RELIGION

This Artist Is Drawing Muhammad Every Day On Reddit

Jan 16, 2015 at 7:37 AM ET

A day after terrorists attacked French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, an anonymous cartoonist began a campaign of his own on Reddit. In a demonstration of both solidarity and protest, he pledged to draw a picture of Muhammad and post it on the forum every day for a year. So far, he has kept his word. Click through the gallery below to see a few samples.

Vocativ secured an interview with the artist under the agreement that we would not reveal his identity. Over email, he explained the purpose of his campaign, where it came from, how it may evolve and his decision to remain anonymous.

When did you come up with the “Draw Muhammad” campaign, and why?

I came up with it the day after the Charlie Hebdo shootings. I wanted to contribute to the global response in expressing what the terrorists (murderers, whatever you want to label them) wanted to silence.  

What is the purpose of the campaign?

People are murdered for a lot of reasons. Greed, power, spite, vengeance, ignorance. I always feel so disconnected from the murdering since it never occurs around me or to people I know. For people to die because they sought to express their freedom of speech through satirical cartoons is something that just hit home to me. They died over a general freedom that everyone on this planet should be able to express. I wanted to show their actions did not silence anyone but only caused the international community to stand up and show ideas are bulletproof.

Why remain anonymous?

I am not really sure where this is going, nor do I want any personal attention. I would rather remain anonymous and focus on the message I am trying to convey rather than me becoming some target out in the open for harassment and threats. I am nobody important, so my identity would not strengthen my message.

Is the campaign less effective if you’re anonymous?

I do not believe so. Again I am not important in any political, religious or professional manner. I just want to post goofy cartoons so people see how ridiculous it is to try to inflict fear in the world through heinous deeds. Only murder was committed. They did not help their people, their religion or anyone in any beneficial sense.

Will the pictures become steadily more offensive?

Not intentionally. I am not trying to offend the Muslim community. I am not a Muslim, so my actions are not governed by any religious laws or guidelines. I understand what I am doing will not be liked by Muslims, and they have every right to be upset with it and condemn it, but they must also accept the fact that I am only expressing my artistic freedoms. I am not calling for hate or war on the Islamic religion, but rather tolerance of all ideas and beliefs as long as they do not call for real, physical violence against other people.

What are some future drawings we might expect to see?

I will probably continue to depict Muhammad in mundane situations or newspaper comic-type ordeals. I will also depict him in different art styles and not just in the comic style that was seen by everyone on the first day.

Are you worried you’ll get found out?

Not really. I do not think I am important enough for any hateful group to want to take action against me. I should be protected well enough from Internet trolls, but I can handle that. I am mostly doing this for myself and do not expect a large following. There is a subreddit dedicated to my posts and a Facebook page. I will also have a website up shortly that will be linked on that subreddit.