Next Thursday is Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.
As I’ve written a few times this past week, I support this.
No doubt this event is divisive, though. If you’re thinking about chalking Muhammad on your own campus, the Secular Student Alliance has some excellent advice on their website, like this tip:
Discuss what, exactly, your message is:
Discuss with your group what you hope to achieve. Are you setting out to offend Muslims, or protesting the use of threats of violence to project certain ideas from criticism? (Hint: the latter.) Make decisions with that in mind, and the event will go more smoothly. You don’t need to post images that would be tasteless whether they featured Muhammad or not -– the South Park version or smiling stick figures labeled “Muhammad” do the trick.
Some may be asking: What is the point? Why are you going out of your way to attack Islam? Why do you want to offend religious people?
That’s not what this is about at all.
I agree with the commenter who noted:
It’s about sending a message to Muslim extremists — and other religious extremists — that their terror tactics will not work.
It’s about rejecting out of hand the attempt to make criticism of Islam — or of any other religion — off-limits, simply out of fear of violence.
It’s about the fact that many people feel comfortable critiquing, or poking fun of, or indeed commenting on, any religion other than Islam, for fear of violent retribution — and it’s about refusing to allow ourselves to be extorted in that way.
And it’s about spreading the target around… so there are so many people drawing Muhammad, the terrorists can’t possibly go after all of us.
I have no desire to draw purposely offensive images like Muhammad with a bomb on his head. Instead, I think the harmless stick figure Muhammads are just as (if not more) effective. They make our point for us. Rational people would not and should not be offended by such harmless, crude drawings. And yet, people are receiving death threats or being censored for creating them.
We need to stand in solidarity and draw the images together. It doesn’t matter if it’s hand-drawn or made out of clay (a putty prophet?) or put together with household objects. It’s not about being anti-Muslim; it’s about showing the radicals that we don’t follow their religious laws and they can’t stop us from speaking out against them.
I want you to make a Muhammad.
Not an evil, scary, offensive one — the stick figures worked just fine. Be creative.
If you do create an image of Muhammad, though, please consider sending it to me. I’ll compile as many as I can and post them on this site that day.
I will protect your anonymity unless you tell me otherwise. The less outright-offensive and more thought-provoking it is, the better.
Here’s hoping there’s a positive response.