Earlier this week, Kansas City Star reporter Eric Adler interviewed the grieving parents of Nadir Soofi, who, with his partner in crime Elton Simpson, attempted a Charlie Hebdo-style slaughter of all the participants of a Draw Mohammed contest in Garland, Texas, on Sunday. The would-be jihadists, armed with assault rifles and wearing body armor, were gunned down by a traffic officer working after-hours as security for the event and armed only with a service pistol.
The father, Azam Soofi, said Nadir was “a great son, a caring soul, and a beautiful person.”
Nadir’s stepmother, Nadia Azam, spoke to the KC Star reporter in a “frustrated pitch,” raising questions about the purpose of the cartoon contest, and suggesting that it was “illegal or immoral.” And she was shockingly ambivalent about her stepson’s terrorist activities. “I’m not saying what he did was right or wrong,” she told the Star.
“My question is, what did they (the organizers) get out of this? How was this event a productive thing for either now or in the future? How was this productive for the average U.S. citizen? Can you answer that one question? How does it make America a better place? This is what I want to know.”
She said it was not for her to judge whether the event was designed as an expression of free speech, or to incite. “That’s for scholars to debate,” she said. “But when you beef up security so much, you know that what you’re doing is illegal or immoral.
“He didn’t have to do it, she said of Nadir Soofi’s actions. “I’m not defending him. I’m not saying what he did was right or wrong. But how was this event productive? What did it accomplish?”
What did it accomplish? I think Rich Lowry put best it at Politico: “the event was placing a stake in contested ground, in a way it wouldn’t have if it had offended Quakers or Roman Catholics, who don’t massacre people who insult them. It was a statement of defiance, of an unwillingness to abide by the rules of fanatics.”
For better or worse, we live in a society in which nothing is sacred. If we are to accept the assassin’s veto, the only exception (for now) will be depictions of Muhammad, which would be perverse. A free society can’t let the parameters of its speech be set by murderous extremists.
Give her this: Pamela Geller understands that, whereas her scolds don’t. Some of them can’t even tell the difference between her and her would-be killers.
Got it, Ms. Azam?