01/16/2015 by syrbal-labrys
I am not starting from a place of vacuous ignorance here, ok? I made a fairly serious study of Islam and Middle Eastern history several years back. I “get” the proscription of images of the Prophet — after all, Islam did not want to fall into what they viewed as the fallacy of Christianity — making idols of Jesus and all.
While I give them credit as a younger religion trying to learn from the errors of the older ones it observed? I think it went awry; it wasn’t long before (rather like strict Judaism) all portrayal of any living thing was prohibited. (For me, this would be making art nigh impossible — I posit it possible that EVERYthing has some sort of indwelling consciousness.) Now, while this prohibition gave us very nice abstracted symbols to weave into beautiful Oriental carpets, not to mention the most beautiful calligraphy on the planet? It really gets cumbersome fast. And Islamic artists pretty generally ignored it in the “golden age” of Islam anyhow.
But even if you grant that point? The people making pictures “of” Mohammed –whether satirically, or not? NOBODY knows what Mohammed looked like. NOBODY. So, how can anyone behaving rationally react to any turbaned figure and say Mohammed is insulted just because the cartoonist/artist/wtf-ever SAYS it is Mohammed. That handy old “consider the source” rule seems to me would be a good reasonable approach. Why would ANY believer in any religion or prophet let unbelievers DEFINE that faith or person for them in any way? Is it not better to be secure in belief and simply reply, figuratively or literally with, “That is your opinion; it does not match my experience?”
After all, I have known many Christians who think the figure on a common package of tobacco product looks like Jesus — another figure of whom NOBODY knows the exact features. Popular representations, specially that blond “Swiss” Jesus, really do not tell us a damned thing about the man who may or may not have existed. And Christ literally on a cracker, at times, or on a dog’s ass? Well, those things are published, too — should we start shooting dogs for having a hairy image of a standing man with arms outstretched on their hindquarters? Where does such lunacy end?
I often bitch about my society following every little distraction, of stuff like really vital societal movements being reduced to nit-picking ideologies that dissolve into snarling backbiting while the goal they once strove for escapes them. And I have to say, if Moslems want to die for their Umma, their Prophet, or their Allah? Just a view from the outside, offered without intention of insulting (for just this once)? There are far better things to spend your lives on that what some cartoonist is drawing.
Don’t you think Mohammed would be TRULY insulted by children starving? Or young mothers dying? Or historic cities crumbling? Lest you get your knickers all knotted, if you are Moslem? Trust me, this infidel has made the same criticisms of Christianity. And as one of those horrid humanist pagan sorts (whom you serious Moslems allegedly consider deserving of death, btw), YOUR co-religionists AND the Christians have reduced deities MY sort of person honors to demons and devils; and yet, I have felt no need to murder YOU.
So if others poke fun, make sarcastic images? Who is really insulting Mohammed — the non-believer making a political point, or the believer who ACCEPTS that image as a representation OF the Prophet? My (largely metaphorical) Horned God is represented as the Christian Devil all the time. And I have no issue with that — I look and say “Nope, sorry, that is NOT my Lord.”
Just a thought from the sidelines….