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Why do Muslims object to depictions of their prophet?

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The French magazine Charlie Hebdo came out yesterday in France with what many Muslims see as a provocative cartoon of Muhammad on the cover, crying and holding up a sign, Je Suis Charlie. You can see the cartoon of Muhammad here. Though on NBC Nightly News last night, and in the New York Times, the image was not shown; and some readers have objected to that self-censorship.

Sadly, most outlets have failed to explain to readers why Muslims find such representations objectionable. Today I see the Times has now done the story, saying that Islam is diverse on the issue, and that in some traditions, the prophet is depicted. That story suggests that Muslims will evolve on the matter.

While I am no expert on religious ideas, I have gleaned that the prohibition represents mainstream Muslim belief. You may or may not agree with these Muslims, you may regard such proscriptions as antediluvian. But here are some responses.

The Council on American Islamic Relations had a press conference on the cover art yesterday, urging tolerance toward the publication but criticizing it. “Just as Charlie Hebdo has the right to publish, we have the right to peacefully challenge negative portrayals of our religious figures,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. And per CNN:

“That the depiction appears benign is of little consequence because it will be seen as offensive and deliberately provocative,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s communications director, said to me, “Generally this is a cultural and religious issue throughout the Muslim world: no depictions of religious figures.” The prohibition reflects a bar on idol worship. “And when you have those physical representations, it tends in that direction.”

Hooper says that coverage has made Muslims out to be sensitive and prejudicial, reflecting a general lack of awareness about Muslim beliefs.

“We have found very low levels of knowledge, and that contributes to stereotyping and bias. That we’re just irrationally against physical depictions of the prophet Muhammad. But we have the same objections to depicting Jesus and Moses.”

The Koran contains no explicit bar on representing the prophet, but hadith (subsequent religious reports of Muhammad’s beliefs) state that he must not be drawn, says this article on Wikipedia, citing the prohibition of idolatry. Wikipedia says that the bar is similar to Jewish historical bans on depicting religious figures, resulting from the Ten Commandments’ proscription of “graven images.” The article also states that Sunnis are more resolved on this issue than Shi’a, and that Wikipedia has refused to defer to a large petition drive to keep it from posting images of Muhammad to illustrate the article, saying Wikipedia “does not censor itself for the benefit of any one group.” It also picks up a New York Post report from 2010 that the Metropolitan Museum of Art removed three images of Muhammad from its exhibits of Islamic art in New York out of concern for offending Muslims. According to this Wikipedia article, the US Supreme Court resisted calls in 1997 from the Council on American Islamic Relations to remove Muhammad’s sculpture from a marble frieze of great lawgivers, as being offensive to Muslims.

The Times has reported too that a statue of the prophet on an appellate courthouse in New York was removed out of sensitivity to Muslim belief 60 years ago.

This Wikipedia entry on Muslim art explains that Muslim theologians generally have “categorical prohibitions against producing and using any representation of living beings.” That piece quotes Titus Burckhardt, a 20th century Swiss scholar of religion, saying that the prohibition reflects spiritual wisdom, that if human beings are portrayed, people tend to project themselves on to an idol rather than to make their own souls the center of their being. Burckhardt:

“By excluding all anthropomorphic images, at least within the religious realm, Islamic art aids man to be entirely himself. Instead of projecting his soul outside himself, he can remain in his ontological centre … Nothing must stand between man and the invisible presence of God. Thus Islamic art creates a void; it eliminates in fact all the turmoil and passionate suggestions of the world, and in their stead creates an order that expresses equilibrium, serenity and peace.”

The issue in media coverage is how much respect there is for these ideas. The scholar and former CIA analyst Graham E. Fuller says that we should respect Muslims’ sensitivity about the matter as we would respect say, sensitivity about other cultural touchstones– not satirizing Martin Luther King Jr.’s private life in the context of Ferguson or not satirizing the Jewish belief in chosenness.

In the American Southwest I have noticed husky young Latinos walking along the streets with t-shirts bearing the image and name of “La Virgen de Guadalupe.” The Virgin of Guadalupe is an iconic symbol of Mexican culture and religion, especially for indigenous peoples in Mexico. In areas of tense race relations between minority, often disadvantaged Latino populations, and whites in the US, would an Anglo think about mocking the mythical story of the miracle of the vision of the Virgin by a Mexican Indian? In the wrong setting it could get you beat up, maybe killed. You would have dissed a major focal point of parts of Mexican identity.

Katie Miranda, cartoonist and Muslim, also says that context is important:

It’s a cultural tradition rather than a religious mandate. There’s a large body of Persian miniatures depicting Muhammed and that’s not a problem. It turns into a controversy when occupiers, Islamophobes and colonizers do it to intentionally provoke.

James North, who prompted me to do this piece two days ago, adds that the coverage of the issue has portrayed Muslims as backward.

The tone is, Muslims are sensitive about this, and if we’re patient, they will overcome this as we Christians have. Maybe that’s true, but my question is, How do they feel right now about it? And why should I gratuitously offend them?

I’d like to hear Muslim friends interpret their feelings upon seeing the prophet depicted in terms that will foster an equivalent reaction in me so I can understand how they feel. Even the Times story treats it as a primitive superstition. It’s not really in the Koran, it says, but that doesn’t convey how people feel.

I think some of the coverage is a form of unconscious imperialism. When in fact I know that I’m a mixture of logic and prejudices and feelings, and other people have a combination of these things too, and what triggers them is going to be different from mine. And I have to recognize that as a starting point.

I wouldn’t publish the cartoon. Not because I’m afraid, or I don’t believe in free speech. But because I feel that it would insult readers and potential readers unnecessarily.

 

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-06.

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147 Responses

  1. pabelmont on January 15, 2015, 12:00 pm

    Does the Qur’an prohibit all people from making graven images, or only prohibit Muslims from doing so?

    Graven images, photos, cartoons, etc.: are they permitted except for religious figures?

    How can anyone know that the cartoon on the most current C-H is a cartoon of Mohammad? It doesn’t say so.

    But I guess everyone knows already that C-H is working overtime to offend susceptible Muslims, who therefore “know” whom the cartoon is a likeness of.

    • MRW on January 15, 2015, 1:07 pm

      I think James North’s term is apt: “unconscious imperialism” as a matter of course, even when it’s conscious. Charlie Hebdo are being assholes. They did not apply the same rules to Jews, so they have no leg to stand on consciously or unconsciously. It’s about time people told the damn truth, and stop waving ‘free speech’ around as if that absolves everyone. Charlie Hebdo knows when to cave.

      • Krauss on January 16, 2015, 3:31 am

        Just so that we’re clear, in 2014, Charlie Hebdo had 10 covers on Front Nationale but only 1 on Mohammed.

        Yet it wasn’t the far-right which attacked their offices.

        I never cease to amaze at the level of which people who would never defend Christian fundamentalists crawl before Islam. Islam shouldn’t be treated worse than all other religions, but when the reality is that everyone knows that you can face death for mocking muslims while not for mocking buddhists, christians etc, that is something we can’t close our eyes on because it makes us uncomfortable. That’s weakness and a lack of belief in your own principles.

        As for Fuller, I do think everything has to be satirized, yes, including the Jewish belief of the “Chosen people” which I don’t think should be spared any scrutiny, like any other religious doctrine.

      • American on January 16, 2015, 12:15 pm

        ” I never cease to amaze at the level of which people who would never defend Christian fundamentalists crawl before Islam. – Krauss

        Objecting to using obscene cartoons to criticize religions is not ‘defending’ the religion…its objecting to obscene and pointless incitement.
        Never ceases to amaze me that people dont get that.

        I am not for lowering the standards of societies any further into the gutter than they already are and that is what this is.

      • Sycamores on January 16, 2015, 2:14 pm

        Krauss,

        i believe you have it back the front.

        Christian fundamentalists/terrorism goes mostly under the radar, where the few Muslim terrorist incidents in Europe over the last few years gets a disappropriate amount of media coverage compare to the 150 cases in the last few years (according to Europol) of Europes Ethno-Nationalist, separatist and far right groups terrorism.

      • MRW on January 16, 2015, 3:48 pm

        Just so that we’re clear, in 2014, Charlie Hebdo had 10 covers on Front Nationale but only 1 on Mohammed.

        So what? This came out in 2013, and Charlie Hebdo was taken to court for inciting racial hatred. https://twitter.com/hisamichi/status/552906118985289728/photo/1

        Why? If it’s all just satire, why did they publish this? “The Koran is shit, it does not stop bullets.”

        Patrick Smith wrote an excellent article in Salon, “Here’s how we defeat the vulgarians: Bill Maher, wrong-headed neocons, and the real answer to ‘radical Islam’” that addresses how I feel about it. I just don’t have time to get into it now. http://www.salon.com/2015/01/15/heres_how_we_defeat_the_vulgarians_bill_maher_wrong_headed_neocons_and_the_real_answer_to_radical_islam/

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 5:04 pm

        For God’s sake, Krauss, there was no plebiscite among Muslims held to decide to attack the Charlie offices.

      • German Lefty on January 17, 2015, 4:59 am

        @ Krauss
        “I never cease to amaze at the level of which people who would never defend Christian fundamentalists crawl before Islam.”
        -> I agree. I don’t vote for right-wing parties, because they suck up to Christians. However, I can’t vote for left-wing parties anymore either, because they suck up to Muslims. I wait for a party that doesn’t suck up to any god botherers and that stands up for secularism.

    • piotr on January 16, 2015, 12:21 pm

      Quran allows the “people of the Book” to adhere to their religions, hence, make images of their religious figures if they are so inclined.

      Blasphemy is a different story. And a cover showing a North African woman naked with burqa shoved into her ass, while not blasphemous, was “rather incitful”.

  2. smithgp on January 15, 2015, 12:10 pm

    Tout n’est pas pardonne

    A large part of what’s offensive about CH’s cover cartoon is that it’s completely undeserved self-forgiveness. I could see circumstances in which depiction of a tearful Prophet under the very same banner (tout est pardonne) would be shocking but not offensive in the same way. If, say, Mohammad were forgiving some 7th century offense for which some 21st century Muslims had just killed some other 21st century Muslims, it would be a principled rebuke, not a boorish, gratuitous insult.

    • chris o on January 16, 2015, 12:56 am

      Maybe it is the survivors of the attack forgiving the attackers. It’s open to interpretation.

      • smithgp on January 16, 2015, 4:12 pm

        That won’t wash, C.O. The cartoon’s hook is that the most unlikely conceivable person, the Prophet on whose behalf the attackers claimed to act, is himself joining the throngs of demonstrators expressing solidarity with (and forgiveness of) the victims by holding up the je suis Charlie sign. If Mohammad is instead forgiving the attackers, where’s the hook??

