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Celebrating Draw Muhammad Day

Conservatives, critics of Islam and -- I'll assume -- the creators of South Park are celebrating the first-ever Draw Muhammad Day, a salute to the Danish cartoonists whose cartoons of the prophet of Islam sparked a rash of rioting in 2005. Reason magazine has been accepting entries for the contest and will post the winners today. Reason.com editor Nick Gillespie explains:

Consider this tremendous irony. For all the discussion about whether it is forbidden to figure Mohammed in visual form (an art form that has a long and glorious Islamic history), three of the most gratuitously insulting images of the Prophet ever disseminated were not created by devil-horned Jews or American women wearing pantsuits or even Danish or U.S. cartoonists. No, they are the work of imams residing in Denmark who went on an outrage tour of the Middle East after Jyllands-Posten published its dozen cartoons in the fall of 2005. Some sources suggest that it is precisely these three fake images, on display in this very blog post as a public service and testament to free speech, that ignited the furor that lit the fuse that ultimately begat Draw Mohammed Day. (See the author's note above and hold your cursor over the images for alt-text information about their provenance.)

Which is worth keeping in mind come May 20 and every day after. Because the cause of free expression, just like the misguided, pathetic, and ultimately-doomed-to-fail attempts to shut it down, is a long, hard slog that begins again every day the sun rises.

By David Weigel  |  May 20, 2010; 9:52 AM ET
Categories:  Islam  
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