Wisconsin College Atheist Group to Draw Muhammad on Campus

A few days ago, I mentioned that the Atheists, Agnostics & Freethinkers at the University of Illinois chalked their campus up with stick figure images of Muhammad.

Chris Calvey, the president of the Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics group at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, is planning to do the same thing on his campus.

Like the group at U of I, Chris knows this is not an attack on Muslim students. This is a response to the ridiculous rules that radical Muslims think the rest of us have to follow.

Just to be civil, he wrote a letter to the Muslim Student Association, letting them know exactly what AHA would be doing and why:

We are aware that depicting images of Muhammad is a controversial issue that is highly offensive to many Muslims around the world. We acknowledge that you may view this as an unproductive, misguided, or hurtful event. We are very sensitive to these facts, and want to ensure that this event is done in a way that does not lead to Muslims feeling uncomfortable on campus. That is why I want to explain our position and our intentions as clearly as possible before the event takes place.

These drawings are not intended to mock, intimidate, or harass anyone -– rather, we aim to make the following statements:

1) We have the right to criticize religion and to perform actions considered blasphemous, even if many individuals find this offensive.

2) A free society cannot tolerate violence or threats of violence which seek to limit our freedom of expression.

Further, we fully understand that Revolution Islam is a radical, fringe organization that does not represent mainstream Islam in any way. It goes without saying that the overwhelming majority of Muslims, in the U.S. and across the world, do not view their tactics as acceptable.

You can argue whether or not he should’ve sent this email. The other option was to just chalk the campus as planned and let them discover the drawings with no warning. I can respect why he felt sending the email would be a more honorable thing to do.

Anyway, in response, the Muslim students wrote back and said they understood why Chris and the AHA were responding that way, and while they don’t approve of the tactic, they acknowledge that students have a right to voice their opinions in this way.

… I’m just kidding.

Ahmed Fikri, the MSA Vice President, wrote back to Chris to say that his group is pissed off that anyone would dare offend their prophet and they’re preparing to defend the radical mindset.

Dear Chris Calvey,

I am the Vice President of the MSA and I will cut straight to the chase. Your apology is not accepted since your act is actually offensive…

I would like to inform you that, as far as we understand, the event you are planning is illegal by the constitution of the University of Wisconsin (88-12 RACIST AND OTHER DISCRIMINATORY CONDUCT POLICY). Deviating from this law will offend not only the UW Muslim Students Association but the entire Muslim community on this campus and other organization of similar culture and faith. The Dean of Students shall be contacted immediately.

I politely suggest that you cancel this event and prefer instead that we meet and discuss the issue respectfully before resorting to what we feel to be rather drastic measures. No offense, but giving less than 24 hours notice seems to betray ill intentions.

I respect the fact you let us know about your plans beforehand but I also want to reiterate that we do not approve or agree with your highly offensive acts. I assure you that we believe in freedom of expression just as much as you purport to do.

Wow.

Drawing a stick figure with the word Muhammad is racist, discriminatory, and illegal?

Talk about overreaction…

It’s a stick figure drawing. Chill. Out.

I suppose Chris could also draw images of Jesus, Buddha, Joseph Smith, and Krishna alongside Muhammad. Hell, draw all the Super Best Friends. But there’s no need to. The Muslim students are the ones overreacting about someone else disobeying the laws of their faith. You don’t see Jews getting this upset when other people eat pork.

And I doubt atheists would get angry if MSA students went around drawing images of nothing.

This is precisely why I support drawing images of Muhammad. It teaches the lesson that, in America, beliefs are allowed to be criticized. More importantly, you don’t have a special right not to get offended. You don’t have to draw obscene, offensive drawings to make your point, either. A simple drawing will accomplish the same goal — Chris knows that.

If the MSA wanted to have a debate about this act after the fact, I’m sure the AHA group would love to have one. Let there be a free exchange of ideas. Let there be a further discussion about this.

I hope Chris gets a positive response from all this.

***Update***: Chris met with the Associate Dean of Students earlier today and reported this:

We had a very productive and civil discussion. He stopped short of making a definitive statement about whether or not this event is in violation of any code of conduct – as the issues involved are complex and the outcome of the MSA’s complain is unpredictable. The event is still on.

They’ll get together tonight to do the chalking.

