In reality, portrayal of Muhammad is not universally banned in Islam. It is true that Islam was marked from the beginning by a horror of idol-worship, and representations of the prophet are never found in mosques, which instead are often and famously ornamented with intricate nonrepresentational designs known as arabesques and hung with works of calligraphy. But the Koran itself is silent on the matter of images, and the warnings against them contained in the hadith, sayings of the prophet recorded centuries after he lived, have been subject to various interpretation.
Depictions of the prophet were once common, for instance, in Persian and Turkic Islamic art, although often in these pictures Muhammad’s face or figure is veiled or left blank. Even before the Mongol conquest of Baghdad in 1258, Islamic civilization came under the influence of Oriental art, with its rich tradition of human representation. And after the con-quest, there was an explosion of painting and other imagery in Islam, including depictions of Muhammad. (READ MORE)
2.- The Cartoon Jihad: The Muslim Brotherhood’s project for dominating the West. By Olivier Guitta.
It is now abundantly clear that the recent murderous protests over car-toons of the prophet Muhammad published in a Danish newspaper last September were anything but spontaneous. The actions of Islamist agitators and financiers have deliberately drummed up rage among far-flung extremists otherwise igno-rant of the Danish press. The usual suspects–the regimes in Saudi Ara-bia, Syria, and Iran–have profited from the spread of the disorders, and even the likes of tiny Kuwait has reportedly offered funds to spur demonstrations throughout France. More important, however, and per-haps less widely understood, the cartoon jihad is tailor-made to ad-vance the Muslim Brotherhood’s long-term worldwide strategy for establishing Islamic supremacy in the West.
3.- Bonfire of the Pities. By Amir Taheri.
The “rage machine” was set in motion when the Muslim Brotherhood–a political, not a religious, organization–called on sympathizers in the Middle East and Europe to take the field. A fatwa was issued by Yussuf al-Qaradawi, a Brotherhood sheikh with his own program on al-Jazeera. Not to be left behind, the Brotherhood’s rivals, Hizb al-Tahrir al-Islami (Islamic Liberation Party) and the Movement of the Ex-iles (Ghuraba), joined the fray. Believ-ing that there might be something in it for themselves, the Syrian Baathist leaders abandoned their party’s 60-year-old secular pretensions and or-ganized attacks on the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus and Beirut.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s position, put by one of its younger militants, Tariq Ramadan–who is, strangely enough, also an adviser to the British home secretary–can be summed up as follows: It is against Islamic princi-ples to represent by imagery not only Muhammad but all the prophets of Islam; and the Muslim world is not used to laughing at religion. Both claims, however, are false.
There is no Quranic injunction against images, whether of Muhammad or anyone else. When it spread into the Levant, Islam came into contact with a version of Christianity that wasmilitantly iconoclastic. As a result some Muslim theologians, at a time when Islam still had an organic theol-ogy, issued “fatwas” against any de-piction of the Godhead. That position was further buttressed by the fact that Islam acknowledges the Jewish Ten Commandments–which include a ban on depicting God–as part of its heritage. The issue has never been decided one way or another, and the claim that a ban on images is “an ab-solute principle of Islam” is purely political. Islam has only one absolute principle: the Oneness of God. Trying to invent other absolutes is, from the point of view of Islamic theology, nothing but sherk, i.e., the bestowal on the Many of the attributes of the One.
4.- The Long War: The radical Islamists are on the offensive. Will we defeat them?. By William Kristol.
Indeed, it would be nice if we lived in a world in which we didn’t have to take the enemies of liberal democracy seriously–a world without jihadists who want to kill and clerics who want to intimidate and tyrants who want to terrorize. It would be nice to wait until we were certain conditions were ripe before we had to act, a world in which the obstacles are trivial and the enemies fold up. Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in.To govern is to choose, and to accept responsibility for one’s choices. To govern is not wishfully to await the end of history. To govern is not fatalistically to watch a clash of civilizations from the sidelines.
Finally, I link the “Muslim Manifesto: Rejecting the Bad“.
Recently, the disrespectful cartoons about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) published in Jyllands-Posten resulted in an extreme reaction among many Muslims worldwide. While we understand the feelings of our co-religionists, we strongly urge them to refrain from rage and violence.A zeal for Allah is rightful only when it is expressed in an enlightened manner, since Allah himself has ordained a restrained response. When the early Muslims were mocked by their pagan contemporaries, the Koran ordered not a violent backlash, but rather a civilized disapproval: “When you hear Allah’s verses being rejected and mocked at by people, you must not sit with them till they start talking of other things.” (Koran 4:140) The Koran also describes Muslims as “those who control their rage and pardon other people, [because] Allah loves the good-doers.” (3:134) Therefore all demonstrations against the mockery of Islam should be peaceful. All critiques of Islam should be countered not by threats and violence, but by rational counter-argument.
[…] We support and cherish democracy — not because we reject the sovereignty of the Almighty over people, but because we believe that this sovereignty is manifested in the general will of people in a democratic and pluralistic society. We do not accept theocratic rule-not because we do not wish to obey Allah, but because theocratic rule inevitably becomes rule by fallible (and sometimes corrupt and misguided) humans in the name of the infallible God.We accept the legitimacy of the secular state and the secular law. Islamic law, or sharia, was developed at a time when Muslims were living in homogenous communities. In the modern world, virtually all societies are pluralistic, consisting of different faiths and of different perceptions of each faith, including Islam. In this pluralistic setting, a legal system based on a particular version of a single religion cannot be imposed on all citizens. Thus, a single secular law, open to all religions but based on none, is strongly needed.We believe that women have the same inalienable rights as men. We strongly denounce laws and attitudes in some Islamic societies that exclude women from society by denying them the rights of education, political participation and the individual pursuit of happiness. Like men, women should have the right to decide how they will live, dress, travel, marry and divorce; if they do not enjoy these rights, they are clearly second-class citizens.
[…] We regard Christianity and Judaism as sister faiths in the common family of Abrahamic monotheism. We strongly denounce anti-Semitism, which has been alien to Islam for many centuries but which unfortunately has gained popularity among some Muslims in recent decades. We accept Israel’s right to exist, as well as the justified aspiration of the Palestinian people for a sovereign state and hope that a just two-state solution in Israel/Palestine will bring peace to the Holy Land.In short, we strongly disagree with and condemn those who promote or practice tyranny and violence in the name of Islam. We hope that their misguided deeds will not blacken our noble religion — which is indeed a path to God and a call for peace”.
Well, I do really think that this is a change. But the two men that have signed it are not very known, and I do not know if it’s going to be very widespread. Anyway, you can also read the Manifesto of the European independent Intelectuals. (from Agora).