Monday, May 17, 2010

Images of Muhammad: Revisited

Muhammad Preaching
(Image from Wikipedia)

Four years ago, I responded to the controversy over the Muhammad cartoons in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper by writing a number of blog posts on Muslim depictions of Muhammad, such as a post accompanied by the above depiction, a 17th century Ottoman copy of an early 14th century Persian illustration, from an illustrated manuscript of Al-Biruni's 11th century text, Vestiges of the Past, showing Muhammad in a mosque preaching against intercalation (cf. Sura 9.37). My reason for posting the image above was to demonstrate that despite Muslim assertions that Islam forbids any depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, we nevertheless find such depictions within the Islamic world itself.

At the post that I've linked to, I received then a number of comments, all from non-Muslims, it seems, but I've recently received an "Anonymous" comment from an individual whom I take to be a Muslim, given the particular sentiment espoused. It states:
god will break your hand
That's an unpleasant comment, though hardly surprising, given the fanaticism of some people. I replied:
Anonymous, thanks for your comment, which perfectly illustrates your attitude toward discussion, I presume.

You have expressed your violent opinion and now take refuge in your anonymity.
I receive the occasional courageous comment of this sort. Some brave soul feels offended enough to anonymously threaten me with dire consequences, wished personally upon me but attributed to God's intentions. This "Anonymous" commenter -- known only to God, it seems -- would like to break my hand . . . or worse, no doubt, since the basic offense is not in my hand but in my head.

I may yet end up like Trotsky, but if so, it'll be at the hands of one whose God has failed to carry out the deed Himself.

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At 5:32 AM, Blogger Jules Aimé said...

If I remember correctly, both HG Wells and GB Shaw advocated genocide at various times (against the Slavs of all people). And more than one small child has, in a moment of extreme anger and frustration, said something like "I wish you would die Mummy," to the walls after being consigned to their room.

The point being that there is a difference between thinking the thing and doing it :-)Which isn't to say that thinking the thing is blameless.

In any case, I'd forgive Emily D an awful lot for "I started early, took my dog and visited the sea" alone.

At 5:47 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jules, did you intend this comment for the Dickinson post? It sort of fits here as well.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off-topic rhetorical question: Do you think there'll be any death threats against the new Miss USA, a Shiite Muslim who not only posed in a bikini but also won a pole dancing contest. Public comments from Dearborn Arabs and Muslims have been supportive while overseas Muslims have been clucking their tongues on British websites. This was before the pole dancing photo hit the wires. The Shiite Fakih family's observance of Christian holidays won't go over well with the global Muslim community, either.

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

It's an interesting case that presents cognitive dissonance for just about everybody.

I wouldn't be surprised if the lady receives death threats from radical Shiites. She might not receive threats from radical Sunnis, for they wouldn't consider her Muslim anyway.

I don't know much about this individual -- didn't even know she was Shiite till you mentioned it. I wonder what she thinks about Hizbullah . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I wonder what she thinks about Hizbullah . . ."

I'll bet she doesn't. Her family emigrated when she was a baby. Her family's syncretic mix of Muslim and Christian observances suggest that they are nominal Muslims who probably fled Lebanon to escape the shackles of Middle Eastern organized religions. Some segments of Dearborn's Arab/Muslim communities are conservative. Dearborn's girls' sports teams are known for the wearing of headscarves, long-sleeved t-shirts, and long pants under uniforms. While Dearborn leaders have been publicly supportive, I'll bet many are cringing privately, especially at the pole dancing photo. Even my Catholic family elders would disapprove if a young cousin were photographed that way. Personally, I'm envious of her long, toned legs and naturally beautiful face and figure with no apparent surgical alteration.

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, as Miss America, she must express the American position! No mere private opinion (or non-opinion) allowed!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's Miss USA, not Miss America. There actually is a difference. The latter weigh talent and educational background more heavily, crowning winners who are often less then physically stunning. A pole dancing prize of adult sex toys might doom a Miss America but not a Miss USA, for whom scandals are part of the publicity-generating image.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I was wondering when "our ideal" had changed. I see that it hasn't.

Jeffery Hodges

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