Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

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An example of the godless blasphemy promoted that day.
Party Like It's 632
Icon islam.svg
Turning towards Mecca
We would be so hypocritical against our own thoughts if we said, let's not make fun of them because they might hurt us. That's messed up to have that kind thought process. We'll rip on the Catholics because they won't hurt us, but we won't rip on them [Muslims] because they might hurt us.
Trey Parker[1]

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day was an event held on May 20, 2010, after South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone received death threats for depicting Muhammad in a bear costume during the episode "201" (well, actually, some characters briefly believed it was Muhammad in a bear costume, but it turned out to be Santa). The addresses of their production company South Park Studios and the show's network Comedy Central were posted with a suggestion that Muslim extremists should "pay them a visit".[2]

Prior to the first airing of the offending episode, Comedy Central had already bowed repeatedly to pressure, concealing Muhammad with a black bar for the second time in his three appearances on the show (he was depicted openly in his first appearance from 2001) and censoring every utterance of his name in the broadcast version of "201". Comedy Central subsequently refused to allow the episode to be streamed on the South Park Studios website, having apparently never heard of the Streisand effect, and pulled streamed versions of the preceding episode, as well as the earlier episode that had depicted Muhammad openly.

Other cartoonists have also received death threats after depicting Muhammed. The most infamous incident known is the Charlie Hebdo attacks.[3]

The campaign[edit]

On April 20, 2010, American cartoonist Molly Norris posted a drawing of Muhammad to the Internet with a suggestion that "everybody" should make similar drawings. Following death threats, the FBI advised Norris to conceal her whereabouts, and she is still hiding as of 2015.[4]

Norris hoped that if several different people followed suit, Islamic militants could not target all of them with threats or violence. The event subsequently went viral, with thousands of drawings submitted to Facebook, and thousands of protests erupting. People connected with the movement have stated that they received death threats.[5] Some commentators felt the initiative was good and helped counter efforts by Islamic extremists to prevent free speech, but others felt some cartoons were unnecessarily offensive and hurtful to moderate Muslims who did not attack free speech.


The government of Pakistan temporarily blocked Twitter, although there were suspicions that they were only testing blocking technology they could later use for other censorship.[6] On Facebook, which was temporarily blocked in Saudi Arabia and India, pages with images connected to the campaign inexplicably went down; one page ended up for a long time with nothing but Nazi comments and symbols resembling Nazi swastikas. Images that appeared were surprisingly tame in views of the emotion involved. Disturbingly, some people involved suspected that their emails were hacked, and feared that their personal information was given to Muslim extremists.[7] Some Muslims took up the challenge to... draw their friends named Mohammed, which happens to be one of the most common names in the world, presumably after "Jacob" and before "John Smith".[8]

Anwar al-Awlaki responded by declaring that Molly Norris deserves to die and go to hell.[9] Given this sort of disproportionate response to what was really a moderate campaign, some people might be tempted to tell Anwar al-Awlaki to go to hell. The Department of Justice certainly was.[10]

There has been talk of reviving Everybody Draw Mohammed Day and shifting the date to January 7, the date of the 2015 attacks on the Charlie Hebdo office. Some view this prospect favorably, while others feel it would offend peaceful Muslims unnecessarily.[11]

See also[edit]