Free Speech Is Good, Blaming the Victim Is Not

I continue to be dismayed by the attempts of some people to blame the Charlie Hebdo staff for the terrorist attack that killed several members of the staff and a number of other people besides. If you go over to reason.com, you can check out Anthony Fisher’s article highlighting some of these comments. Most of them seem to be along the lines of, “Well, the murders should not have happened, but they wouldn’t have if those awful people at Charlie Hebdo had not been so mean and hateful.” It makes me wonder if these people are really thinking about the things they are saying.

If a pretty woman in a sexy outfit goes out to a club for an evening of fun, and flirts with some fellows, and later is raped, some people might say that the woman should have expected to be raped, and so therefore the rape was the fault of the woman. Some of you are gasping that I would say such a thing. Do not misunderstand me, I would never blame the woman for getting raped. To blame the woman is wrong and morally repugnant. And anyone who would blame the woman should be condemned and criticized for such a position.

Once upon a time, there slavery was legal in the U.S. During that time, slaves who tried to escape their enslavement and got caught, were often beaten abused and sometimes killed. And also during that time, the opinion of some was that the slaves who tried to escape deserved to be so cruelly and horribly treated. They could escape most of that treatment if only they stayed where they belonged. Again, that position is wrong and morally repugnant.

And most people in Western society these days would agree that blaming the rape victim is wrong. Most would agree that blaming the slaves for the treatment visited upon them by the slave owners is also wrong.

Yet we have many people claiming that the Charlie Hebdo staff murdered by terrorists the other day are responsible for the murders because they dared to satirize Islam.

One commenter here has claimed I am being idiotic for not agreeing with that entirely wrong and morally repugnant position. Why? Because saying mean things about Islam just is not free speech. Why isn’t it free speech? As best I can determine from his comments, his argument is that it is not free speech because it just isn’t, and if you don’t agree then “You’re still stupid” and “You don’t know let alone relate to love or true reverence for ones religion and the figures in the religion.” These, he asserts, are “strong” arguments.

That commenter’s arguments (if they can be called such) seem to use pretty much the same basic reasoning used by most people who are proclaiming the “I support free speech, but…” nonsense. “I support free speech, but X is not free speech because I don’t like it.” Such arguments are at best childish. They are not unlike the arguments used by a five-year-old to justify starting a fight because some other child would not stop calling him a bad name.

But let us take a moment to consider the matter. Charlie Hebdo printed cartoons that satirized pretty much all religions, along with politics and politicians of all sorts. Did the Christians or Jews kill Charlie Hebdo staff? Did French politicians kill them? No. Just some Muslim terrorists.

Why did these Muslim terrorists kill twelve people? Because, so the story goes, Islam prohibits the depiction of Muhammad and blaspheming Islam is to be punished with death. But what if that is not actually true?

Let us start with the prohibition of images of Muhammad:

That is actually not the case, and marks yet another example of what is at worst an acute sense of religious amnesia, and at best a distortion of the actual history of Islamic practices: Over the last thousand years, Muslims in India, Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia and Turkey did have a rich courtly tradition of depicting the various prophets, including Prophet Muhammad, in miniatures.

These miniatures were patronized by pious Muslim rulers, and were often richly illustrated with verses from the Qur’an, and the biography of the Prophet’s life. Yet very few Muslims today, and even fewer non-Muslims, are aware of this rich heritage. In my biography of the Prophet Muhammad, titled Memories of Muhammad, I have established the rich Muslim heritage of producing pietistic images of the Prophet, not in the South Park and Danish Cartoon fashion, but as devout works of art to help Muslims remember the Prophet of God, and in turn, God.

[…]

Once a dear friend from Pakistan came to our home for dinner, and we shared a wonderful meal. A great lover of Islamic arts, he admired the many examples of Islamic calligraphy around our home, and we had a lovely time deciphering the Arabic inscriptions. He finally came to pause in front of the image of the Prophet and politely asked who the image was depicting.

I was surprised that this learned friend, very knowledgeable about Islam, would not have immediately identified the very common image of Muhammad; I stated that, of course, it was the Prophet. My friend’s complexion changed from disbelief to offense, and he proceeded to emphatically state that it could not be, because “Muslims do not depict the Prophet.” His insistence was partially out of concern that, in our devotion and love toward the Prophet, Muslims not fall into the trap of worshiping Muhammad instead of the God of Muhammad.

I did my best to inform him that there were millions of such depictions in Iran and elsewhere, and that for many of us it was not a distraction from God but rather a reminder of God to focus on the Messenger of God. And yet I remained unsure of how to respond to his assertion that “Muslims do not depict the Prophet.” Wasn’t the very item that he was standing in front of proof that at least some do?

Omid Safi, Iranian-American Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University

So, no, Islam does not prohibit images of Muhammad. But what about the blasphemy?

