Draw Mohammad day revisited

The 20th of May, the next draw Mohammad day, is coming up. Therefore I would like to take the opportunity to examine some objections raised against that event last year.

A list of objections can be found on the blog “The Meming of Life”. I don’t find most of the arguments compelling but this one:

In addition to some thoughtful opinion pieces, several people have offered convincing analogies. “There are campaigns to remove Mark Twain’s books from school libraries [because of the use of the word ’nigger‘],” said FB friend Bruce Ayati. “Would a campaign to use that racial slur, only to prove you can, be the right thing to do?”

This analogy has two problems:

First the prohibition of drawing Mohammad is an absolute one. You can not draw Mohammad without drawing Mohammad. In contrast you could still talk about black people without using the word ’nigger‘. No amount of insulted feelings can equalize the potential loss in freedom of speech.

Second the removal of Mark Twain’s books form school libraries is not quite the same as death threats against people who draw Mohammad. And these death threats are after all what this is all about. Hurt feelings do not in any way justify serious death threats and it carries a certain irony that the one issuing the death threats a year ago might be the successor of Osama bin Laden.


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