  3. MRW on January 15, 2015, 1:11 pm

    Good piece, Phil.

  4. Je Suis Charlie on January 15, 2015, 1:36 pm

    So what if muslims do take offense? There is no right to not be offended.

    Seems like this is the collision of Islam, that is to say, a fascist political ideology, with its anathema, true unfettered freedom of speech.

    Blasphemy laws exist in backwards places. They have no place in a post-enlightenment world, and certainly not in the enlightened West.

    • MRW on January 16, 2015, 12:47 am

      Oh yeah, bring it on with that stupidity.

      Charlie Hebdo printed the Prophet with the line: “Le Coran, c’est de la merde.” Translated as The Koran is shit. https://twitter.com/hisamichi/status/552906118985289728/photo/1 This had nothing to do with free speech.

      It’s as if Charlie Hebdo never lived through 9/11.

      Blasphemy laws exist in backwards places.

      Where the hell do you live? I live in the US. I listen to Christian fundies screaming about how God is not allowed in school prayer. Blasphemy laws. They are over the US.

    • bryan on January 16, 2015, 3:56 am

      So what if Jews do take offense (e.g. to being portrayed as bloodthirsty, voracious, manipulative, greedy, secretive, selfish)? There is no right to not be offended.

      Seems like this is the collision of Zionism, that is to say, a fascist political ideology, with its anathema, true unfettered freedom of speech.

      Blasphemy laws exist in backwards places (and ADL strives to maintain a strict imposition of standards for acceptable speech, which seems similar to blasphemy laws). They have no place in a post-enlightenment world, and certainly not in the enlightened West.

      I can’t believe you just said something very similar to that. The CH incident seems to be demonstrating horrible double standards.

    • Sycamores on January 16, 2015, 9:18 am

      backwards is:

      when individuals or small groups from old European colonial powers look backwards and pined to the days they subjugated millions of Muslims in Africa and the Middle East.

      backwards is:

      when the same piners resent the fact that their sense of superiorty was destroyed when the said Muslims gave them the boot from their old colonies. so in a juvenile schoolyard behavior, trying to save face, they resort to offending Muslims.

      backwards is:

      insulting others about their lack of ‘enlightment’ (whatever that is) and not realizing being offensive and insulting exposes your own junvenile behavior or backwards intellectual development.

    • Marnie on January 16, 2015, 10:35 am

      I’m offended by the fact that 99.999% of depictions of the prophet are made by non-Muslims and oftentimes for a derogatory purpose. Do you see how that alone can be offensive? That no respect is shown for the beliefs of a billion people (don’t hold me to this number, I know its huge) is getting very, very tiresome. I’m also guessing that people, maybe like the ones at CH, explained their continued depictions as an expression of freedom of speech and not to be offensive because really, who believes this anyway right? It’s interesting what people do when sitting in judgment of the beliefs of others, then decide their beliefs are not compatible with modern times. How positively colonial of you.

    • piotr on January 16, 2015, 12:25 pm

      Wikipedia: In Israel, blasphemy is covered by Articles 170 and 173 of the penal code.[37][38]

      Insult to religion
      170. If a person destroys, damages or desecrates a place of worship or any object which is held sacred by a group of persons, with the intention of reviling their religion, or in the knowledge that they are liable to deem that act an insult to their religion, then the one is liable to three years imprisonment.
      Injury to religious sentiment
      173. If a person does any of the following, then the one is liable to one year imprisonment:
      (1) One publishes a publication that is liable to crudely offend the religious faith or sentiment of others;
      (2) One voices in a public place and in the hearing of another person any word or sound that is liable to crudely offend the religious faith or sentiment of others.
      The law is traced back to the British High Commission “The Abuse and Vilification (religious invective) Order No. 43 of 1929”, enacted in efforts to suppress the 1929 Palestine riots. The order contained the language: “Any person who utters a word or sound in public or within earshot of any other person that may be or is intended to offend his religious sensitivities or faith can expect to be found guilty and eligible for a one-year jail sentence.”[39]

      • just on January 18, 2015, 10:32 pm

        Thank you, piotr.

  5. richb on January 15, 2015, 1:57 pm

    The equivalent to the modern situation concerning religious images was the French Wars of Religion in the late 16th Century. The Calvinists believed that the images in the Catholic churches constituted idolatry and in the 1560s the Calvinist vandalized churches throughout Europe. For example, this print of the Calvinist Iconoclast riot of 1566.

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frans_Hogenberg_Bildersturm_1566.jpg#mw-jump-to-license

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeldenstorm

    The Frence War of Religion resulted.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Wars_of_Religion

    The first instances of Protestant iconoclasm, the destruction of images and statues in Catholic churches, occurred in Rouen and La Rochelle in 1560. The following year, mobs carried out iconoclasm in more than 20 cities and towns; Catholic urban groups attacked Protestants in bloody reprisals in Sens, Cahors, Carcassonne, Tours and other cities.

    When all the conflict was over 2 to 4 million people were dead. Religious images are NOT a joking matter.

    • RockyMissouri on January 15, 2015, 3:49 pm

      I agree. Just out of common respect.

      • Mooser on January 15, 2015, 4:30 pm

        Iconoclasm is aniconism in action!

        Thou shalt have no other Gods before me, nor make any graven-images!

  6. hophmi on January 15, 2015, 2:29 pm

    “But we have the same objections to depicting Jesus and Moses.”

    But radical Islamists don’t kill over those, do they?

    I find this all beside the point. I’ve heard few people argue that there is anything wrong with Muslims holding a belief or observing a cultural tradition against depicting the prophet Mohammed. If I had a piece of Islamic Art in my house, and a Muslim friend were coming to visit who was sensitive about depictions of the prophet, I would cover it or take it down.

    The problem is that there are Muslims killing people over these depictions, and it seems that the general response of organizations like CAIR is not to affirm that non-Muslims are not required to follow Muslim practices, but to re-emphasize that Muslims find depictions of the prophet offensive. Haredi Jews who airbrush women from haredi newspaper photographs because they practice extreme modesty aren’t killing people who depict women in the newspaper. Sabbath-observant Jews do not walk into Gentile homes on the Sabbath and scream at them about turning on lights and watching TV.

    The closest analogue I can think of are radical Christians who shoot up abortion clinics. But even there, we would probably not follow up an abortion clinic shooting by writing detailed, sympathetic articles about why Christians find abortion offensive.

    • American on January 15, 2015, 3:46 pm

      “‘ The problem is that there are Muslims killing people over these depictions, and it seems that the general response of organizations like CAIR is not to affirm that non-Muslims are not required to follow Muslim practices, but to re-emphasize that Muslims find depictions of the prophet offensive ——hoppie

      So what? Israeli Jews keep killing people just to steal their land and just because the Palestines exist.
      Whats the difference?–dead is dead.
      And there is something slightly less obscene about people who kill out of some idea of honor, as misguided as it may be, than people who kill just for greed.
      I think your kind of killing is worse.

      • hophmi on January 15, 2015, 5:14 pm

        So what? Israeli Jews keep killing people just to steal their land and just because the Palestines exist.”

        Because they’re Jewish, or because it’s a land conflict? Because it’s a land conflict. These are two competing national groups. Don’t tell me that national groups have never fought over land before. Europeans did it for a millennium, and they were all Christians.

        “Whats the difference?–dead is dead.”

        Yeah, what’s the difference? I mean, why analyze anything? And of course, we should never, ever, ever, ever criticize anything strain in Islam that might provide religious justification for something like this, or suicide attacks on Jews in Israel, or Daesh’s persecution of Christians, because every time we do, we’re “Islamophobic” and “attacking Islam” no matter how many times we say that it’s not Islam that we’re attacking.

        I remember how after 9/11, people like you didn’t want to talk about root causes, and you said “What’s the difference?-dead is dead.”

      • Mooser on January 15, 2015, 10:26 pm

        “Because it’s a land conflict. These are two competing national groups.”

        Listen to Hophmi! Because it’s a land conflict. These are two competing national groups.” You know who he is talking about there? The Palestinians and the “national group” of Zionists who came from all over the world! I mean ROTFLMSJAO!!! No, Hophmi never quits, never changes, and flings the same poo as jeez, how long has it been Hoph?

        “Competing national groups” Yes sir, the rights of self-selected, “national groups” who operate as a criminal gang and a land fraud are enshrined in international law!

        But you just keep on pushing that old “competeing national groups” (I mean, it is to laugh, isn’t it?) equivalency hasbara. It’ll catch on one of these days. Probably cause everybody sees what’s going on in Israel and feels sorry for us.

      • Mooser on January 15, 2015, 11:10 pm

        “Because it’s a land conflict…”

        You know, Hophmi, if you had just admitted the Zionists saw a chance to steal parts of Palestine, and took it, a whole lot of useless argument could have been avoided.

        So we can dispense with all the “historical homeland” and “God gave this land to me” and the Bible and all that, already? Good.
        But good trick, getting all those “pious Rabbis” shot, raising sympathy, by allowing them to think there was something religious about it!
        Sorry, Rebbe dudes, but you don’t want to get in the middle of a “land conflict”

        (Psst, Hophmi, does “Jon s” know about this ” it’s a land conflict” angle? Cause he thinks there is something religious about the whole thing, I’m pretty sure. Let’s not disabuse him, Hophmi, he’s probably more useful the way he is.)

        Ahh, Hophmi, isn’t it great, how it can be anything we want it to be at any given time. And who, who would have the temerity, the unmitigated temerity, by Jove, to gainsay us? After all, we can speak for the Jewish People! Sorry, Hophmi, got above myself, you can speak for them, I wouldn’t know how.

    • Mooser on January 15, 2015, 4:26 pm

      Hophmi, can you imagine what things would be like if we hadn’t won this battle long ago and there were graven images of God and idols everywhere? You don’t object to this particular blasphemy (depictions of Mohommed), because it isn’t happening to us.

    • Mooser on January 15, 2015, 4:35 pm

      “But we have the same objections to depicting Jesus and Moses.”

      “But radical Islamists don’t kill over those, do they?”

      Hophmi, you can’t expect other people to do everything for you! Oh, that’s not what you meant?

      Okay, have Muslims devoted a great deal of energy to obscene representations of Moses and Jesus? I mean, hey, freedom of speech!
      But oddly enough, they don’t, do they?

