Islam and the War against Freedom of Expression
14 Feb, 2008
The Danish Cartoons
On September 30, 2005, the Danish
newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a series of 12 images
of Mohammed, founder of Islam. The intention was not to insult
Islam, but to highlight how artists had become too scared to tackle
Islam head-on. The issue stemmed from attempts by Kare Blultgen, a
Danish author, to find illustrators to provide pictures for a
children's book he had written about Mohammed, founder of Islam.
Blultgen said he found no artist willing to take the risk of
depicting Mohammed. As a result, Jyllands-Posten invited
artists from across
There was limited reaction within
October 2005, one
website carried messages from "The Glory Brigades in Northern
Europe" which threatened retribution against Jyllands-Posten
Carsten Juste, editor of Jyllands-Posten, said: "To demand that we take religious feelings into consideration is irreconcilable with [W]estern democracy and freedom of expression. This doesn't mean that we want to insult any Muslims." Two illustrators, Franz Fuschel and Kurt Westgaard had been issued with death threats and forced into hiding. Fuschel said that he had not set out to offend, "but I live in 2005, not 905 and I use my quill in the way that Danish law allows me."
The actions of Abu Laban and his
assistant, Lebanese-born Ahmed Akkiri, were to prove more damaging.
Four individuals, all members of the disbanded group Al Muhajiroun, were later arrested and stood trial on charges of inciting racial hatred and inciting murder. On July 18, 2007, Abdul Rahman Saleem (aka "Abu Yahya") was sentenced to four years' jail for inciting racial hatred. Abdul Muhid, Mizanur Rahman and Umran Javed were sentenced to six years' jail for soliciting murder, with additional concurrent sentences of three years for stirring up racial hatred. Other individuals who were sought by police appear to have escaped justice entirely.
At the time of the
"The insulting of the Messenger Muhammad (saw) is something that the Muslims cannot and will not tolerate and the punishment in Islam for the one who does so is death. This is the sunnah of the prophet and the verdict of Islam upon such people, one that any Muslim is able execute. The response of the Muslims all over the world shows us the inability to deal with such people, the kuffar are attacking our Messenger and are allowed to get away with it whilst the Muslims have no power to do anything about it. The leaders of the Muslim world have no care for the deen (belief) of Islam as they are busy cementing their seats content with their power and wealth. Where are the Muhammad ibn Maslamah's of our ummah who will ?"
On February 3, 2006 in
Syria, the Danish and
Norwegian embassies in
February 5th, Catholic
priest Father Andrea Santoro was shot in the back by a teenage youth
By the end of February 2006, at
least 50 people had died in Muslim violence around the world. The
highest casualties came in the north of
Somewhat undermining the claims
that Islam is a "religion of peace," specific death threats were
issued against the cartoonists. In
India a minister in
Uttar Pradesh state offered a $12 million reward to anyone who
beheaded one of the cartoonists. Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi, imam of
the Mohabat Khan mosque in
May 2006, the one-legged
leader of the Pakistan Taliban in the region of North Waziristan,
Abdullah Mehsud, announced that a group of 12 Islamists had been
In the early hours of Tuesday,
February 12, 2008, five
people were arrested in Aarhus (??rhus) in
The murder plot had involved 73-year-old Kurt Westergaard, one of the Danish cartoonists. He drew the image of Mohammed with his turban morphing into a bomb. He, along with Franz Fuschel, was the first cartoonist to have been issued with death threats in 2005. For more than a year, Westergaard and his 66-year-old wife Gitte had been under police protection. They had been forced to move from one secret home to another.
In a statement posted on the website of Jyllands-Posten newspaper, Mr. Westergaard wrote: "Of course I fear for my life after the Danish Security and Intelligence Service informed me of the concrete plans of certain people to kill me. However, I have turned fear into anger and indignation. It has made me angry that a perfectly normal everyday activity which I used to do by the thousand was abused to set off such madness. I could not possibly know for how long I have to live under police protection; I think, however, that the impact of the insane response to my cartoon will last for the rest of my life. It is sad indeed, but it has become a fact of my life."
The two "foreigners" are Tunisian, states CNN. One of the three arrested Danes is aged 40. This man is a Danish national of Moroccan origins. He has been charged with a terrorist offense, and the two Tunisians are to be deported.
