Some Unrecognizable Forbidden Image of Some Unknown Somebody or Other
(Not Really Mohammad)
Mohammad Sabaaneh's Cartoon
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, PA
February 1, 2015
I'm ever again surprised when the editors of a Muslim news source publish an image even purported to be of Muhammad - as though they don't realize that Islam forbids images of Muhammad! The Shia branch of Islam has often depicted images of Muhammad, of course, but I thought that Sunni Muslims didn't and that they would even avoid even seeming to, so I was surprised to see the Memri report for February 3, 2015 (Inquiry and Analysis Series, Report No. 1142), by R. Green, "In Palestinian Authority, Outrage Follows PA Daily's Publication Of Muhammad Cartoon," even if the image is merely interpreted to be of Muhammad. I was not alone in my surprise:
On February 1, 2015, the Palestinian daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published a cartoon by illustrator Mohammad Sabaaneh of a man with a heart-shaped shoulder bag standing in an aura of light atop the Earth and scattering droplets of light. The cartoon is titled "Our Master Muhammad" in Arabic and "Prophet Muhammad" in English.But apparently not known well enough for even Sunni Muslims to avoid even seeming to depict Muhammad!
As is well-known, Islamic law forbids any depiction whatsoever of the Prophet Muhammad or of any other prophet.
The publication of the cartoon in a newspaper belonging to the Palestinian Authority (PA) sparked an uproar. The daily quickly removed the cartoon from its website and deleted the page from the PDF version. Two days after its publication, on February 3, the daily issued an apology:The rest can be read on your own, and those who do read further will see that radical groups are already calling for Sabaaneh's execution!
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida apologizes to readers for a cartoon published Sunday, February 1, 2015, and completely rejects any suspicion or interpretation that the illustration is a depiction of the Prophets and Messengers. In its respect for the sanctity of the exalted divine religions and its professionalism, the newspaper has established a board of inquiry to investigate the published cartoon, whose interpretation is in doubt. This is in addition to [the newspaper's] announcement that its intent in publishing [the cartoon] was to defend religions and the message of love and peace.It should be mentioned that the cartoon appears neither on Sabaaneh's social media accounts nor on websites that publish cartoons from Arab publications. Since February 1, Saba'aneh's personal website has been offline.
But Sabaaneh is dealing with a religion expressing a "message of love and peace," so nothing barbaric will happen to him. After all, the cartoon's "interpretation is in doubt." It might not really be an image of Mohammad at all!
Imagine that! But not too clearly . . .