    • tree on January 15, 2015, 5:55 pm

      Sabbath-observant Jews do not walk into Gentile homes on the Sabbath and scream at them about turning on lights and watching TV. –

      There are “modesty patrols” in haredi neighborhoods in Israel that have attacked women in public whom they consider to be dressed inappropriately. Those attacks have included spitting, pelting with stones, punching, kicking and even throwing acid on the innocent women. They’ve also attacked women who seek the right to pray at the Western Wall.

      http://jonathanturley.org/2008/09/16/modesty-squads-orthodox-jewish-vigilantes-terrorize-israeli-citizens/

      http://jonathanturley.org/2014/10/22/ultra-orthodox-jews-attack-buses-and-riders-over-ads-calling-for-equal-rights-for-women-to-pray/

      And in 2008, Jewish youths surrounded the car of a Palestinian Israeli who was visiting his relatives in a predominantly Jewish section of Acre and threatened him and attacked his car for the offense of driving during the Yom Kippur holiday. The man and his son were lucky to survive, but ethnic rioting ensued and several Arab homes were destroyed by fire during the riots.

      The original victim of the mob violence, Tawfiq Jamal, was arrested for “harming religious sensitivities”, after being forced to apologize before a Knesset committee for exercising his civil right.

      http://electronicintifada.net/content/extremist-west-bank-settlers-help-stir-acre-violence/7757

      And numerous Jewish attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, including fatal ones, have a religious nature to them. Baruch Goldstein was a religious extremist who killed 29 praying Muslims in the Ibrahimi Mosque during the Jewish holiday of Purim. Extremist religious settlers have perpetrated similar violent attacks on Palestinians, their property and their animals, all in the name of their brand of Judaism.

      So, yes, we have no record of Sabbath-observing Jews coming into a gentile’s home and yelling at them for turning the lights on, but we do have ample records of Jewish religious extremists acting quite violently, similarly to the Islamic extremists who murdered people in France.

    • bryan on January 16, 2015, 4:30 am

      Its somewhat strange isn’t it, Hophmi, that in many respects Judaism and Islam are closer to each other then any two other world religions. Both require circumcision, have very similar dietary restrictions (Kosher and Halal), share a belief in the same prophets and patriarchs, share a remarkable attachment to holy places like Jerusalem, Hebron and Mecca, are non-hierarchically organized, base their belief not only on a bible, but on similar commentaries and theological expositions, have similar conceptions of religious law, and are identical in their rejection of visual anthropomorphic depictions of religious figures, viewing these as an obstacle to the unfettered contemplation of the oneness of God and an incitement to idolatry.

      In addition to this Jews and Arabs once shared a common cultural space, with Maimonides for instance, writing in Arabic and deriving many ideas from Arabic scholarship. Jews and Arabs lived far happily together than they ever did in Christian society, and Muslim society often offered refuge to Jews, (e.g the Ottomans after the reconquista). Twice after Jerusalem was reconquered the Arabs offered Jews the right of return to that city.

      What was it I wonder that caused the fracture of this happy relationship? Was the fracture of that relationship yet another reason why a particular “Jewish” political project was fundamentally flawed?

      • wondering jew on January 16, 2015, 11:14 am

        bryan- Of course the similarities between Islam and Judaism are no strange coincidence. Muhammad copied (or shall we say Muhammad’s angel didn’t have to copy, because there was only one source to begin with) Judaism. He hoped/expected Judaism to declare him the continuation of their tradition. It didn’t happen and that irked him. So tension was created and always existed between the final prophecy and those that did not accept Muhammad.

        Maimonides was about 800 years ago. The common space of Islam and Judaism flourishing together was during a time period when Islam was flourishing. Islam (as represented by Islam’s political capitals being the center of science and technology) has been on the decline for over 400 years. The Arab Islam has been on decline for 800 years.

        Zionism was not born in Britain or America, neither was it born in Baghdad and Cairo. It was born in the Pale under the boot of the czar. The idea people behind Zionism sensed the slaughter that was coming and asserted that Jews needed to control their own destiny. The inability of the Zionists to reach a peace with the Arabs between 1949 and today is symptom that they so far have shown only a one dimensional ability to control their own destiny and this will not suffice in the long run. and we’re now coming close to the long run’s comeuppance. there is no fundamental flaw except for those who want Zionism to have been some perfect system. it wasn’t and it isn’t. It needs to be a working system which it will not be unless it can reach a peace like that which Avraham Burg is reaching for. He calls himself post Zionist, but if he were to succeed he would be the highest Zionist.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 1:11 pm

        “Its somewhat strange isn’t it, Hophmi, that in many respects Judaism and Islam are closer to each other then any two other world religions.”

        Right on! On another thread, a guy who didn’t like some stuff I said (and with good reason, too) referred to me as “Muslims and people like you”!
        Really, it’s one of the few bright spots of the last couple of weeks for me.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 1:15 pm

        “Muhammad copied (or shall we say Muhammad’s angel didn’t have to copy, because there was only one source to begin with) Judaism. He hoped/expected Judaism to declare him the continuation of their tradition. It didn’t happen and that irked him. So tension was created and always existed between the final prophecy and those that did not accept Muhammad.”

        Yonah, you are a new surprise every day! You say the most unexpected things! Why, I wouldn’t have thought in a million years you would take that line.
        But I guess ethics force a person to make certain important admissions, even if it militates against their own interests. Even at the cost of all you hold precious, you are willing to take this view! What a guy!

      • seafoid on January 16, 2015, 1:20 pm

        “Muhammad copied (or shall we say Muhammad’s angel didn’t have to copy, because there was only one source to begin with) Judaism. He hoped/expected Judaism to declare him the continuation of their tradition. – ”

        Take a different angle.Yonah.

        Muhammad was an entrepreneur with a genius for business. Like Ray Kroc. He saw the McDonalds brothers aka Judaism had a superb product but really poor marketing. So he came in, took the best elements, added the marketing and the rest is history.

        Judaism meanwhile only has a few restaurants 1300 years on with waiters like Shmuley Facepalm.

      • wondering jew on January 16, 2015, 1:53 pm

        seafoid– Having been raised a fervent believer in monotheism, the fact that Islam spread monotheism around the world is quite important and incredible. (From a Jewish point of view, Islam is much closer to Judaism in terms of monotheism, whereas Christianity is closer to Judaism in terms of its acceptance of the Hebrew scriptures.)

        Personally I don’t believe that an angel spoke to Muhammad, although “divine inspiration” seems to be a way to accept his words as a cut above the average inspiration. I don’t hold it against him that he copied Judaism. In music the Beatles always credited all the musicians from whom they drew their inspiration. and never stated, we have come to replace the originals. the problem with Islam is that it conceives itself as a replacement for Judaism.

      • seafoid on January 16, 2015, 2:35 pm

        Yonah

        It conceives itself as an improvement on Judaism, the same way the Iphone bettered whatever Nokia were doing .
        Judaism and Islam got on pretty well until recently. The people of the book.

        Islam has more Judaism elements than Israel nowadays. That’s sad.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 3:24 pm

        “In music the Beatles always credited all the musicians from whom they drew their inspiration. and never stated, we have come to replace the originals.”

        ROTFFLMSJAO! Yonah, that was “Led Zeppelin!” (and the old American blues guys who’s records they found in England and to an extent copied.)

      • aiman on January 16, 2015, 9:54 pm

        “He hoped/expected Judaism to declare him the continuation of their tradition. It didn’t happen and that irked him. So tension was created and always existed between the final prophecy and those that did not accept Muhammad.”

        That’s an ideological Zio-supremacist view not supported by any mainstream historians. According to Zionists that’s the whole psychoanalysis. They fail to explain the Prophet’s cordial political relations with Christians and yet the Islamic critique of the Trinity etc. exists at a deep level. Get over yourself. Jews were only one in a handful of communities in Arabia. They were not the victims but active players like everybody else. Some Jews were allied to the Prophet, some conspired against like all the others trying to hold on to their power and influence. There was no single “the Jews”.

        Another problem with it is that it assumes Jews were far too intelligent not to accept Muhammad or Jesus for their prophet. Why was there then a long line behind Sabbatai Zevi? The point is Jews are human beings like everybody else. You are indulging in two false narratives: victimology and superiority. You don’t tell us how monotheism preceded Judaism, how many legends and myths are borrowed from non-Jewish sources without acknowledgment. You don’t even know that history unfolds itself through critique of previous ideas. No religion would exist if it wasn’t responding to what came before. The Prophet Muhammad never claimed to bring a new message. Islam shares many similar rituals with Judaism but there are different even on many other levels as well.

      • Taxi on January 17, 2015, 2:34 am

        ” Muhammad copied…” – yonah.

        At least we have proof that the prophet Mohammad existed whereas there is no proof of Abraham, Moses or Jesus existing.

        And while we’re on the ‘copying’ topic, there is nothing original about judaism – all spun from Zoastrism with a dollop of desert paganism thrown in.

      • bryan on January 17, 2015, 4:13 am

        “The idea people behind Zionism sensed the slaughter that was coming and asserted that Jews needed to control their own destiny… There is no fundamental flaw except for those who want Zionism to have been some perfect system.”

        There would indeed be no fundamental flaw in Zionism had it followed Herzl’s initial suggestion that somewhere like uninhabited Patagonia would make a good destination, Instead despite their inspired prescience the Zionists from the Pale deceived themselves in two major respects (a) they portrayed Palestine (with a bit of help from Mark Twain) as being largely unpopulated, and (b) they argued that such population as did exist would welcome cleverer, more technically advanced, more sophisticated immigrants into their midst, whilst also suspecting that the indigenes were so backward and had so little love of the land that they could be made to disappear. (e.g. Herzl’s strong advocacy of social justice – “When we occupy the land, we shall bring immediate benefits to the state that receives us. We must expropriate gently the private property on the estates assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly”)

        The flawed nature of Zionism with its utterly unrealistic and unworldly Millennial aspirations and misplaced faith in his fellow-Zionists was demonstrated by Herzl in his conclusion to Der Judenstaat: “We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own homes. The world will be freed by our liberty, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness. And whatever we attempt there to accomplish for our own welfare, will react powerfully and beneficially for the good of humanity.” There is no intimation here that many of his followers would die in the process of conquest, that a region would be reduced to constant warfare, or that liberty and free speech would need to be subverted to defend the Zionist state, or that the rule of international law and international organisations would need to be undermined, or that the prosperity of the state would need to be based on reparations and donations paid by gentile tax-dollars.

        “The inability of the Zionists to reach a peace with the Arabs between 1949 and today is symptom that they so far have shown only a one dimensional ability to control their own destiny and this will not suffice in the long run. and we’re now coming close to the long run’s comeuppance.” I would not quibble with that except to suggest that “unwillingness” is perhaps a better wording than “inability”. The short history of Zionism has been marked by remarkable intransigence, a necessity to manufacture enemies to ensure internal stability, a determination to “live by the sword” and a deep misanthropy that regarded “living behind an iron wall” and behind separation barriers as more productive than honest engagement with ones neighbours and rivals.