Carsten Juste, editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten, said that he had been aware of an alleged plot for some time. He stated: "We are happy that the security services have acted."
Two years after Muslims ran amuck in protest at the cartoons, it seems that some people are still trying to murder in the name of Allah, over mere drawings.
The death plot against Kurt
Westergaard is the latest tactic in a war that has been waged for at
least 50 years. A statue of Mohammed the law-giver used to stand on
the steps of the Manhattan Appellant Courthouse in
The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has recently found itself inciting the wrath of Muslims. On its page entry on Mohammed, the founder of Islam is depicted. This has caused an online petition to be created, which claims to have gathered more than 130,000 names, calling for the picture to be removed.
The image, shown above, depicts
Mohammed preaching from a pulpit. It was painted in the 15th
Century, and is now housed in the Biblioteque Nationale in
As the Wikipedia entry states:
"Figurative depictions of Muhammad were a significant part of late
medieval Islamic art; however, such depictions were generally
limited to secular contexts and to the elite classes who could
afford fine art. The taboo on depictions of Muhammad was less
stringent during the
So where is there prohibition of visual depictions of Mohammed? In truth, there appear to be NO reputable Hadiths or passages in the Koran which specifically state this.
In the Hadiths of Imam Muslim, there are prohibitions against painters depicting ANY figure. Book 24, Number 5270 states: "Abdullah reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Verity the most grievously tormented people on the Day of Resurrection would be the painters of pictures. Ashajj (one of the narrators) in the hadith narrated by him did not make mention of the word 'verity.'"
Imam Muslim's Book 24, Number 5271 states: "This hadith has been reported on the authority of Abu Mu'awiya through another chain of transmitters (and the words are): 'Verity, the most grievously tormented people amongst the denizens of Hall on the Day of Resurrection would be the painters of pictures.' The rest of the hadith is the same."
Book 24, Number 5257 includes "The most grievously tormented people on the Day of Resurrection would be the painters of pictures," and "I am going to narrate to you what I heard from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). I heard him say: All the painters who make pictures would be in the fire of Hell. The soul will be breathed in every picture prepared by him and it shall punish him in the Hell, and he (Ibn 'Abbas) said: If you have to do it at all, then paint the pictures of trees and lifeless things; and Nasr b. 'Ali confirmed it."
Bukhari stated in Vol 9, Book 87, Number 165 that: "and whoever makes a picture, will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and will be ordered to put a soul in that picture, which he will not be able to do." In Vol 9, Book 93, Numbers 646 and 647 is written: "Allah's Apostle said, "The painter of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said to them, Make alive what you have created.' "
Volume 5, Book 58, Number 213
Mohammed is told of a church in
In Volume 8, Book 73, Number 130: " The Prophet entered upon me while there was a curtain having pictures (of animals) in the house. His face got red with anger, and then he got hold of the curtain and tore it into pieces. The Prophet said, 'Such people as paint these pictures will receive the severest punishment on the Day of Resurrection.'"
Bukhari and Muslim are the only two sources of Hadiths that are universally regarded as "sahih" or authentic. From these, it appears that depictions of any living creature annoyed Mohammed.
The Koran, Sura 21, 53-54 states: "When he said unto his father and his folk: What are these images unto which ye pay devotion? They said: We found our fathers worshippers of them. He said: Verily ye and your fathers were in plain error."
Sura 42, verse 11 states: "The Creator of the heavens and the earth. He hath made for you pairs of yourselves, and of the cattle also pairs, whereby He multiplieth you. Naught is as His likeness; and He is the Hearer, the Seer." The BBC states that "the same is believed to apply to Muhammad."
No Muslim believes Mohammed is "the same" as Allah. But the Hadiths appear to warn against idolatry, and it is mainly for this reason that all images, and particularly images of Mohammed, have been forbidden at various times in the history of Islam.
In Iran there has been less outrage against depictions of Mohammed. Traditionally he has been shown in miniatures and tapestries, and until recently, poster images depicting a smiling Mohammed were available in Iranian market stalls.