As a Muslim, I stand firmly against blasphemy laws. My faith demands that I do so, for it repeatedly asks me to stand for justice and fight oppression.

The Quran shows us that even though God’s prophets were mocked and threatened, they never killed their accusers for hurting their “religious sentiments.” In fact, the Quran opposes any laws that restrain freedom of speech or would have someone killed over differences in belief. Rather, Quran 73:10 says, “Be patient over what they say, and leave them graciously.”

[…]

Quite frankly, blasphemy and apostasy laws are themselves blasphemous to the teachings of the Qur’an. Not in the traditional sense, but because they violate the very instructions the scripture gives regarding freedom of belief.

Regarding apostasy, in Quran 2:256 God says, “There is no compulsion in matters of faith. The right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces false authorities and becomes at peace with God has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. God is Hearer, Knower.”

In a similar vein, verse 109:6 instructs adherents to end a debate by saying: “To you, your belief system. And to me, mine.”

If all that isn’t convincing enough, Quran 10:99 should seal the deal: “If your Lord willed, all who are on earth, would have believed (by not providing free will). Would you then, compel people to become believers?”

When it comes to blasphemy, I often hear some version of, “Hold on. If someone mocks my religion, it prompts me to act violently. You see, it makes me very emotional.”

But this statement only shows an ignorance of the Quran, which says in verse 6:68, “When you see them engaged in vain discourse about Our verses, turn away from them unless they engage in a different subject. If Satan ever makes you forget (i.e. your mind gets engrossed in their discourse,) then as soon as you recollect, no longer sit in the company of the people who confound the truth with falsehood.”

Here, Muslims are instructed to engage with these people if they change the topic. Certainly that means we’re not to have enmity towards them, let alone kill them!

Ro Waseem, a progressive Muslim who is bent on separating culture from religion

So at least according to some Muslims, there is exactly zero justification in Islam for the excuses used to justify the killing of people at Charlie Hebdo.

Which leads me to assert once more that the blame for the cowardly murders at Charlie Hebdo rests solely with the cowardly terrorists who did the murdering.

So what about this claim that insulting a religion is not free speech? The best reason offered as to why it would not be free speech seems to be because satirizing a religion or religious figure is mean. It is not nice and the people of the religion don’t like it. Which is not a reason why it should not be free speech, but in point of fact the very argument as to why is most definitely must be free speech.

As I have already explained, the safe speech that offends no one is not the speech that needs protecting. No one objects to safe and unoffensive speech. If we do not protect the offensive speech, then we establish the means by which tyranny flourishes.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience.

We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. But I am sure that if I had lived in Germany during that time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal. If I lived in a Communist country today where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I believe I would openly advocate disobeying these anti-religious laws.

Martin Luther King, Jr., American pastor and civil-rights activist

The offensive speech is what must be protected. Offensive speech includes things like civil disobedience. Am I saying the satire of Charlie Hebdo is on par with the civil disobedience of the civil rights movement of the 1960s? Yes, actually, I believe am. Are they the same? No. But they are equally courageous.

People keep saying that Charlie Hebdo should have known better than to publish speech that could get them attacked and killed. I disagree. When the people threatening you for printing cartoons are cowardly terrorists, the right thing to do is to continue. To stop is to give into the terrorists, to cede power to the terrorists over what free people will say. That would be 100% wrong. Just as it would have been wrong for people to not fight for civil rights in the 1960s, and wrong to give into the Nazis in the 1930s.

Blame the Charlie Hebdo staff for the evil inflicted upon them? No. They are not to blame. The cowardly terrorists are to blame. Because satire, even of religions, is indeed free speech. And yes, it should be protected as such. And yes, not giving into the demands of terrorists is the right thing to do.

And yes, I am saying that if you blame the Charlie Hebdo staff, then you are no better than those who blame rape victims for being raped, or slaves for being abused, or black people for being lynched. And if you don’t like that, too bad because I don’t care.

81 Responses to “Free Speech Is Good, Blaming the Victim Is Not”

  1. My God. You poor guy. You seem to get dumber. “So no, Islam does not prohibit images of Muhammad” uh, have you ever even held a Qu’ran in your hand? Where did you get this fron? You’re making that assertion based on one story of one guy who was Muslim and used an image of the prophet and you take that and come out with the statement that Islam does not prohibit images of Muhammad. Wow. Did you know that Islam actually prohibits images of any kind that depict human beings??? Bet you didn’t! So to say it doesn’t prohibit images of the prophet when actually the religion prohibits images of humans in general is I don’t even know anymore, stupid is an understatement. You have to widen your knowledge and do primary research to make claims alright not secondary research or whatever that was that you did there. You’re ignorant about the religion so please don’t make such claims you have no real knowledge of. Especialky not your own interpretation and then label it as SO ISLAM SAYS. No you don’t know what Islam says.

