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Idol Worship

Reader comment on item: Destroying Sculptures of Muhammad

Submitted by Gary Josephson (United States), Apr 10, 2008 at 01:59

As I understand it Muslims claim that their Mohammad was only a man who god sent messages through.

Secondly, the depiction of humans in art in the three largest monotheistic religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) was at various times shunned or banned due to the perceived violation of the "commandment" to not create "graven" images.

Okay, I get that. Given that information, please tell me why it is worse to depict Mohammad than any other human?

Finally, the emotional response to the depictions of his image are apparently registered as different than other human depictions. To my mind this indicates that those who rage about these images seem to be the ones engaged in some form of convoluted idol and image worship.

The old term I read in British literature identifies this religion as Mohammadism not as Islam. The change in terms was indicated, I believe, because adherents of Islam found this offensive. Perhaps this might be the key to some positive change if we indicated that terrorists are adherents to the sect of Mohammadism and those who view the religion as peaceful and voluntary we could then characterized as members of Islam.

I know their traditionalists view only the first lines of the Koran as by the man Mohammad; the rest are supposed to be God as routed through Gabriel to Mohammad. My cursory reading of this document gives me the distinct impression that the speaker, a deeply religious man echoing the universal message of ethical monotheism to a deeply divided community then regularly digresses to statements obviously of a humanly flawed individual with angry passions over his frustrations about events not in his control. (how human)

In Mohammad's particular case a variety of political and war decisions, some of expediency and some moralistic, are intertwined. A reader can find here reasons for peacemaking as well as war depending on the perceived threat.

If I can distinguish this, it must be true that at least some in the camp of Islam can see this as well and can help stop the cult of personality (ie. idolatry) about this man that elevates all the words in this book as equally valid to the present, as its radical adherents seem to argue. What might have been justified for situations back in the seventh century when faced with extinction for a handful of people just do not apply to the present when some one billion humans read of this man's trials.

Similar statements could be applied to Jesus and his followers, but they at least depict Jesus as God. Islam doesn't claim this status for Mohammad. So why can't we deal with him and depict him as human, flaws and all, and depict him in pictures?

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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