May 20, 2010

Mixed feelings on Draw Muhammad Day

Today is May 20th, 2010, the first annual Draw Muhammad Day, as decreed by numerous YouTubers and bloggers. It's a response to the response to the response to the response of a joke that was a response to a response, yadayada yada. South Park joked about drawing Muhammad on their show before, and they self-censored. Now they've drawn Muhammad for real and they got death threats and will probably not be allowed to ever re-run the show.

Take it from Wiki: "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day is a protest against Islamists who threaten violence against individuals that attempt to depict Muhammad. It originally began as a protest against censorship of South Park episode "201" by Comedy Central in response to death threats from radical Islamists."

here's the whole thing

I'm not sure what an "Islamist" is but I think they mean "Muslim." Apparently, Pakistan has blocked Facebook altogether because of a group on the site that is dedicated to supporting Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.

Of course, illustrators have been threatened and murdered by radical hard-liner Muslims in recent history. The death threats continue today, but I still can't quite get behind this particular cause, if that's what it actually is.

From what I understand about the general religion of Islam, those who practice it are not allowed to depict Muhammad. So a moderate Muslim shouldn't care one way or the other whether a non-Muslim depicts their prophet, although it would be hard to blame them at least for being offended by it. Obviously most Muslims do not support the actions of the murderous radicals, but what are they supposed to think about this particular "holiday?" We all know that there are some crazy Muslims out there (and Christians and Jews and Scientologists and and and...) so I'm kind of confused by this particular effort, which serves to alienate all Muslims, but with the supposed intent of only riling up the few who would kill or threaten to kill someone for depicting Muhammad.

Is it all non-Muslims' job to force moderate Muslims to make the choice of openly denouncing other Muslims or being silently complicit with radical actions? No. Do non-Muslims have the right to do so in the US? Absolutely. For me, this a particular right that I choose to wave. As someone who respects people who actually understand their religion, as moderate Muslims and Jews (not Christians) seem to, I have no plans of drawing Muhammad this year.

Seems like misdirected energy to me.

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