Draw Mohammed Day
Omar is a Canadian graduate in technology, this is his first post on the topic of Islam and Blasphemy.
Today is draw Muhammad day. I think it’s important for us to talk about why such a day is needed, and why this day isn’t what a lot of people, specifically Muslims would think it is: Islamophobia. There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world today, and almost all of them believe in different aspects of Islam to varying degrees with various interpretations. Not drawing pictures of Muhammad, is one of those beliefs — one among many. The purpose behind this was probably similar to that of why the Old Testament says “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” — the thought being drawing holy things may lead to idolatry. Within Islam though, there are already plenty of holy objects which could be worshipped if a believer wanted to: The Kaaba, some of the other famous mosques/sites, and of course the Quran itself.
Given that the images drawn have usually been works of satire (regardless of whether you believe there is malicious intent behind that), it is unlikely to make believing Muslims worship drawings they already believe is mocking their faith — the reason for not drawing Muhammad is unintentionally handled by the cartoonists.
That’s the thing about religion, it is open to interpretation. Some people may not like any drawings at all, some people wouldn’t mind the drawings but wouldn’t personally draw any, others wouldn’t mind drawings as long as they weren’t worshipped, while others would welcome Islamic art of all kind. It isn’t for one group of people to impose their interpretation of scripture onto the rest of the world, and the rest of the world should not assume this is the homogenous view of all 1.6 billion Muslims. The problem is that the imposing group can intimidate other opinions on the matter into silence. I think that should be the take home message from this, whether you’re a Muslim or non-Muslim reading this — that drawing cartoons of the prophet is not the biggest insult to all Muslims, that it still may offend many and that the offence is okay. If these drawings were more common, perhaps more Muslims would get de-sensitized about the issue, but because Muslims are seen as the abused and humiliated minority, and this censor on free speech seems so minor especially when it appeases that minority, people choose not to draw it (that and fear of course). What they don’t realize is that not drawing Muhammad is one facet of a general phenomenon where any criticism of Islam is seen as bigoted and blasphemous. If any reformation is going to happen in Islam, it has to first be okay to openly talk about, criticize, and not follow certain parts of Islam. What better place to start than something as harmless as a cartoon.