    • Where did I get this from? From a Muslim who has studied this and written books about it. However ignorant I may be about Islam, Omid Safi is not. What is your source? You are real good at making assertions without making any effort to back them up. So now is your chance. Show your proof. As they say in the common vernacular, shit or get off the pot.

  2. And to think I thought you were intelligent. I can’t believe you actually made that up about Islam allowing images of their prophet. It’s a known fact images are prohibited whether it be of God or prophets. I’m laughing at how you managed to not only think that but type it out and still think it’s okay and post it!

    • Don’t write for Thought Catalog if you’re going to do anything similar to what I’ve read in this post. Please.

      • And you should pick quotes up from out of the Quran to state whether or not images are allowed. The Quran dictates Islam not whoever you quoted in this post.

        • Since you are so certain and know so much about this, why don’t you provide the verses that prohibit the images? I’ll wait right here.

      • Destiny_V~ Says:

        Hi Amelia, I have been reading most of your comments on this blog and aside from the giggles it made me take a look at Thought Catalog too. Finding an article speaking on the issue, I wonder if you have read it, but it is worth a read. Xajow I feel your continued use of the term free speech is best summarised by the writer of the article who mentions: “The Interview and Charlie Hebdo were not just exercising their free speech, and to boil the discussion down to such a fluffy, easily digestible term is intellectually fraudulent. They were exercising racism, which is their right in a free democracy. The Golden Globes’ North Korea jokes and the legions of people drawing Muhammad have struck a blow, not for freedom of speech, but for the freedom to be racist.” I do not wish to rehash arguments but only want to share this.

        • The author of your quote is not completely correct. Satirizing a religion is not racist. The artists of Charlie Hebdo did uphold the freedom to be offensive. Offensive and racist are not the same thing. And conflating the two is the real intellectual fraud. Actual racism as a real problem is marginalized when we conflate it with being offensive.

          And yes, freedom of speech and freedom of thought does include the freedom to offend and the freedom to be racist. And I prefer it that way, because that way I can know who is offensive and who is racist. For the answer to speech and ideas that we do not like is more speech and more ideas. Only cowards are afraid of words and thoughts and scribbles on paper.

          • Destiny_V~ Says:

            Xajow, I see why some would perhaps not deem it racist but it was unnecessary. I wonder, Amelia, do you write for Thought Catalog? If you do I’d like to see what you have on there, and if you could point me to it, supposing you write under a pseudonym.

          • Satire being necessary or not is entirely irrelevant.

        • Hey, I’m glad they made you giggle! I kinda regret some of them but those are probably the ones that made you giggle. And I’ll look through the website and find the article.

          • Destiny_V~ Says:

            I don’t think there was anything regrettable about your comments. They’re very entertaining and make you seem lively and lovely. Different from the usual boring manner most people communicate with. This has turned into a somewhat lengthy praise paragraph but I felt it needed to be said should you have taken my remark on your comments making me giggle the wrong way.

        • I write articles on how to be curious, flirty and sexual all at the same time while maintaining a sweet good girl image. Destiny, you’re very sweet. I don’t write for Thought Catalog. I’ve been thinking, maybe I should start my own blog, but with a twist! My posts will be rants containing what I’m confused about when it comes to dominance and submission and BDSM. I’ll include lots and lots of questions in each post and people can comment answering all those questions. Mainly I’ll urge people who are well informed about dominance and submission to answer any questions I may have on it. Sometimes you think your question is stupid but you want to ask anyway because it’s still a QUESTION. Most of the time when I open up google on my phone I end up on this blog (because who even uses a laptop anymore when Apples iPhone is basically laptop equivalent?? Am I advertising Apple by mentioning them just like I did with Thought Catalog?) I feel like everything I just said is irrelevant to what you said to me.

          • Destiny_V~ Says:

            Amelia, it stopped being relevant after the first few sentences but funny all the way through. It wouldn’t hurt to have a blog of your own if you are serious about it.

    • You clearly did not actually read the post.

      • You clearly did not approve my other two comments. If you’re going to quote Omid Safi, that’s fine. But you jumped to the conclusion, from his quote, that Islam apparently allows images of their prophet. That’s just not true. If you find a quote from the Quran saying images of the prophet are permissible then yes but you won’t find such a quote in the Quran because there is none. It’s not allowed. Whoever Omid Safi is, he’s doing things differently. Like I said the Quran dictates Islam not one individual Muslim who happens to personally be okay with images. Look to the actual scripture not what individuals within the religion are doing.

