WE (disgustedly) ALLOW OUR FLAG TO BE BURNT AND CHRIST BE URINATED UPON IN SO-CALLED ART WORK…AND WHERE IS THEIR OUTRAGE ABOUT THE JORDANIAN PILOT BURNT ALIVE, ABOUT OUR AND THEIR MUSLIM PEOPLE BEING HACKED TO DEATH AND PUBLICLY PARADED SO IN VIDEOS??? WE SAY ADAPT OR GET OUT!

  2. If these muslims are unhappy with freedom of speech, then perhaps they should go and live in a muslim country where free speech is not permitted. Contrary to what the protester’s sign states above, freedom of speech most definitely means freedom to offend. This teacher should not be fired. She was teaching American values and the Constitution. Yes it is free speech to insult another person’s religion. So these people come here and as the poster above said, they are getting all sorts of free things and then they demand that we sacrifice one of our most sacred rights so as not to offend them and then they threaten violence on top it. Further proof that that Islam and the Constitution are antithetical to each other and that these 7th century throwbacks do not belong here.

    • Wait, so because they’re expressing their freedom of speech and for that they should leave? Because they disagree with you? So apparently freedom of speech means freedom to say what you agree with, right?

      • Acting within the law to actively dismantle the law is disregarding the spirit of the law. (I’m looking back at that sentence and dr. Seuss comes to mind but I’m too tired to change it)

        • Jangofret, perfect reply to Matt and Mark. I would only add that using the law to punish someone for disseminating rational info reeks of an Islamist political ideology.

      • The came here because Somalia is a failed state. Rather than learning how to live in a civilized society they wish to re-create the failure they came from. Education is not always pleasant, an education includes learning things that are contrary to what you would prefer. There are non-negotiables to living in the modern world, freedom of speech is one of them. Learning to be offended and them acting like a grown-up, putting on your big boy pants and moving on is a very good experience for people whose prior experience of offense resolution involves the use of weaponry and murder. If they are unable to adjust, perhaps they do not have the capacity to peacefully live in the modern world and would prefer a less intellectually demanding environment.

      • expressing freedom of speech is what they are against, and what they are doing is demanding that the very freedom of speech be changed…there is s fine line between freedom of speech and activism

      • for those who like to defend these muslims, remember that they want to change the laws that you, the liberal, will absolutely hate…their laws would see most of you liberals in prison or executed

      • How does that even make sense? Democrats are the ones who dislike religious law period.

        Sharia law would be so much better then the Christian dominism the republicans are pushing though, I’m sure our country would get along wonderfully with a legal system based on a parody of 10th century christianity and it would be so much different then one based on a parody of 10th century Islam!

  3. ReWA’s mission is wrong. Why strengthen communities? The mission should be to integrate them, not isolate them into strong communities. These people will never integrate. Nobody will ever hire these females; they’ll be a lifetime burden to taxpayer.

    A cartoon is not offensive, it has no power.
    What is offensive to me: when I see a young female wearing the garb that will prevent her from ever feeling the wind in her hair and the sun caress her neck for her entire lifetime, this is offensive. When I see these young females wrapped up in envelopes with only their faces and hands visible; this is a crime against female children and I am OFFENDED by this.

    Finally, has anyone ever bothered to test the I.Q. of these individuals?

    • This is such as important point that you are making Sunshine. Immigrants can celebrate some of their traditions but the message should be to integrate and to become members of the larger community in which they live. Separating everyone into groups is counterproductive and damaging to our humanity. ReWA’s mission should be to show new immigrants what their culture has in common with the USA and to appreciate the good that our culture brings to those who adopt it.

    • I couldn’t have said it better. I have the same strong feelings when I see fellow women subjugated like this, yet I shut up and tolerate it even though they are in y country. However, if they begin demanding from us, then they are changing the equation, and WE here in our country can then demand they either stop or get out! Why is it only women who have to be ashamed of exposing their faces? Why is it not their Sharia law applying to men equally? What’s good for the goose it is good for the gander…If this is what they want, then stay where you came from, otherwise ADAPT, INTEGRATE, AND GO PAY TAXES, and modernize!

  4. The teacher should get a raise. It is important for students to see and understand blasphemy laws in action. Limiting speech threatens the freedom of all people including Muslims.

