Target: Jerry Delemus, Contest Organizer
Goal: Cancel offensive and alarmist “Draw Muhammad” contest event.
An Islamophobic contest to see who can draw the best picture of the Islamic prophet Muhammad is going to be thrown by an ex-Marine named Jerry Delemus in Rochester, New Hampshire. This event is alarmist and intentionally offensive to a persecuted religious minority. Demand that it be cancelled without delay.
The “Draw Muhammad contest” has become an increasingly-popular narrative strategy for American anti-Muslim bigots who feel that their right to free speech is under attack by Muslims both in the United States and abroad. Since depictions of Muhammad are frowned upon in traditional Islamic law, these contests are thrown as a way to reassert American freedom of speech in the face of this perceived, paranoid, and nonexistent threat.
The latest such contest is being planned by Jerry Delemus. Saying that “if there weren’t Muslims actually in this country actively trying to kill people for drawing pictures of Muhammad, I’d never have an art contest to draw Muhammad,” Delemus frames himself as a warrior against “Shariah law” making “a political statement that we’re America, we’re free.” He says he plans to hold the event at an as-yet unannounced location with “overwhelming security.”
Of course, since Americans’ freedom of speech is under no actual danger from Shariah law or Muslims’ religious doctrines, Delemus’ contest is as unnecessary as it is willfully offensive. Sign the petition below to demand that he cancel it at once.
Dear Mr. Delemus,
I am writing you today regarding the “Draw Muhammad” contest you are reportedly planning to hold sometime in the coming months. While no one would argue that you are not within your rights to host such an event, I would urge you to reconsider nonetheless.
You seem convinced that Muslims here in America and abroad are champing at the bit to restrict Americans’ freedom of speech, and even to kill them for saying something that they do not like. No one will disagree that there are some Muslim extremists out there who would do like to do such things—Al Qaeda and ISIS come to mind—but such extremists also exist in Christianity, Judaism, and any other faith. Regardless, they are in the extreme minority.
In reality, Muslims in the United States have to contend with prejudice, harassment, and violence every day just for sharing a religion with the extremists you seem so concerned about. Your contest to draw their prophet is, at best, insensitive to this reality, and contributes to the culture of xenophobia and hate that directly causes it. American Muslims, like you, just want to live their lives in peace, and your actions, no matter how well-intentioned, are making that impossible by stirring hate and paranoia against them.
If you just took the time to look for common ground with Muslim Americans instead of assuming the worst of them, you would find that you are much more alike than you are different. I demand that you cancel this ridiculous, alarmist, and unnecessary contest at once.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: dbking