Talking With the Creator of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day
The rational world first found out that Mohammed couldn’t be drawn in 2005 when Danish Newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, posted 12 editorial cartoons depicting Mohammed, creating violent protest across the Muslim World. Recently, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone created … Read More
The rational world first found out that Mohammed couldn’t be drawn in 2005 when Danish Newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, posted 12 editorial cartoons depicting Mohammed, creating violent protest across the Muslim World. Recently, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone created an episode which featured a depiction of Mohammed. Cartoon Network fearfully, decided to censor that episode. So who go to take a stand and start messing with Mohammed?
Andy the campaign’s creator is not scared and he took the time to speak with the Jewish Business Magazine today. Well, he might be scared, but he thinks that freedom of speech is too important to allow fear to impede that right. Andy started a Facebook page and Blog called Everybody Draw Mohammed Day. Andy is not anti-Muslim; he’s pro-free speech and public discourse and art and satire.
Andy has already appeared on CNN, MSNBC and various other news outlets due to his Everybody Draw Mohammed Day Facebook page. Both Pakistan and Iran have shut-off their country’s access to all of Facebook in protest. The Facebook page is nearing 100,000 fans as of this post, and will likely grow as news spreads.
So why did he create this page, Everybody Draw Mohammed Day? I asked, Andy if he was promoting any business or selling anything and he told me, "no, not at all. But we support all artists that make a living by using free speech." And that is the answer; Free Speech. Andy says, "It started as a support group for Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but it is developing into something of a bigger scale. A joint effort for everyone who wants to support the right to free speech."
Andy also says that the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day Facebook Page and Blog has no, "intention to offend the moderate Muslims, but to defend the rights for everyone to express themselves as they want, without being silenced by death threats."
Andy addresses the possibility of violence resulting from the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day campaign. Personally, he and the members of the Facebook page have received thousands of death threats. He says, "There are new ones made every minute." Andy thinks, "It’s really sad that people overreact in this way, instead of having serious debate about Islam and how it should approach Western Libertarianism in terms of free speech." Andy is also concerned over the possibility of death and destruction in protest to the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day pages. But he reiterates:
We encourage our members to draw humorous and creative depictions of Mohammed, since we know that many moderate Muslims will also get offended by the depictions(instead of hateful once that will generate more anger then necessary).The overreactions many Muslim extremists showed the world in 2006 were despicable and cannot be defended by the Quran, Mohammed or Allah. They use their religion to justify violence, no one has told them to do so, it’s their own actions. Trying to keep their religion from criticism by appearing in violent and murderous mobs to silence those who dare oppose them. And this scare tactic has seemingly worked, and this is part of what we oppose and work against. Enough is enough; we have decided to draw a line, literally. We don’t tell anyone to kill anyone, if they do it it’s their actions and we can’t be blamed. Of course we hope that they won’t overreact, but if they want they can have a peaceful protests, which they have the right to, and express themselves in such a way. Freedom of speech is at stake, and we free men have drawn a line.
I hope Andy’s campaign continues to create discussion now that it’s over, and news outlets and artists no longer have to have fear over offending the Muslim World. He hopes to develop the concept around Everybody Draw Mohammed Day to "further advocate free speech in as many ways as possible." Andy continues, "I also want to spearhead a new approach for this generation against religious extremism through this joint effort." For now, Andy is going to continue to promote his Everybody Draw Mohammed Day Facebook page and Blog, and as for protecting himself, like the great, late, George Carlin, Andy says, "I pay to Joe Pesci".
This article has been cross posted with Jewish Buisness Magazine