Monday, February 06, 2006


No, the letters don't stand for "Was Wacky Muhammad Danish". Rather, they stand for "What Would Muhammad Do?" Perhaps this question is relevant to Christians (WWJD) who are wondering about the current Danish cartoon incident that has become a full-fledged controversy.

A little background, in September 2005, a Danish newspaper called Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in offensive manners. One showed Mohammad as a knife-wielding Bedouin; another showed him with a turban shaped as a bomb; yet another depicted Mohammad standing at the gates of heaven telling suicide bombers: "Stop! Stop! We have run out of virgins!"

For Muslims and religiously sensitive people everywhere, the cartoons were an anomaly. Although their publication was defended in the name of "freedom of expression," they still insulted Mohammad, and it was, at best, a risk for the newspaper to publish them. No serious American newspaper would commission images of Jesus that were solely designed to offend Christians. Certainly Muslims have the right to protest the hurtful and insulting depiction of their Mohammad in the newspaper, just as the newspapers reserve the right to publish said offensive cartoons.

That being said, however, the way in which many Muslims around the world are protesting the cartoons is barbaric. There are street demonstrations across the Middle East, with flag-burnings galore. The Danish Government warned its citizens about traveling to Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. It even withdrew aid workers from the Gaza Strip.

Speaking of Gaza, masked gunmen temporarily occupied the EU office in Gaza and warned Danes and Norwegians to stay away. In Indonesia, eggs were pelted at the Danish embassy. In Saudi Arabia - as reported by the Associated Press - two employees of the Danish company Arla Foods were beaten up by angry customers. Two Palestinian militant groups threatened to retaliate against the newspapers by kidnapping Europeans and targeting churches and European offices and this week end thousands of rampaging Muslim demonstrators set fire to the building housing its diplomatic mission in Beirut in its Christian neighborhood., etc., etc.!

What in God's Name is going on here? What sort of response is this? Is this what Mohammad - the one whom is supposedly being defended by these Muslims - would do in this situation? It seems that the many stories surrounding the life of Mohammad only serve to confuse the issue! On the one hand, much of the folk lore pictures him as peaceful and non-violent. On the other, he is characterized as a vessel of God’s wrath upon non believers and apostates, violent and vengeful and merciless in their destruction.

Here is my point, how could it be that Muslims today - who claim to love their Mohammad deeply and follow his example - react in such an ugly way to the publication of cartoons that depict him in a negative manner? Is all this merely a demonstration of their faith? I mean gunfire at an EU office? Threatening Europeans and churches? Attacking and burning embassies? Beating up employees of Arla Foods? Is this what Muhammad would do?

I wish I had the answer! After all, there are so many other - more dignified, more truly Muslim - ways to lodge a protest against the cartoons. As one Islamic blogger put it, “Muslims could have had a silent vigil in from the Danish embassy, instead of pelting the embassy with eggs. Muslims could have written the newspaper - with polite, non-hateful, non-threatening language - and told it that this is wrong”.

So, I’m perplexed. Why didn’t Muslims take this opportunity to show the world the true face of Muhammad if, indeed, there is one? Why not contrast the hateful face that was printed by the Danish newspaper with the merciful, forgiving face of a true religious leader? There are so many ways to disagree without being violently disagreeable. Is it true, as some have said, Muslims failed to live up to their faith again! Certainly this fuels the fire of the angry slogan of “the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim”.

Indeed, if the publishers of these cartoons think that Muslims are nothing but a bunch of barbarians and to prove it, they intentionally published offensive and provocative cartoons depicting Muhammad in a nasty manner. It worked! Muslims stepped up to the plate and threaten innocent Europeans, shooting guns in the air, and burning Danish flags, building, effigies etc. Perhaps Muslims, by and large, simply took the bait! Or perhaps Muslims, by and large, are barbarians. What do you think? What would Muhammad do?

Note: "While the debate rages, an important point has been overlooked: despite the Islamic prohibition against depicting Mohammed under any circumstances, hundreds of paintings, drawings and other images of Mohammed have been created over the centuries, with nary a word of complaint from the Muslim world. The recent cartoons in Jyllands-Posten are nothing new; it's just that no other images of Mohammed have ever been so widely publicized."

Link to this page to see an archive of numerous depictions of Mohammed serving as a reminder that such imagery has been part of Western and Islamic culture since the Middle Ages.

I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish (ESV, Romans 1.14).

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all (ESV, Colossians 3.11).


Anonymous said...

It's kind of ironic because one of the first hadith of the Prophet learned by students of Islam is "Laa Taghdab" (Do not be angry, more specifically - do not act in anger-EVER). he repeated the same phrase 3 times in the same hadith.

Anonymous said...

Iran daily holds contest for Holocaust cartoons-

Now this is a more intelligent way to protest. See how far the West believes in unbounded freedom of expression, before it is recognized as detrimental to a cohesive socity.

revdrron said...

Anonymous writes "Iran daily holds contest for Holocaust cartoons..."

I wonder how long has this Iranian art contest been held? Who is ahead of the tolerance game at this point in the contest? Iran (not Islam), Israel (not Jew), the USA (not Christian)? What does it really mean for believers to live in a liberal society? Express yourself!

What do you think? Is there really any comparison or is this just more of your apples with oranges stuff for the sake of division and hatred? Why not hold your own art show as an experiment? Provoke the Muslims with a nasty icon of Muhammad. Provoke the Jews with a horrific image of the Holocaust. Provoke the Christians with Kanye West posed as Jesus Christ on the cover of Rolling Stone. Let’s just see how far the West believes in unbounded freedom of expression.

After all how important is it more humankind to live in a cohesive society?

“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins” (Proverbs 10.12).

Anonymous said...

WAIT A MINUTE. I THOUGHT KANYE WAS JESUS. guess he's just another rapper with a god complex.

Anonymous said...

"The Messenger of Allah, was not excessively tall or short. He was not very pallid nor dark. He did not have curly hair or lank hair. Allah commissioned him at the age of forty. He stayed in Mecca ten years and at Medina for ten years and Allah the Mighty, the Majestic made him die when he was sixty. There were not twenty white hairs in his hair or beard, may Allah bless him and grant him peace." Malik's Muwatta Hadith, Volume 49, Number1
The Prophet said, "On the night of my Ascent to the Heaven, I saw Moses who was a tall brown curly-haired man as if he was one of the men of Shan'awa tribe, and I saw Jesus, a man of medium height and moderate reddish complexion and of lank hair. I also saw Malik, the gate-keeper of the (Hell) Fire and Ad-Dajjal amongst the signs which Allah showed me." (The Prophet then recited the Holy Verse): "So be not you in doubt of meeting him' when you met Moses during the night of Mi'raj over the heavens" (Bukhari 32.23)