reaping the cost of solitude

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Drawing Mohammed

A few months ago, an American cartoonist by the name of Molly Norris decided to make a Facebook page dubbed "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" on the 20th of May 2010.  This was reportedly in response to a certain South Park episode containing comic depictions of the prophet- which was later pulled due to the death threats received by its creators.

The Facebook page ultimately attracted thousands of Facebook users opposed to censorship of any kind (including a few nuts as well), and, at the same time, caught the eyes of Islamic extremists who would later threaten to find and execute the Facebook page's creator.  In the peak of its popularity and to the dismay of staunch supporters of the campaign, Norris disowns the page after seeing that it was widely received as anti-Islamic, when in truth it was originally intended to support free speech.  Not long after, she received a serious death threat from Al-Qaeda linked extremists, claiming she is on a priority list for those to be executed for blasphemy, further sending her into hiding.

To read more about the subject, go to its Wikipedia page.

I initially found the campaign offensive and unnecessary, but as the death threats increased, I really began to feel the prevalence of terrorism in our society as a whole.  That said, I am in full support of free speech.  Anyone can say whatever they want- say, draw a funny picture of a prominent religious figure.  You may very well receive some kind of backlash for it, but death threats?  That's just insane. A person deserves nothing more than criticism for calling Jesus Christ a "dirty son of a bitch", however stupidly far-fetched or untrue that may be, but that same person certainly DOES NOT deserve to be executed.

It seems we are all looking for someone to take a firm stand regardless of all the death-threats. I can't blame Norris for backing out, it seems that's what I would do too. Admittedly, I'm neither a hero nor heroic in any sense. I guess terror is as affective to me as it is to her, and that saddens me. Is it the same for you? Still, I dream of seeing someone stand up to these terrorists.

Either way- if a person decides to take a stand or back out, this new development (as previously mentioned) definitely raises more eyebrows, and hopefully arms, to fight for free speech. And it really helps that this whole thing is widely publicized and that alot of people are really starting to talk about it. I haven't kept tabs on everything these 'loony muslims' have said in retaliation to the drawings, so I honestly don't know if our reactions were too little, too late. I do believe though that all people should be made aware of this.

Before I'll wrap up this post let me show you the once upon a time dilemma between Salman Rushdie, Free Speech, and militant Muslims:
The issue divided "Muslim from Westerners along the fault line of culture,"pitting the core Western value of freedom of expression– that no one "should be killed, or face a serious threat of being killed, for what they say or write" –against the core belief of many Muslims–that no one should be free to "insult and malign Muslims" by disparaging the "honour of the Prophet" Muhammad.
It's not that hard to figure out who's in the wrong.

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