The outrage against images of
Mohammed has been predominantly the preserve of Sunnis. In
As a result of such strict
viewpoints, many archeological sites in
If the Saudis, the Salafists and Islamists condemn images of Mohammed, they should also forbid photographs and video images, if their prophet claimed that the maker of such an image would be punished on Judgment Day. Al Qaeda representatives such as Zawahiri and bin Laden are actually defying the instructions of Mohammed when they appear on videos lecturing the world about its failure to follow "true" Islam.
How Muslims choose to depict themselves or their prophet is one issue. For Muslims to demand that the West should submit to their prejudices and phobias is another.
Western Artistic Traditions
The Renaissance revived the artistic and literary traditions of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and the Catholic Church used artistic depictions of the human form to represent both man and God. Depictions of Christ and incidents from his life have elevated Western art to a level never before achieved, where both divinity and humanity were simultaneously celebrated.
Since the Enlightenment, such traditions of "high art" have diminished, and the works of Andres Serrano ("Piss Christ") and others have featured Christ in a less than flattering light. Artists such as Felicien Rops in the 19th Century depicted pornographic lithographs satirizing Christ's suffering on the cross. Though such works have been criticized, no modern artist has been threatened with death for insulting Christianity in painting or sculpture.
Modern artists have a carte blanche to shock, yet few will admit that they are too scared to take on Islam as subject matter. Grayson Perry, a British ceramic artist and former winner of the Turner Prize, has confessed: "I???ve censored myself. The reason I haven???t gone all out attacking Islamism in my art is because I feel real fear that someone will slit my throat."
When the Tate Gallery withdrew a piece of art in September 2005 because it featured a Koran, a Bible and the Talmud, the artist was outraged. Conceptual artist John Latham called the management of the Tate gallery "cowards." The work was entitled "God is Great".
More cowardice ensued. The Barbican
After burning copies of the Koran (deleted in the Barbican production), Tamburlaine states: "Now Mahomet, if thou have any power, Come down thyself and work a miracle. Thou art not worthy to be worshipped That suffers flames of fire to burn the writ Wherein the sum of thy religion rests......Well soldiers, Mahomet remains in hell; He cannot hear the voice of Tamburlaine."
Western literature and art have portrayed Mohammed in Hell, following the example of Dante Aligheiri (1265 - 1321) and his book "The Divine Comedy." In the section entitled "Inferno" (Canto 28), Dante wrote:
"A cask by losing center-piece or cant
Was never shattered so, as I saw one
Rent from the chin to where one breaketh wind.
Between his legs were hanging down his entrails;
His heart was visible, and the dismal sack
That maketh excrement of what is eaten.
While I was all absorbed in seeing him,
He looked at me, and opened with his hands
His bosom, saying: "See now how I rend me;
How mutilated, see, is Mahomet;
In front of me doth Ali weeping go,
Cleft in the face from forelock unto chin;
And all the others whom thou here beholdest,
Disseminators of scandal and of schism
While living were, and therefore are cleft thus."
This image of a disemboweled Mohammed inspired 19th Century artist Gustav Dor?? to produce an illustration for Dante's work that still has a power to shock. It can be seen here. Artist and mystic William Blake depicted the same scene in a watercolor entitled "The Schismatics and Sowers of Discord: Mahomet." Since 1920, this painting has been housed in the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.
Salvador Dali depicted Mohammed in
Hell in a
bizarre illustration for
Dante's masterwork, which was distributed in
In 1911, Italian movie director Francesco Bertolini created an epic movie based on Dante's work. Entitled "L'Inferno", it features a naked Mohammed, with his modesty covered by his hanging guts. The movie can be viewed in its entirety here.
In April 2006, Italian magazine Studi Cattolica, which has loose links to Opus Dei, published a cartoon based on Dante's work. Three characters are shown looking into Hell. One says: ""That one split in half from his head to his rump is Mohammed?" Another says: "Yes, he is split because he brought division to society." The third character says: "While instead that other one with his pants down is Italian politics regarding Islam."
Dante Aligheiri's imagined scene of Mohammed, gutted like a fish and tormented in Hell, became featured in a fresco on the wall of Bologna Cathedral (above). The fresco was painted in the 15th Century by artist Giovanni da Modena. Long before the issue of the Danish cartoons became notorious, Islamists tried to destroy the fresco on two separate occasions.
