Why I Support Drawing Muhammad


For HumanistNetworkNews.org
May 19, 2010

You never hear about Hindus walking into McDonald's and telling the manager they're not allowed to use beef products anymore. If they did, we would laugh it off. We'd say that's absurd because non-Hindus don't have to follow their rules.

But what if the Hindu radicals committed a violent act against the manager? We'd be furious.

What if moderate Hindus said it was offensive for someone else to eat a Big Mac? We'd say that's crazy.

In response to all that, I think it would be perfectly appropriate to stage a peaceful sit-in where all participants ate Big Macs. It wouldn't be anti-Hinduism, nor would anyone be purposely trying to piss off Hindus by doing it. It would just be a show of solidarity by those who believe that only Hindus need to abide by their religious beliefs, not anyone else.

That's what a few Secular Student Alliance affiliates are doing by drawing these Muhammad images (I am the chair of the SSA board of directors).

Lars Vilks, the man who drew Muhammad's face on the body of a dog, was attacked a few days ago. And it has only gotten worse for him since then.

His house was set on fire. (Thankfully, Vilks is ok.)

The facade of the building was lightly damaged, a police spokeswoman told SR radio. Neither Vilks, nor anyone else was in at the time of the incident at the house in a secluded part of southern Sweden.

The radicals are remaining violent.

The "moderate" Muslims are pointing fingers at the artists–the artists!saying they're offending Islam by drawing Muhammad.

That's ridiculous, and that's why I support everyone drawing Muhammad on May 20.

The Secular Student Alliance supports the college students who have drawn stick figure Muhammads. To be sure, we are offering a few helpful pieces of advice for any other campus atheists who want to follow in their footsteps.

In the video below, "The Young Turks" voice their support for the SSA and they go after Eboo Patel's wrong-headed criticism of the atheists. The key part for me begins at 1:53:

Right on.


Hemant Mehta is the Chair of the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) Board of Directors. He has worked with the Center for Inquiry and also is an SSA representative to the Secular Coalition for America. Hemant received national attention, including being featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, for his work as the "eBay Atheist." Hemant's blog can be read at FriendlyAtheist.com, and his book, I Sold My Soul on eBay, (WaterBrook Press) is now available on Amazon.com. He currently works as a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago.