Pakistan: The Draw Mohammed Day Controversy

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day Facebook Page

On April 25 a Seattle Cartoonist Molly Norris came on a radio show to announce that she was organizing a cartoon drawing event called Muhammad day in response to Comedy Central’s decision to censor an episode of South Park which had depictions of Prophet Muhammad [PBUH].

In the interview she said:

“as a cartoonist, I just felt so much passion about what had happened.. it’s a cartoonist’s job to be non-PC.”

This resulted in Jon Wellington creating a Facebook fan page on this issue labeling it as “Everybody Draw Muhammed Day”, he introduces the group as:

As a snarky response to Muslim bloggers who “warned” Comedy Central about an episode of South Park showing the Prophet Mohammed wearing a bear suit, one Seattle cartoonist, who calls laughter her form of “prayer,” is asking artists all over the world to create depictions of Mohammed on May 20, then submit the images to a Facebook page she set up. Speaking on a Seattle radio show on Friday, cartoonist Molly Norris said she announced her idea as a way of countering the fear exhibited by Comedy Central in censoring episode 201 of South Park.

The Pakistani blogosphere is in an uproar over the issue, Aamir Attaa at ProPakistani says:

Despite thousands of complaints, Facebook administration is not banning the page; unlike they usually do even for very minor violation of Facebook Terms of Services. This page is clearly violating the terms, by spreading hatred and disrespecting Muslims and their values.

Sana Saleem at Dawn blog writes:

Laughably, the campaign website also claims that the point is not to promote certain “personal/political/religious” messages, but to show the world that “we’re not afraid to depict Muhammad.” But, the question remains, who is the target audience for such a campaign? And what is the purpose of a mass campaign that has the potential to target and offend people of a certain religion?

….. Let’s act rationally once and for all, and help change the trend of the freedom-of-speech excuse being used to justify discriminatory campaigns.

Mani Pro at MANI's Fragasss reacts to say:

The Facebook fan page has been created to hurt our hearts, our souls, our emaan, our love for the prophet (SAW), the prophet for which his real followers faced all the pain in the world. Now when it's up to us, what pain are we willing to suffer?

Expressing her frustration Sahar Rabbani responds at Chowrangi:

They prove by their actions that they are the extremists, not we, and still they call us extremists and terrorists. It seems as if our whole life revolves around Facebook, we’re just so used to all this derogatory stuff that no one really bothers, we’re a dead nation who doesn’t take any action on such events which is really depressing. What we should do is to deactivate our Facebook accounts.

My response to the Molly Norris's interview at Teeth Maestro's blog was to question her hypocrisy on where she chooses to draw the line of Freedom of Expression when questioned about drawing on the holocaust:

Its interesting if you hear her Interview, when asked if she would make fun of the Holocaust – she responds “No, there is nothing funny about it” what a hypocritical statement exposing her idiotic position on Freedom of Expression:

This has generally lead to an uproar across the Facebook with many opposing groups cropping up against this initiative, but the most interesting and the neutral way of opposing this event was presented by some peaceful Muslims to launch a group called Honour The Prophet Muhammad Campaign, which is explained in this YouTube video:

Rabab Khan at Cacoethes Scribendi suggest restraint in going all out condemning the issue:

While I do agree with condemning Draw Muhammad Day, reporting it and insisting Facebook remove it, I also believe that we should look within for the inspiration required to battle such attacks. When we abuse, slander and increase the hatred, we are not helping the cause. We are only adding insult to the injury.

The uproar continued but in all the pressure Molly Norris may have withdrawn from her earlier position to regret to have gone to the show in the first place:

I regret going on a local radio show on April 25th; my ego took me there, it was a mistake. I meant for this to remain a fictional CARTOON, an artistic IDEA, never to catch fire as an actual ‘event’

Facebook or the group URL might be banned in Pakistan

With all the hue and cry about the event it seems that Ministry of Information and Technology in Pakistan may have instructed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to block the Facebook or the Facebook page according to the sources close to Aamir Attaa of ProPakistani:

A reliable source, who is in direct contact with Secretary MoIT, told ProPakistani that ministry has issued the directive to PTA to ban said blasphemous content in the country. Ministry of Information Technology directs PTA for banning any URL or whole of website in case of any inappropriate content available on it. It is yet to be ascertained if the whole Facebook will be banned or just a single URL will be filtered. In both the situations, step is inline with thousands of Facebook users and according to their urge of boycotting Facebook on May 20th.

While Imran Jafri at Mabo0t comments on the pending Facebook ban:

It is not yet clear If the directive was issued to ban the entire Facebook or the Facebook fan page in question. We will of course update this post as more details become available to us.

As of filing of this report neither the facebook fan page nor the main domain was blocked in Pakistan.

43 comments

  • hina dutt

    i strongly condemn this rubbish event.no one is supposed to make fun of others religion and religious leaders. if i say something against ur religion or make fun of ur religion leaders?this is not freedom of speech. my great religion Islam dont allom me to do dis.