(Thanks to Rebecca for the link)

  • Staceyjw

    The problem is that Chris assumed that ‘revolutionary” islam is fundamentally different than “moderate” islam- this shows that its NOT. As long as people revere the quran and related writings, which DO support killing non-believers and all that “offend” islam, there can be no “moderates”. If one is moderate in islam, its because they don’t really follow it!

    And yeah, I think its a mid-evil religious mindset that is dangerous and keeps people ignorant.

  • Trace

    “I assure you that we believe in freedom of expression just as much as you purport to do”.

    Based on your response…no, you do not.

  • http://www.dankoleary.com Dan

    I wonder if the SSA could mirror this across the country. If these people (yep, I just used THAT line) can’t hand;e the depiction of Mohammed as a stick figure, we have a lot to be worried about.

    From A.J. Jacob’s book, the main reason people prohibit drawings of Mohammed is because he didn’t want to become like Jesus, so he prohibited any likeness to make sure they would worship Allah, not his prophet.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    Keep in mind that the reason Muslims dictate to infidels what cannot be done is only because they do not yet have the power to dictate to you what MUST be done.
    If we don’t stand up to Islam now, we will all bow down to it later.

  • JD

    “discuss the issue respectfully before resorting to what we feel to be rather drastic measures. No offense, but giving less than 24 hours notice seems to betray ill intentions.”

    No, a veiled threat to do some undefined and possibly ominous thing doesn’t betray ill intentions. No hypocrisy to see here, run along.

  • http://NoYourGod.blogspot.com NoYourGod

    I like the idea of drawing the SuperBestFriends in stick-figure, and marking which is which.

  • http://alliedatheistalliance.blogspot.com/ advertisinglies

    “You don’t see Jews getting this upset when other people eat pork.”

    Exactly the point I’ve been arguing with a shockingly high number of fellow atheists for the last few days. Tolerance does not extend to me truncating my own freedoms for the sake of someone else’s delusion. Not even a little bit.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    Where are all of the other free-speech advocates in all of this, especially the fundamentalist Christian Republicans and Libertarians? You know…the REAL Americans (unlike us).
    You’d think they’d set differences aside and join with free-thinkers to defend those rights they like to bleat like sheep about every 5 minutes.
    Methinks they’ve got no balls.

  • Siamang

    While they chalk, they should be eating bacon cheeseburgers.

    That violates the inside-baseball rules of at least four religions I can think of off the top of my head.

  • Rob

    Islam is fundamentally incompatible with the basic tenets of American democracy.

    Incidents like this prove that point.

    Someone needs to remind the Muslim Students Association that there is no “right to not be offended” in our Constitution, Bill of Rights, or Public Law.

    I’m offended by their reaction to the chalk drawings. Does that mean they have to shut up?

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  • Edmond

    Just draw a whole wall full of stick figures, and make the Muslims guess which one is Mohammed, if any.

  • http://www.jdanielclements.com Daniel

    “You don’t see Jews getting this upset when other people eat pork.”

    Yes, you do:

    http://atheism.about.com/b/2009/07/17/orthodox-jews-riot-assault-reporter-for-not-observing-their-sabbath.htm

  • a-hem

    But will this promote dialog? I have a feeling it’ll just push Muslims further away. Just like the burqa ban in Belgium.

  • http://uiucatheists.blogspot.com Franklin Kramer

    Go Chris! I hope that other groups see this and do it as well- it can only help gain more attention to our cause and make people realize that freedom of speech and expression isn’t something so easily given up.

    And, as an interesting update, the “University of Illinois Bias Incident Investigation Team” has received a complaint regarding our chalkings (I wonder from whom?), because apparently now drawing stick figures is “antithetical to the University’s mission and values” if it has the word “Muhammad” attached to it. We’re meeting with them this Thursday to hopefully straighten things out.

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com Joshua Zelinsky

    Daniel, that’s a valid example although that sort of thing is pretty rare in comparison. The only ones who do that sort of thing generally are the charedim (ultra-Orthodox). The rest aren’t as bad.

    But there’s a separate reason for that, which is that at a fundamental level Jews don’t believe that non-Jews should be Jewish. There’s a set of rules for Jews and there’s a set of other rules for non-Jews (the seven Noahide laws). So there’s no theological reason for Jews to push their viewpoints on others. In the handful of religious aspects of the Noahide laws (such as the sexual restrictions) one does see some Orthodox Jewish groups joining with Christians (such as in fighting against gay marriage).

