Golden Rule behavior demands that we treat others as we would want to be treated given understanding of that individual’s circumstances.
Knowing that the Islamic faith prohibits depictions of its prophet Muhammad, is there ever an acceptable reason to produce and distribute cartoons about and including drawings of Muhammad?
Just after a $10,000 prize was handed out in Garland, Texas yesterday to the best caricature of Muhammad, two Muslim men attempted to shoot their way through the conference. Their assault began just moments after they were believed to have tweeted, “May Allah accept us as mujahideen” and stating their loyalty to the Islamic State. A police officer used his service pistol to kill the assault-rifle-armed attackers before they could inflict substantial harm.
In the immediate hours following the shooting, many media commentators questioned whether conference organizers had brought the attack on themselves. Given this reaction, is it ever acceptable to purposely offend? Following are seven questions worth considering in determining your answer:
- Was the offensive behavior—the caricature and condemnation of Muhammad—solely intended to offend, or was it pursued to achieve a higher purpose?
- If a higher purpose—or at least a serious purpose other than creating offense—was intended, could another method achieve that purpose without the offensive action?