    • “Contrary to what that woman’s sign says, freedom of speech is freedom to offend. If freedom of speech was limited by what someone else found offense then all speech could be silenced merely, by someone else claiming they were offended. This was the finding of U.S. Supreme Court in Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989) and in U.S. V. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990).
      Statutes that prohibit the desecration of the U.S. flag have been found to restrict free expression unconstitutionally. In texas v. johnson, 491 U.S. 397, 109 S. Ct. 2533, 105 L. Ed. 2d 342 (1989), the Court overturned Gregory L. Johnson’s conviction for burning a U.S. flag during a demonstration. Johnson’s actions were communicative conduct that warranted First Amendment protection, even though they were repugnant to many people. Similarly, in United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310, 110 S. Ct. 2404, 110 L. Ed. 2d 287 (1990), the Court struck down the federal Flag Protection Act of 1989, 103 Stat. 777, 18 U.S.C.A. § 700, stating that the government’s interest in passing the act had been a desire to suppress free expression and the content of the message that the act of flag burning conveys.” as stated by another poster here

  5. If Muslims are offended at images of Moohammed they should divert their gaze elsewhere or go live in a country that implements sharia law.

    • Couldn’t agree more, Canadian here. If you move to any country you should expect to live by their laws and not the laws of the country that they left. Oh my pork fried bacon wrapped pork steak offends you cause I painted a picture of Mohammed on it. Thanks for the information ill make note not to make you a piece of art in the future. This world is a big place if the person in your immediate area is making you angry then leave. They did it once before, I’m sure that they can afford to do it again.

  6. To them, this is just the beginning of their goal to replace manmade U.S., state, and local laws with Islamic law. If they are allowed to get away with this they will continue their jihad.

  7. Let’s see if I have this straight: We allow these refugees to live in this, the greatest country in the world. We give them jobs, free housing, medicaid, food stamps and every other tax-payer benefit under the sun. They offer us absolutely nothing in return then DEMAND we throw that whole free speech thing out the window so their wittle feelings don’t get hurt? Have we gone insane? These Muslims are increasing in numbers by the millions and we had better get a backbone before this country is unrecognizable. Savages.

  8. The lady in the first picture is wrong. Freedom of speech *is* freedom to offend.

    If its not we’ll have to ban the Quran

  9. Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion’. Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.” – Salman Rushdie

  10. Islam is a collective pathology. Yes most Muslims are fine people, but the majority of Muslims are held captive by a few zealous fanatics who threaten violence if they try to leave Islam.

    Learn about Islam. It is not the “religion of peace” our elected politicians force feed us.

    Read how fear drives and holds Islam together at: http://islamsfatalflaw.blogspot.com/

    Here is the beginning.

    Would you wear a T-shirt with a Mohammad cartoon printed on it?

    You might in Montana. Don’t try it in Mecca.

    Why?

    Because, Islam trains a small number of its most devout believers it’s OK to kill. And Islamic killers have been trained to kill anyone who insults Allah and/or Mohammad.

    In Montana you’d have a good chance none of these Islamic killers would see you.

    In Mecca you wouldn’t last five minutes. One of Islam’s killers would come from out of nowhere and kill you. It is that simple.

    You don’t believe me? Ask any Muslim!

  11. Memo to Hassan Aden, Sorry but this is America not Crapholeastan, it’s called ‘Freedom of speech’

  12. Funding for this group?
    From their site:
    “ReWA has a broad base of funding, including federal and local governments …”
    Much like Britain King County taxpayers are supporting our own eventual overthrow.

  13. If people don’t stand up fro their right there won’t be any rights. Deepa Bhandaru and ReWA are disgraceful.

    • How disgraceful are they? You haven’t read REWA’s official statement. If freedom is not tolerated, then we’re not any better than the countries they left behind to settle here.

  14. Contrary to what that woman’s sign says, freedom of speech is freedom to offend. If freedom of speech was limited by what someone else found offense then all speech could be silenced merely, by someone else claiming they were offended. This was the finding of U.S. Supreme Court in Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989) and in U.S. V. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990).

