Retracing “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day”
A few friends and readers believe the contest was not an exercise in freedom of speech but just an excuse to insult Islam.
And from what I understand through sources, most of the drawings that have resulted for the contest are indeed nothing more than demeaning and insulting to Islam and the Prophet. And for that I am deeply upset, hurt and sad.
But if we step back from the insulting images and trace back events, this didn’t start out with a bunch of people wanting to insult Islam and the Prophet. The page was started because some people genuinely had a problem with the fact that crazy radical so-called Muslims think they can terrorize who ever they please.
This horrible contest came about because some lunatics called Revolution Muslim issued a website warning to the creators of South Park saying they might end up dead like the filmmaker Theo Van Gogh (who was killed by a radical muslim), because of a South Park episode in which Prophet Mohammad was in a bear suit.
This radical group put the home addresses of the two creators on their website, along with a fatwa from a cleric declaring the punishment for blasphemy. It was an invitation for all crazy radicals to harm them.
Speaking to CNN last year, a member from the group “Revolution Muslim” named Younas Mohammad actually said, “we are commanded to terrorize non-Muslims by the Quran”. You can see that on youtube or below. The clip does have a bit of the South Park episode if you want to skip it, forward to to 04:36, the time-code for Younas’s damning words.
South Park’s network ended up pulling the episode from the air. The fans that created the “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day” contest were protesting South Park’s network for bowing down to terrorizing threats.
I personally thought there wasn’t anything offensive in the episode. I am more insulted by these crazies called Revolution Muslim, who dare to spread the falsehood that “Islam ordains its followers to terrorize non-Muslims.” In the South Park episode that instigated the warning, the Prophet wasn’t even given a face or a voice, he was in a bear costume, because the creators didn’t want to depict the Prophet after the Danish cartoon controversy.
They had depicted the Prophet in an episode a few years ago before the Danish controversy turned bloodbath, but no one raised an objection then. In both episodes the Prophet is not insulted, his character is actually given respect.
The fans that created the “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day” contest were protesting South Park’s network for bowing down to terrorizing threats. The Facebook page wouldn’t have drawn so many fans or participants to draw the horrible and offensive deciptions of the Prophet if those lunatics called Revolution Muslim hadn’t issued a warning against the creators of South Park. The warning was more like a fatwa.
Non-Muslims don’t react to Fatwas like we do. We bow down, hide or pump up our security in fear of what the radicals might do.
But some people like to stand-up for their rights. And with South Park’s track record of pushing for freedom of speech and playing with the boundaries of censorship, this event was a calling for its fans to stand-up.
That being said, once South Park was threatened, Molly Norris, a cartoonist in Seattle suggested a “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day” as a joke, but some graduate students sitting in Europe decided to take her satirical idea to Facebook.
In the Seattle-based cartoonist’s own words from her blog:
“My cartoon was the beginning and end of expressing my personal views about Comedy Central’s South Park censorship. If I had wanted my one-off cartoon to be the basis for a worldwide movement to draw Mohammed, then at this moment I should be thrilled. But instead I am horrified! My one-off cartoon that was specifically about Comedy Central’s behaviour vs. Revolution Muslim’s threat leading to a slippery slope of censorship in America is not good for a long-term plan. ”
“The vitriol this ‘day’ has brought out, of people who only want to draw obscene images, is offensive to Muslims who did nothing to endanger our right to expression in the first place. Only Viacom and Revolution Muslim are to blame, so…draw them instead! I apologize to people of Muslim faith and ask that this ‘day’ be called off.”
What started as a call for freedom of expression was first hijacked by Revolution Muslim, and then by the offensive, Islam-hating participants of the Facebook contest.
Revolution Muslim’s actions became a magnet for all the Islam and Muslim hate that exists in our world. If we trace back, all those obnoxious and insulting images are as much Revolution Muslim’s fault as it is ours for allowing a group like that to hijack the image of Islam.