  • Trace

    Daniel, thanks for the link.

  • http://centerforinquiry.net/dc Simon

    I believe he is referring to Revolution Muslim, a group that made veiled threats of violence against the South Park creators: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_Muslim

    The Muslim student group was perfectly within their rights to request a sit-down and also within their rights to inform them of their reading of the campus rules. I see no behavior here that was provocative or untoward. I’m open to other interpretations however.

  • Miko

    Rob:

    Someone needs to remind the Muslim Students Association that there is no “right to not be offended” in our Constitution, Bill of Rights, or Public Law.

    Since they cited the constitution of the University of Wisconsin, they presumably realize that the issue is not under the jurisdiction of federal law. And while I don’t like it, many university constitutions do include a right not to be offended. Recall e.g. the water buffalo insanity at UPenn.

    Islam is fundamentally incompatible with the basic tenets of American democracy.

    Islam is opposed to letting corporations decide everything while offering the people a false choice between two equivalent corporate-approved candidates?

    Edmond:

    Just draw a whole wall full of stick figures, and make the Muslims guess which one is Mohammed, if any.

    I like it. Better yet, put some folded cards by each stick figure stating who they are and make a “guess which one of these stick figures is infuriating to Muslims” game out of it.

    I did something similar at a demonstration a long time back, with one out of a 3-card-monte-style collection of two Canadian flags and one U.S. flag getting burnt (since there was talk of a Constitutional amendment at the time that would have made burning a U.S. flag a crime while asserting that burning the flag of any other nation was protected free speech).

    The Godless Monster:

    Where are all of the other free-speech advocates in all of this, especially the fundamentalist Christian Republicans and Libertarians? You know…the REAL Americans (unlike us).
    You’d think they’d set differences aside and join with free-thinkers to defend those rights they like to bleat like sheep about every 5 minutes.
    Methinks they’ve got no balls.

    No, it’s definitely not that, as they’ve aptly demonstrated their ability to be downright obnoxious when it suits them. Rather, it’s just that atheists aren’t on the list of groups to which Republicans and right-wing “libertarians” want to extend free speech rights. Yglesias hit pretty close to the mark when he said that conservatives just use “freedom” as a buzzword for conservatism. The “freedom” of the right-winger is the “freedom” to do whatever they want to the rest of us (with the rest of us getting no say, of course).

  • http://findingmyfeminism.blogspot.com/ Not Guilty

    There is no constitutional right to not be offended! When will religious fools get this? Just because I am liberal does not mean I will bow down to religions or races and avoid offending them. This sort of bullshit never ceases to amaze me. If I were Chris, I might considering filing a police report and start a paper trail lest these fools actually carrying out their veiled threats.

    The populist authoritarianism that is the downside of political correctness means that anyone, sometimes it seems like everyone, can proclaim their grief and have it acknowledged. The victim culture, every sufferer grasping for their own Holocaust, ensures that anyone who feels offended can call for moderation, for dilution, and in the end, as is all too often the case, for censorship…” ~ Jonathon Green

  • http://twitter.com/ryanrockmoran Ryan Moran

    This is ridiculous, since UoW seems to be a public university, it is bound by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They should definitely go ahead with their drawings, if the administration makes any noise about it they should contact FIRE and have them send the college a letter reminding them of their Constitutional obligations…

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    Now just a single stick figure is enough to raise the scorn of Muslims. Where will this stop?

    Perhaps we should draw “nothing” and say it’s Allah, and then they’l be in the position of demanding we don’t draw nothing. Like my picture of Allah below?

    Allah: By PrimeNumbers

  • Richard Wade

    For anyone who is intimidated by these (ahem) pious protectors of the prophet, you can take a lesson from the Harry Potter books and still make your statement, maybe even more wryly:

    :) <— You Know Who

  • seashell

    What I find funny – is the VP of the MSA says “Your apology is not accepted since your act is actually offensive…”

    Except Chris wasn’t apologizing (and he shouldn’t) he was just giving a heads-up.

    The point of the exercise is that yes- some people are going to be offended- but that can’t stop it from being said (or drawn)

  • http://reanhouse.blogspot.com Sarah

    RE: The leader of the MSA’s statement that the act violates the niversity’s constitution “(88-12 RACIST AND OTHER DISCRIMINATORY CONDUCT POLICY)”

    Is he not aware that Islam is not a race? Or that stick figures (or even caricatures and what not) do not constitute discriminatory practices?