    Statutes that prohibit the desecration of the U.S. flag have been found to restrict free expression unconstitutionally. In texas v. johnson, 491 U.S. 397, 109 S. Ct. 2533, 105 L. Ed. 2d 342 (1989), the Court overturned Gregory L. Johnson’s conviction for burning a U.S. flag during a demonstration. Johnson’s actions were communicative conduct that warranted First Amendment protection, even though they were repugnant to many people. Similarly, in United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310, 110 S. Ct. 2404, 110 L. Ed. 2d 287 (1990), the Court struck down the federal Flag Protection Act of 1989, 103 Stat. 777, 18 U.S.C.A. § 700, stating that the government’s interest in passing the act had been a desire to suppress free expression and the content of the message that the act of flag burning conveys.

  15. Sounds like the lesson she was teaching continues to be taught outside the classroom. Like a field trip. Curious what these people thought they were committing to in embracing principles of free speech and tolerance when becoming Americans. Might be best for the mutual benefit of their community and everyone else if the terms are laid out as clearly as possible when they choose to become a part. That way they have the free option of returning to their communities of origin and not feeling conned into something they never signed onto.

    • Good observation that this teachers’ lesson is continuing. And how. Your terms would be a spot on criteria for a voluntary repatriation program which is needed now more than ever.

  16. Informed rational freedom loving people have all the reasons in the world to fear islam. The twin fogs of political correctness & ignorance must be dispersed before western society better understands this menace. Even a brief review of islamic theology & history quickly exposes the deadly roots of this evil ideology.

    Mohamhead was a 7th century murdering warlord who rose to power on a river of blood surrounded by thugs and gangsters using intimidation, violence, deception and trickery to expand their criminal empire while mercilessly suppressing and killing their opponents and enriching themselves on stolen booty.

    The evil koran is a collection of sayings and speeches by this diabolical madman claiming divine guidance from some mythical sky-god which has inspired generations of crazed fanatics to abhorrent behavior resulting in historys worst ever crimes against humanity starting 1400 years ago and still continuing even today.

    Islam is just another fascist totalitarian ideology used by power hungry fanatics on yet another quest for worldwide domination and includes all the usual human rights abuses & suppression of freedoms.

    facts, all facts.

    • Well said, it is a fascist ideology as dangerous as Hitler’s version of it in the 1930’s and the appeasement we witness nowadays is eerily reminiscent of that of used by France and UK on the eve of WWII.

  17. Why should she apologize for teaching Somali students about the realities of freedom of speech and freedom of expression? I find that the only disgusting portion of the incident.

    If the Somalis are uncomfortable with freedom of speech and expression, then perhaps they should relocate to the Muslim country of their choice. I am sure that they could find work in Saudi, and that they would be much happier there. Saudi hires many unskilled workers; and Saudi strictly controls what may be said or done within its borders. Somalis in Saudi would simply vanish if they decided to complain about Saudi internal policies.

    Make no mistake; even Jeff Siddiqui of the Puget Sound Muslim Alliance seems to believe that freedom of expression and freedom of speech are wrong, and that the teacher should be fired if she hasn’t realized her alleged mistake. Unless young Muslims are taught to understand the cultural values of those around them, we have a very good chance of having the communal riots and violence that have been seen in the UK and France as alienated youth, lacking an understanding of the values of the other communities in the society, lash out with violence over perceived blasphemy.

  18. Don’t like it? Go back where you came from. Freedom of speech means freedom of speech. I get squeamish about “Piss Christ” and I get sick to my stomach thinking about Westboro Baptist Church, the KKK….but guess what, we allow all these kinds of freedom of speech.

  19. If REWA gives into this nonsense, they should be barred from receiving government funds, and they should be removed from United Way.

    The only thing I find disturbing is that the teacher apologized for expecting the Somalis to react rationally and learn to live in the US.

    Perhaps the Somalis should be asked to relocate to a Muslim country. They won’t do so as most Muslim countries do not offer generous welfare programs.

    Please note that there are very few, if any, Muslim countries that permit any sort of public demonstrations by non-citizens – in fact, most don’t even allow private dissent from actual citizens.

  20. Yes actually free speech does mean you can be offended, sorry that is the way it works.. You have to be allowed to say things people don’t like or agree with. Might not be a good marketing plan if you offend the majority of your customers and they are free to take their business elsewhere.

