In case you haven’t heard, on Sunday May 3rd, two men tried to attack an art gallery in Garland, Texas, for hosting an event that featured cartoons depicting Muhammad. The two men were killed, and afterwards ISIS claimed they had a part in it.
Although none of the guests at the event were hurt, there is a similar feeling in the air to that of the attack on the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in France, also for their depictions of Muhammad. These two incidents also brought more attention to cartoons, with more people realizing that they are not just funny images but could be seen as declarations of war.
This Monday I was interviewed by a news channel from San Diego, asking to share my opinion on the incident, since I too am a cartoonist. The reporter asked me a couple of questions, but they only aired a clip where I state that I would not draw a cartoon of Muhammad because I am aware of the taboo of depicting the prophet.
Other cartoonists were interviewed, each giving their motives of why they would or would not depict Muhammad. Other people interviewed were a writer and an imam who expressed their disagreement with such cartoons.
One of the things that I said while I was interviewed was that although I won’t draw Muhammad, I wouldn’t tell other cartoonists to do the same. I love and cherish the First Amendment, it’s why I can draw my opinion freely. Draw Muhammad if you want, but beware of the consequences.
Personally, I feel that drawing Muhammad is a cheap shot: a cartoonist knows that depicting the prophet will draw a reaction, but even moderate Muslims disagree with such cartoons. An artist may justify themselves by claiming the cartoon was a jab at radical Islam, but even moderates will feel it.
That’s why I am skeptical of all these so-called anti-radical Islam people, they don’t seem to know the difference between radical and moderate Muslims, and will attack all of Islam in the process. A word of advice: if you want to make a critique of radical Islam and/or the groups affiliated with it, do your research and know who you want to criticize, don’t drop a general attack to make sure you hit your target, you will have several civilian casualties, so to speak.
But, to reiterate what I said earlier, if you feel the need to draw Muhammad be my guest, just be aware of the consequences it could bring.
— Junco Canché