      • bryan on January 17, 2015, 4:47 am

        Yonah – you don’t believe that Islam is a refinement of Judaism and you “don’t believe that an angel spoke to Muhammad”, but in this respect it surely has a little more credibility. Your supposedly superior original recording, as opposed to the cover version, has talking snakes (Genesis 3), talking donkeys (Numbers 22), and God and Abraham holding a conversation (Genesis 17-18). When did God lose his power of speech, or was it simply that after dishing out some stone tablets to Moses, God said “Job done, you now know my laws, I’m off for a well-deserved retirement”, or did God decide that a better approach was to send prophets to give his message. In that case how do you tell true prophets from false prophets (presumably Jesus and Mohammed) and all the other bogus mahdis and messiahs who keep coming along.

      • straightline on January 17, 2015, 6:09 am

        @Taxi – I was reading a few days ago about the Ugaritic sources too which seem to be a separate strand that predates the Torah from the Assyrian/Zoroastrian one.

        http://www.theology.edu/ugarbib.htm

        I’m sure someone here knows more about this than I do. Zofia?

      • wondering jew on January 17, 2015, 4:03 pm

        On the myths and religions that preceded Judaism: I have no doubt that whenever the scribes inscribed: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, that they did not come up with this line on their own and it had existed as a handed down myth. Yet, now, today, in the west these are the most ancient words describing the creation of the world. Those who wish to destroy the “infamy of belief in god” might prefer no scripture from anybody, but those who take a positive attitude towards the traditions of belief in the west must admit that the oldest creation story handed down is in hebrew and reads breishit bara elohim et hashamayim v’et ha’aretz.

      • Mooser on January 26, 2015, 2:17 pm

        “Yet, now, today, in the west these are the most ancient words describing the creation of the world.” Yonah, on Genesis.

        1) No, not by a long shot, not even close, Yonaj.

        2) And so freaking what if they are? Are you claiming they are an eyewitness account?

    • German Lefty on January 17, 2015, 5:10 am

      “The problem is that there are Muslims killing people over these depictions, and it seems that the general response of organizations like CAIR is not to affirm that non-Muslims are not required to follow Muslim practices, but to re-emphasize that Muslims find depictions of the prophet offensive.”
      -> I agree with hophmi here.

  7. Mooser on January 15, 2015, 4:24 pm

    It’s called “economism” and it’s based on the idea that if there are to many images of God, people will get mixed up, so we should be economical with them, and if there are pictures, they should never be economically accurate.

  8. Whizdom on January 15, 2015, 4:41 pm

    Well, as I understand it, the proscription was based on idolatry and polytheism, powerful symbols have the tendency to supplant the things they represent. Monotheism was the big idea and the new unifying force, and false gods had to be whacked down. The old timey Abrahamists had a terrible time with their backsliding flocks with worshiping statues of golden calves, and stones of Ba’al and who knows what else. Graven images and such had a risk of becoming fetish items.

    In fact, some devout Jews think that centrality of “the land of Israel” in the modern spiritual imagination has become a fetish itself, supplanting the idea of the divine with one of sacred geography. To the detriment of proper observance of the mosaic laws.

    • Mooser on January 15, 2015, 10:32 pm

      Bad nesting.

    • Mooser on January 15, 2015, 10:54 pm

      “Graven images and such had a risk of becoming fetish items.”

      Even goats milk, allowed to curdle, and processed, could become such a thing!

      • Mooser on January 26, 2015, 2:18 pm

        It’s called fetish cheese, of course.

  9. wondering jew on January 15, 2015, 8:23 pm

    Welcome to the 21st century.

    Yes, I understand why Muslims prohibit depictions of the Prophet. But they are much too sensitive about it. Fact: the western world has downgraded religion and at the exact same time (no coincidence most historians believe) has excelled in technology. the same technology that the entire world wants and needs has been invented by the scoffing west. (also: the same technology that is ruining our eco system and also the same technology that makes the human propensities towards violence and wars so destructive). the same technology with which the west colonized the muslim world from 1918 until today. to neglect the educational and technological backwardness of the primary voices of the muslim world (arab countries and pakistan) is to omit half the story. they are backwards: technologically, militarily and educationally (without getting into value based differences like freedom and the role of women). why is it that there are so many muslim immigrants in europe. because that’s where the money is that’s where the opportunities are that’s where the education is, that’s where the freedom is.

    to tell the story of the ire felt by believers when confronted by the disrespect shown by the west merely for depicting the prophet (not in a denigrating fashion, but any fashion) must be seen in the context of how backward most of the muslim world is in comparison with the west.

    Discuss.

    • Whizdom on January 15, 2015, 8:44 pm

      Do you think that incitement to violence should be restricted?

      • wondering jew on January 15, 2015, 9:38 pm

        Whizdom- As far as I know American law regarding incitement to violence are sufficient. Europe’s practical situation (so close to the Middle East with large Muslim “working class immigrant” populations) might have a dynamic that “requires” or raises questions regarding incitement that America can allow with free speech.

    • Whizdom on January 15, 2015, 9:14 pm

      Are you saying the Muslims would have photoshopped Angela Merkel out of the parade picture , but they didn’t have the technological means?

      • wondering jew on January 16, 2015, 10:49 am

        photoshopping merkel out of the picture is a sign of how backward too much of jewish israeli society is. comparing photoshopping with murdering journalists is placing oneself in a college dormitory discussion where blacks and whites exists but no grays.

      • Whizdom on January 16, 2015, 11:07 am

        I believe you made the comparison, not I. My point was in response to the odious and racist premise to your question, that followers of Islam are primitive and superstitious to degree that disqualifies them from participation in the more enlightened Western Traditions. like self-determination.

        What is offensive to on person or group, just might be someone’s morning paper. Blaspheming is in eye of the beholder. And neither POV is exempt from inciting violence. Islam doesn’t have a monopoly on

        For example.

        JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s chief rabbis received death threats in letters to their offices warning them to allow the Women of the Wall to pray “in accordance with our customs.”
        The letters, headlined “This is a last warning,” were delivered Monday to the offices of Rabbi Yona Metzger and Rabbi Shlomo Amar. A complaint was filed with the security officer of the Prime Minister’s Office.
        “If the Women of the Wall are not allowed to pray in accordance with our customs, we shall fight you with all available means and you will end up with a hundred dead haredi bodies. Your end is near,” the letter read, according to reports,

        Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/06/03/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/israels-chief-rabbis-receive-death-threats-over-women-of-the-wall-prayer#ixzz3P06evDyn

    • Mooser on January 15, 2015, 10:33 pm

      “Yes, I understand why Muslims prohibit depictions of the Prophet. But they are much too sensitive about it”

      Oh gosh, how you must regret the hanging of Julius Streicher, Yonah!. That is the tragic result of being “too sensitive”

      And since Judaism has rescinded our Commandments about “graven images” and “idolatry” we are way ahead of the game, huh, Yonah?

      And of course, Yonah, I sure appreciate you making that judgerment about Muslim “too sensitive”. Thank you. I can’t imagine why, but we are blessed to have such a dispassionate, materially disinterested, experienced and educated judge of the Muslim religion among us.

    • Mooser on January 15, 2015, 10:47 pm

      ” must be seen in the context of how backward most of the muslim world is in comparison with the west”

      Gosh Yonah, when an experienced, disinterested unprejudiced observer, with nothing at stake, and who doesn’t consider themselves part of an ethnic or religious group themselves, educated about the subject, says” how backward most of the muslim world is in comparison with the west” I am forced to consider the point.

      But when you say it, all there is to say is: “Shove it, clown”, in the immortal words of Putney Swope.

    • Mooser on January 15, 2015, 10:58 pm

      “Welcome to the 21st century.”

      Well, well, well, look who’s talking. Yup, Yonah, if there’s one thing your “ethnic group” (your words) is in favor of, it’s modernity, and getting with the 21st Century!

      • K Renner on January 16, 2015, 9:40 am

        If his sole “point” is to ramble on about how retrograde and stupid “the Muslims” are to a man, and that’s largely what it seems to be from what I skimmed of his comment, then there’s no real point in seriously engaging him.

        If he seriously wanted to talk about the problems that conservative Islamists of the Salafi Jihadi stripe may create to contemporary society wherever they appear within the Muslim world, or likewise when it comes to the roving marauders of the international Jihadi variety, then that’s different and he might’ve actually been genuine if that’s what he wrote.

        But he didn’t. Pointless rambling and conflating all those living in the Arab world or the Muslim world with the very worst elements within is to me little better then trolling and not worthy of a response, let alone getting angry over.

      • wondering jew on January 16, 2015, 10:58 am

        K Renner- Haven’t seen you around before. Howdy.

        My point is not that all Muslims are violent like last week. my point is about the cultural bubble that has protected Muslims from having to deal with the fact that they do not rule the world. The Arab peninsula’s conquest of much of the western world between 700 and 1200 has been followed by 800 fallow years. the fact that Turkey a pagan people conquered the Arab world and took their religion because they had none, allowed the bubble to continue until the 19th century and then burst in 1918. To ignore the wider cultural questions is to pretend.

        The matter of radical Islam is not one that I am dealing with. I am just wishing to give a little context. You seem to know more than me about history, but still please deal with the historical facts that I have raised.

        My theory is as follows: The Muslim world has been confronted by the superiority of the western world in the following categories: education, science, technology and economy. They envy western society and immigrate to western societies. then they demand that western society treats the Muslim prophet better than the west treats its own prophet/son of god. it’s an unnatural request.

      • seafoid on January 16, 2015, 12:17 pm

        “The Muslim world has been confronted by the superiority of the western world in the following categories: education, science, technology and economy. ”

        That is crap, Yonah. the lifestyle of the Palestinians who lived in Palestine before your crowd turned up was sustainable. the lifestyle of today’s IDF cult members is not.

        http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/15/rate-of-environmental-degradation-puts-life-on-earth-at-risk-say-scientists

        “Humans are “eating away at our own life support systems” at a rate unseen in the past 10,000 years by degrading land and freshwater systems, emitting greenhouse gases and releasing vast amounts of agricultural chemicals into the environment, new research has found.”

        Israel is right up there with the degradation.

        Israeli Jews say they love the land and it is a fetish, definitely but from the Carmel fire to the Maccabi Games bridge disaster via the the concrete spread all over Israel and the OT, Zionism has been a disaster for Ha eretz.

        You are not any worse than the Americans but the people who lived there before the bots turned up were better shepherds of the land even if they didn’t have digital porn at their fingertips.

