May 19th 2010 By: Laura Hudson
As we have mentioned previously on the site, May 20th is Everybody Draw Mohammed Day
, an event organized to protest the violence faced by artists, cartoonists, and creators of all stripes who would exercise their free speech to parody or even depict the Prophet Muhammed as they would any other religious or political figure, and the chilling effect those threats have upon free speech.
The event was inspired by the death threats
against "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone after they attempt to show Muhammed in an episode of their animated show -- threats that also inspired 17 Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonists to step forward
in defense of the duo.
Since the original creator of the event has since stepped back
the event has become somewhat diffuse, with numerous outlets and commentators like Andrew Sullivan
, Dan Savage
, and the libertarian Reason
magazine promoting it. We're going to be rounding up links to art from the event tomorrow, and we're particularly interested in the work of any creators or cartoonists who will be joining in -- drop us a line
and send us a link if you're going to be taking part!
The reactions to Everybody Draw Mohammed Day have been predictably strong, with many concerned about anti-Islamic sentiment, and Pakistan went so far as to shut down the country's access to Facebook
, where a main hub for the event is based. Meanwhile, the house of a Swedish artist from an earlier Muhammed cartoon controversy was targeted for an arson attack last week
-- a reminder of the very real threat that this brand of extremism poses to freedom of speech.