Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Dark side of Mohammed

Ever since a Danish cartoon of Mohammed as a terrorist came out weeks ago, Denmark has been getting a lot of flak from, who else.
The Danish-Swedish dairy giant Arla Foods says its sales in the Middle East have plummeted to zero as a result of a row over cartoons published in Denmark.... The cartoons sparked outrage in the Muslim world, where depictions of the Prophet Muhammad or Allah are banned.... Besides boycotts, the backlash has also included diplomatic sanctions and Islamic militant threats.
Muslims have an ego problem (but then who, except the Buddha, doesn't). They ought to take a cue from Jews and Christians. Their deity, their deity incarnate, the mother of their god/god-hero, their prophets, as well as the entire cast of supernatural characters have been the butt of jokes and ribbing for who knows how long. Muslims are out of touch and too touchy. Here's an unsolicited advice (that'll draw a call for a fatwah/jihad or whatever fundamentalists want to call their reptilian instinct to literally kill off criticism): Get used to it! Remember, your supernatural beliefs are no more credible and rational than those of the world's mythologies. Sheesh! Get real! I don't support Christian bigotry against your religion. But neither do I support the inane supernatural beliefs of any theism.

But such an argument can be brushed off as irrelevant to the issue. Certainly. However, and this is a point that cannot be dismissed, is that Muslims must come to grips with the allegation that Mohammed was no saint, not even according to their tradition. For instance literature written by an Arab which Muslims accept as factual alleges that Mohammed earned his living as a robber, attacking caravans, and had even murdered his enemies and taken women as slaves. (Ibn Warraq, Point of Inquiry interview) Why then the ruckus over this cartoon? If Muslims as Ibn Warraq tells us take this Arab account of Mohammed as gospel truth, then Mohammed was in fact some sort of a terrorist, at the very least, a criminal.

In related news comedian Rowen Atkinson, Mr. Bean himself, has much to say about the religious hate law that's in the works in his country. Among the things he said in a speech he delivered:
It is absolutely right and reasonable that religions should be protected from threatening language, behaviour and written material but I support the amendment to retain the right to abuse and insult, because of the essentially irrational nature of religious beliefs. That is not to dismiss them: indeed, I'm a great believer that the most important and most sustaining things in life are essentially irrational.


Bronze Dog said...

I haven't seen the cartoon itself, but it seems to me that it was in bad taste... Which is exactly why we need that sort of thing. If we can't laugh at ourselves or each other, there's not much room for change to occur. There's nothing quite so effective at making me realize the error of my ways as a properly formed parody.

Unfortunately, most of the people who try such stuff tend to involve malicious straw men. For a parody to be effective, it has to have at least a grain of truth.

juniorbonner said...

totally agree with you

also you should be interested to hear that the government lost the vote regarding the religious hatred laws. Amusingly they lost by one vote, and the person who did not cast a vote - Tony Blair! Oops