      • wondering jew on January 16, 2015, 12:25 pm

        seafoid- Just like you to reduce the entire problem to Zionism. The Arab world doesn’t deserve analysis, only the Zionists deserve analysis. Maybe because you don’t do analysis. You only do condemnation.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 1:20 pm

        Yonah, I think you just made a new friend! Your gentle answers usually turneth away Roth.
        Yonah, the way you represent “your own ethnic group” is really outstanding. Human kindness, overflowing, and I think it’s going to rain today.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 1:24 pm

        “You seem to know more than me about history, but still please deal with the historical facts that I have raised.”

        Who are you going to believe, Yonah, or your own lying eyes?

        Gosh, Yonah, there’s only one way to describe your archive: An immoveable feast.

      • Walid on January 16, 2015, 1:43 pm

        “You seem to know more than me about history,…” (Yonah)

        That’s for sure, you left out 300 years of glorious history under Islam and what it contributed to Europe in fields of sciences, health and so on and this did not stop under the Ottomans but continued for the next 400 years until the start of the literary renaissance Nahda of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

        You sound as if you had been taught that Muslims and Arabs of the Middle East were a bunch of yahoos until the Zionists arrived.

      • seafoid on January 16, 2015, 2:54 pm

        Yonah, habibi

        “The Arab world doesn’t deserve analysis, only the Zionists deserve analysis. Maybe because you don’t do analysis. You only do condemnation. – ”

        I can do analysis as required but the need of the hour was to take down your outrageous claim that Jews and Christians are supermen compared to Muslims. And that ignores the role of contingency in life. Plus the environmental catastrophe unfolding needed a mention.
        I really think Zionism has been a disaster for the land of Israel environment wise.

        If you disagree do please justify your stance.

        You don’t need me to tell you Egypt is a lakhbatah gaamidah.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 3:00 pm

        “You sound as if you had been taught that Muslims and Arabs of the Middle East were a bunch of yahoos until the Zionists arrived.”

        Walid, give Yonah some credit! Do you really think he needed to be taught, and couldn’t grasp those things instinctively, to learn them along with the process of learning freedumb-of-speech?

        I don’t think Yonah needed to be “carefully taught”, I’m sure he played the biggest part in educating himself.

      • annie on January 16, 2015, 7:05 pm

        My point is not that all Muslims are violent like last week. my point is about the cultural bubble that has protected Muslims from having to deal with the fact that they do not rule the world

        yonah, what about the cultural bubble that has protected Jews from having to deal with the fact that they do not rule the world? my point is not that all Jews are violent like last summer.

        or is that some “anti semitic trope” i am not supposed to say because once upon a time someone accused jews of ruling the world?

      • Mooser on January 18, 2015, 12:41 pm

        “because once upon a time someone accused jews of ruling the world?”

        But Annie, everybody wants to rule…..aaargh! Darn it, you earwormed me!

      • RoHa on January 18, 2015, 6:34 pm

        That’s what happens when the wrong people are in charge. With the right people, not only is every day the first day of spring, but also every heart has a new song to sing. At least you get a different earworm each day.

      • Mooser on January 26, 2015, 2:24 pm

        “That’s what happens when the wrong people are in charge.”

        That’s exactly what I thought, to when that Tear for Fears song became a hit. But, without a song the day would never end, the road never bend, and etc, also agricultural disaster for fields of corn IIRC.
        A man is born, but he ain’t got a friend, without a song.

    • MRW on January 16, 2015, 3:46 am

      To neglect the educational and technological backwardness of the primary voices of the muslim world

      The Western world wouldn’t have any science and education prowess without Islamic science and their invention of universities. They created this in 884 AD while Europeans were sleeping with their animals in barns: https://www.google.com/search?q=alhambra+photos&num=100&safe=off&client=safari&rls=en&tbm=isch&imgil=IqxeZFqHE0w0AM%253A%253B2ytZKlhTbPu3qM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.theolivepress.es%25252Fspain-news%25252F2014%25252F10%25252F13%25252Fexpat-novel-banned-from-the-alhambra-palace-in-surprise-censorship%25252F&source=iu&pf=m&fir=IqxeZFqHE0w0AM%253A%252C2ytZKlhTbPu3qM%252C_&usg=__sjx-tZLrBLkmMkQKTPDF7yswKGs%3D
      Their invention of engineered water irrigation from the surrounding mountains that fed their gardens and fountains was not repeated until the 20th C.
      http://img.alhambradegranada.org/galerias/miniaturas/15/15_371.jpg

      They invented the scientific method in the 12th C, flight, TNT (it wasn’t Nobel who first did it), and the engine. They introduced medicine, higher mathematics, architecture, science, culture, public baths, and astronomy to Europe. Christians and Jews made pilgrimages to Cordoba starting in 900 AD (even more wondrous than the Alhambra, and a city of a million people) to get translations of these scientific discoveries, and later claim them as their own.

      The breadth of your ignorance is breathtaking, yonah. Educate yourself. You sound like a fool.

      And women were equals in Islam 1200 years before the idea dawned on Christians and Jews. It’s in the Koran, which you’ve never read.

      • American on January 16, 2015, 11:18 am

        yonah fredman January 16, 2015, 10:58 am

        My point is not that all Muslims are violent like last week. my point is about the cultural bubble that has protected Muslims from having to deal with the fact that they do not rule the world. –

        My theory is as follows: The Muslim world has been confronted by the superiority of the western world in the following categories: education, science, technology and economy. They envy western society and immigrate to western societies. then they demand that western society treats the Muslim prophet better than the west treats its own prophet/son of god. it’s an unnatural request –
        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

        It appears to me that it is the Jewish Zionist and Israel that have a problem recongizing that they are not chosen to rule the world.
        And they seek perches in the superior western societies where they demand they be treated better than anyone else.

        It is very unnatural. My theory is human nature is going to correct your misconceptions in the end.

      • bintbiba on January 16, 2015, 2:35 pm

        Kudos… Walid & MRW, thank you for saying what I couldn’t have said 1/100th as well !!
        We have to thank “Since Time Immemorial ” for the flagrantly arrogant ignorance of some people .I once had a dear friend who spouted the same “the Palestinians only came into Palestine after the Zionists were there building it up” nonsense. .

  10. DaBakr on January 15, 2015, 8:39 pm

    not that the Taliban are the best reps for the billion+’Muslims’ worldwide- but blowing up the world heritage Budda’s of Bamiyan didn’t help the cause of Islam being seen as: “looking backwards and prejudicial. Neither does Saudi Arabia-with its stream of beheadings for offending Islam and same goes for Iran who hangs people for charges meted out as generally, “warring with g-d”. No question these two ‘arch’ rivals both present an image problem for moderate Islam

    • annie on January 15, 2015, 9:17 pm

      you mean like abu ghraib create an ‘image problem’ for white guys? or what about blowing up wedding parties, is that a problem for christians? all those decapitated bodies and limbs everywhere. and all those century old mosques blown up by israel, there was over 20 blown up last summer. a problem for judaism? i mean, how stone age-ie is that anyway? No question these uncivilized backward nations, the US and israel both present an image problem for the “western world.”

      • K Renner on January 16, 2015, 9:34 am

        I don’t think that there’s much to be gained in responding to someone who uses the Taliban and the Wahhabi elements in Saudi and those elements of the Iranian judiciary who’re still staunchly Khomeinist as somehow being prominent arbiters of the “image of Islam”.

        To be sure, they do look bad, and they are inevitably going to cause certain headlines about things that are pretty terrible, especially when it comes to the likes of the Talibs and their wahhabism on steroids. The thing is that if you’re actually informed– if you have the time or take interest or because it’s part of your job– then you know the difference between some Talib living in a cave thinking of chopping off fingers and the Sunni cosmopolitan living in Beirut or Algiers or Istanbul or wherever else.

        It’s a pretty extreme dichotomy but I think the point I’m trying to express is fairly straightforward.

        “Islam is different/very heterogeneous depending on a multitude of elements” is a fact and so is that it’s largely pointless going back and forth with someone like DaBakr– Talibs are bad, Wahhabis are bad, staunch Khomeinists are bad, and if he tries to claim that “so many Muslims are secretly in league with them” then he’s an idiot and nothing else.

      • DaBakr on January 16, 2015, 4:46 pm

        @an
        no doubt the photos from abu-gharaib did the US military a sizable amount of damage and created a huge image problem in not just the Islamic world but just about every world. I didn’t think the point of the article was to go tit-for-tat on what is an image problem for who and when the topic was Islams ‘issue’ with other cultures depictions of their own religious figures. But if you want to write about US military image problems- go for it.

      • annie on January 16, 2015, 6:52 pm

        you’re right krenner, i shouldn’t bother. it’s clear from his other comments he doesn’t even understand how ridiculous he sounds. he doesn’t understand that the only people who think the Taliban “reps for the billion+’Muslims’ worldwide” – are bigots. i would no more think the taliban represent muslims i know than fly to the moon. educated people don’t think like that.

        plus, note the double standard. he gets that abu-ghraib, carried out by the US military, did damage to the military. but he stays clear of attributing that, or claiming it “reps” the co religious of the people who carried that out. but the taliban? they represent an image problem for muslims!

      • Mooser on January 18, 2015, 12:45 pm

        But you must admit (you better you better, you bet!) that “Dabakr” and “Jackdaw” sure give us an idea about the quality of the ideas and arguments that have been considered dispositive up til now, and it is pretty frightening.

      • annie on January 18, 2015, 12:58 pm

        mooser, i keep thinking it will dawn on them how racist this stuff sounds. they just do not get it.

    • MRW on January 16, 2015, 4:32 am

      There are 35,000 Taliban. There are 1.6 billion Muslims.

      No question these two ‘arch’ rivals both present an image problem for moderate Islam

      Not unless you’re stupid enough to equate the fundamentalist extremists with moderate Islam. That’s like saying all Christians are snake-wavers.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 1:37 pm

        “That’s like saying all Christians are snake-wavers.”

        “Snake-handlers” is, I think, the accurate term. The “snake-wavers” ran afoul of the SPCA, and were suppressed.
        And a good thing, too, although I hate to be illiberal. “Handling” gives the snakes a sporting chance “Waving” never did.

      • DaBakr on January 16, 2015, 4:54 pm

        the biggest ‘image’ of the past 2 decades was the combining of the small wahabist force with the taliban to launch the 9-11 attack on NYC. And you are calling me “stupid” for saying there was created an image problem? lol.

        (nothing I have ever posted here has ever “bashed” muslims but if you don’t see these radical acts as creating an image problem-without the need to whine about how there are really ‘over a billion muslims and such a tiny fraction commit violent acts’-then you are hereby deemed naive and welcome to the world. Oh-except for Zionists. The most violent and problematic image laden people ever to walk the earth. sorry-I forgot to add that.

        and or-take the time to acquaint yourself with mossr as well. He is the resident funny man here and from what I can tell-extremely well tolerated. My super old great grandmother would have said that he was meant for the stage.

