in comment, 'Everybody Draw Muhammad Day'
The following is a brief comment placed on Ben Cheah's site in response to the following (excerpted).
BBC article: US cartoonist apologises over Facebook Muhammad row
“Everybody Draw Muhammad Day has faced criticism by the usual hardliners, and in the Western media. The issue at hand, apparently, is this divide between freedom of speech and religion, and religious tolerance/harmony.
Everybody Draw Muhammad Day is slammed because, among other things, it violates one of the beliefs of Islam, specifically a prohibition against producing representations of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah, and other major religious figures. The idea was doing so would defeat the idea of idolatry. By drawing a picture of Muhammad, one would violate this principle, and so commit blasphemy and disrespect Islam.
Very well. But let me draw your attention to a little-known fact. Every day, someone, somewhere, deliberately commits sacrilege.
If you eat meat, you violate the Mahayana Buddhist belief of abstaining from harming sentient beings and cultivation of compassion.
If you eat pork, you violate Jewish and Muslim dietary regulations.
If you worship multiple gods, you violate one of God’s commandments.
If you worship a Creator deity, you violate Buddhist philosophy.”
source: our daily sacrilege
The parallels you draw between a non-muslim eating pork and a non-muslim 'drawing Muhammad' is not entirely relevant. Let's not forget the fuss kicked up, and rightly so, when Rony et all 'dissed' Buddhism. It is this that can be deemed similar to the 'draw Muhammad Day'.
To us, non-Muslims, we might think, 'where's the insult in that?' But this is where we ought to take into consideration what is deemed to be an insult to the Muslims. The consumption of pork, whilst a sin to the Muslims, is not tantamount to blasphemy. Though blasphemy is a sin. The overlap does not mean similitude. Hence, non-Muslims are free to do as they please with regards to 'sins'. But blasphemy takes on the prominent figure or God/s of a faith. That is another matter altogether.
I suppose, amongst other reasons, to 'draw Muhammad' is to reduce him to a tangible entity as opposed to a system of ideas that is a part of, and received from, a celestial one. I have recognised, for a few years now, that this aspect of Islam operates at a higher metaphysical level compared to other faiths (i will not go into that at present). Hence, the tendency to view 'drawing' Muhammad as blasphemy. I think we can learn more from the observance of and reflection upon this tradition than to simply view all reality as our own experiences accustom us.
Secondly, I really don't see how a 'Draw Muhammad Day' is supposed to promote understanding or build ties with the Muslim community when non-Muslims would generally know little about Muhammad other than that garnered from the popular media. That is little more than exploring an individual whom we have little knowledge about through a drawing. This, I dare say, is quite the insult to Islam and Muslims.
‘Everybody Draw Muhammad’ is a statement against the Islamic perspective as it attempts to protect the creators of ‘south park’ from threats by providing them with a human buffer zone comprising fans. In essence, it attempts to enlist even more in the war against all that is different from the west, and in particular the Juvenile State of America. They call it the freedom of speech. I call it an abuse of it.