  21. The one ladies sign (Freedom of speech is not freedom to offend) kills me, The right to free speech is ABSOLUTELY the right to offend! People offend me with what they say every day, and when they do am thankful I still live in a country where peoples right to expression (even if it offends me personally) is still intact. This particular article didn’t mention it but I’ve read others that say the protesters vandalized a building.
    Freedom of speech is protected by law, destruction of property is not.

  22. Someone needs to sit down with these people and explain what it means to immigrate to a free nation. What free speech and freedom of religion really means. Their attempt to impose their restrictions on what others can say an do is against the law here in America. Anyone who gives into this is breaking the laws of the US. The is the exact reason that Muslims have a problem were ever they go – They do not respect others rights to an opinion and think they have the right to impose their religion on others. In other cases they want pork not to be sold in markets, Churches to remove bell and signs, the right to cut on females, kill family members if insulted, and the list goes on. Let them talk and protest that’s their right. The woman should get a lawyer and sue the protesters for harassment and endangerment – that is her right. Is there any good lawyers out there that can help?

  23. Like political correctness, the term “blasphemy” is just another name for camouflaged claims that my version of god (or public life or society) is right and yours is wrong — and I should have the “right” to coerce you to practice my version. For those who proclaim Islam to be a religion of peace, it is past time to examine the violence done by “good” Muslims (Shia and Sunni) throughout the world and realize that it is RELIGION which legitimates the violence. Muslims are not alone in their pattern of emotional denial of responsibility. Christians, Jews, Hindus, and many other mainstream religions have a similar history. And all forms of fascism ultimately reduce to the same thinking and the same investment of faith (redirected from a sky god to an earthly Leader with a capital L).

    There are good people in every religion. But I would suggest that it is not religion which makes them good. In fact quite the contrary. They are charitable and loving people IN SPITE OF the silly nonsense which they believe. When I talk about religion with people who are inclined to invest faith in it, I frequently ask two questions:

    (1) When in human history has the practice of humanistic ethics or the valuing of human beings for ourselves ever resulted in mass atrocity?

    (2) Similarly, when has the practice of religion ever NOT done so? Minor exceptions can be quoted in Jainism, perhaps — but the simple rarity of examples should make the point. Religion may reasonably be seen as the source of most if not all evil in our world.

  24. Wait — I thought I was at Seattle Globalist, not Seattle Times. The unexamined privilege inherent in these comments makes me shudder.

  25. SUPPORT THIS TEACHER AND AMERICAN VALUES!

    Call the Refugee Women’s Alliance at 206-721-0243 and tell them you support they and the teacher under attack by these Muslim Fundamentalists.

    They came to the U.S. for a better life, yet now want to impose their home country’s problems on us. If they don’t like Freedom of Speech and the other things Americans take for granted, then they need to go back home. Also, perhaps this group and it’s supporters should be investigated by the IRS and Child Protective Services, since they seem deard set on living like they did in Somalia!

  26. Really, Alex & Alex? An article on the destruction of Free Speech and you put yourselves under SHARIA by providing the standard MuslimTriggerWarning…”You can read the full post here (warning: the linked page contains a copy of one of the cartoons in questions).”

    WARNING, bad paraphrase: For evil to triumph it “only” takes good men to do nothing.

  27. Perhaps these muslims should return to the country from where they came. No more muslim immigration forced on us by the UN, and our pathetic state dept.

    • As a Veteran: If they want to live in the U.S.A., adapt to U.S. Customs! If NOT Get the Hell out of our Country and take the Traitor Obama with you!

  28. Wow, BIG NEWS! a protest of PERHAPS 15 or 20 people, altho there are no more than 7 people in any of the pictures of the ‘crowd’, and 1 is a child.
    “More than one” insisted the teacher be fired. How many was that? Two?
    The fact that this non-event is even ‘news’ and that there are so many irate comments is far more telling of how m0r0nic, hateful, and bigoted americans are than anything about muslims. zig heil, patriots.

  29. You people come her to suck off the taxpayer and get a free education at MY expense, then you don’t like the way the teacher teaches, then go back to where you came from! No one asked you to come here in the first place! Getting sick of the crap!