  3. Can you send me an email then? I can’t send you one, I don’t have your email. 😦
    This calls for the ugly sad face.

  4. It amazes me that there is no actual citing of the Qu’ran by Jason or Amelia. They both argue without validating their claims. Smiley faces and sad faces as a response? You are showing extreme patience Xajow. Isn’t this the same Amelia that was courting you as a Dominant? What kind of excuse is I’m tired at 8:30-9:00pm? Children go to bed at that time. I don’t understand why they have such a difficult time in following your argument. I’ve yet to see any facts to support their arguments.

    • Well, my research indicates there are no verses in the Quran that prohibit images of Muhammad or other people. On top of which, there have been plenty of images of people and Muhammad made by Muslims. One portion of the Muslim world decided to extrapolate from a prohibition against idols to a ban on images. In other words, it is a man made rule. So Jason and Amelia will have a difficult time supporting their argument. But I am willing to wait to see what they say.

      Amelia was not courting me as a Dominant. She just likes to flirt.

      Also, to be fair, Amelia and Jason live in a place several hours ahead of the U.S. So 8:00 here in the U.S. would be much later there.

      As for following my argument, I am not certain Jason intends to do any such thing. He seems to more intent on stirring the pot than making coherent arguments. And he uses the tools of typical pot-stirrers: insults, unsupported assertions, and bluster. I do not mind occasionally pushing back against the pot-stirrers, because eventually they make obvious the fact that their arguments are all smoke and so substance.

    • Carol, your comment has shocked me to a point where I don’t even know where to start. Firstly, I was not courting him as a dominant. Don’t confuse flirting with courting. I’ve spoken to Xajow myself and made it clear in reference to something else that I’m only 19 and not looking for a relationship of any kind let alone a dominant so no that’s not correct. The smiley faces and sad faces came after my response to this post so what you said there was irrelevant. It may be 8:30-9:30 pm where YOU live. Why would you be silly enough to not consider the fact that not everyone who comments on this blog lives where Carol lives. And finally if Xajow really had an issue especially with patience in terms of my childlike commentary on the sad faces he’d let me know, I don’t think he minds so much. And yes children do go to bed at those times, thank you mother for letting me know! I’ll make sure to be asleep by 9pm tonight! At least Xajow allowed me to take the time I need to provide proof to support what I said. I was talking to him, not you. If you’re going to comment then do so with regards to the post and argument at hand not how patient he is with me, bedtime, and my use of sad faces and smiley faces and your crazy assumption that I was courting him. We were flirting. No one was courting anyone. It was playful. Next time why don’t you, whether it’s with me or anyone else on this blog, provide commentary where it’s relevant and you have a business to be providing commentary on, like an adult would. As a “child” I’m looking up to your behaviour and you’re not setting a very good example.

      • I posted my comment without reading Xajow’s. He explained some of the things I mentioned. So thank you for that, Sir. Yes, I’m going back to addressing you like that. It seems more appropriate.

      • I have allowed the comment by Amelia because I allowed the one from Carol. But this is enough. No more picking on each other. Bickering does no one here any good. Take a few breaths, everyone, and stick to the topic. Attack me, attack my arguments, attack my skill as a communicator, but personal comments criticizing other commenters are no longer allowed. I do not want anyone to feel intimidated about commenting here. Everyone should feel free to talk about the issues, the topics, or to criticize me. I will not have new readers and lurkers feel like commenting opens them to attack. Not gonna happen here. I hope that is clear and understood. Now everybody breathe deep, play nice and be friendly.

  5. I have a question about this issue of whether Islam allows images of the prophet. Does Islamic law apply to Muslims, or to every human being on earth, regardless of their faith? I would think that any religion would be making its rules for its own followers/believers. And it does not make sense to me to punish (kill) “unbelievers” for breaking a rule that does not actually apply to them. Or am I missing an important point here?

    • That is an excellent question, Addison. The issue of not creating images of Muhammad does apply to Muslims. However, what Muslims are to do about non-Muslims who create images of Muhammad, particularly blasphemous images, is the issue. Unfortunately, some Muslims are taught that the proper reaction of a Muslim to blasphemy of their prophet and/or their religion is anger and violence. So they see killing non-Muslims who make images of Muhammad as rule for Muslims to follow.

      But you are right, Addison, it does not make sense to kill people for a rule that does not apply to them. Sadly, these violent and cowardly Muslims who believe they should kill people over some lines of ink on paper are not interested in sense or reason. They have joined an Islamic cult (and I say Islamic cult because the terrorists are not the whole of the Muslim faith) that accepts them and gives them purpose, horrible though that purpose may be.

  6. I was reminded today that although people may share similar tastes their personal views can be vastly different. Thank you for this post, and the example of those using their right to free speech- without being belittled for their beliefs.

  7. what i read n it was a short piece was the Quran says to not have pictures of him ( Muhammad) so as not to allow people to worship him instead of Allah. ( generally my translation)

    • My research says there is nothing in the Quran prohibiting images of Muhammad. There is a prohibition against images in general being used as idols. Some Muslims have taken this to mean there should be no images of people, while other Muslims have not made that leap. Either way, killing people over images of Muhammad does not seem in line with not making an idol of Muhammad.

