May 20 was “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” on Facebook – and one young man of my acquaintance (no, not a son) took part.
In an e-mail from an undisclosed location, he wrote: “I wanted to be a part of it. I don’t like that people are afraid, and I wanted to help change it somehow.”
For visitors to this site from Mars, people who have drawn images of Mohammed – any depiction of him is against Islamic law – have come under virulent and sometimes violent attack.
More than 10,000 people reportedly drew the Muslim prophet for Facebook, and Pakistan banned the page (Facebook eventually took it down),
My young friend reported that his cartoon, as of Tuesday still on his own site and on a Flash portal site (whatever that is), had “had a few hundred views,” drawing “only positive reactions so far.”
I asked him, “Were you/are you a little bit/a lot afraid of Muslim reaction?”
“No,” he wrote. “Harming me for the cartoon would only embarrass them publicly, with another barbaric act of violence. I want the Muslim community to understand reciprocity first and foremost. Any rational person who looks at my cartoon knows that I mean no disrespect.”
I also asked, “Did you do this as a political statement or for some other reason (like it just seemed like fun)?
“Honestly,” he answered, “both. Right now, people are afraid for their lives to use freedom of speech, which is a dangerous path to be on. I wanted to make a statement against that fear.”
In answer to my question as to what he felt he had accomplished, he said, “I certainly enjoyed a spurt in traffic, and I think the large number of participants in the event will at least get things rolling, as far as making more people aware of the extent of the atrocities in the Middle East. I also sharpened up my animating skills again.”