        The one leaving in ten minutes.

      • annie on January 16, 2015, 6:36 pm

        No question these two ‘arch’ rivals both present an image problem for moderate Islam

        so dabakr, did the gaza slaughter create an image problem for moderate judaism? what about the fanatical setters? do they cause an image problem for judaism? and what about the ethnic cleansing of palestine, does it cause an image problem for moderate judaism? what about zionism? does it cause an image problem for moderate judaism?

        should we demand all moderate jews denounce the zionist state because it is giving judaism a bad name?

      • Mooser on January 18, 2015, 12:51 pm

        “He is the resident funny man here and from what I can tell-extremely well tolerated.”

        “Dabakr” don’t sell your own comedic talent short! The only reason I get any laughs at all is because I have such great “straight men” to work with.

        Why you want to posit yourself as a Zionist buffoon, I don’t know, but man, don’t go changin’ on me. This act can run for years!. After all, “Dabakr”: “Kein briere iz oich a breire”!

  11. Mooser on January 15, 2015, 10:49 pm

    Wow, a chance to bash Muslims with freedom-of-speech! This is a Ziocaine Syndrome Orgasm. Does it get any better?

    • K Renner on January 16, 2015, 9:51 am

      The point to focus on is that he has no point.

      What he’s trying to allege– that both the Arab and Muslim worlds are festering holes and collectively Wahhabist or ruled by Taliban-like entities is falsehood of the highest degree.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 1:35 pm

        “then he’s an idiot and nothing else.”

        “K Renner”, I haven’t seen you before, so “Howdy ” (that seems to be the greeting of choice) and if you haven’t been here a lot lately, I beg you to suspend judgement until you’ve had a little time to acquaint yourself with “Dabakrs” oeuvre (Not to mention that herd of ilk he travels with.)
        “An idiot and nothing else” hardly does them justice. As you may conclude, idiocy is just the start, there’s a lot else, too.
        And they have, since this summer, now that they have the “Protective Edge” decided to let it all hang loose.

  12. Kate on January 16, 2015, 12:14 am

    As a Muslim, let me add my two cents.

    No one here seems to understand that Muslims love and revere their Prophet, and are very hurt by ‘cartoons’ showing him with a bomb in his turban, or naked, or whatever. Such depictions seem to me to be deliberately hurtful, since no one in his right mind (or who knew anything about the Qur’an and standard Islamic teachings), could reasonably blame the Prophet for outrages committed by 21st-century ‘followers’, no matter what the Prophet had been like centuries ago – and he wasn’t the way he is usually depicted in the West. It would be more to the point to attack the people who are now committing terrorism, for example Boko Haram. There is no way that Prophet Muhammad would condone the current killings of innocent people, or Muslims committing suicide in order to accomplish this – suicide is explicitly forbidden in the Qur’an. There is a hadith which says that the Prophet had a vision of his Ummah (community) in the future, and cried – he must have seen some of the things that are happening now.

    Muslims know their Prophet to have been a fair, just, and merciful man. There are endless ahadith or narratives about him showing this. For example, the pagans of Mecca tried for years to wipe out not only Muhammad but all of his followers; yet when he finally conquered Mecca he did not respond in kind, but forgave all, including the woman who had actually eaten part of his beloved uncle’s liver on the battlefield (it was a rough era). This is in contrast to the Crusaders later killing Muslims and Jews wholesale when they took Jerusalem, where they are described by one of their own as spilling blood ‘up to their knees’ . Another example: when he was still living in Mecca during the early days of Islam, one woman made a point of dumping garbage on his person every day; he never retaliated. One day when she didn’t come, he surmised that she was sick, and went to her house to see if he could be of assistance. He cared about animals, too; one woman who had committed many sins was told that she would not go to hell because she had given water to a thirsty dog. Some of his followers who had taken baby birds from their nest, with their frantic mother following them overhead, were commanded to return the babies to the nest. I could go on and on, but my point is that the strange distortion of Muhammad known to the West, invented largely because medieval Christian leaders were afraid that their own people would convert if they knew what the Prophet and Islam were really like, is quite incredible to Muslims. Not only incredible, but very upsetting to Muslims — by whom the Prophet is greatly loved.

    I recommend that people read Karen Armstrong’s ‘Muhammad’, as a Western introduction to the real man, and then perhaps go on to Muslim books about him. People might also try the quotes and stories about the Prophet listed in http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Muhammad .

    • Kris on January 16, 2015, 12:34 am

      Kate, what a beautiful, amazing post this is! I am ordering “Muhammad” right now. Many, many thanks!

    • Whizdom on January 16, 2015, 12:57 am

      May I also recommend Karen Armstrong’s “Jerusalem”, I read it along Simon Sebag Montefiore’s “Jerusalem: A Biography”. In both accounts, Jewish and Muslim cooperation and reciprocal and peaceful cooperation was the rule, not the exception. This notion of a perpetual and existential struggle is a modern conceit.

      Another good read is Gershon Gorenberg’s “Accidental Empire”, an account of the political and social forces in the early days of the occupation. In his view, the occupation wasn’t intentional, inevitable, necessary or even popular in the early days.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 1:47 pm

        “In his view, the occupation wasn’t intentional, inevitable, necessary or even popular in the early days.”

        And so? A lot of very successful things aren’t “intentional, inevitable, necessary or even popular in the early days”! But goddamit, Whizdom, you don’t give up, you work hard, you make every effort, use every opportunity, and soon a huge proportion of Israeli Jews see the Occupation as all those things!
        So the Occupation had a shaky opening? So did some of the longest-running musicals. But they persevered!

      • Whizdom on January 16, 2015, 2:11 pm

        Moosher,

        I dunno how much support the occupation has amongst the general Israeli public. You might be right, but my experience with my capitalist crony network is mixed, some see it for the liability that it is, some see it as a good thing, because it is a place to keep the crazies, some are indifferent, but most are nihilistic. It is true only a small minority actively oppose it, but I don’t take that as huge support. Maybe that’s a distinction without a difference. And a skewed sample.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 3:06 pm

        “I dunno how much support the occupation has amongst the general Israeli public.”

        Don’t blame it on the “general Israeli public”, okay. And what difference would it have made if the “general Israeli public” (meaningless because there isn’t one! Get it through your head, once and for all, according to the Government of Israel, each person under their control is designated by and identity: “Jewish”, “Arab”, and several more and so forth. There is no general Israeli public. How can there be, an awful lot of them aren’t anyplace which can be called “Israel” anyway.?) didn’t want the occupation. Wasn’t it a fait accompli as a result of war against them?

      • Whizdom on January 16, 2015, 3:35 pm

        Mooshie, it isn’t clear to me that there is functioning government over there at the moment. Much less a powerful one.

      • Mooser on January 18, 2015, 12:55 pm

        “Mooshie, it isn’t clear to me that there is functioning government over there at the moment. Much less a powerful one.”

        Awww, don’t cry, they seem to be running the Occupation just fine. But yes, the Zionists haven’t delivered on a goddam thing they promised the Jewish people in return for their support. Not one. It’s been a fraud.
        And haven’t you noticed that all the Zionists here always blame the Jews first?

      • Whizdom on January 18, 2015, 1:10 pm

        Muenster, you think the Occupation is going fine? Good god man, it is a frickin rolling train wreck. What would you consider “going poorly” to look like?

    • chris o on January 16, 2015, 1:11 am

      You can believe what you like and spread your religious propaganda, but then others must allowed to criticize, and yes, mock it. To me, these 1000+ year-old stories are laughable when eyewitness testimony in court has proven to be totally unreliable for events that occurred recently. We can all argue about what happened last week but you know there is some messenger of God who happened to exist in the 7th Century. Yeah, whatever.

      • bryan on January 16, 2015, 4:47 am

        I know you are an atheist but I hope that you, as an American, devote even more of your energies deriding 3000+ year-old stories and 2000 year-old stories which seem to have considerable credence in your society? I hope you are not just another partisan climbing on board the Islamophobia wagon.

      • seafoid on January 16, 2015, 7:08 am

        What’s good for the goose must be good for the gander. Claiming ownership based on a religious book like the Torah is nuts if Islam is a joke.

      • Walid on January 16, 2015, 9:41 am

        You have Moslems also claiming ownership based on religious writing and one is just as smoke and mirrors as the other. There is nothing bogus though about Palestinians having lived on the land for hundreds of years and their claim to the land based on that simple fact makes it legitimate. The only reason the Jews have gotten this far in their fraudulent claim is due to the West wanting to get rid of them for one resson or another.

      • wondering jew on January 16, 2015, 10:46 am

        Walid- the birth of the West’s very real support for Zionism began with the Balfour declaration and it seems obvious that Britain was looking for an outpost near the Suez Canal and in the region and they thought they could control and use Zionism.

        The birth of Zionism was in Eastern Europe where a very real struggle for life (or death) was about to take place under both Stalin and Hitler, but was presaged by the ugliness of the Czarist regime and the last breaths of the old regime of central Europe. The Zionists used the Jew hatred that abounded to bolster their cause through an ideology of “we have to leave” (to the extreme of Pinsker’s anti Gentile absolutism) and through negotiations with heads of state.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 1:52 pm

        ” and through negotiations with heads of state.”

        Yonah, the “Zionist leaders” were able to act as the “heads of state” for the Jews? Oy, from G-d Hiss Own Self must have come this anointing!
        Such humble men they must have been.

    • Je Suis Charlie on January 16, 2015, 2:39 am

      I’ve never heard such a bunch of revisionist BS in my life, but then again you do believe in a magical sky-daddy, so there you go. First, you can believe whatever you want. That doesn’t mean you get to tell others what they can’t say. I know this is really confusing because you’re submissive to the religion, but I, and 5+ billion other people, aren’t.

      Personally, I’m happy you don’t like the depiction of mo. That’s the point. With freedom of speech, nothing is sacred. Not everyone likes it, and thats fine. If you don’t want any opportunity to “have to” see it, maybe you might choose to travel to Syria, to become a sex slave for an Isis fighter. I’m pretty sure they don’t subscribe to Charlie Hebdo there.

      The rest of the stuff you write is pretty much insane rambling. I especially liked the bit about mo being nice to animals. It reminds me of Hitler being a vegetarian. The point about mo that he was a 6th century (petty) warlord. Even getting past the questionable marriage crap, there are plenty accounts of himself and his armies practicing genocide, rape, slaving and looting. Basically if mo was around today, he’d be the moral equivalent of Stalin and Pol Pot.

      Speaking of insane rambling, mo himself admitted to being possessed by demons, meaning he was probably clinically insane, and the delusional worship of him is simply a joke.