    Why the hell is he attending university if he’s not willing to learn anything?

  • http://www.freethoughtoasis.org Jynx

    If the University should attempt to silence Chris’ freedom of expression, they will have a serious task ahead of them. One poster here mentioned the “water buffalo” fiasco as a perfect example of “political correctness” gone awry. This incident was just one of countless which were especially numerous during the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s regarding free speech on universities (both public and private). The High Court has ruled again and again that limiting student speech in such ways is simply not going to fly.

    Bravo Chris and the other students for standing firm in the face of such inanity.

  • http://reanhouse.blogspot.com Sarah

    @Prime Numbers: You didn’t get the chin just right in your drawing of Allah. Also, I think your colours are a bit off.

  • http://reanhouse.blogspot.com Sarah

    @Miko: that water buffalo thing is such a crock of excrement! If he’d called the girls niggers or something else nasty I can see their case but since when is water buffalo a racist slur? Sheesh talk about grasping at straws!

  • Marilyn

    I live in Madison, so I saw this in person before hearing about it on the blog. There were also some apparent responses from Muslims, most of which seemed fairly civil (with the exception of a claim that Chris Calvey’s mom engages in inappropriate relations with cows).

  • Brian Macker

    Simon,

    Great, you think it’s just swell for Muslims to create nuance suits in order to violate the rights of non-Muslims.

    Well my reading of law is that the Qur’an is an illegal incitement to violence, and that it commits defamation against non-Muslims. That is much more of a reality than any legal claims being made by these Muslims.

    Mohammad was an evil man. That is the reality and Muslims better get used to non-Muslims speaking the truth.

  • Brian Macker

    nuisance

  • Andrew

    Haha. Really? Really? This thread is incredibly hypocritical. I mean come on. You guys are kidding. Right?

  • Matt

    Whatever clause the Muslim Students’ association is citing is either irrelevant or unconstitutional: UW-Madison is a public university, so it has to abide by the 1st amendment. If the Muslim students are actually threatening violence against people who draw their child raping “prophet”, they have to realize that their own words are at least as unconstitutional as their critics’.

  • Autumnal Harvest

    The AHA has a First Amendment right to carry out this speech, regardless of what the constitution of the University of Wisconsin says – as it’s a public university, it’s constitution is superceded by the First Amendment. I fully support their right to do this, however asinine their speech is.

    Having said that, these Mohammed-drawing things are dickish and stupid. Pretending that there’s nothing offensive about it, because no one is bound by other people’s religious laws is pretty stupid. I agree that if you have some other, independent reason to draw Mohammed, there’s no reason that you should be deterred by the fact that some religion finds it blasphemous. But in this case, the only reason people are drawing Mohammed is to be blashphemous. It’s pretty stupid to then act like it’s not offensive, when the only point is to be offensive. There’s a difference between eating pork because I like pork, and declaring a Lets-All-Eat-Pork-This-Saturday-To-Piss-Off-The-Jews event.

    Muslims are one of the most despised minorities in American today. Acting like they’re some powerful threat to free speech in America, and that you’re bravely standing up for free speech by being dickish to American Muslims in general, is pretty stupid. Of course, it’s wrong that a group of a few dozen Muslims made death threats, and that that led Comedy Central to censor itself. But it was equally wrong when a production of Corpus Christi was shut down last month due to Christian death threats – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/theater/29arts-CORPUSCHRIST_BRF.html – for some reason, there was no national hullabaloo about that. Campus hate speech laws at public universities are both a violation of the First Amendment, and morally wrong. But they’re equally wrong at the thousands of other public universities that have and use them. Acting like some Muslim group referring to campus rules that exists and are used at countless other universities is some veiled threat to do something ominous, or due to some uniquely Muslim disregard of free speech is just dumb.

  • Slickninja

    For some reason I’m wired like a 14 year old, you tell me I can’t express myself in some fashion and immediately the next thing I want to do is just say or do that very thing. I want to draw Allah stick figures everywhere now.

    Also, the Water Buffalo Wiki-link was a good read. I feel enlightened.

  • A Respectful Madison Atheist

    Well, put Autumnal Harvest.

    I was at this event in Madison, as an atheist, but in support of the Muslim Students Association. I also thought that the AHA stick figures were indeed dickish and stupid.

