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We would be so hypocritical against our own thoughts if we said, let's not make fun of them because they might hurt us. That's messed up to have that kind thought process. We'll rip on the Catholics because they won't hurt us, but we won't rip on them because they might hurt us.Trey Parker[1]

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day was held on May 20 2010 after the producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park received death threats for depicting Muhammad in a bear costume. The addresses of South Park Production Company and Comedy Central were posted with a suggestion that Muslim extremists should 'pay them a visit'.[2]

Other cartoonists have also forced into hiding after death threats or murder attempts.

The campaign

On April 20, 2010 cartoonist Molly Norris put a drawing of Muhammad on the Internet with a suggestion that "everybody" should make similar drawings. It was hoped if very many different people made drawings Islamic militants could not target individuals with threats or violence. The event went viral with thousands of drawings submitted to Facebook and thousands of protests. People connected with the movement say they received death threats.[3] Reaction was mixed, some commentators felt the initiative was good and helped counter efforts by Islamic extremists to prevent free speech. Others felt some cartoons were unnecessarily offensive and hurtful to moderate Muslims who did not attack free speech.

The meme spread and developed, in 2012 Atheists and Humanists at a Freshers Fayre in Reading University (UK) tried to celebrate free speech by displaying a pineapple labelled Mohammed on their stall. They were forced to leave and prevented even from distributing leaflets outside the hall where the fayre was held. [4] The Friendly Atheist believes the issue is about free speech and fighting dogma, "that treat symbols as sacred cows." He felt there was insufficient reason to take part in 2013 but will encourage his supporters to draw Mohammed if there are future problems with Islamic censorship. [5]

Responses

The government of Pakistan temporarily blocked Twitter though there are suspicions they were testing blocking technology that they can later use for other censorship.[6] Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India also temporarily banned Facebook. Facebook pages with images connected to the campaign inexplicably went down; one page ended up for a long time with nothing but Nazi comments and symbols resembling Nazi swastikas. Images that appeared were surprisingly tame in views of the emotion involved. Disturbingly some people involved suspected that their emails were hacked and feared personal information was given to Muslim extremists.[7]

Anwar al-Awlaki responded by declaring that Molly Norris deserves to die and go to hell.[8] Given this sort of disproportionate response to what was really a moderate campaign, one might be tempted to tell Anwar al-Awlaki to go to hell. Then does anyone deserve eternal torment?

Footnotes

  1. Everybody Draw Mohammed Day
  2. Everybody Draw Mohammed Day
  3. 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' Unleashes Facebook Fracas
  4. Reading University's Atheist Society 'Thrown Out Of Fair Over Blasphemous Mohammed Pineapple'Secularist students kicked out of Freshers’ Fayre for offending Muslims with pineapple labelled Mohammed
  5. Why I Didn’t Participate in Everybody Draw Muhammad Day
  6. Sure, Draw Something. Just Not The Prophet
  7. Strange Happenings in the 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' World
  8. Daily News: Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki puts 'Everybody Draw Mohammed' cartoonist Molly Norris on execution hitlist

External links

Adapted from RationalWiki

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