      • American on January 16, 2015, 11:34 am

        yonah fredman January 16, 2015, 10:46 am

        Walid- the birth of the West’s very real support for Zionism began with the Balfour declaration and it seems obvious that Britain was looking for an outpost near the Suez Canal and in the region and they thought they could control and use Zionism. ->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

        You must be hanging out with Sean McBride. His theory is that during WWII the WASP nation’s leaders hatched a conspiracy to use or co opt the Jews and Zionist to promote Elite Western Capitalism.
        So everything we see in Zionism and Israel is just carrying out the West’s ‘Protocal of the Capital Elders.’

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 3:30 pm

        ” but then again you do believe in a magical sky-daddy, so there you go”

        I know I do, couldn’t get along without. Wanna make something of it?

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 3:34 pm

        “You must be hanging out with Sean McBride.”

        Natural allies! Like I always say, “Seanmchbride” knows the problems, and Yonah and the rest know the solutions! They should work together.

      • Taxi on January 17, 2015, 3:13 am

        “That doesn’t mean you get to tell others what they can’t say. ” – Je suis whatever.

        So then stfu tryna tell others how to respond to the death of a buncha French islamophobes.

        And your assessment of Mohammad is crisp out of hasbara – any basic history book on the subject not written by zio-islamophes will piss all over your opinion.

        I have the freedom of speech to depict your mother and child and janitor naked and getting it on with animals for the whole world to see and to make good dollar out of it to boot. But of course no such thing would be forthcoming from me because I can tell the difference between REAL freedom of speech and hateful smut.

        If you don’t want moslems ticking off here and there, get the eff out of their country and hands off their resources. What’s happening now is a reaction to hundreds of years of european colonialism in moslem countries – the failure of local political systems to sustain the populace who then turn to religious system for justice and order. If the west hadn’t monopolized these countries rich in resources, them ‘moslems’ would have had no need to immigrate to your racist shitty little neighborhood.

    • aiman on January 16, 2015, 3:08 am

      Extremely informative post Kate. Yes why doesn’t Charlie Hebdo lampoon Daesh? Why make unenlightened, tribal judgments about the Prophet while ignorant of him. In the name of enlightenment to boot. Charlie Hebdo is not satire, it’s ignorance – I’m being kind here – and too proud to learn. Satire at least knows the subject.

      • Walid on January 16, 2015, 1:47 pm

        “Charlie Hebdo is not satire, it’s ignorance –”

        Aiman, it’s porno masquerading as intellectual.

    • hophmi on January 16, 2015, 10:48 am

      “No one here seems to understand that Muslims love and revere their Prophet, and are very hurt by ‘cartoons’ showing him with a bomb in his turban, or naked, or whatever.”

      I think people understand that Muslims love and revere the Prophet Mohammed. I think they also understand that some Muslims are offended by satirical depictions of the Prophet. What people do not understand is why they have to follow Muslim teaching on depictions of the Prophet, apparently, in some circles, on pain of death.

      “There is no way that Prophet Muhammad would condone the current killings of innocent people, or Muslims committing suicide in order to accomplish this – suicide is explicitly forbidden in the Qur’an. There is a hadith which says that the Prophet had a vision of his Ummah (community) in the future, and cried – he must have seen some of the things that are happening now.”

      I’m sorry, but this is all really beside the point. Regardless of whether the Prophet himself would condone killing or not, it is clear that many invoke his name and believe that he justifies violence. That may be a small minority of the worldwide Muslim community, but 5 or 10% of a religion of 1.5 billion people amounts to a tens of millions of people, and take it from a Jew – when a member of a minority group does something bad, the majoritarian group will judge their entire community rather than just the person.

      I would say one thing. Offensive depictions of Jews and others are rampant in the media of many Muslim countries. A few years ago, Egyptian TV presented a miniseries based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I’ve seen almost zero condemnation of this stuff by the same Muslim organizations who criticize depictions of the Prophet and zero condemnation from the leaders of Muslim countries who are pushing to codify international bans on insults to religion through the United Nations. Lot of people see this as more than a little hypocritical.

      People also see as hypocritical the defense of these perspectives by self-styled progressives, like Katie Miranda, who draws offensive, racialized cartoons depicting Jewish college students as white and privileged, and dismissing their concerns about safety as overblown, and posts on a blog that blame Jews for the Iraq War.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 3:14 pm

        “People also see as hypocritical the defense of these perspectives by self-styled progressives, like Katie Miranda, who draws offensive, racialized cartoons depicting Jewish college students as white and privileged, and dismissing their concerns about safety as overblown, and posts on a blog that blame Jews for the Iraq War.”

        Hophmi, let me tell you, I would not sully myself by reading and commenting at such an awful blog, and neither should you! A “blog that blame (sic)Jews for the Iraq War”.

        I’m sorry Hophmi, but don’t you mean “the War on Iraq”

      • tree on January 17, 2015, 4:57 am

        …who draws offensive, racialized cartoons depicting Jewish college students as white

        Oh the humanity! How terribly offensive to depict white Jewish students as white! How insulting and insensitive.

      • Mooser on January 18, 2015, 12:59 pm

        Tree, I’m glad you pointed that out! I mean, I’m an easy going guy, I’ll take a lot of guff and keep smiling, but damn it, there is a limit! Depicted as “white“? Call my lawyer! Cancel my rumba lesson! I’m gonna sue!

      • eljay on January 18, 2015, 1:32 pm

        >>hophmi: I think people understand that Muslims love and revere the Prophet Mohammed. I think they also understand that some Muslims are offended by satirical depictions of the Prophet. What people do not understand is why they have to follow Muslim teaching on depictions of the Prophet, apparently, in some circles, on pain of death.

        Sonofagun, I agree with you, hophmi! In their homes, private businesses and places of worship, Muslims have every right not to depict / have depicted Mohammed or gawd or anyone else they don’t want to depict / have depicted. But they should have no right to impose that or any other religious requirement on people or institutions outside of those spaces, and they certainly should not have the right to (capitally) punish people who / institutions that do not respect their religious requirements.

        >> hophmeee: People also see as hypocritical the defense of these perspectives by self-styled progressives, like Katie Miranda, who draws offensive, racialized cartoons depicting Jewish college students as white and privileged …

        And then you lose me. Are you suggesting that:
        – no Jewish college students are white and privileged;
        – there are no white Jewish college students;
        – attending college not a privilege; and/or
        – you prefer the “classic” look when it comes to offensive, racialized cartoons of Jews?

      • hophmi on January 23, 2015, 11:36 am

        “And then you lose me. Are you suggesting that:
        – no Jewish college students are white and privileged;
        – there are no white Jewish college students;
        – attending college not a privilege; and/or
        – you prefer the “classic” look when it comes to offensive, racialized cartoons of Jews?”

        I am suggesting that depicting Jewish college students as “white” and depicting pro-Palestinian activists as “people of color” is a disingenuous attempt to cast the conflict as racial.

        There have been offensive anti-Jewish cartoon in Arab and Muslim newspapers for a long time now, and it is inevitable that this sort of hate literature would seep into the work on Western activists. Katie Miranda is no exception.

    • Marnie on January 16, 2015, 10:52 am

      Isn’t that just the way we stupid humans are? Vilify the “other” to discourage anyone from leaving their faith for the “other”. I can’t believe we are still here with our incredible stupidity and prejudices.

      I’m pretty sure I’ll hear about this, but another lovely thing done in Israel, not by all Jews, but a “minority”, is the burning of christian bibles and the witch hunts of any christian who is accused of trying to convert a Jew, simply by studying a christian bible.

    • Walid on January 16, 2015, 12:00 pm

      Kay, the Christians had variations and interpretations being ad-libbed by the scribes of the Bible before the printing press appeared in 1450 and these scribes were not averse to changing the story to their liking or to what they perceived as the proper recitation of the story. I’m wondering how much of the same went on with the different Moslem sages that gathered the sayings of the Prophet, as they had been recounted by his companions a hundred years after his death and eleborated on them into collections of ahadith. The religious claim to the Moslem holiness of Jerusalem is based on one such hadith reciting the Prophet’s journey guided by the archangel Gabriel that supposedly emanated from Jerusalem to the seven heavens and the Prophet’s successive encounters with Adam, Jesus with John the Baptist, Joseph, Enoch, Aaron, Moses and finally Abraham in the seventh. After the tour, God asked the Prophet to have Moslems pray 50 times a day, so the Prophet took it up with Moses for his help and he too agreed it was way too much. Moses like a good Jewish lawyer counselled the Prophet to insist on a reduction, which after repeated tries and futher coaching by Moses was reduced to 5 times per day. Moses had argued that 1 real good sincere prayer was worth 50 so 5 good prayers yielded the equivalent of 50.

      For ahadiths variations on the description of night journey Isra and Mi’raj:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isra_and_Mi%27raj

    • PeaceAddict on January 16, 2015, 5:57 pm

      Thanks for a great post, Kate! I am Muslim, my first post here. Just my two-cents worth:

      You say, “…no matter what the Prophet had been like centuries ago – and he wasn’t the way he is usually depicted in the West.” I would like to add, neither did he look or resemble in any way near what these cartoons depict him. I therefore am not offended by the cartoons, because it isn’t the Prophet Muhammad in those cartoons – there is no “Eggless” omelet, period.

      What someone thinks of Islam, is simply their prerogative. I know what Islam is, what it does for me, and what it instructs me of my life conduct. I live it everyday. It has never, ever instructed me to be violent. On the contrary, it has always fostered in me to live a vibrant and robust life, and to solve my difficulties head-on. A balance between the physical world, and the spiritual.

      But I can see how a life lived in angst can drive ANYONE to concoct their own cure-it-all solution to their condition. These violent acts are just that. Desperation. Hopelessness. Desolation. And constant marginalization from politicians, movies, and social media. Add cultural stigmas to mental health issues and you have a powder keg waiting for a spark, even though the stigma is a far more benign state than the violence that results. We have seen similar, albeit on a smaller scale, but similar dynamics at play in the violence that results from bullying in our schools.

  13. chris o on January 16, 2015, 1:04 am

    I can’t accept it. I can’t understand it. How can these narrow religious doctrines be imposed on non-believers? This ban might be a cultural tradition, but it is not my cultural tradition, or ours. By these standards, Monty Python’s The Life of Brian should not exist, nor Richard Dawkin’s The God Delusion.

    • aiman on January 16, 2015, 3:25 am

      “This ban might be a cultural tradition, but it is not my cultural tradition, or ours.”