  30. Playing with fire!
    Freedom of speech is a very interesting game to play. But we don’t fully understand it. Is freedom of speech natural or is it man made? Is freedom of speech unlimited or it comes with responsibility? The freedom or the right to offend others versus freedom to feel offended or not offended
    Personally, I don’t see the wisdom in insulting other people’s religions. We should not insult any religion or heard of religions or prophets, period. If religion is intelligently questioned or challenged for the purpose of higher learning or for more advanced discussions, I don’t mind. But please, do not unleash your hatred and bigotry and hide under freedom of speech.

    • @ Gousa Ibrahim The only ones playing with fire are the protestors who will be struck down at every lawsuit they try to launch. Freedom of speech is not hard to understand. You have the freedom to express yourself unfettered until it infringes on another person’s rights. You have no right not to be insulted. You’re insulted by things, I’m insulted by things, we’re all insulted by things. It is only the ignorant ones claiming that their rights have been infringed by these insults. Certainly self-control is appreciated, but it’s not mandated. If your argument is about respect, self-censorship is not it. You say you’re okay with intelligent criticism, but the sort of thinking that you’re espousing historically has led to a stifling atmosphere where no one is welcome to say anything that could even remotely be considered insulting. The right not to be insulted cannot co-exist with freedom of speech. So plug your ears, grow a thicker skin, or get out your signs and protest, but don’t pretend like you have the right not to be insulted. You don’t now and you never will, and that’s a good thing for everyone, including yourself. I’m just sorry you don’t understand why.

    • We understand it completely. You don’t have the right to not be offended. Why am I required to show respect to your fantasy god, prophet or bozo the clown. I don’t believe in what you believe. Therefore, I am under no obligation to respect what you believe. Get over it.

    • You know you might be on to something here. Do we really want unlimited free speech? With unlimited free speech we end up with hate speech like what is promoted in the Bible or Quran. You’re right that free speech does come with responsibility and we don’t have the right to offend. I personally think the Quran should be banned because of all the hate speech it promotes. It’s sexist against women, bigoted against non-Muslims, bigoted against pagans and non-believers, bigoted against homosexuals, uses foul language that promotes violence, etc. Personally, I don’t see the wisdom in hiding behind religion to promote hate speech or abusing our free speech laws to promote hate speech.

      Let this be a warning to Muslims, if you keep trying to undermine the wests most important values like free speech and separation of church (that includes your religion) and state you are going to see a huge backlash from the left and right. I personally will start petitioning to have your religion banned as hate speech in retaliation for trying to censor free speech. If you want to play the game of trying to censor us then we will censor you.

      And for the record, I’m a progressive. Just because I criticize far right Christian lunatics doesn’t mean I’m on your side either. In my opinion you’re the same kind of terribly oppressive people and neither group deserves respect until they grow up and learn to respect others. Until your religions stop preaching hatred against the vast majority of humanity I will work to classify it as hate speech especially if you try to prevent me from seeing cartoons or try to censor me from criticizing the gross aspects of your beliefs.

  31. Dear people holding the sign,

    Your religion is your own. You have the freedom to practice it as you see fit. What you do NOT have the right to do is try to force others to abide by your religion, which is what you are trying to do by attempting to get someone fired for not following what you choose to do in your religion.

    We are not going to FIRE someone because they did something outside what your religion dictates, got it? Freedom of speech IS freedom to offend as no one can cover every arbitrary dictate of every religion, okay? Welcome to America. Join up or get out. Personally I’m offended by your blatant display of puerile idiocy. Perhaps you should be fired from your jobs.

  32. Sorry muslims but your rules don’t apply to me. If you don’t want to draw Mohammed, then don’t. But don’t tell me I can’t draw Mohammed, can’t eat pork, or that I must wear a sack over my head.

    Je Suis Charlie.

  33. Somali immigrants are some of the most troublesome of all Muslim immigrant groups. The NY Times and others have documented the pattern of Somali immigrants moving in large numbers to small and medium-sized towns across America where there are meat-packing plants. They get jobs at the plants and when they have a majority of workers at a particular plant they demand FIVE daily “prayer breaks” of 15 minutes each, based on “religious requirements”. That totals an hour and a quarter per day and it is usually Hispanic workers who must take up the slack and fill in for these Somali workers while they are “praying”.

  34. I cannot help but see the incredible irony on an article dealing with freedom of speech peppered with “This post has been removed in accordance with our comment policy” in the comment section.

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