    This event hurt and offended all the wrong people. If Revolution Islam is the intended target of AHA’s free speech critiques, they should protest to THEM, not peaceful, regular Muslim college students. If AHA would have wanted to engage in a productive, constructive conversation with the MSA about how to lessen the grip of radical Islam, or discuss free speech in the context of religion, they would have been happy to do so, and said as much at the event today. But AHA wasn’t interested in that discussion. They just wanted to make a point, in full awareness of it’s hurtful effects. Free speech is incredibly important; why do we insist on tarnishing it with this stick-figure nonsense when there are so many other ways to achieve better results in this battle against extremism?

    Don’t offend people just for kicks when absolutely nothing is gained. It’s in incredibly poor taste and comes off as a stupid publicity stunt.

  • Brian Macker

    Slickninja,

    So are you saying that if I tell you to shut your fucking yap that if you post again you are being a petulant child. Think better of yourself. They don’t have the right to tell you to be quite.

  • http://wiscatheists.blogspot.com/ Chris from UW – Madison

    AHA president here.
    Thanks for the coverage Hemant!

    And I especially want to thank all of you who have left messages of support here. I’ve been getting flack from all directions lately – honestly, the worst of which has come from fellow atheists/agnostics who think the event was unproductive. Your words of encouragement sustain me.

  • Alexrkr7

    @ Simon: They are trying to stop the group from drawing the stick figures by calling it racist (which it is not). They are trying to stifle free speech with threats of punishment from the school (hey, not as bad as death threats, right?) They are also insinuating that the intentions of the Atheist group is to be racist (which they aren’t)

    @Andrew: Do you mind elaborating as to how we are being hypocritical? I’m assuming you’re saying that we are stifling the Muslims free speech and/or expression in some way? Or that our reactions are purely emotional because *we* are offended? Not catching what you’re throwing there.

    @Hemant: Before I read “I’m just kidding” I thought to myself ‘What a thoughtful and understanding letter. They didn’t like it but they understood why the group was doing it. Wow I guess they really are as enlightened as moderate Muslims like these say they are.’

    I guess it was just too good to be true. But it was a good exercise in contrast. Maybe Simon and Andrew can read them side by side to really see the difference between what reasoned adults say and what emotional children of religion say.

  • Claudia

    I assure you that we believe in freedom of expression just as much as you purport to do.

    Why even bother with such a statement, really? You’ve spent the entire previous paragraph detailing how you are going to move to prevent someone else from expressing themselves and how they better not even try, or else. Adding “oh but we love freedom of speech” frankly just drives the point of how you don’t in even harder.

    If stick figures of Mo are “racist” or “hate speech” then anything and everything can be declared hate speech and freedom of speech dies. This student Muslim group had an opportunity to show their university that Muslims can be mature. They could have responded to the event by offering to discuss their views, by setting up an event of their own expressing their views, essentially by showing that Islam is compatible with our most cherished values of freedom. They might have even made the atheist group seem immature or extreme. Instead they opted to prove the point about Muslim intolerance better than any stick figure ever could.

  • Greg

    Autumnal Harvest, I think you’ve missed the point of the drawings.

    No-one’s saying that no-one’s going to get offended by them, but whether they do or not is rather irrelevant. They are being drawn as an act of solidarity – with the people who have received death threats for the innocuous offence of not abiding with the laws of some mythological fairy tale; and with the laws of the country they live in.

    Given that the death threats were made as a result of pictures, what better way to show your support than to draw your own pictures?

    That’s the important thing – if there had been no death threats, if this was no show of solidarity, then you are right – it would just be ‘dickish and stupid’.

    As it is, to claim this is solely to piss off Muslims is ludicrous.

    Also the referral to Christian death threats is irrelevant. I don’t think you’ll find many people here who’ll not agree with you that there should have been outrage about it. But just because one group managed to get away with something, does not mean all groups should get away with it in the future.

    As an aside, the offence game should be obvious to anyone with half a brain to be self defeating. If people think someone merely being offended by something means that thing shouldn’t be done, well then, I am offended by that thought.

  • qwertyuiop

    The other option was to just chalk the campus as planned and let them discover the drawings with no warning.

    Exactly. This would definitely be a test to see just how tolerant and peaceful the majority of Muslims really are.

    I bet that the majority would be pissed off, which would refute the claim that the majority are reasonable people.

