Eisner-nominated Cartoonist and graphic novelist Bosch Fawstin received numerous death threats after he posted his drawing of the founder of Islam, Muhammad, on both Facebook and Instagram.
This drawing won the “First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest” back in 2015. Fawstin also received $12,500 for winning the contest. After winning the contest, Fawstin spoke to Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren stating, “As people who love freedom, as the entire west, we need to hit back. Not with violence, with the truth, with our art, with our writing. We can’t be cowed by this because once free speech goes it’s over.”
Since posting the image of Muhammad on Facebook and Instagram, Fawstin received numerous death threats. Here’s just a sampling from his Instagram.
Others wanted to censor Bosch’s post and called on people to mass report him.
Fawstin isn’t just receiving death threats on Instagram. He shared with us emails and direct messages where people threaten him with death.
And it’s not just death threats. Many are writing comments in support of the Holocaust and Hitler. Fawstin believes they are doing this because they think he is Jewish.
In a follow-up Instagram post, Fawstin explains why he drew the image of Muhammad and created his graphic novel, Pigman.
“If you don’t know. I was born to a Muslim family, raised Muslim, and left Islam in my teens. Then 9/11 hit and I set out to write and draw a comic book that would take on the Islamic threat and those who appease it. I thought of a superhero, one who would terrify the enemy, and I thought of how the pig was the most loathed creature in Islam, and I came up with Pigman, who wears pigskin leather to exploit the enemy’s pigotry. But then I thought about a bigger story, about someone with my background, who creates the Pigman comic book within the story, and who has a twin brother who is a devout Muslim.”
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If you don't know. I was born to a Muslim family, raised Muslim, and left Islam in my teens. Then 9/11 hit and I set out to write and draw a comic book that would take on the Islamic threat and those who appease it. I thought of a superhero, one who would terrify the enemy, and I thought of how the pig was the most loathed creature in Islam, and I came up with Pigman, who wears pigskin leather to exploit the enemy's pigotry. But then I thought about a bigger story, about someone with my background, who creates the Pigman comic book within the story, and who has a twin brother who is a devout Muslim. If you want to read a comic book like no other, you can order The Infidel, featuring Pigman here https://bit.ly/2DGRoex
Fawstin told us he has reported the death threats to Facebook, but has not received a response from them. He also believes these death threats point to a systemic problem within Islam.
“The extent of the threats, from Non-ISIS Muslims who are doctors, engineers, girls, boys, etc., opened a lot of eyes, and hit home the currently unacceptable fact that it’s not just ISIS, but Islamic culture, at large, that’s the problem. No, not all Muslims are terrorists, but Far more Muslims are on board with having Islam critics punished than many of us would like to believe.”
He also pointed to his own family to highlight the extent of the problem:
“And consider that not One Muslim, not even Muslim members of my family, wrote me to say that “Look, I may hate your Mohammad drawings, but I support your right to draw him. Live and let live. Peace.” Not one. And Thousands threatened my life. Some more subtle than others, some explicit, and the worst were those who began with flowery words of peace, but who, in the end, told me that I could not draw Mohammad. So even the so-called “moderate” Muslims couldn’t live with Mohammad cartoons.”
Bosch specifically referenced the murders of the French artists at Charlie Hebdo in a strongly worded statement:
“Once cartoonists were MURDERED by Muslims over cartoons, Muslims crying about ‘respect’ for Islam, and demanding that I stop drawing Mohammad should be dismissed as the callous rat b******* that they are. It’s Islamic culture, not just ISIS, that’s the problem. Thousands of Muslims have threatened to kill me, not a ‘small minority of extremists.’ And these are average everyday Muslims on social media, from across the world, who are doctors, engineers, etc, not ISIS. The so-called ‘vast majority of peaceful Muslims’ have said NOTHING in defense of Free Speech, and they’ve said NOTHING in defense of the lives of cartoonists who’ve been MURDERED over cartoons. They only cry to me about ‘respect,’ they don’t condemn the murderers, and they even threaten me. The tine for ‘respect’ is Long Gone. It’s not WE who need to stop drawing Mohammad cartoons, it’s Muslims who need to learn to live with Mohammad cartoons, criticism of Islam, etc., In the civilized world, NOTHING is free from criticism. Nothing.”
Death threats aren’t the only thing Fawstin is facing. A change.org petition was created by Fatima Latif to get Bosch removed from Instagram. The petition has been signed over 21,000 times.
Fawstin is undeterred by the death threats. He plans on making a book collection out of all the death threats he has received. The working title for the project is Peaceful Death Threats. Fawstin is also selling his cartoons on his website.