Get ready, New Hampshire, because trouble may be coming your way. A Granite State resident has announced plans to host a Draw Muhammad cartoon contest, similar to the one in Garland, Texas last month. (From the local CBS affiliate)
A New Hampshire man wants to defy an Islamic prohibition on depicting the prophet Muhammad in pictures and plans to host a “Draw Muhammad” art contest in August.
Jerry Delemus, a 60-year-old former Marine, says the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment trumps any religion’s limitations on such expression, “If we back away from our freedom as citizens a little bit at a time, the next thing you know, we don’t have any freedoms left,” DeLemus explained to the CBS affiliate WGME.
DeLemus said he hasn’t heard from the local Islamic community, but residents in the area aren’t sure the event is a good idea. Eric Adema said, “I don’t understand the point of inciting violence, it’s just going to cause more problems.”
Clearly DeLemus is going into this with his eyes open, and being a Marine I doubt he’s easily cowed. He doesn’t have a venue yet, but with luck he’ll be taking the security situation seriously when selecting a location. With enough advance warning, state and Federal officials can be monitoring all the usual terror network chatter and perhaps catch a hint in advance if there are any unwelcome (and probably heavily armed) guests planning to attend.
I’m going on the assumption that Jerry has been following the news and is aware what he’s letting himself in for. After Pam Geller hosted her event in Texas, not only was the contest itself the target of violence, but terrorists issued a call for her execution. Further, when Usaamah Rahim was taken down by police in that Boston knife attack incident, he had purportedly been planning to behead Geller. From what I’ve seen in her interviews, Pam is taking extraordinary security precautions to this day. That’s no doubt wise. Charlie Hebdo had been sparring with terrorist for years before the big attack, so they clearly have long memories.
Assuming that DeLemus moves forward with this plan, expect it to turn into a non-stop media circus. But none of that is a reason not to do it. There will be unhappy folks in the neighborhood who will be fearful of an attack, but with enough planning that should be manageable. Who knows? It’s not all that far away for me. Perhaps I’ll stop by.