Today is the 20th of May,the anniversary date of the first Everybody Draw Mohammed Day. Today I submit my own image of Mohammed, the prophet of Islam.
Much criticism has been leveled at the basic idea of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day. It has been called inconsiderate, petulant, childish, rude, crass, and offensive. I suppose it could be any or all of those things. It can be because all of those descriptors are subjective. They all depend on ones point of view.
That’s offensive to Muslims!
Why would anyone find my drawing offensive? Is it a graphic depiction of sex or violence? Is it an image that would traumatize children? I hear the cry of someone yelling, “Muslims find it offensive!” Not true!
Some followers of the Muslim faith, particularly Sunni Muslims, find any graphic representation of a Muslim prophet offensive. They think that such images lead to idolatry. However; images of Mohammed are somewhat common in Shia Islam. This means that images of Mohammed and his sons are not forbidden in places like Iran.
Why would you do this?
I do this to make a point. The idea that an image — any graphic representation — of the man known as Mohammed [Muhammad, Mohammad, Muhammed, محمد, Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allāh Ibn `Abd al-Muttalib, محمد بن عبدالله بن عبد المطلب] should be forbidden is based solely in the teachings of one particular group of one particular religion.
This is how blasphemy works. This is how sin works. Outside of the group which thinks of these things as a vile desecration of their beliefs, they mean absolutely nothing. There are those who would think I should be put to death for having the temerity to draw the picture above. In a similar manner, there are those who think it’s horrible that I should utter the word ‘shit’ in public. What terms do they use to describe words they find offensive? They call them swear words, or curse words. Please note the religious nature of those terms.
I’m an atheist. Proscriptions against certain words, actions or behaviors, when based solely on religious ideas, mean absolutely nothing to me. I no more consider my drawing to be offensive than I find it offensive that someone would work on Saturday or Sunday. What I do find offensive is someone telling me what I should or shouldn’t do based on their religious ideas. Offense is in the mind of the offended, and if I have offended you, so be it.