Why I support(ed) Draw Muhammad Day.

I realize that I may be a week late on this topic, but whatever. It’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to.

There are few political issues I care about and/or will actually bother looking into, much less blog about. Freedom of speech is one of these exceptions. I love my freedom of speech more than any other right that we have. When I was younger, my grandma and mother often told me about communist Poland where saying the wrong thing would get you killed. Friends and family members were taken away from them for those reasons. I would get scared and ask them if that could happen here.

“We don’t have that here in America,” they’d say with a smile on their faces, “we have freedom of speech.”

Assuming you haven’t been living under a rock, you should have heard that Pakistan has recently banned Facebook and a bunch of other websites. Why, you ask? Why would a country ban the internet’s most popular social networking site? Because of this group. “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day!”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Islam as a religion. Actually, I’ve been meaning to pick up a copy of the Koran. And I’m not talking some cheap $9 version, but a nice leather bound version complete with gold trim so that I’m forced to wear gloves when I touch it. Oh, and I have family who are Muslim and I get along with them pretty well (as of before I wrote this post, anyway). What I have a problem with are extremists who push their way of life on the rest of the world. Recently, Matt Stone and Tray Parker have been threatened because of a South Park episode for poking fun at how we’re not supposed to show Mohammad on TV. What happened? Did the network shrug off the demands of a radical group because the creators of South Park were excising freedom of speech? No, Comedy Central censored the episode and pulled it from the internet. They caved.

I understand that it is against the tenants of Islam to show a picture of the prophet. I get that, it makes sense. What I don’t get is how that means if you do show a picture of the prophet it is encouraged to threaten you with death, even if you’re not a Muslim.

I was once a very strict and conservative Catholic. I attended Confession regularly and went to Mass every Sunday. Once, I was so upset that I said the Lord’s name in vain on accident I begged my mother to take me to confession immediately out of fear of being sent to Hell with a Mortal Sin on my soul. I remember the feeling of hearing offensive humor directed at my religion. It was around the time the scandals about the priests molested alter boys first came out. Not to mention poking fun at the whole Virgin Mary thing (Dogma had just come out too). Yes, I was upset and my feathers were ruffled, but deep down I was okay with it because of the freedom of speech. They were allowed to make any comment they wanted and I felt that not getting blinded with rage made me a better Catholic. Note that I did not threaten to murder anyone.

The world we are living in is a global one, the internet allows us to yell at each other from across the world. Yes, there inevitably will be hate speech, but I’m okay with that. Why? Well, what’s to stop the ruling bodies to say that yours or my criticism of X, Y, or Z is also hate speech in some bizarre but-covered-under-the-law form? There isn’t.

So when I hear about these death threats trying to silence artists, cartoonists, and animators, I get angry. Yes, you’re allowed to be offended. Yes, you can express your distaste in a respectable fashion. But no, you cannot threaten to murder people over it! This is why the group was formed; anger at the radical Muslim community pushing their rules on a society that didn’t want them. It was a way of saying “we will not allow you to control us.”

Oh sure, the FB group turned into a shithole. I joined, I saw the pictures. It looked like 4chan’s /b/ got ahold of it. (It did). That was probably why the group got taken down for a bit. That made sense, porn showed up on the page and could no longer be contained by the moderators. I left after that, but there are a good amount of humorous pictures there as well still.

Yes, I will also agree that the group attracted Islamaphobes and hatemongers. But if Neo-Nazis (whose very nature is extremely offensive) can have a parade, why can’t others speak their minds or draw pictures of the prophet too?

What really got me angry was this article of a bunch of “real cartoonists” explaining why they’re not supporting the day. It sounds like a bunch of pretentious artists trying to be cool. “I don’t do scheduled events.” What? You do realize we’re talking about the freedom of speech here right? The thing that allows you to do your job? Let’s face it, they’re scared because they’d be easily targeted, putting them and their families in harms way.

But I thought this was America: Home of the Brave. Not America: Home of the Cowards.

Someone better tell President Obama we need to change the Anthem.

I’ll leave you imaginary friends with a quote from the (sorta) founder of the Facebook group which explains everything perfectly.

Islam is more than just a religion, it’s a whole way of life. There are some things we can accept quite easily. It doesn’t matter to me if you want halal meat, and it doesn’t matter to us if British Muslims have to make their own banks because they can’t take loans. Such things are acceptable, it doesn’t affect the rest of us. But when you want to come with your morals and your values and say your morals and values are something we have to respect, when our history says that we need to have freedom of speech, we need to have freedom of expression, we need these things that we’ve developed as a society through our history,…we can’t accept that people should change their minds through threats. We don’t accept threats.

Source: Radio Free Europe


2 Comments to “Why I support(ed) Draw Muhammad Day.”

  1. Hell yes. “Religion of Peace” they may be but, “Behead those who insult islam!”? Yup, i always loved that facet of Muslims. I don’t have any problem with Muslims, only those radical ones. For some stupid reason we put up with it, and I don’t know why.

    • It seems like Muslims think that if we draw their prophet, we hate Islam. Which isn’t the case, but they don’t come from a culture where that sort of thought exists. In the Western World blasphemy =/= hate, especially for the purpose of humor.

      This doesn’t excuse them from their actions obviously, but makes the whole thing very frustrating.

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