Twelve cartoons were originally published by Jyllands-Posten. None showed the Prophet with the face of a pig. Yet such a portrayal has circulated in the Middle East (The BBC was caught out and for a time showed film of this in Gaza without realizing it was not one of the 12).
PARIS (AP) – Extra! Extra! Read all about it! That street corner cry of yesteryear is resonating at some European publications that have enjoyed a boom in sales and Web traffic after printing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that have stoked outrage across the Islamic world.
Denmark’s biggest-circulation broadsheet, Jyllands-Posten, triggered the controversy in September by publishing 12 cartoons of the prophet, including one showing his turban as a bomb. Its weekday circulation of about 154,000 hasn’t moved much.
KERBALA, Iraq (Reuters) – Some 2 million Shi’ites massed in the sacred Iraqi city of Kerbala on Thursday to mourn the death of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson 1,300 years ago.
Pilgrims in white robes beat their heads and chests and gashed their heads with swords to imitate the suffering of Imam Hussein, who was killed in battle in Kerbala in the year 680 AD.
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Feb. 8 — As leaders of the world’s 57 Muslim nations gathered for a summit meeting in Mecca in December, issues like religious extremism dominated the official agenda. But much of the talk in the hallways was of a wholly different issue: Danish cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad.
Does anything strike you about the quotations above? What I noticed about them was that in each case the word “prophet” was capitalized, the implication being that the writer accepted Mohammed as the prophet of God. I may be wrong about this but I believe that the standard formula of conversion to Islam is to profess that “There is no God but God and Mohammed is His prophet”.
I doubt that the in each of the cases above the writer intends to profess or promote Islam: I think it’s just a customary, possibly a respectful, formulation. But is it an appropriate formulation? Consider the two alternative formulations “Jesus, the Son of God” and “Jesus of Nazareth”. The implications of the two formulations are quite different. I’m having a little difficulty in imagining any of the news outlets using the first formulation.
Admittedly, this is a very small thing but, then, so are cartoons. And, with the demonstrations and riots that have been going on in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world over cartoons in the last few weeks, we should have learned that little things can take on a large significance.