      • I’m no expert on Islam but this much I know so I’ll come out with my findings. Okay, you say there is no evidence in the Quran that prohibits images of Muhammad, and yes it’s true that it’s not expressed explicitly but I want you to consider this: If I say you are not allowed to draw images or make images, this will apply to any and all kinds of images. Then, there is no need for further explanation of any kind specifying this prohibition with regard to a particular individual or individuals. If I say you are not allowed to eat chocolate at all, will I then say “Oh, and don’t eat Kit Kats.” This is pointless as I already mentioned you are not to have chocolate. The same thing can be applied to Islam’s prohibition of images.

        ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood reported that the Prophet said: “Those who will be most severely punished by Allah on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see al-Fath, 10/382). This is a Hadith. If you don’t know what a Hadith is, I’ll explain. The Hadith contains sayings or actions of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions who are referred to in Arabic as the Sahabas and supplements the Quran as a source of Islamic religious law and it is also a major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Quran.

        Here is another: Ibn ‘Abbaas reported that the Prophet said: “Every image-maker will be in the Fire, and for every image that he made a soul will be created for him, which will be punished in the Fire.” Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “If you must do that, make pictures of trees and other inanimate objects.” (Reported by Muslim, 3/1871). So, pictures of any living things are forbidden. Now that we know this, can you still say that Islam does not forbid images of the Prophet Muhammad? Especially when these images are offensive images. But that’s not the point. The point is the forbidding of images does not apply to Muhammad only but Moses, Jesus and all the other prophets in Islam. I know I’m not a scholar but I knew from Muslim friends that images were not allowed so I made my point earlier and these are the ahadeeth that prove it. That one Muslim who happens to be well learned in Islam yet chooses to keep images of his prophet does not show that Islam therefore allows this. Every individual practices the religion in his or her own way. The right way to do it would be to follow the teachings in the Quran and Hadith. That’s the final authority and these are the two sole sources that dictate Islam.

        • You have just illustrated the meaning of the phrase “moving the goalposts.” You admonished me that the Quran is the final authority for Islam and to prove my position by finding the Quran verses for it. Now you are basically admitting that the Quran does not prohibit images of Muhammad, but, you say, this other thing, this Hadith does. And so now you tell me the Quran and the Hadith are the final authorities for Islam.

          In reply, I must start by repeating part of the Omid Safi quote in my post above.

          That [Muslims have not depicted Muhammad] is actually not the case, and marks yet another example of what is at worst an acute sense of religious amnesia, and at best a distortion of the actual history of Islamic practices: Over the last thousand years, Muslims in India, Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia and Turkey did have a rich courtly tradition of depicting the various prophets, including Prophet Muhammad, in miniatures.

          These miniatures were patronized by pious Muslim rulers, and were often richly illustrated with verses from the Qur’an, and the biography of the Prophet’s life. Yet very few Muslims today, and even fewer non-Muslims, are aware of this rich heritage. In my biography of the Prophet Muhammad, titled Memories of Muhammad, I have established the rich Muslim heritage of producing pietistic images of the Prophet, not in the South Park and Danish Cartoon fashion, but as devout works of art to help Muslims remember the Prophet of God, and in turn, God.

          […]

          I did my best to inform him that there were millions of such depictions in Iran and elsewhere, and that for many of us it was not a distraction from God but rather a reminder of God to focus on the Messenger of God. And yet I remained unsure of how to respond to his assertion that “Muslims do not depict the Prophet.” Wasn’t the very item that he was standing in front of proof that at least some do?

          You say it is not allowed. Omid Safi says it is. There are Muslim created images, not private images but images made for faithful Muslims to own and view, that Omid Sofi can point to and say, “See, they exist.” That seems to trump the argument that Muslims are prohibited from making such images. There is also a Wikipedia page that mentions and displays quite a few Muslim created images of Muhammad.

          Obviously many Muslims adhere to the admonition against images of Muhammad and people. But although many Catholics venerate the virgin Mary as co-advocate with Jesus Christ, not all Christians do. The point being that because some people in a religion adhere to a teaching does not mean that teaching is absolute and universally binding to all who are a part of that religion.

          I understand that extra-scriptural writings are used to extrapolate and elucidate scripture. Jews and Christians have this tradition as well. But I also know, from my own studies, one must be very careful about applying extra-scriptural writings. Jesus Himself got angry on more than one occasion because of the extra laws scriptural scholars had insisted the Jews follow. And even today, many Christians try to quote from scholars like St. Augustine as if those scholars were infallible authorities.

