Members of the Secular Humanists for Inquiry and Free Thought (SHIFT) group at Northwestern University in Illinois took a cue from the students in Madison, Wisconsin and drew stick figure images of Muhammad on campus Sunday night.
“We wanted to express the idea that there is no policy against talking about the prophet Muhammad,” Weinberg sophomore and SHIFT president Cassandra Byrne said. “It’s become a cultural taboo because of fear. We’re trying to dispel that taboo.”
“It’s not directed to Muslims who are offended,” she said. “It’s to everyone else for thinking this is so offensive.”
Representatives from a campus Muslim group are (yet again) saying they support free speech, but these — the evil scary stick figures — are offensive and should never have happened. They wisely call for dialogue, and I hope SHIFT members take them up on it.
Meanwhile, I don’t think this should stop. There are very good reasons for drawing these images and I think college is a perfect place for these conversations to happen. Let people see how harmless the drawings are. If anyone overreacts to them, it just reinforces the point. No one has the right to tell you what you can and cannot draw. No one can force you to accept their religious beliefs and the laws that come with it.
Kudos to the SHIFT team. Who’s next?
(Thanks to Ed for the link!)