In June 2002, Italian paramilitary police foiled a plot to destroy the fresco. The plot came to light after phone conversations between North Africans with links to al Qaeda were tapped.
August 2002 another plot
to destroy the
I mentioned earlier on Family Security Matters that the political Muslim group CAIR had tried to have a bas-relief of Mohammed removed from the U.S. Supreme Court. Here, Mohammed features as one of a long procession of law-givers. Created by Adolph A. Weinman in 1935, the image of Mohammed was regarded as blasphemous by CAIR. In 1997 the group petitioned Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist to have the sculpture sandblasted or removed. Their request was denied.
On February 14, 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a death fatwa against author Salman Rushdie for his "blasphemy" contained in his book The Satanic Verses. Though initially treated as an aberration, it now seems that the Rushdie case set a precedent. Though Rushdie has survived, his Japanese translator Hitoshi Igarashi was stabbed to death in July 1991. His Italian translator Ettore Capriolo was stabbed in the same month but survived.
When documentary maker Theo van
Gogh was butchered in an
The case of the Danish artist Kurt Westegaard becoming subject to a real plot to kill him is a matter of serious concern. Islamists only have to kill a few people, and a whole culture is subsequently tyrannized and intimidated. Artists, writers and movie makers voluntarily engage in self-censorship.
The West is worth preserving, but only if it retains its principles of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. If the West loses that ability to speak freely, then its culture is eroded, and its soul diminished. Multiculturalists and appeasers can argue that they do not want to offend Muslims. But if they maintain this because they have not the backbone to admit that they are scared of Muslim extremists, the West will already have killed that which made it great, its spirit of inquiry and challenge that brought it out of the Dark Ages. Media figures and politicians who censor Western artists out of fear are no better than Quislings.
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Adrian Morgan, aka
Giraldus Cambrensis of
Western Resistance, is UK-based writer and artist. He also writes for
Family Security Matters and
Name: Koran and Karl Popper's Critical Rationalism
Date: Wednesday February 13, 2008
Time: 21:59:37 -0700
Date: Thursday February 14, 2008
Time: 03:47:56 -0700
Islam is a weak cult/creed that it fears an innocuous cartoon would jeopardise the beliefs of its adherents! Why? IT stands on weak foundation and lacks a good philosophy of life and lack of true spirituality, compassion for fellow human-beings! It survives on the foundation of terror ,intolerance and bigotry. It keeps its flock together by handing out torture and horrific death sentences to apostates, blasphemers,or those refusing to convert under duress. All this and we have a billion and a half zombies under eternal suppression and oppression! With this kind of scenario freedom of expression is totally an alien concept to the muslims.
Date: Thursday February 14, 2008
Time: 06:43:23 -0700
THERE IS NO PEACE IN ANY MUSLIM COUNTRY. WHEN THE MUSLIMS SETTLE IN A NON-MUSLIM COUNTRY ,ESPECIALLY, A CHRISTIAN COUNTRY, THEY TAKE LIBERTIES .THEY WONT BE TOLERATED IN A COMMUNIST COUNTRY LIKE CHINA, WHICH WONT STAND ANY NON-SENSE AS THE WEST DOES. THE MUSLIMS HAVE NOT CIVLISED OVER THE LAST FOURTEEN HUNDRED YEARS ,NOR THEY WOULD EVER CHANGE. ISLAM IS WORSE THAN FASCISM OR COMMUNISM BECAUSE OF ISLAMIC ELEMENT IN IT. ISLAM IS THE COMPLETE WAY OF LIFE FOR MUSLIMS, A WAY OF IGNORANCE AND DEPRIVATION ,WITH NO DESIRE TO IMPROVE OR CHANGE. MOHAMMAD GAVE THE MUSSLIMS THE DELUSION OF GRANDEUR. THE ARE MADE TO BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE THE BEST PEOPLLE WITH THE BEST RELIGION. THAT IS WHY THEY DO NOT FEEL ANY NEED FOR IMPROVEMENT AND PROGRESS AND CHANGE. THEY WISH TO DRAG THE HOST COMMUNITIES TO THEIR LOW LEVEL. THE SITUATION IS VERY DESPERATE IN THE WEST AND THEY WILL HAVE TO TAKE DESPERATE STEPS TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM WHICH THEY HAVE LANDED THEMSELVES INTO. THEY SHOULD PASS THE LAWS TO GET RID OF MUSLIMS FROM THEIR COUNTRIES. THE MUSLIMS DO NOT DESERVE TO LIVE IN THE CIVILSED COUNTRIES WITH CIVILISED PEOPLE. AN OTHER LESSON ;NEVER EVER TRUST A MUSLIM; BECAUSE THEY ARE BASICALLY EVIL. THEY WISH TO TAKE OVER THE CHRISTIN WEST THROUGH TERRORISM. THE WEST SHOULD PREPARE FOR THE LAST CRUSADE, IF THEY WISH TO SURVIVE WITH THEIR VALUES INTACT.