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  • Bob

    This isn’t all that different from the nut fringe whinging about the ‘War on Christmas.’

    The meaning of a religious icon – a bit of scripture, an image, a concept – is held by the individual; it does not, cannot become LESS by someone simply holding an opposing view.

    On the other hand, if you’re desperately in need of self-validation, then, yes, a stick figure doodle of Jesus could be absolutely devastating.

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  • http://centerforinquiry.net/dc Simon

    Here’s the next episode (from the AHA blog): http://wiscatheists.blogspot.com/2010/05/confusing-stick-figures-descend-on-uw.html

    The deed is done… kinda.

    Immediately upon arriving at our agreed upon meeting spot, we were somewhat surprised to see a large gathering of MSA students – also armed with chalk. After a brief discussion, and another explanation of the purpose of the event, the MSA informed us that they would not try to prevent us from drawing anything or attempt to censor our work, rather, they would merely be expressing their own freedom of expression by “adding to” our drawings.

    Thus, Muhammad (the Prophet) became Muhammad Ali (the Boxer)!

    You’ve got to hand it to them, it was a creative and non-confrontational way to minimize the intolerable offense of seeing stick figures labeled Muhammad. It was a celebration of free speech for everyone! AHA students were outnumbered at least 4:1, so it was rather easy for the MSA to follow us around and make modifications to nearly all of our 50-100 drawings.

    Mind you the above is the opinion of the secular student group. I stand by my assessment that the MSA at this school has done nothing untoward and responded appropriately to an also legitimate action by the AHA.

  • df nate

    AHHH! NOOOO! I am the founder of a religon that prohibits the drawing of muhamed ali! Shiiiittt!

  • Reginald Selkirk

    You’ve got to hand it to them, it was a creative and non-confrontational way to minimize the intolerable offense of seeing stick figures labeled Muhammad. It was a celebration of free speech for everyone!

    Paging George Orwell.

    I cannot agree that altering someone else’s drawings to change their intent is celebrating free speech for everyone. the MSA students should be free to make their own drawing, but interfering with someone else’s free speech is not celebrating free speech.

    I stand by my assessment that the MSA at this school has done nothing untoward

    I stand by my assessment that you are a poopyhead.

  • justin

    ah….19 year old misguided idealists with nothing to do and daddys check book. gotta love uw. there are tons of idiotic religious beliefs…why are u choosing to antagonize a group who has been harassed by americans for quite some time. radical jews dont let their womens hair show…christian high priets use little boys buts as hand warmers. your choice seems arbitrary and ur ust following the flavor of the month on who to pick on. fanatasism is prevelant in all religons. try turning off fox news.

  • justin

    people dont become radical for fun….its a response to being shit on for hundreds of years…..u dont draw mohamed out of respect for an oppressed people regardless of whether u “can” or not. would u write nigger on the sidewalk because u can? u have no sense of history

  • justin

    neo nazis…..southerners…. have all used free speech as an excuse for rasist bs. ur just followin in their footsteps. well done

  • justin

    and if u dont get why its rascist ill explain it to u. it is in the arbitrary choice to go after muslims. u perpetuate the fox news myth the muslims are radical and not the truth which is that their are radical muslims. whether or not that was ur intension thats what effect it has. its like showing terrorist footage over and over on fox news. ill bet if u drew jesus jerking off ud get some radical christians to respond. ur choice only perpetuates fox news agenda that islam is radical. most muslims i know drink, smoke dope and dont really care about god just like everybody else.

  • Nora

    Justin,

    I doubt many of us here are avid watchers of Fox News. I don’t think that the comparisons you are drawing are valid at all. The whole point is that these are not drawings that are “jesus jerking off,” these are stick figures labeled as Muhammed.

    I think you will also find that few of us here are indifferent to the injustices perpetrated by other religions. The point of this particular event, however, was not to protest an in-religion rule such as covering one’s hair. The whole point of this event is to say that their in-religion rules cannot be enforced upon others. Radical jews cannot make ME cover my hair, and Muslims cannot make ME refrain from depicting Muhammed.

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  • Alex

    I believe “individuals” are protected against discrimination, not their “beliefs”

  • justin

    regardless of whether u watch fox news or not, the fact is that encouraging confrontation over this does lead to another news story depicting muslims as radical. im curious, do u have many other events planned to protest over reach of other religons or just this one. and by the way its such a pety issue, why not protest muslims treatment of women or other more purtinant shortcomings of the religon.

