So, I did:
The reason I chose to draw Mohammad on toilet paper is because toilet paper is for human waste and getting bent out of shape over a picture like this is a complete and total waste of human time. There are more important things than a picture of someone, no matter how important that person may be perceived to be by some people.
Althouse is against this event, making the point that art like this might offend ordinary Muslims who’d never threaten anyone, and therefore this shouldn’t be the method by which we challenge their beliefs.
depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats. In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people who aren’t doing anything (other than protecting their own interests by declining to pressure the extremists who are hurting the reputation of their religion).
By not making any serious attempts at reining in the extremists, it winds up looking like tacit unspoken agreement with the movement, though, too. Imams get news reports around the crazy things they do and say. Another day the media focus is on the horrible things done to women in those countries. Aren’t there any moderate Muslims getting fed up with all this bad press?
I happened across a story about an imam in Munich that is. Hesham Shashaa is hoping that promotion of radical Islamic behaviour will someday cease. But, his own people are threatening violence against him so it’s nothing that’s going to find root today and grow tomorrow. It’ll take time, effort, and a real willingness to live with and promote a better kind of Islam.
Anyway, I see this little art project as a rather specific statement. I see it as a reminder that people who don’t follow Islam have no reason to abide by some silly Islamic rule about not depicting their god, no matter how much it might eat away at believers who have chosen to be offended by it. It is a choice to be offended by it. It’s also a choice to put up with it, to get irate, or to go and kill some people over it. Hopefully the choice made is not that last one.
The point is, we shouldn’t be at a point where a picture of someone can incite this much rage and ire. We shouldn’t be here. This is crazy and stupid and not at all reasonable. Had Muslim groups been reasonable about that Danish cartoonist and not gone all jihad on him and anyone else who’s supported him, we’d all be better off.
To quote Gawker:
The fact that so many American media and academic institutions have caved into the imagined fear of such religious fascists is shameful. If the free societies of the world can’t stand up for a person’s right to draw a fucking cartoon without becoming the victim of a multinational assassination plot, well, we lose. And if people’s faith in their god is not strong enough to allow them to laugh off and dismiss an offensive little drawing, they lose. So let’s all get along, or we all lose.
Muslims give the drawings power by what they do about them. We’ve already seen what some Muslims do. Yet, if they’d simply do nothing about them then the pictures would ultimately mean nothing and that’s exactly what they should mean. They should be utterly meaningless. They should be a waste of time and paper like mine is.
Edit May 21: found Greta Christina’s post about why she participated. She brings up some good points (including the one I did, that non-Muslims are under no obligation to abide by a Muslim rule) so go have a read of that too.