          So looking at the evidence and knowing what I know, what then is the one conclusion to which I am led? There are Muslim created images of Muhammad. These things do exist, despite any and all denials to the contrary. So clearly, while some Muslims adhere to a teaching that images of Muhammad are prohibited, other Muslims have not and do not. Therefore the conclusion is that depictions of Muhammad are not prohibited by the rules of Islam.

          I do thank you, Amelia, for contributing to the discussion. And for being more polite about it than Jason. But I find your argument unpersuasive, and so I stand by my assertion.

          • I realised that there is no explicit ban in the Quran other than verses that people interpret as illustrating that images are prohibited. Then through asking a friend and my own research I learnt that there is an explicit ban in the Hadith which I gave you two examples of and this is why my argument is beyond being persuasive or unpersuasive. Muslims do not consider the Hadith as an extra-scriptural writing. It is to them as true and untouched by mistakes or inconsistencies as the Quran and the Hadith does express an explicit ban on images. It reports events, sayings of the Prophet Muhammad himself and Muslims view it’s authority like they do the Quran’s, that being the final and ultimate authority. It is even said that when one cannot find direct answers in the Quran they should look to the writings in the Hadith. I learnt this after making my point yesterday. Or was it the day before? So there we have it. I still do not understand why you continue to assert that images are not prohibited simply because Omid said so. Who is he to say so? He is not above the Hadith which prohibits it explicitly. Neither is any Muslim who makes images of their prophets. The bible prohibits the eating of shellfish and yet so many Christians do. I’m pretty sure it’s one of those rules that no christian adheres to but does this mean it is not forbidden in the Bible? No. It just means most or some Christians are not following. Sir, you have to understand what I’m saying. I just don’t understand why you keep saying that it’s allowed based on the fact that Omid and some other Muslims are okay with images. It just makes me sigh.

          • “this is why my argument is beyond being persuasive or unpersuasive.” An argument is either persuasive or unpersuasive. If it “beyond” that, then it is not an argument. It is merely an assertion. That you assert something is true does not make it so.

            “Muslims do not consider the Hadith as an extra-scriptural writing. It is to them as true and untouched by mistakes or inconsistencies as the Quran and the Hadith does express an explicit ban on images.” From the Wikipedia page Hadith: “The largest denominations of Islam, Sunni, Shiʻa, and Ibadi, rely upon different sets of hadith collections. Clerics and jurists of all denominations classify individual hadith as sahih (“authentic”), hasan (“good”) and da’if (“weak”). However, different traditions within each denomination, and different scholars within each tradition, may differ as to which hadith should be included in which category.” From the Wikipedia page Criticism of Hadith: “Early criticism of the Hadith predates the time of Al-Shafii (d. 204 AH/820 CE) and is found in a text that Muslim tradition holds to be a letter from the Kharijite Abd Allah Ibn Ibad to the Caliph Abd al-Malik in 76/695. Though the authorship and dating of this letter are in some dispute, it still predates al-Shafii and its importance as a challenge to the authority of the Hadith remains undented. […] Ghulam Ahmed Pervez (1903–1985), a friend of Muhammad Ali Jinnah the founder of Pakistan, and a student of the renowned Islamic poet and philosopher Muhammad Iqbal, was a noted critic of the Hadith and believed that the Quran was sufficient for Muslims to understand and practice Islam. The treatment of the Hadith or sunnah as a divinely inspired source in Islam, according to him, was fundamentally flawed. […] Some Muslims, such as Kassim Ahmad, have suggested that the original prohibition against Hadith led to the Golden Age of Islam, as the Quran was able to stand up to critical thinking and questioning; and Muslims were thus schooled to be inquisitive and seek answers to every quandary. They posit that the increased reliance on Hadith, which was allegedly illogical and required the suspension of disbelief, led to the eventual downfall of scholastic pursuits in the religion.” So apparently the Hadith is considered extra-scriptural, and is seriously questioned by some within Islam. No doubt some Muslims do see the Hadith as infallible authority, but clearly that is not a universally held belief.

            “I still do not understand why you continue to assert that images are not prohibited simply because Omid said so.” Because he did not simply say so. He supported his position by pointing to the Muslim created images that do exist. In other words, his argument was persuasive. Obviously Muslims do create images of Muhammad because such Muslim created images do exist. This is not an insignificant point, and notably you have not addressed it except to dismiss it as irrelevant without providing any reason why it is so.

            “The bible prohibits the eating of shellfish and yet so many Christians do.” Acts 10:9-16

            “Sir, you have to understand what I’m saying. I just don’t understand why you keep saying that it’s allowed based on the fact that Omid and some other Muslims are okay with images.” I do understand what you are saying. You are saying that people who disagree with your position are wrong because they cannot be correct. Which is an argument I find unpersuasive.

  8. Did I lose my one chance to ask you the question I’ve been wanting to?

    • Since you could not be bothered to respectfully just ask your question, yes. I gave you a chance, and you wasted it.

