The recent attack in Texas against a "draw Mohammed" event ended up with two dead jihadis and widespread criticism of event organizer Pamela Geller for "inciting" or "provoking" the assault on our First Amendment right to free speech. The hypocrisies and ignorance behind such criticism have been amply documented, including by some on the left. But there's another argument against actions and events like Geller's that needs dismantling. This is the received wisdom that we should avoid criticizing Islamic doctrine or Mohammed because it will alienate moderate Muslims who otherwise would help us against the so-called "extremist" jihadists.
Geraldo Rivera on Fox News invoked this rationale in his hysterical attack on Geller for "spewing her hatred and making us all look like the intolerant jerks they are saying we are in the Middle East and elsewhere." In other words, most Muslims dislike the jihadis, who have "hijacked" and "distorted" their faith, and want to support our efforts against them. But they are put off by our "insults" of Mohammed and our "intolerance" of the wonderful "religion of peace," all of which serve to "recruit" new jihadists. Even Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham skirted this notion, advising against making any image of Mohammed, and thus in effect ratifying the legitimacy of the shari'a law against any representation of Mohammed, good or bad.