The Prophet Muhammed is not a pomegranate

711px-Pomegranate_fruitNote: Since Islam forbids depiction of the Prophet Muhammed, I have used a photograph of a pomegranate. Any inference that the Prophet Muhammed resembles a pomegranate is strictly coincidental.

Who needs Muslim terrorists to intimidate us when we intimidate ourselves? Yale University will publish a book on the deadly 2005 protests that erupted across the Muslim world after a Danish newspaper published cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed (which is forbidden in Islam).

It will be forbidden to you, too. You can’t see the cartoons in Jytte Klausen’s The Cartoons That Shook the World because Yale University Press has decided to remove them. They removed them because they were scared. Yale University Press stated:

The publishing of the book raised the obvious question of whether there remains a serious threat of violence if the cartoons were reprinted in the context of a book about the controversy….The decision rested solely on the experts’ assessments that there existed a substantial likelihood of violence that might take the lives of innocent victims.

So what’s next? We don’t publish books on Israel because some Muslims find the existence of a Jewish state offensive? Or we suppress books on Muslim honor killings of women because they cast Islam in a bad light? Dare any atheist author, before he is consigned to the fires of eternal damnation, question whether Muhammed or Allah exist?

I am a Jew. Judaism also forbids depiction of God. Yet feel free to depict God as an orange or a bagel. It won’t bother me, and I don’t think it will bother God or the bagel. What are these fanatics so afraid of that they must suppress ideas that conflict with their own? Do their own beliefs offer so little that they must suppress others?

The worst censorship is self-censorship.This is the what extremists want, whether it is the government in Orwell’s 1984, or North Korea, or religious fundamentalists. They want us to censor ourselves, to be so fearful that we don’t even explore our own thoughts. I don’t know whether I would have read Klausen’s book. But I won’t let some fanatic makes that decision for me. Neither should Yale.

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3 Responses to The Prophet Muhammed is not a pomegranate

  1. thorgolucky says:

    Islam seems so weak that it can’t handle any criticism or anyone else in the world not believing in it. It reminds me of how Christianity used to be in Medieval Europe. Islam has some liberalizing (growing up) to do.

  2. layla says:

    I’ve been wondering—is it at all possible that Yale University Press was worried, not for themselves, but for innocents that might get injured or killed? I believe that when the cartoons were originally published, rioting in different countries resulted in deaths of innocent folk who had nothing to do with their publication (not that the publishers merited death). Perhaps an argument can be made for not publishing them if human life could be endangered by doing so?

    BTW, did you know, Michael, that the pomegranate is a religious symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam when you chose a picture of it to substitute for Muhammed? Or are you an accidental ecumenicist?

  3. jswift says:

    Dear Mr.Peck,
    I thank you for intelligently participating in this debate. If I may be so bold, the issue for Muslims is not the depiction of Mohammed (there are many paintings of Mohammed by Muslims). No, what bothers them is ‘HONOR’. In the honor/shame culture, whatever lessens ‘respect’ of authority is ‘wrong’. That means telling the truth about the leaders’ crimes is ‘wrong’ and deserves punishment. Telling lies that support ‘honor’ is good.

    ‘Fitna’ means basically disagreement with Mohammed in the public domain. This brings a death sentence according to the Koran and Islamic juridical consensus. This consensus cannot be undone, because there is no mechanism for reform within Islam. The only reform will come if Muslims leave Islam en masse.

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