      • Muslim and Bukhaari are authentic Hadith according to Muslims and I quoted from those two sources. If you dispute this too then I’m not sure there is any point in carrying this discussion on any further. We can just agree to disagree.
        And with regard to my question I wanted to be sure about what you meant. If it meant I couldn’t ask questions after your reply or if one chance meant I couldn’t set the mood for the question. That sounds silly but it’s not something I could just come out with outright and I wanted to be sure you’d be willing to answer and now I’m rambling. I was just too uncomfortable about coming out with it after the strict one chance one question order. It just confused me. It made me nervous and I was unsure given the nature of my question. I’m sorry.

  9. Amelia, I feel for you and admire your ability to remain calm with this ignorant man. You are ignorant and foolish enough to not only have not heard of the Hadith but to liken it to extra scriptural writings and the writings of scholars like Augustine. Do your research on the Hadith before coming out with crap like that. I give up. He says, while some Muslims adhere to the prohibition of images others do not therefore depictions of Muhammad are not prohibited by the rules of Islam. Jesus. Are you sane??? I am in awe at how you could say something so utterly stupid. Because these images exist and because some Muslims possess images it means the rules of Islam don’t prohibit it? My God. Is that the kind of conclusion a sane person of sound mind draws out of the fact that images of Muhammad exist that are approved by some Muslims or created by some so Islam also allows it because some Muslims allowed it. Amelia gave you the proof you asked for yet you still stand by your assertion. WITH THE PROOF. DIRECT EXPLICIT QUOTES. And you expect me to be respectful and take you seriously!? You’re a rare breed of idiotic. You’ll stand by your own assertion even if presented with proof. Good on you, buddy. Good luck with keeping this attitude up in the future.
    Just read over this: while some Muslims adhere to a teaching that images of Muhammad are prohibited, other Muslims have not and do not. Therefore the conclusion is that depictions of Muhammad are not prohibited by the rules of Islam.
    Keep reading until you realise how nonsensical your jump to that conclusion is. If you won’t admit it openly, do it in your head but at least see the nonsense you are spewing and acknowledge it privately. You will be doing yourself a favour more than anyone else. Please, think over it. Reflect on it and hopefully you’ll come to realise how illogical to put it politely your conclusion is from the point you made before it. Everyone else can see it but you. And that’s usually the issue with a stupid person. Everyone knows it but them.
    While some Muslims support the laws against forced marriage others do not adhere to them and therefore the conclusion is that forced marriage is not prohibited by the rules of Islam.
    Do I sound stupid? Do I sound idiotic? Do I sound insane? Am I drunk while typing this out? Yes, if I’m going to say such nonsense I am all those things and you are in effect saying what I demonstrated right now. You will no doubt retort with no blah blah that’s not blah blah blah. Everyone should give up on trying to have a rational argument with you. You turn it into a joke.

    • And right on cue, here comes Jason with the angry “but I’m right, dammit!” response. Heh.

      First of all, no, Amelia did not give me the proof I asked for. I asked for verses from the Quran. She provided quotes from the Hadith. The Hadith is not the Quran. Second, that Muslims have and do create images of Muhammad for religious purposes is relevant to the question whether or not images of Muhammad is prohibited by Islam. It clearly indicates those Muslims believe that images of Muhammad are permitted by Islam. And apparently the Quran does not prohibit such images. That a section of the Muslim world believes they should not be created does not mean the images are actually prohibited by Islam. Your assertion that Islam directly prohibits such images for all Muslims has been called into question. The Muslim who says the images are allowed can point to a history of such images to support his position. Amelia at least managed to say there some parts of the Hadith that are against the idea. You, Jason, however, apparently think the best support for your assertions is ad hominem ranting.

      You asked if I expect you to be respectful. No. You have shown yourself too childish for that expectation. You have made quite obvious that you want to ignore the history of Muslims creating art depicting Muhammad because it does not fit your assertion that such images are prohibited. The history and the art do exist, and to ignore that in examining the issue of whether or not images of Muhammad are prohibited would be foolish. That history and that art stand in direct contradiction to your assertion, and apparently you think I should ignore those facts and just accept your assertions as the one and only truth of the matter. Your argument is that of a child jumping up and down, screaming “THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED! THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED, YOU BIG POOPY-HEAD!”

      And, yes, I do stand by my positions when the “proof” offered against them is weak and unpersuasive assertions with little to no support. That you, Jason, cannot manage a persuasive argument, or any actual argument at all in point of fact, is not my fault.

  10. And whatever question you have, Amelia, you can ask me (I’m not being serious obviously) but it’s just an attempt to cheer you up. I suggest you just refrain from commenting on anything political related on this blog. You’ll end up frustrated and it’s not worth it.

