I am not interested in living in a world where people feel they are justified in killing others simply because they’re offended.
Therefore, I am participating in Everybody Draw Mohammed Day. If you are offended by depictions of your prophet, I apologize, but I feel that the principle of freedom of religion is more important than not offending you. If you say that it’s only a few extremists who would want to kill people over this, then I say to you: clean your own house, then we’ll talk. If you’ll stand up in your mosque tomorrow and condemn violence against blasphemers, then we’ll talk.
The picture below is a miniature illustration on vellum from the book Jami’ al-Tawarikh (literally “Compendium of Chronicles” but often referred to as The Universal History or History of the World), by Rashid al-Din, published in Tabriz, Persia, 1307 A.D. It depicts Mohammed supervising the rebuilding of the Kaaba.
In other words, it’s an image of Mohammed drawn by a devout Muslim. There are many such images.
That George W. is roundly condemned for alienating other countries (no matter that France & Germany both elected strongly pro-American governments in the past couple of years), while Democratic front-runner Barack Obama is campaigning on breaking treaties with America’s two biggest trading partners. And then saying that he was just kidding, and then lying about the saying that he was just kidding.
Interesting news from Turkey: a team of scholars has been revising and re-interpreting the Hadith — collections of sayings of Mohammed that have quasi-sacred status in Islam — in light of the assumption that they were intended to interact with the culture of the day, and that they must be re-interpreted in light of today’s culture:
Some sayings accepted as being genuinely spoken by Muhammad have been altered and reinterpreted.
Prof Mehmet Gormez, a senior official in the Department of Religious Affairs and an expert on the Hadith, gives a telling example.
“There are some messages that ban women from travelling for three days or more without their husband’s permission and they are genuine.
“But this isn’t a religious ban. It came about because in the Prophet’s time it simply wasn’t safe for a woman to travel alone like that. But as time has passed, people have made permanent what was only supposed to be a temporary ban for safety reasons.”
The project justifies such bold interference in the 1,400-year-old content of the Hadith by rigorous academic research.
Prof Gormez points out that in another speech, the Prophet said “he longed for the day when a woman might travel long distances alone”.
So, he argues, it is clear what the Prophet’s goal was.