      In effect, you would accept it if it was your cultural tradition? Who is forcing anyone to accept anything? Are you comparing those critical of the nature of Charlie Hebdo to the murderous actions of the Kouachi brothers? Because ‘we’ don’t believe in the same saints? We don’t have a right to free speech and expression?

    • RoHa on January 16, 2015, 4:16 am

      Life of Brian caused a lot of fuss when it was released.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CeKWVuye1YE

      It was banned in many places (up until 2009!) including Norway. In Sweden it was marketed as “the film so funny it was banned in Norway”.

      Norrmän få inte skratta.

    • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 2:34 pm

      “By these standards, Monty Python’s The Life of Brian should not exist, nor Richard Dawkin’s The God Delusion.”

      Oh no, what shouldn’t exist is my new humor magazine, which focuses almost entirely on the Christian, and a little less on the Jewish religion. We actually SHOW God, and Jesus, and we let Charlie Hebdo, the exemplar of freedom of speech, set the bar on how God, Jesus, Mary, Crucified Jesus, etc appear, and what they do and oh, and what’s done with a cross. You ready for my first issue?

      Look, we, the Jews and Christians, won that battle about the acceptable way our Gods, major religious figures and events would be pictured, a long time ago. Believe me, if there were clever vicious and artistically talented people who were willing to go and find out what would be sure to offend, and lean on it all the time, you might feel different.

  14. Kay24 on January 16, 2015, 2:10 am

    It is ironic that any cartoon ridiculing Islam and Muslims must be accepted happily, because after all it is “free speech”. Although I agree that becoming violent or rioting on streets is over reacting, and there are other means of peaceful protests, the majority of Muslims are able to take it, and live with what could be called an insult to the religion and the Prophet.

    Now let’s suppose someone in the US puts out a cartoon showing the Prophet Abraham or David, with a large nose, and a yarmulke, would there be instant outrage and Jewish lobbies and Leagues calling that publication and protesting calling it anti-semitism, and would there be immediate apologies and retractions? You bet. No one can deny that although Jews as a people, have been made fun of, no one really pokes fun at the religion by itself. Judaism has got strong groups and an obedient media, to support and protect the religion, and the ability to stop anything that they perceive to be anti semitism, even if it is against the government of Israel, whereas Islam does not have that advantage in Western countries. In fact during the last Gaza massacre an Australian publication apologized for a cartoon showing a man wearing a yarmulke, watching Gaza being bombed, because it was called anti-semitic.

    If Palestinians put out a cartoon insulting some aspect of Judaism, would the settler terrorists not become more violent and try to attack the source, attack Mosques, insult the Prophet, firebomb cars, and other horrible racial attacks? Chances are highly possible.
    The hypocrisy is obvious.

    • Arik on January 17, 2015, 9:31 pm

      Hi Kate. “If Palestinians put out a cartoon insulting some aspect of Judaism” – Really?
      You are talking about this kind of stuff?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ORAM-usqhQ

      The things you’ll see in the Arabic channels are shocking, do a bit of research you’ll be amazed. It’s full of hate towards Jews and Israelis it’s scary.

      On the other side, You won’t find anything like that in the Israeli TV. Israelis will never attack the source and it’s not highly possible- that’s just BS.

  15. K Renner on January 16, 2015, 9:47 am

    I think a pretty big point that all sides seem to end up missing, either intentionally or unintentionally, is that those who’re driven to commit violent acts because of cartoons or something similar are by no means “the norm” or otherwise “typical” when it comes to Muslim people.

    I think that it’s imperative to criticize cartoons that end up offering no real satire– for the most part, I thought the CH cartoons mocking ISIS and Al Qaeda actually had some satirical value, especially when you consider that both groups falsely consider themselves to be the “true and pure Muslims”– and often end up being needlessly over-offensive.

    At the same time, we have to realize, especially as people who do actively take interest in the Arab and Islamic world that violent Salafi Jihadis and AQ/ISIS sympathizers are the extreme and have no valid argument for what they did and do, especially when it comes down to this sort of thing.

    They are not normal and there’s not much point trying to look for a “rationale” for this particular attack, any more then there is to try and find “rationale” as to why they hate every other Muslim who doesn’t live exactly like they say they should. What needs to be done instead, if anything, is to emphasise the ridiculous and extreme nature of the Salafi Jihadi/Takfirist ideology, and emphasise the fact that their biggest enemies are other Muslims.

  16. Artemis on January 16, 2015, 10:07 am

    Whether or not the Quran bans representations of the prophet is beside the point. I wonder how Christians would feel if drawings were published depicting Jesus in the same way as Charlie Hebdo depicts the prophet. See, for example, the first two reproduced here: http://www.capjpo-europalestine.com/spip.php?article226. The caption on the first one is: “A star is born!” and on the second: “So is it okay for us to draw Mahomet’s ass?”

    Satire, in its origins, was directed at and designed to mock the powerful and to puncture their arrogance. Mocking the religious beliefs of the powerless is not satire but juvenile, gratuitous cruelty. Downtrodden unemployed Muslims living in squalid housing projects in France no doubt have at least one thing in common with Palestinians trying to survive in refugee camps, with no hope and no opportunities in life, and with only their religion to give them some sense of dignity and self-worth. What person of any integrity would want to deny them even that?

    • piotr on January 16, 2015, 12:42 pm

      Actually, the oldest Polish text that school children is a poem “Satire on lazy peasants”. Satire on lower classes was historically popular, in American culture blackface skids were of that kind.

      Hebdo also did a cover on Christian trinity: https://fellowshipofminds.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/charlie-hebdo-cover1.jpg

      In this case, as Christianity is a dominant religion in France, it was not mocking of the powerless, but a joyful celebration of brainlessness and assholery.

      • Whizdom on January 18, 2015, 12:58 pm

        Hebdo is a contemporary embodiment of the long tradition of anti-clericalism in French satire. We don’t have a close analogue here in the US.

  17. hophmi on January 16, 2015, 10:55 am
    • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 1:56 pm

      “Meanwhile, I’m waiting for Phil Weiss to post something about Raif Badawi.”

      Make sure to hold your breath until he does, Hophmi. No, it’s not nice to force Phil to write, but it’s for the cause! Ready now, take a deep breath….now, hold it! That’s it, they’ll be a post along any day now!
      Wait, did you breath?

      • Kris on January 16, 2015, 4:03 pm

        @hophmi: “Meanwhile, I’m waiting for Phil Weiss to post something about Raif Badawi.”

        Maybe you should start your own website, hophmi, and then you could cover anything you want! Or maybe you could be a stringer for Phil Weiss, at first on a volunteer basis. You could even go sit in on White House press briefings and ask what the U.S. plans to do about Saudi Arabia’s treatment of prisoners–i.e., flogging and beheading.

        Since Saudi Arabia, like Israel, is a big ally of the U.S., I bet the W.H. Press Secretary has an answer, probably the same answer they always use for Israel’s atrocities: “We are concerned,” or”This (behavior) is unhelpful,” or “The President has conveyed his concerns to the Saudi/Israeli ambassador.”

      • Mooser on January 16, 2015, 5:26 pm

        “Or maybe you could be a stringer for Phil Weiss, at first on a volunteer basis.”

        Hophmi wouldn’t write for any website which would accept his posts!

        But don’t worry, Hophmi contributes his analysis of Mondoweiss and editorial suggestions for gratis! They are always such that each upon the other builds.

    • Susan A on January 17, 2015, 7:03 am

      I’ve already signed Amnesty’s petition, hope you have hops. Strange you should bring that up. You don’t do it regarding other individuals and generally speaking, people like you hate Amnesty. Oh, of course, this petition calls out an Arab country, so it’s about ‘Arabs’. I’m sure you’d never post a link to Amnesty’s reports on Israel here, would you. Hypocrisy in action again.

  18. Whizdom on January 16, 2015, 10:55 am

    Headline in today’s Arutz Sheva.

    After Arutz Sheva Expose, College Withdraws Offensive Exhibit

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/190059#.VLkzlsYvagE

    Omri Yadlin, President of Sapir Academic College, stated Friday afternoon that the college’s managing board had decided to remove an offensive art exhibit in which Jewish sacred objects were desecrated and used as underwear.

    Yadlin wrote in a letter to students that “the controversy over the exhibit has gone on for a while. As long as the criticism surrounded the interpretation of the art work (as was the case with the Hamsas) the management did not see fit to interfere or censor, but recently the controversy has taken a different focus from students who felt a violation of their religious sensitivities – a violation which derived from an exhibit displaying religious icons in a manner deemed by many to be offensive.”

    “I assure you that was not the intention of the the display’s creator or of the college,” Yadlin added. “This creation featured in other museums in the country and in the US, and did not receive responses such as these, but after we engaged in long conversations with students who felt hurt, and after we understood the depth of that pain, we decided to remove the film from the exhibition until we conduct a deeper debate with a joint forum of artists, staff and students. Anyone who wants to view the film privately can request to do so on an individual level.

  19. seethelight on January 16, 2015, 2:28 pm

    Someone may have already mentioned this, but op-ed in NYT Tuesday by a Muslim author answer’s the point of Phil’s piece quite nicely, entitled “Islam’s Problem with Blasphemy.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/14/opinion/islams-problem-with-blasphemy.html?src=recg&_r=0

  20. W.Jones on January 16, 2015, 3:36 pm

    Muslims accept the concept of drawing their prophet, but of the period before he became a prophet. Thus, drawings of him can be found of that time in his life.

    • Mooser on January 18, 2015, 1:03 pm

      WJones, the Wiki article on “Aniconism in Islam” is pretty informative. It varies quite a bit.

  21. Taxi on January 17, 2015, 10:29 am

    And regarding prophet Mohammad marrying an underage girl some 1400 years ago that seems to always give islmophobes a groinal high, let’s all of us investigate all our great-grandfathers from 1400 years ago and see the age of their wives at the time, shall we? You’ll find that until recent times, and I mean 80-100 years ago, starting menstruation in young girls was considered as a sure sign of maturity and readiness for reproductive marriage – they married them off young. That was everybody’s standard at the time, the world over.

    Disgusting really to think that for tens of thousands of years, populating the world rested on the fragile bones of the nubile – regardless of their religion.

    • piotr on January 17, 2015, 6:03 pm

      Why 1400 hundred years? My great-grandparent were married before reaching puberty, in a shtetl in 19-th century. It was not so long time ago that in Europe there was no “age of consent”, but “consent of the parents”.

      • Mooser on January 18, 2015, 1:06 pm

        Wait a minute, this is all new to me. My parents, and grand-parents, whatever, were supposed to be married?

        Anyway, the new system we have here in the USA, serial monogamy, will soon be replacing all of that. It works for everybody!

  22. Vera Gottlieb on January 23, 2015, 5:10 am

    Whatever their reason, it MUST be respected.

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