Thursday, 20 May 2010

Draw Islamophobia Day

A huge backlash, in the wake of Viacom’s decision to cover up the image of Islam’s prophet Muhammad on South Park, ‘went viral’ as the kids say these days. In the aftermath a group called Revolution Muslim issued a statement which most deemed as a threat, whereas it was more of a warning, to the creators of South Park. You can make up your own mind; you can find the post on

Now, the fact that Revolution Muslim has a web address, don’t be too impressed – it’s a blog. Like this one. Admittedly with a higher readership (not hard), but a blog nonetheless. In fact it has a ‘staff’ of around ten people (brought to my attention by TEN! The media and those proponents of this ‘Draw Muhammad Day’ idea on YouTube would almost have you believe the organisation could rival the Taliban, or that it was the US domestic division of Al-Qaeda. That is the state of Western islamophobia, where it is easy to make insinuations and exaggerations when expressing this acceptable form of discrimination. For example, another common instrument used on YouTube is to use the word ‘Extremists’ in the first instance and follow it by ‘Muslims’ every other time, equating all Muslims to terrorists.

Now, let’s look at the actual reasoning behind this infringement on our freedom of speech, i.e. our freedom to ridicule, discriminate, and generally offend an entire religious group. First, let’s remember that it was not Muslims, or Revolution Muslim, or terrorists, or extremists, who covered up the image of Muhammad in South Park. It was Viacom, or Comedy Central who are owned by Viacom. So I hope that’s dispelled. The reasons behind the Muslim objections to images of their prophet being created seem quite simple to me. It is an effort to ensure that images, or shines/statues etc. for that matter, are not worshipped as Allah ought to be. I’m not sure if I’ve explained it well enough there, but it’s my best effort. This would prevent the worship of relics as was/is the norm in Christianity – the Shroud of Turin for example.

I would like to pose the question – is this really that unreasonable? And is it that unheard of in Western society?

What I’m getting at here is that we should consider that the images on South Park and in the newspapers in Europe in previous controversies were on national TV shows and widely distributed newspapers. These images offend the very ‘morals’ (for want of a better word) of Muslims. There are such morals (still searching for another word!) in our own society. For example, South Park and those newspapers could not have displayed hardcore pornography. While actors’ reactions can be shown, the actual vaginal or anal penetration cannot. At least not with the current level of restrictions on them (South Park and the newspapers), they can of course show this when on higher levels of restrictions. Another example can be actual death. So while we can show an actor being killed in a movie, we certainly wouldn’t expect to hear of a fatal car crash on the news and then be provided with images of the crash actually happening, including for instance, a pedestrian’s head fatally hitting the kerb of a pathway and splitting open. So when images of Muhammad offend Muslims in such a way, why is it such an offense to Western society to add these to the exceptions in our freedom of speech? Many of the YouTubers supporting 'Draw Muhammad Day' seem to forget that there are exeptions to the rule. Also, the freedom of expression excuse is flawed since they do not do this merely in defiance of the South Park episode - they plan to make this an annual day. An annual holiday to promote discrimination and islamophobia.

So I would like you to consider, in reference to this ‘Draw Muhammad Day’ idea, is it right to use our freedom of speech to offend and insult an entire people? Perhaps in the same fashion we should bring back the black minstrels to ridicule the entire black race. It’s just freedom of expression after all.

Note: I have made my own ‘Draw Muhammad Day’ video for YouTube. I put the link here when uploaded.
Ed: Youtube video:

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