  11. Jason you are so mean! Don’t you think you’re being excessively angry and horrible? Breath deep. Play nice and be friendly. I’m serious. You should calm yourself down before replying to comments and I mean that in the nicest way possible. Don’t blow up on me too. I don’t think I can take it as well as Xajow.

    • Mm. Alright. I’ll try.

      • Hey, I just saw your other comment saying you wanted to cheer me up and then there’s my comment right underneath that saying Jason you are so mean! It made me cringe. I don’t know why I didn’t notice it before posting my comment. So, what I’m trying to say is that was really sweet but I wasn’t in need of cheering up. Okay. Maybe a little bit. But just a little. Alright, you’re free to try a non angry comment and I’m looking forward to it. Good luck. (;

        • The ending of my comment sounds a little like this is my blog but you know what I meant.

          • Ahah, you’re pretty cute. And you’re making me look like I have anger issues. Or did I do that part myself? Anyway, you’ve put pressure on me now. It’s unbearable. Hopefully your sarcasm sensing skills are up to scratch. I get it. You’re being playful. Even so, you’re almost making me want to impress you with a calm and polite response. I’ll see what I can do, Amelia.

  12. You sound so similar to someone I know. Reading your comment felt like I was reading something from him.

  13. That’s because I am him. Him is me. Me is him.

  14. Oh and btw my friend showed me this Islamic channel and there was a cartoon on about the life of the Prophet Muhammad but I think it was a snippet not the whole life because it ended pretty quickly, about half an hour? I don’t know. And they had a halo on his face. So it was just light, like a halo in place of features. I thought it was interesting. Like it validated this whole image discussion we were trying to have. Thought I’d just tell you if you care enough to know and I’m still screaming internally, even as I wrote this out!

    • I’ve realised I can’t seem to get comments down in one box I have to go for another, but that’s only because I think of something else to say and then I gotta say it and trust me I have contemplated not saying it to avoiding writing another comment and then I crack! No self control. I end up posting another comment.

    • Screams are better out loud.
      Even in books, that I’ve come across at least, the illustrations depict the same thing you described, a halo substituting features. Our lecturer was talking about freedom of speech today, got carried away and accidentally made a few racist remarks. Some kid pointed it out and he said it was still freedom of speech, regretted it by the end of the lecture and said he was using “examples” whatever that meant.

      • If you don’t tell me you’re joking I’ll scream out loud. Come on, I’m still on edge about it. Are you in your first year? I kinda miss the discipline that comes with a learning environment. Doesn’t have to be a school based one. Any, so long as there’s learning and discipline and that kinda makes me look forward to starting my degree. It’s not like I’m dying to. I’m just curious to experience uni life. It’s funny when teachers get carried away and then try to go back to professional mode. It’s like no stop too late you already showed me your other side there’s no going back stay unprofessional. And your screaming comment makes me want to ask you a question, can I?

        • If I don’t tell you I’m joking you’ll scream out loud? Is that supposed to make me want to tell you? I’m not telling you I’m joking. Just scream out loud. Ask me the question. I’m in my second year. The way you’re talking about discipline and learning is alluding to a submissive nature, I don’t know. Or you might just have a teacher loses professionalism at the hands of his hot student fantasy. Aha sounds like the title of a shitty porn video.

        • Is there a reason you two are having this conversation here and not in e-mails? This a blog, not a message board. I don’t mind, except I have to approve every comment, and this getting tedious.

  15. He’s right, Amelia. Have you no shame? I mean have we no shame? I don’t.

    • Me?! You’re the one that took this to sexual lane. I’m a good girl. I’m innocent as can be. An angel. What is a fantasy? What is sex? And porn?! Heaven forbid I even utter the word even though I don’t know what it is because I’m innocent. Maybe I have been a bad girl. I’m a bad girl. Punish me. Am I being shameless? Okay. Enough of this joking around. And Sir, that was cute you assumed that but that’s not the case or at least I don’t think. Is there any way around it?

  16. Amelia, you are something else. But what’s the worst that could happen if you post your email and it’s made public? If you want I could just go ahead with mine.

  17. In an ideal world …. *sigh* there would be tolerance, open minds and free speech would not cause the death of anyone.
    However, we will never grow into our full potential while voices are too scared to speak out. I may hold differing beliefs and ideals but you should be able to say” Hey thats utter poop that is Freya because….” who knows you may just blow my world away with your take
    on something.
    Suppressing freedom of speech is an
    excellent way to control us wayward hordes.
    Religion too has has the people pretty well
    tied up over the centuries too. Yup we have been killed for that too.
    I will keep my inner Theologist calm and under
    strict control here. (Chocolate is very helpful I
    find. 🙂 )
    The Koran is ambiguously written and open to very diverse interpretations. I won’t embarrass myself by joining the particular debate thats going on about it.

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