Name: Pierre Morat
Date: Thursday February 14, 2008
Time: 09:05:06 -0700
To BALAM: Just a little advice. Typing your entire comment in capital letters is counter-productive. Most people skip reading it. It's less comfortable to read. Personally, I skip all CAPITALIZED comments. If you don't believe me do your own little survey and ask randomly a few friends of yours.
Name: BALAM to PIERRE MORAT
Date: Thursday February 14, 2008
Time: 10:17:25 -0700
Thank you for your kind advice, which I shall adhere to in future. Thanks again.
Date: Thursday February 14, 2008
Time: 11:28:20 -0700
It was very interesting see during the Danish-cartoon-mania the amount of burnt Danish flags, they became a rarity even on e-bay! At least some people made some money.
Date: Friday February 15, 2008
Time: 03:38:50 -0700
How to get rid of Islamic Terror? Easy! Get rid of Islam!
Date: Friday February 15, 2008
Time: 15:39:01 -0700
And how to get rid of Islam, Tone?
Date: Wednesday February 20, 2008
Time: 03:38:17 -0700
Muslims are such jackasses. The reprinting of the evil paedophile rapist Mohd was deliberate and with intent. The Danish newspapers reprinted this controversial cartoon fully aware of the riots Islamic leaders whipped up around the world after its first printing in 2005. The reprinting is a deliberate statement by Europeans that Islamists will not dictate what they can or cannot print. Ten Danish lawmakers have cancelled a planned trip to Iran. ???The Iranian parliament had demanded an apology of the Danish parliamentary delegation, which they of course cannot accommodate,??? Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller said in a statement. It's showdown time muscums. Useless subhumans unfit for this planet , a SCOURGE on all humanity. The tensions between Europe and the Islamic world will escalate toward a clash of civilizations. In the face of increasing Islamic rabid perpetual rage, expect Europe to strengthen its stance against Islam.
Name: Freedom of expression for the West only!!!!!
Date: Friday February 22, 2008
Time: 16:30:20 -0700
Date: Sunday February 24, 2008
Time: 09:25:00 -0700
For once I agree with CAIR- dynamite the pedophile Mohammed's sculpture from our US supreme court building. It is a shame to have this idiot's figure- he did not 'give' and laws, he took aways all rights and laws from his followers. That is why Muslims behave like beasties. We in the West must propagate the idea that pedophile sex-maniac Mohammed was a beast- God did not speak to him. How could God go to a sex pervert to be his messenger. God can appear directly and 'poof' give every human on plaet Earth his words in every language? That is type of God I would like to believe in. The whole garbage of quron took 23 years for Gabriel to dictate? How pathetic is that?
Name: syed awais ali shah
Date: Monday May 05, 2008
Time: 22:51:21 -0700
there are few persons(like "vbv") who think that ISLAM is the root cause of terrorism without knowing the base of ISLAM.i want to tell such people that kindly read a little about ISLAM before commenting on this issue. it is THE ISLAM which taught europe and the rest of world ,how to live and rule.ISLAM made them out of the darkness of evil(although they are still suffering from it) but such people do not want to accept the reality although they know it.when the europeans got defeated in the crusades then they thought that they can only get success by following the ways of ISLAM and they did so. i know u people want to get rid of ISLAM and its true and right followers but i also know that it is impossible impossible for u people.