  • justin

    u need to understand its not about U or ME as u emphasized. who gives a shit if U can draw mohammed. its not about U. how about some compation for the millions of women treated as property by thier “in reliogon rules” just think u guys need to be a bit wiser about ur events and not just jump on the latest headline grabbers. i understand and agree w ur premise they cant apply their religous rules on others (i am agnostic). this one is just so dumb and u clearly chose it as its in the news alot. how about protesting missionaries

  • Andrew

    @Alexrkr7
    I just think it is funny how the shoe is now on the other foot and an atheist group is pissing off a religious group through their “expression”. Most of the people on this thread are supporting this even though you all seem to be annoyed by people reading the bible aloud or crosses in public places etc.

  • Nora

    Justin,

    Ah, I see. Until we solve all the Big Problems we must ignore everything else. I happen to not think this is a petty issue, and it’s not like doing this is somehow adversely affecting other causes.

    Andrew,

    Of course I’m annoyed by people reading the bible and praying in public, but I don’t threaten them and they are certainly legally protected in their actions. (If you are talking about government owned crosses or government sponsored prayer, then that’s completely different.)

  • Alexrkr7

    @Andrew “…annoyed by people reading the bible aloud or crosses in public places etc.”

    Missing the point Andrew? They can be annoyed all they like just like atheists can at religious activity. But they aren’t just annoyed, they are insinuating racism and trying to get the activity stopped. Aka. Censored. See the difference now. As for crosses in public places, that’s unconstitutional; not just annoying.

    @Justin: Your strawmaning and ad hominems aren’t going to get you far here. These activities are a response to threats. Threats meant to censor the activity. That’s the difference from other religious practices. You can hold things sacred all you like but to make others do the same is a problem. When censorship stops happening the drawings will stop coming. This is not racist nor should you take in personally; it’s a response to threats and censorship. Oh and the president of the atheist group made it clear that we know not all Muslims are radical. Luckily those Muslims who aren’t won’t care about the drawings.

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

    Hmm, following up on my earlier remark, I think that the equivalent for Jews might be repeated drawings of the four letter name of God. I’m not sure how violent such reactions would be. But I suspect the answer is “not very” given that the name has been used a fair bit in artwork and the like without Jews making much of a fuss.

  • Andrew

    No I’m not missing the point. I just thinks it’s funny. They purposefully trying to piss these people off. It’s not a good thing. And after having people complain about the same sort of stuff for over a year, I find it hilarious.

  • Alexrkr7

    @Andrew *sigh* Yes you are missing the point otherwise you wouldn’t see anything hypocritical or even funny. They aren’t trying to piss people off, that’s been explained clearly. I’m not sure how you’re missing this but it’s about freedom of speech not being stifled by threats. That’s it. Whether people get offended or not is not the point nor should it stop anybody. People don’t have a right not to be offended.

  • BrettH

    Andrew: I think it’s important to remember that the reason this topics in the news is because a popular t.v. show (South Park) was told they couldn’t run an episode not because it would offend people but because of threats of violence. I don’t know about the other atheists here, but I’d be nearly as upset if people were threatening any other protected free speech with violence. When I complain about public preaching, I’m only saying I don’t like what they’re saying. I would never threaten to hurt them for saying it, and all of the Christians I know say the same thing about atheists. The only problem I see with this protest is that the colleges doing this weren’t actually anywhere near the specific Muslim group that was being protested.

  • Andrew

    @Alexrkr7
    You’re right. They weren’t purposefully trying to piss people off at all. They were just doing something they knew would offend them. Big difference. Thanks for clarifying. By the way if you would realize I was talking about the comments by people on the thread about how the muslims should get over themselves instead of being offended you would probably see the irony.

    @Brett H
    Agreed. Again talking about other commenters not the event.

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  • freedom fighter

    so ur going to offend someone just to make it clear that you can and will offend them? that is a load of bull. Its called mutual respect guys. The issue is not the drawing, the issue is the social context and why you are drawing it. You can draw the prophet but ask yourself why you are drawing it.. freedom of speech or is it because of hatred towards Muslim aka racism. p.s. devout Muslims aren’t allowed to offend other belief systems.
    and where are you guys when the thousands of rights violations occur in the world?
    thought so.


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