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Islamic iconoclasm
scholar - 12-1-2008 at 19:33

Warming--this article includes pictures of a mosaic of Mohammad and a frieze of him.

article

The discussion points out that Islamic spokesmen object to any picture or statue of Mohammad, not just among themselves. (Perhaps this would be analogous to Christians who object to degrading images of Jesus in art, but the religious principle has some differences, since ANY image of Mohammad is a problem (even ones intended to honor him).

Quote:
As for statues, the Buddhas of Bamiyan tell that sad story, as AFP reported at the time:

“Based on the verdict of the clergymen and the decision of the Supreme Court of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) all the statues around Afghanistan must be destroyed. All the statues in the country should be destroyed because these statues have been used as idols and deities by the non-believers before. They are respected now and may be turned into idols in future too. Only Allah, the Almighty, deserves to be worshipped, not anyone or anything else.”"Based on the verdict of the clergymen and the decision of the Supreme Court of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) all the statues around Afghanistan must be destroyed. All the statues in the country should be destroyed because these statues have been used as idols and deities by the non-believers before. They are respected now and may be turned into idols in future too. Only Allah, the Almighty, deserves to be worshipped, not anyone or anything else.”

Where would you have the West draw the line in self-censorship to please the Islamic world? Caricatures of Mohammad? Pictures of Mohammad? The grand John Singer Sargent portraits in the MFA and Met?


What do you think?


marymary100 - 12-1-2008 at 20:24

If they find it offensive, why would you want to do it?


janet - 12-1-2008 at 20:32

My understanding was that such representations were rarely, if ever, accepted in many Muslim communities.

If I wish to ask for respect for my own religion (and I do), surely I owe that same respect to other religions?


scholar - 12-1-2008 at 20:32

Marymary, as the quote points out, the Taliban believes any representation of God of any religion in an area under their control should be destroyed. That would include every crucifix I own (I favor Western church art, and so don't have the artistic icons common to the Eastern church).


janet - 12-1-2008 at 20:34

I very much doubt that the Taliban has, or wants to have, jurisdiction over your crucifix.

And it's worth remembering, perhaps, that the Christian church had this same discussion, early in its history? 8th and 9th century, wasn't it?

In fact - perhaps at about the same point in its history that Islam is now, in its?

This is an interesting article about the Christian iconoclast issue


marymary100 - 12-1-2008 at 20:36

I refer the honourable gentleman to my earlier response.


scholar - 12-1-2008 at 20:41

Quote:
Originally posted by janet
I very much doubt that the Taliban has, or wants to have, jurisdiction over your crucifix.

And it's worth remembering, perhaps, that the Christian church had this same discussion, early in its history? 8th and 9th century, wasn't it?

In fact - perhaps at about the same point in its history that Islam is now, in its?
And the position prevailed that, since God represented Himself by being born as a true Human, while remaining God, it was perfectly appropriate to have Him represented in respectful art.

The Taliban is intolerant to the point of destruction.

My understanding is that the Taliban would, ideally, wish the whole world to follow Islam and have no worship or icon of any other God but Allah as represented by Mohammad.


janet - 12-1-2008 at 20:43

And most Christians would want the whole world to be Christian - you've expressed the view often enough that many things would be better if the people involved would only allow Christ into their lives.

Just because the Christian church decided one way, does not mean that every faith should do the same.

(And I'm aware of what the Christian church decided, thanks - I've taught enough church history in my time... and linked to an article that talked through the whole issue).


scholar - 12-1-2008 at 21:19

Janet, I did not mean to imply that you did not know. I was summing up for the gallery. (And, I would have been more clear to say so, since I was responding to your post.)

(Gallery, to this day, the controversy is revisited when denominations closer to Calvin's thought consider crucifixes to be "graven images" in violation of the Decalogue. But, Moses' commentary is to the effect that man should not make images of God as if He were like what they might imagine {e.g. with a crocodile head, a lion head, etc.}. When God is pictured in human form, it is now appropriate because He did, in fact, take human form.):)


janet - 12-1-2008 at 21:28

For most Christians, yes, it is appropriate.

For those who do not agree, however, it is not appropriate, and I would not expect them to agree with my stance.

