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Drawing Muhammad in Front of a Mosque

We decided that for this year’s “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day” we would head over to a nearby mosque to sketch the Islamic prophet.

“Everybody Draw Mohammad Day” is an annual event held on May 20’th in support of the free expression of those threatened with violence for drawing representation of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. It is a protest against censorship and efforts to limit freedom of speech.

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This sketch is available as art-prints and t-shirts.

7 thoughts on “Drawing Muhammad in Front of a Mosque

  1. I see your point, but can’t support this approach. Those of us who are in relationship and live in the same community with people of many faiths and no faith are working to create better communication and learn from each other. Polarizing and agitating like this just isn’t helpful at all, in my (secular) opinion.

    • From our point of view offense is taken, not given. This is about free expression, not merely trying to polarize or agitate a community. It’s taking a stand against oppressive dogma that puts symbols above criticism. Irreverence or disrespect to bad ideas is not the same as disrespecting people.

  2. Ah, the old eye for an eye approach to offense. Wouldn’t it be more effective to find common cause and work on that rather than “win” in the battles of “free expression”? (don’t get me wrong, there is much to criticize in Religion and I do). No one wins in these my-side/your-side in-your-face acts. It takes hard work, deeper thought and creative action to bring people together. In my experience, I’ve seen Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and others working side by side with Seculars like me to get things done (shelters, food, healthcare, education, political action). We could endlessly fight over the images and nonsense. Or really do something.

    • First of all, I don’t see the dichotomy you seem to be proposing between being able to live and work cooperatively, and being able to express oneself in ways others disapprove of. Secondly, there is nothing inherently offensive about this type of act. It is drawing a picture. If you think the fact that particular offense being taken to it makes it less than benign then that is special pleading. It’s applying a separate standard for how I may dissent to your personal sensibilities than if, for example, I instead drew a satirical image of your favorite politician.

      • Totally agree Jack. I completely support the right of people of faith to practice and preach their religion openly and without fear of persecution and discrimination, however, the rules of their religion apply only to their own members. They do not have the right to impose their views on others.
        Their rights end where mine begin and vice versa.
        In order to live in a pluralistic society, we must accept that other will have views that we consider offensive. As long as those views do not translate to actual discrimination or violence, we must learn to tolerate them. And it works both ways.

      • I find your argument disingenuous. I have the sense this isn’t merely about “expressing oneself” as some kind of art project or civics lesson. I’m guessing you know there is a strong anti-Muslim sentiment in America, sometimes quite vicious and violent, and driven by the Religious Right. Do you support that? If so, I’m sure Faux News will love your act. If not, you may need to re-think the actual consequences the slam approach has on the bell of “toleration” you are ringing loudly here. One last question or two: Do you personally know any of the Muslims in the mosque you are “self-expressing” in front of? How do they feel about it, and do you care? If you don’t, maybe “making a point” is the only point? That’s why I have to ask: What’s the point?

    • I don’t think anyone at that mosque, which technically we were across the street from, even really noticed us for the most part. That wasn’t the point. It had nothing to do with that mosque or its inhabitants specifically. The point was to have a mosque in the video. For our purposes it was a stand-in for all mosques. This is why we sought out one with vague signage, the building facade simply says “masjed” (mosque). The statement being that not only do we need not show reverence to the rules of their religion, but that they don’t have the right to be shielded from it.

      Also, we openly profess intolerance for all religions. We are anti-theists. This doesn’t mean we are intolerant of individuals, nor their right to practice their faith. But their faith itself we have zero qualms about openly criticizing, satirizing, and even outright ridiculing.

      Again, there is nothing inherently offensive (which is subjective in the first place) about drawing a picture of a historical or religious figure. Yes, we are aware it will piss you off. But that’s on you. And yes, that is part of the point. Your sensibilities don’t get to dictate what others are allowed to say or otherwise express.

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