May 20th is, in case you hadn’t heard, Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.Â A Facebook group has been created as a form of free speech protest.Â According to the creator of the group:
“We are not trying to slander the average muslim , it’s not a muslim/islam hatepage. We simply want to show the extremists that threaten to harm people because of their Mohammed depictions, that we’re not afraid of them. That they can’t take away our right to freedom of speech by trying to scare us to silence.”
Normally, I would not be in favor of gratuitous denigration of another’s beliefs.Â However, if another’s beliefs are inherently irrational; to wit, threatening to kill someone because they draw a picture–even a respectful and flattering one–of your favorite prophet, then gratuitous denigration on a mass scale may indeed be called-for.
This prank has not gone unnoticed.Â A court in Pakistan–ostensibly our ally in the war against Islamic extremism–has banned Facebook for the rest of the month.
While news sources are dutifully reporting that “Islamic law prohibits images of the prophet,” this isn’t necessarily so.Â In his new book Memories of Muhammad, Omid Safi, professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, points out that depictions of the prophet by Muslims is a centuries old tradition that continues to this day: “In modern times…in present-day Iran…it is quite common to find necklaces bearing the likeness of Mohammad and posters of the Prophet being sold on street corners.”