This is what I mean about showing respect, scholar - your statement reads as a de facto statement for all Christians, yet it is clear that not all Christians would agree.

In the same way, most Christians accept the Trinity - but there are some who do not. About the only thing one can say of all Christians is that they all call themselves Christians...


Katzy - 12-1-2008 at 21:28

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scholar - 12-1-2008 at 21:31

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
If they find it offensive, why would you want to do it?
I do not expect to be in a positon where it will come up, personally, since I am a commercial-grade artist.

Why might I want to use an image of Mohammad? For the same reason I would show a person a picture of George Washington--to give a visual representation for learning and memory.

My first inclination would be to forego that advantage, personally, for the sake of removing it as an occasion of offense to Islamic people.

On the other hand, I don't like the uneven treatment in the U.S., where anti-Christian art is promoted (sometimes with government tax support), while Islamic sensibilities are generally observed. (The Supreme Court building is almost the only exception I know in the whole U.S.)


marymary100 - 12-1-2008 at 21:36

Quote:
Originally posted by scholar
Quote:

My understanding is that the Taliban would, ideally, wish the whole world to follow Islam and have no worship or icon of any other God but Allah as represented by Mohammad.
Your understanding is wrong then. La la illa la, Mohammed rasul ila is the statement of faith of the Muslim. There is no God but God and Mohammed is his prophet. Mohammed is not worshipped and any worship of someone in pictorial form is clearly therefore wrong.


scholar - 12-1-2008 at 21:45

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
Quote:
Originally posted by scholar
My understanding is that the Taliban would, ideally, wish the whole world to follow Islam and have no worship or icon of any other God but Allah as represented by Mohammad.
Your understanding is wrong then. La la illa la, Mohammed rasul ila is the statement of faith of the Muslim. There is no God but God and Mohammed is his prophet. Mohammed is not worshipped and any worship of someone in pictorial form is clearly therefore wrong.
In that casual post, my grammar was defective, as I meant the "of" phrase to qualify "worship." It should have been "no worship of any other God but Allah as represented by Mohammad, or any icon."

Allah as represented by Mohammad = Allah, as Mohammad describes Him to be.


marymary100 - 12-1-2008 at 21:58

Imams I knew explained to me that Muslims were worried that there would be prayer to images if they allowed pictures of Mohammed the prophet. Mohammed is, in their opinion, the last of a long line of prophets which would include Ibrahim and Jesus. They do NOT want pictures of Jesus or Mohammed as they believe it takes away from the worship of God - who passes human understanding!


LSemmens - 13-1-2008 at 12:21

I respect the views regarding idolatry with regard to graven images of any religious icons, that includes Mohammed, Jesus, Mary and so forth. I am not offended by any of those images, but none of them are central to my worship. Modern man has many idols today which can be interpreted as worshiped. The little box in the middle of most living rooms (well maybe not so little these days) tends to get more of our attention than our own holy scriptures.

That said, I will not kow tow to another belief set in my own home! If you don't like the images or my own worship, I'll glady show you my door. I will allow you to worship whatever god you so choose provided that you do not insist that I accommodate your rituals in my homeland!)


SRD - 13-1-2008 at 12:30

Quote:
Originally posted by LSemmens
I respect the views regarding idolatry with regard to graven images of any religious icons, that includes Mohammed, Jesus, Mary and so forth. I am not offended by any of those images, but none of them are central to my worship. Modern man has many idols today which can be interpreted as worshiped. The little box in the middle of most living rooms (well maybe not so little these days) tends to get more of our attention than our own holy scriptures.

That said, I will not kow tow to another belief set in my own home! If you don't like the images or my own worship, I'll glady show you my door. I will allow you to worship whatever god you so choose provided that you do not insist that I accommodate your rituals in my homeland!)
Would that be the homeland you took from the original inhabitants and who have been forced to take on your version of spirituality and your customs and mores?


janet - 13-1-2008 at 12:34

Leigh, did you mean home, or homeland? Are you saying that people inyour homeland should not be able to practice a religion different to that of the majority? Or that you reserve the right to practice as you see fit in your own home?


LSemmens - 13-1-2008 at 14:21

Actually, Simon, it was the English that took my homeland from the Australian Aborigines, not those of us who were born here!