  • dot KOM

    well…throwing a stone at someone (knowing that it will hit and harm them) and saying “i can what i want and i will what i want because of “FREEDOM” of speech/act/disrespect/disgrace/humiliate blah blah”…come on yaar…nice point of drawing swastika Eremipagamo Amabebe (though it has a different angle)

    teeth maestro…bro…i know many of people who are not muslim but still they are with us against such foolish “freedom” attempts, a friend of mine used to say “why do we have to act stupid to prove that we are human as TO ERR IS HUMAN and why do we have to abuse somebody to prove that we have FREEDOM OF SPEECH”…you know what…there are people (i dont want to use any bad language) who used to make fun of others and enjoy, they ignite many, they complete their researches on human behavior by making those people lose their everything, they win the best photographer’s award by waiting for hours to capture the moment a kid die starving instead of helping him…you know why? because we are HUMAN because we are THE most supreme speicy of the entire history because we the ones who can do anything they want, to anyone they want, in any way they want…enough yaar, such kind of people (sorry…i should have said GREAT FREE PEOPLE) have always been and will always be here on this earth before they are thrown in the abyss of hell…till then we all will have to bear them :)

    ps: thanks solana and Eremipagamo…i am not a blogger but liked it…i see many sensible people here…at least there are people who understand and respect others

    peace
    dot KOM

  • Jamshaid Khan Barki

    No one has the right to hurt another one on the name of freedom of expression. Why does not she express herself? She even does not has the right to express her mother in that way without the prior permission of her mother, so how she can express our holy prophet peace be upon him (I would request every non-muslim here to read our holy prophet peace be upon him at least once in life). Now it is the duty of senseable jews and christs of her society to stop her from such hurtful act that will do nothing but spread hatred among the religions and strengthen the extremism.

  • Muslims respects all, Muhammad PBUH, Essa Jesus, John Mosa and all other God (Allah) messengers, cartoonish characters are teasing Muslims and I am 100% sure, some big hand is in back of this habit not a single person. All Muslims should boycott this cheapest habit of untaught Women, may Allah make hell as her and followers permanent place.

  • Usman

    Jon Wellington, in one of his wall posts at the FB page says:
    I am not a jew, christian, hindu, or follower of any religion for that patter. So you can stop trying to bash any of these groups, because they’re not behind this page. I think religion is bullshit.

    Religion is bullshit, means one person comes in public and says that more than 5 billion population of this world beliefs in bullshit? Such a man is sick. And his intentions are clear. This cannot be classifies as a free speech if it hurts majority.

  • Talha Mushtq

    The Facebook fan page has been created to hurt our hearts, our souls, our emaan, our love for the prophet (SAW), the prophet for which his real followers faced all the pain in the world. Now when it’s up to us, what pain are we willing to suffer

  • Hunger Bee

    There’s an amazing saying by Ali (as), the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad (pbuh) which i think is very appropriate at this time to share with all the people of the world. He says, \When someone understands humanity, he seeks solace.\ This has to be one of the most enlightening things i have ever come across in my life.

    If the drumbeaters of freedom of speech vehemently force their thoughts on others it’s then bound to invite a similar response, and that which is in their own fashion. Because, they might justify the need of freedom of speech, but they cannot ignore the existence of a bizarre media too.

    peace on all…

  • ALi DINO

    now people see, the one who has presented this page/cartoon contest should had already known about our religion Islam. Drawing the sketch really damaged the provisions of Islam and emotions of Muslims. That is really so offensive and these are your (CHRISTIANS) acts which has made Muslims your rivals. Lots of terrorists Muslims have been caught there in America so that means that the whole world is fully a wared of Muslims aims that we can even lay down our lives for the protection of our religion. So why you people attack our religion and make us to stand rivalry against you and your activities. This can not be prove as a surprising thing that your these deeds make us fight against you and thus we are called TERRORIST!!!! We are not terrorist but your these activities make us angry and this lead to the violence from our side. I consider it not to be a stupid and terrorist activity to fight against those who set continuous attacks on our religion. This contest is an other example of evil and offensive activity against our religious dignity!! :(

  • Usman

    Guys i guess that guy is an indian (beacuse of his pronunciation of certain words, like Pakistan and quoting Gandhi in some wall posts.) , I have heard his interview on msnbc and he is “For Free Speech Campaign” but hiding his name, He made a skype call because he does not want to be traced and had a fake identity Andy :P this is funny. He’s a free speech activist and afraid of coming in front of media.

  • Anon

    Freedom of Speech? What freedom of Speech and expression do those who claim speak of? Muhammad has passed on 1400 years ago but his followers remain. Freedom of Speech and Expression are for current times and for people still alive. You are blatantly attacking The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) because of your hatred of Islam which your media has created over the last couple of years. Islam is the fastest growing religion. Like it or hate it and thanks for spreading it through your negativity. You are uneducated and do not know about Islam from an educational point of view but rather what your media chooses for you to hear. You can either choose to remain uneducated and ignorant and speak and depict that which you do not know and remain a fool.

    Those who can attack a Prophet has no respect and are the terrorists. It is rather surprising that those who fight for THEIR land are regarded terrorists by those who are greedy and want the oil in those countries.

    If anyone attacks the USA tomorrow will they remain coward? No, they won’t. They just assumed Islam was behind ALL the controversy and conspiracy. But what did they do? Attacked Afghanistan and Iraq! Are they not the real terrorists?

    Educate yourselves! Do not remain fools and believe that which your HEAR.

    Seeing is BELIEVING and HEARING is deceiving.

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