Everybody Draw Mohammed Day
Posted by Lissa on May 20, 2010
This blog is usually full of happy, cheery things like kittens, workout songs, and sneering at politicians (which is both easy AND fun!). Today, however, we take a break from our usual fluffy cheer to make a stand (well, I’m sitting) for free speech.
The original “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” was the facetious idea of Molly Norris. Ms. Norris has since apologized, explained she didn’t intend to cause offense, suggested that everybody draw Al Gore instead, and issued the public statement: “Please, please don’t hurt me. Pretty please.”
I may have added that last part.
I understand why Ms. Norris backed down. I wouldn’t want my name all over this thing either.
And I understand people who are arguing against Everybody Draw Mohammed Day (EDMD) because they don’t want to deliberately insult or offend devout Muslims. Sure, it doesn’t seem that depictions of Mohammed are prohibited by the Koran . . .
The Qur’an contains absolutely nothing about depicting Mohammed. It is only the Hadith, most of which came several hundred years after Mohammed’s death, that discuss this—one of them bans all depictions of living creatures outright, and another merely says that such illustrations are not to be encouraged, but does not decree that those found guilty are to be punished. The major reason it is widely considered wrong to depict Mohammed, especially among the Sunni majority of Muslims, is that it might encourage idolatry. This might be fair enough within the Islamic world, but is clearly absurd to apply outside of it. After all, non-believers cannot make themselves any more guilty of non-belief or idolatry by drawing pictures. But if the justification behind fatwas against depicters of Mohammed is based in the Hadith, then clerics would have to issue fatwas against all those who draw pictures of living creatures—a crime which virtually every person on earth is guilty of. [that link has a few really lovely historical depictions of Mohammed — Lissa]
. . . but whether or not the prohibition is firmly grounded in their guiding book, the fact is that millions DO consider it blasphemous.
And so, I apologize.
I apologize to those who find depictions of Mohammed offensive, because I’m going to post one below. I’m sorry that I have to commit what you consider blasphemy to make my point.
While I’m at it, I also apologize to people who believe that you should write “god” as “G-d.” I don’t feel the need to and have never done so.
Further, I apologize to liberals, Democrats, Republicans, people of bad fashion taste, idiots who can’t use their computers, and every other kind of person that I’ve insulted or castigated on this blog. I know it’s not blasphemy, but as long as I’m apologizing I might as well issue a blanket apology.
All done? Great. Now, then, let’s get to my point.
Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, for me, is not about provoking those Muslims who find depictions of Mohammed to be offensive. I wish I could make my point without that. But EDMD is a practical matter as well as a statement. The idea is to have so many depictions of Mohammed come forth that angry vengeful offended folks can’t focus on just one person. Or one comedy network. Or twelve cartoonists. (Especially when the most offensive images from those cartoonists . . . were added by Danish imams to stir up offense and outrage. They blasphemed their own religious traditions and blamed it on others.) Or one museum (did you know the Museum of Metropolitan Art quietly pulled its Mohammed images and may not include them in the re-opened exhibit in 2011?).
I can’t draw worth a damn, so I’m borrowing work from an actual artist. Below the fold is my depiction of Mohammed:
That’s from the North Wall Frieze of the Supreme Court building.
I had a bit of trouble finding it, as clinking on the link from the Snopes article sends you to the general SupremeCourt.gov site and the PDF isn’t easily found there. Perhaps the powers that be don’t want it widely advertised that Mohammed is on the building? I also wonder if y’all can make sense of the description from the PDF, ’cause I’m lost:
Muhammad (c. 570 – 632) The Prophet of Islam. He is depicted holding the Qur’an. The Qur’an provides the primary source of Islamic Law. Prophet Muhammad’s teachings explain and implement Qur’anic principles. The figure above is a well-intentioned attempt by the sculptor, Adolph Weinman, to honor Muhammad and it bears no resemblance to Muhammad. Muslims generally have a strong aversion to sculptured or pictured representations of their Prophet.
So . . . the figure of Mohammed bears no resemblance to Mohammed. Huh?
Also, while I see the Koran, the sword jumps out at me first, and that has no explanation. But whatever.
I first got the heads-up on Supreme Court Mohammed from Zombie. You can check out many more images there, some beautiful, some blasphemous.
UPDATE: Thanks to Alan for the link! He’s got a roundup of cartoons – check ’em out!