I stand by homeland, Janet. Currently, my homeland is still made up of predominantly "Christian" people (i.e. those who claim a Christian heritage) hence, the values in our society reflect those values. I have no objection to any person practising their religion, even in public, regardless of what that religion espouses. I do object to (what is currently) a minority group insisting that we modify our national identity to suit them. Like the banning of "Ho Ho Ho" because it means something completely different in America. There have also been issues with celebrating Christmas in our schools for it might offend a minority group. As far as I am aware, Christmas is celebrated, almost world wide! To those who would be offended in my homeland, I say, "Go back from whence you came"


janet - 13-1-2008 at 14:26

And if they were born there?


SRD - 13-1-2008 at 14:26

Quote:
Originally posted by LSemmens
Actually, Simon, it was the English that took my homeland from the Australian Aborigines, not those of us who were born here!
And the rest of my post? Aborigines are still suffering from laws that are currently being passed, by the actions of the 'incoming' population.
Quote:

I stand by homeland, Janet. Currently, my homeland is still made up of predominantly "Christian" people (i.e. those who claim a Christian heritage) hence, the values in our society reflect those values. I have no objection to any person practising their religion, even in public, regardless of what that religion espouses. I do object to (what is currently) a minority group insisting that we modify our national identity to suit them. Like the banning of "Ho Ho Ho" because it means something completely different in America. There have also been issues with celebrating Christmas in our schools for it might offend a minority group. As far as I am aware, Christmas is celebrated, almost world wide! To those who would be offended in my homeland, I say, "Go back from whence you came"
But your forebears did arrive, and did change the way that the inhabitants lived, so what right do you have to deny others the same privileges that you enjoy yourself?


LSemmens - 13-1-2008 at 14:52

The English were an "Invading Force" and, like any country that is invaded, the inhabitants are forced to comply with the victors in the "battle" I'm not saying that it is right, just fact.

Again, Janet, they are a minority group. If they wish to celebrate their religion then they have the right to do so, if they feel that their society does not allow that but that another does, then they can do what many people have done in the past, a)convince society that their way is better or b) move to a place that holds those views.


janet - 13-1-2008 at 17:36

Quote:

I will allow you to worship whatever god you so choose provided that you do not insist that I accommodate your rituals in my homeland!


I'm not sure how that fits in with

Quote:

If they wish to celebrate their religion then they have the right to do so


Do you mean just that you should not be forced to go along?

Quote:

they are a minority group.


Well, yes - but all that proves is that they are a minority group.

Unless we're actually into might makes right?


LSemmens - 14-1-2008 at 14:14

Quote:
Do you mean just that you should not be forced to go along?
Yes.

Quote:
might makes right

Not at all, a minority group is free to suggest changes to society, as is any other group. They, like the rest of us, must be willing to abide by the decisions of the democratic process, Often this is not the case. An example: Wife, when training for her Childcare Qualification was instructed that under no circumstances would it be permitted for a child to say grace in a government run centre. A Muslim child, however, was to be permitted to bow to Mecca and offer their prayers during the day. This was called equality of religion in the 1970's! These double standards still exist! A local Christian School was not permitted to discriminate against potential staff members who did not hold to the Christian viewpoint. The were (are) also required to admit students who would not be prepared to abide by the ethic of the school.


janet - 14-1-2008 at 14:28

Quote:
Originally posted by LSemmens
Quote:
Do you mean just that you should not be forced to go along?
Yes.


Fair enough
Quote:

Quote:
might makes right

Not at all, a minority group is free to suggest changes to society, as is any other group. They, like the rest of us, must be willing to abide by the decisions of the democratic process, Often this is not the case. An example: Wife, when training for her Childcare Qualification was instructed that under no circumstances would it be permitted for a child to say grace in a government run centre. A Muslim child, however, was to be permitted to bow to Mecca and offer their prayers during the day. This was called equality of religion in the 1970's! These double standards still exist! A local Christian School was not permitted to discriminate against potential staff members who did not hold to the Christian viewpoint. The were (are) also required to admit students who would not be prepared to abide by the ethic of the school.


Yes, but that is hardly the fault of the minority group, who surely would not have the power to make such rules?