Doug Marlette has a rather amusing–and yet scary–piece in the Columbia Journalism Review about some hate mail he’s gotten as a result of his “What Would Muhammed Drive?” cartoon.

My newspaper, The Tallahassee Democrat, and I received more than 20,000 e-mails demanding an apology for misrepresenting the peace-loving religion of the Prophet Mohammed–or else. Some spelled out the “else”: death, mutilation, Internet spam. “I will cut your fingers and put them in your mother’s ass.” “What you did, Mr. Dog, will cost you your life. Soon you will join the dogs . . . hahaha in hell.” “Just wait . . . we will see you in hell with all jews . . . .” The onslaught was orchestrated by an organization called the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR bills itself as an “advocacy group.” I was to discover that among the followers of Islam it advocated for were the men convicted of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. At any rate, its campaign against me included flash-floods of e-mail intended to shut down servers at my newspaper and my syndicate, as well as viruses aimed at my home computer. The controversy became a subject of newspaper editorials, columns, Web logs, talk radio, and CNN. I was condemned on the front page of the Saudi publication Arab News by the secretary general of the Muslim World League.


In my thirty-year career, I have regularly drawn cartoons that offended religious fundamentalists and true believers of every stripe, a fact that I tend to list in the “Accomplishments” column of my resume. I have outraged Christians by skewering Jerry Falwell, Catholics by needling the pope, and Jews by criticizing Israel. Those who rise up against the expression of ideas are strikingly similar. No one is less tolerant than those demanding tolerance. Despite differences of culture and creed, they all seem to share the notion that there is only one way of looking at things, their way. What I have learned from years of this is one of the great lessons of all the world’s religions: we are all one in our humanness.

(Hat tip: Kathy Kinsley)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kathy K says:

    I’ve been following Marlette since PTL days. I lived in Charlotte, NC back then, as did he (I’ve even met him). I often disagree with his politics and still think his cartoons are wonderful (even most of the ones I disagree with).

  2. James Joyner says:

    I first encountered him around that time, too, although it was with his daily Kudzu strip. I didn’t realize he was an editorial cartoonist until some time later.

  3. Kathy K says:

    I ran into him a bit before ‘Kudzu’ came out. Though I’ll admit I ran into kudzu before I ever heard of Doug. The stuff is overrunning NC. I loved his comic strip from day one, at least partly because of the name.