Blogging Religiously

From a New York point of view


Fighting censorship by dissing Muhammad05.20.10

It just came to my attention that today is Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.

Apparently, because the South Park guys received a couple of threats for making fun of the prophet, some folks on Facebook decided that others should do the same as an organized opposition to self-imposed censorship.

A Swedish artist was also recently attacked because of his depictions of the prophet.

According to CNN, by mid-morning, “more than 7,300 images had been uploaded to the Facebook page, most of them drawings of Mohammed.”

19 Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonists—including the Journal News/Lohud’s own Matt Davies—have signed a petition supporting South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

But the Washington Post writes today that most editorial cartoonists have not included Muhammad in their work today.

It seems to me that the American Muslim community ought to consider how it will respond when the prophet is treated in ways it does not like in this country or elsewhere.

Because it will happen. Over and over.

The reality is that no institution, religious or otherwise, can escape media attention that it does not like.

In the U.S., everything is deconstructed—by academics, comedians, artists, bloggers, you name it.

Consider the treatment of Christianity in the West. The U.S. is in many ways a Christian country, in practice if not on paper. And yet, Jesus and his followers are critiqued in every conceivable way.

In the last 25 years alone, how many books have been written about the “search for the historical Jesus” by academics who question the divinity of Christ? Entire libraries worth. And Christians consider Jesus to be God, not merely a prophet.

So how can the Muslim world simply demand that free societies lay off their prophet?

It can’t. (Well it can, but it won’t work).

That’s why American Muslims need to fashion some sort of new approach to dealing with media depictions of and criticisms of Muhammad (and Islam itself).

Threats of violence and actual violence in Europe and elsewhere will only serve to piss off those who already desire to mock the prophet.

They will also alienate Americans and others who might be inclined to support peaceful explanations of Muslim traditions and beliefs.

Posted by: Gary Stern - Posted in Depictions of, Everybody Draw Muhammad Day, Facebook, Prophet Muhammad, South Parkwith 1 Comment →

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