‘Everybody Draw Mohammed’ Day Unleashes Facebook Fracas/05/20/10: The Beginning…..

By Joshua Rhett Miller- FOXNews.com

What started out as a cartoonist’s call to action against censorship — an open invitation to submit caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad — has led to death threats, a court order to temporarily block parts of the website in Pakistan and a call for a boycott of Facebook to protest what Muslims believe is blasphemy.

“Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” began last month as the brainchild of a Seattle-based cartoonist named Molly Norris, who was appalled by Comedy Central’s decision to censor an episode of “South Park” that depicted Muhammad in a bear costume.

As a way to protest the network’s decision — which came after an Islamic extremist website warned of retaliation against the show’s creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker — Norris created a poster with likenesses of Muhammad as a domino, a teacup and a box of pasta.

She declared May 20 “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” — and her efforts quickly went viral, spawning several Facebook pages with thousands of followers dedicated to the event.

They also prompted a “protest” movement by thousands of other Facebook users opposed to it.

Now the day is almost upon us, and Norris herself has withdrawn from the cause — but she says she’s glad her efforts encouraged others to speak out.

“I just thought that Viacom or Comedy Central had overreacted to a veiled threat from a tiny blog or website that not many people even belong to, and I think it just set a precedent for a slippery slope in censorship,” Norris told FoxNews.com.

“If artists have to be afraid of what they draw, then what’s the point of even living here? That’s what really bothered me.”

She insists she “never wanted to lead anything,” but she acknowledges her brainchild ignited a controversy.

“It’s turned into something completely different, nothing I could’ve imagined it morphing into,” she said. “I’m happy some people are talking, because obviously this needs to be addressed.”

As of Wednesday, more than 41,000 Facebook users associated themselves to one page dedicated to the event, and a similar page was “liked” by at least 4,400 users. More than 56,000 users, meanwhile, joined a Facebook page opposing it.

Mimi Sulpovar created her “Everybody Draw Mohammad” Facebook page on April 22 to protest what she calls the “manifestation of gradual silencing and subjugation” of free speech rights in the name of political correctness.

“I and members of my group feel that we, as citizens of the free world, should be able to discuss Islam openly and honestly — even if it means drawing Muhammad, being very critical of some of the elements of that religion and/or culture,” she wrote FoxNews.com in an e-mail.

“Our group does not advocate violence or hatred toward Muslims as people — instead, we talk openly about Islamic practices and, of course, terrorism.”

As administrator of the page, Sulpovar said she moderates users’ comments and removes any references to violence or bigotry in their posts. She said she and others in the group have received death threats, but she has no plans to stop anytime soon.

“Our goal is to demonstrate that it’s OK to talk about Islam specifically, and that if we want to draw Muhammad, we will not be intimidated or silenced by those who want to subjugate us simply because they find what we do offensive,” Sulpovar wrote.

She said she’s received about 200 depictions of Muhammad, and more than 300 caricatures have been uploaded to her page. She said she plans on continuing the campaign well after this week.

“Free speech and the rights guaranteed by the Constitution are not limited to just one day — so as far as we are concerned, every day should be ‘Draw Muhammad Day,'” she wrote.

But they won’t be celebrating in Pakistan, where a court on Wednesday ordered the government to block Facebook pages associated with the campaign until May 31. Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet Muhammad to be blasphemous, and it is a crime punishable by death.

“The court also has ordered the foreign ministry to investigate why such a competition is being held,” Azhar Siddique, a representative of the Islamic Lawyers Forum who filed a petition in the Lahore High Court, told Reuters.

Organizers of the Facebook page protesting the drawing campaign are calling for users to boycott the social networking site on Thursday — and beyond — for the company’s inaction against the “Everybody Draw Mohammad” pages. Some say the campaign is nothing more than a way to incite Muslims.

“Now a days it has became a fashion for the west to irk muslims,” one post read. “We never scolded jesus for ur misdeeds. That shows the difference of character.”

A Facebook spokesman told FoxNews.com it has no plans to censor any of the pages associated with the campaign or the counter-campaign, though threats will be removed.

“Threats of violence and direct statements of hate against particular communities violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and are removed when reported to us,” reads a company statement to FoxNews.com. “Facebook is highly self-regulating, and users can and do report content that they find questionable or offensive. Groups that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs — even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some — do not by themselves violate our policies. When a group created to express an opinion devolves into threats or hate speech, we will remove the threatening or hateful comments and may even remove the group itself.”

The statement continued: “With now more than 400 million people around the world with varying opinions and ideals using Facebook as a place to discuss and share things that are important to them, we sometimes find people discussing and posting about controversial topics.”

Matthew Quigley, a member of the “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day” group, said he joined the cause after Comedy Central censored “South Park,” which happened after a message on RevolutionMuslim.com warned that the cartoon’s creators “will probably end up” like Theo van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who was murdered after releasing a film critical of Islam.

“It is a line drawn in the sand,” Quigley wrote FoxNews.com. “On one side are those who are unwilling to allow the threat of violence to blunt the edge of Free Speech. It is a vocal and organized and headless movement to deny extremism the power of control.”

