As I read the comments and discussed it with others on the Brew boards, my thoughts on it went back and forth quite a bit. I'm still not 100% sure what I think of it to be honest.
My first immediate thought was that this is a great idea. Simply because I don't think people should bow to threats. That shouldn't be indulged. And I object to the idea that somebody elses religious beliefs should dictate what I should or shouldn't do.
There have been many comments that say this drawing day would be disrespectful to ordinary Muslims. This is true, and unfortunate. But that anyone should be driven by fear to censor a point that, actually, was about censorship, well, where's the respect there?
But it's not so much about respect really. It's about fear. Fear of death threats like those going back all the way to Salman Rushdie. Fear of those threats being carried out, like they were with provocative filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.
The world has been tip-toeing around recently for fear of becoming the next target. I know I'm pretty sure I don't have the balls to take part in Draw Mohammed Day.
That is all sorts of wrong.
And it's not really about Islam. It could be any religion, group, whatever. It is not right to threaten others who don't follow your beliefs. Not right to kill them. Not right to censor them through fear. It could be death threats from tea-drinking vicars, morris dancers, shoemaker elves. Really doesn't matter who it is.
And when people are pushed, as they are right now, sooner or later, they push back. First in small ways, like this drawing day. And then in bigger ways. It's not going to end well. I don't like it one bit. Worst thing is, this fear may give some sort of power to Muslim extremists, but it's going to give far more power to those who wish to spread anti-Muslim hate.
It's not going to end well.
No, I don't think I'll be drawing Mohammed. Not out of respect. Out of fear. They rarely go together. I may make my own little protest. Draw a pig or something. But not Mohammed.
I'll leave this with a thought I had on that Brew posts about beliefs. For me, if the systems and beliefs can stand up to scrutiny, can feel that certain and that right, they shouldn’t ever need threats to back them up. They are what they are. If I’m wrong, I hope it’s Allah or God himself who sorts me out in an afterlife, not a fallible mortal who takes it on himself to act on what he perceives to be the word of an almighty.