All the kerfuffle about people drawing Mohammed in recent years has been seriously misplaced: there is a very entertaining archive of Mohammed images, everything from serious medieval renditions to obscene contemporary scrawls. Cat’s out of the bag, Muslims—pictures of Mohammed are everywhere, and they’ve been around for centuries.
In related news, the UW Madison Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics did their own consciousness raising excercise, chalking stick figure Mohammed’s all over campus. Some of the reactions were amusing: I think it’s clever that some of the opposition came along with chalk, drew boxing gloves on the figures, and added “Ali” after the name. And of course there were also the expected responses, where people defaced and scuffed out the images.
As it turns out, no, you cannot draw depictions of Muhammad in Madison. At least, not without having them immediately changed to pictures of Muhammad Ali, and not without having them censored the next day. Let’s imagine an alternate universe. Let’s say the drawings were never tampered with, but instead were met with nothing more than shrugged shoulders and public admonishment for our childish behavior. In this scenario the egg would be on our faces. Instead, suffice it to say that our point has been proven. The right to criticize religion and perform blasphemous acts needs to be defended more than ever.