Quigley, who has already uploaded his depiction of Muhammad, said he’s pleased to see the solidarity behind the cause.

“My depiction featured Muhammad staring blankly at what I imagine were the open expanses on the road between Medina and Mecca,” Quigley wrote.

“Above him, in Arabic script are the words that all Muslims speak after saying his name: Sallallahu Alayhi Wasalam (“May God’s Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him”). Below, in Arabic, is the phrase, ‘I Love Hummus.’ I think we can all connect more with a man if he likes our favorite food.”

Author: AKA John Galt

A small business owner, a tea party organizer, a son, father and husband who is not willing to sell out the future lives of his children.

15 thoughts on “‘Everybody Draw Mohammed’ Day Unleashes Facebook Fracas/05/20/10: The Beginning…..”

  1. If you belive very much in “Freedom of Speech” then why not talk of truth about Holucast? This is not freedom of speech but just to hurt feelings of over 1billion muslims. I ask you to differntiate between Freedom of Speech and human values, otherwise West will suffer sooner or later.

    1. let me know when Christians start telling everyone they are going to kill them like Muslims do when they are upset. Give me a break with hurt feelings. I am sick and tired of it, as are many Americans. Freedom is what we have, what so many Americans have died for, what we stand for. Thousands of years of death and destruction brought about by Muslims is enough already. Freedom of speech protects unpopular speech, not popular speech!!

  2. Sure why not God Bless America … Can be your wish … no harm in dreaming … radicle people like you cause destruction to global harmony and will to America image in the world

    1. Please, if you are going to use propaganda and lies, be original and show some intelligence. It is not radical to believe in free speech, to believe in freedom for all people. That is the definition of compassion. The radical, are the ones behind the lies and death. Global harmony? Do you understand what that is, or are you using the definition of when everyone believes as you do and acts as you wish them to?

  3. Now thats the point, you are loosing your patience after few comments so how can you expect from us to accept this attitude of so called freedom of speech and btw who are you to dictate freedom of speech for us, you better keep it to your self and say what ever you want about yourself, u would know newtons law for every actions there is an equal and opposite reaction …

    We do expect from you to understand religious and cultural values of other people living in this world and to not hurt them by using western media and so called freedom of speech

    Just for ref: as per wiki “Holocaust denial is illegal in a number of European countries. Many countries also have broader laws that criminalize genocide denial.” though not going into facts but its agains your so called Freedom of Speech.

    1. Who is trying to dictate freedom of speech? I understand many religions beside my own. I have studied all kinds of religions throughout my life and have an understanding of much more than you give me credit for. Now, everything I have to do tonight is much more important than replying to someone who tries to twists my words and the truth in general. And never tell me I have to keep my opinions, thoughts, ideas and the such to myself. You are the one trying to dictate what can and cannot be said. I do not know who we is and I do not care. Speech itself can only hurt the weak, timid and cowardly. I am done with this for tonight as this is getting boring and dull.

    2. u would know newtons law for every actions there is an equal and opposite reaction …

      So you mohammedans are going to draw some cartoons too? Great looking forward to seeing them

    3. Just because European countries have pussied out over free speech does not mean the US has or will. You are free to deny the holocaust in the US. (Point Blank Question: Do you deny the Holocasut? Yes or no)

      As far as understanding cultural values, understand this: I value free speech as much as you value your so-called prophet.

  4. u better take some rest so that you can answer last partion of my comment and i do appreciate that you have studied about many religions but would be good for you if you only have studied one religion thoroughly to understand the essense of humanity, thats all for now.

    1. but would be good for you if you only have studied one religion thoroughly to understand the essense of humanity,

      The one religion is mohammedanism aka islam, right?

      Your arrogance is staggering. How closely have you studied christianity, shintoism, buddhism, hinduism? How well do you understand the enilghtenment? The philosophers of ancient greece? or have you just memorize the koran?

  5. Good Points Seanrude. Khurram, not so much, and the ‘veiled threats’ of the US getting it sooner or later is rather a threatening standover bullying tactic. “Studying one religion thoroughly to understand the essense [sic] of humanity”? I would think history is a far better gauge. Many many many religions before Islam, quite a few quirky ones after it. From how I see it, Islam is still in the dark ages – not only by your calendar, but the fact that it was made around the 4th century. . . so the way I see it, it will take 500 years to get past the same paranoia that Catholicism had during the Inquisition, when anyone who blasphemed God or Jesus was tortured / burnt at the stake. Its a maturity thing I guess.

    “With free speech the best ideas will grow to fruition, the bad ones will die on the vine.”

    I highly recommend everyone watch The God Who Wasn’t There (google it) and read anything by Richard Dawkins. Read widely, debate widely, and be open minded enough to change your opinion, even if dogma has been drilled into you from the innocence of childhood. Its not your fault, my parents told me that the tooth fairy, the easter bunny and Santa was real too. They’re just good stories at the end of the day, nothing wrong with that, but keep it in perspective. Greek Mythology rocks too!

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