*Muhammad receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. Miniature illustration on vellum from the book Jami' al-Tawarikh (literally "Compendium of Chronicles" but often referred to as The Universal History or History of the World), by Rashid al-Din, published in Tabriz, Persia, 1307 A.D. Now in the collection of the Edinburgh University Library, Scotland. (See link for all photo credits.)
So, by now some of you may have heard about the dust-up from recent South Park episodes titled "200" and "201" respectively. If you click on the links or try to find the episodes, *they have been PULLED*.
The episodes were about a group of religious "friends" much like the "Superfriends" who help mere Colorado mortals stave off an attacks from egomaniacal celebrities and a mechanized megamachine affectionately known in the real world as Barbra Streisand.
In reaction to this censorship of our own sovereign country a Seattle cartoonist suggested a "Draw Muhammad Day" protest. She received many death threats, she back-tracked as have thousands of other Americans, Cartoon Network, and affiliates. The episodes at the center of this controversy aren't even being re-run.
Technically, I am not drawing anything, but have reproduced existing historical paintings. I am not condoning those who have drawn offensive and racist depictions of the Islamic figure, either. I know there are *millions* of people of the Muslim faith who are reasonable, passionate, and devoted to their culture and religion who are *not* hostile. To anyone of that disposition, please forgive the morons who cannot express themselves beyond insults.
"It comes as a surprise to find," writes scholar Alexandre Papadopoulo, "that there exists in [the Koran] not a single interdiction against images, paintings, or statues of living beings."
In 1999, Islamic art expert Wijdan Ali wrote a scholarly overview of the Muslim tradition of depicting Muhammad, which can be downloaded here in pdf format. In that essay, Ali demonstrates that the prohibition against depicting Muhammad did not arise until as late as the 16th or 17th century, despite the media's recent false claims that it has always been forbidden for Muslims to draw Muhammad. (Full text, click here.)
Museums and galleries *around the world* have been threatened, intimidated, and coerced into hiding images of the historical figure created by Muslims *themselves* throughout Persian history.
I mean no disrespect here to people of Islamic faith. But your own history, as written by your *own* scholars, attests to the inaccuracy of this visual ban.
*Muhammad's birth. Miniature illustration on vellum from the book Jami' al-TawarikhCompendium of Chronicles" but often referred to as The Universal History or History of the World), by Rashid al-Din, published in Tabriz, Persia, 1307 A.D. Now in the collection of the Edinburgh University Library, Scotland. (This image can be found online here.)