Caricatures of the Prophet

Newspapers in France and Germany reprinted Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on Wednesday, saying press freedom was more important than the protests and boycotts the cartoons have sparked across the Muslim world.

The Danish embassy in Damascus was evacuated after a bomb threat that turned out to be a hoax and Syria recalled its ambassador from Denmark in protest against the cartoons, one of which shows the Prophet Mohammed wearing a turban shaped like a bomb.

Another cartoon showed him at the gates of heaven telling suicide bombers, ‘Stop. We have run out of virgins!

“Enough lessons from these reactionary bigots!” France Soir editor Serge Faubert wrote in a commentary explaining why his newspaper had printed the cartoons.

Hmmm, well, bigotry runs both ways, now doesn’t it?

“Just because the Koran bans images of Mohammed doesn’t mean non-Muslims have to submit to this.”

Germany’s Die Welt printed a similar piece to accompany the cartoons.

“There is no right to be shielded from satire in the West,” it said. “Christianity has been the object of ruthless criticism … being able to make fun of the holiest things is a non-negotiable core tradition in our culture.”

That these cartoons would be genuinely offensive to a devout Muslim is a given. Imagine the outrage in the US should a newspaper print a cartoon of Jesus blowing up an abortion clinic. Do newspapers have the right to print cartoons that will offend? Sure. But it sure looks like EU newspapers are deliberately trying to turn this into a major conflagration. They may get their wish.


  1. being able to make fun of the holiest things is a non-negotiable core tradition in our culture.

    Funny, coming from a country where Holocaust denial, or selling Nazi memorabilia, or various other activities are a crime.

  2. Why not show Jesus blowing up an abortion clinic?
    But more to the point: I have been seriously impressed with your view on things – this posting being a definite exception: when a religion disallows any form of representation and/or criticism of its concept of divinity (and of course any questioning of the clergy), I believe there to be a major problem. I realise the dogma behind the prohibition of representing the prophet or allah could well be cogent BUT these interdictions are part of the same packet of laws that stipulates the many and various medieval barbarisms that pass for sharia type justice… I suspect that I refer primarily to the Wahhabi interpretation but am not pretending to be an expert. I do know that this is the tradition that is concerned mainly with recreating the golden age of the prophet as it was however many centuries ago.

  3. Islamic art, as I understand it, does not believe in making any type of representative art, saying that such things should be left only to Allah.

    That’s why art in mosques is only abstract and patterns, never figurative.

  4. That’s essentially correct but not absolutely so: an article in today’s Guardian explains a bit more:,,1700205,00.html


    اشهد ان لا اله الا الله,واشهد ان محمد رسول الله

  6. Even though i’m not that religious and all,as a Turkish muslim, i’d like to say that this whole cartoon issue is making me sick. First of all, i can’t get why this person decided to show our prophet as a terrorist. How much does this guy know about Islam? Does he have a secret edition of the Quran that we don’t know off? Or maybe our Prophet had this diary where he wrote all these ideas on terrorism and how bombing buildings and killing innocent people would get us all to heaven.. That must be it, because there is no other way a person would show THE PROPHET of a RELIGION as a terrorist, just because there are some sick people -i don’t even want to call them muslims- who think they will go to heaven by killing innocent people. It’s just so amazing.. “The civilized west versus the terrorist east” story over and over again!

    I’d like to add that no reasonable person in Turkey bothers to think evil stuff about christians and jews and all the rest..We are busy with our own lives and we really-don’t-care-that-the-rest-of-the-world-is-not-muslim! Why don’t you chill out as well and please be a bit more respectful. I seriously think that this kind of offensive stuff makes some people more religious than they already are and some of them end up being the terrorists that blew up the HSBC building in istanbul or the ones behind the Madrid or London attacks..In the end it harms us all.

    It might sound lame to some of you, but i’ll write it anyway :

    “Imagine all the people, living life in peace…” *may Lennon rest in peace*


  7. Thank you, Muge. Your words are eloquent.

  8. […] From a comment by Muge Dreamer to a post here about the Mohammed cartoon. Even though i’m not that religious and all,as a Turkish muslim, i’d like to say that this whole cartoon issue is making me sick. First of all, i can’t get why this person decided to show our prophet as a terrorist. How much does this guy know about Islam? Does he have a secret edition of the Quran that we don’t know off? Or maybe our Prophet had this diary where he wrote all these ideas on terrorism and how bombing buildings and killing innocent people would get us all to heaven.. That must be it, because there is no other way a person would show THE PROPHET of a RELIGION as a terrorist, just because there are some sick people -i don’t even want to call them muslims- who think they will go to heaven by killing innocent people. It’s just so amazing.. “The civilized west versus the terrorist east” story over and over again! […]

  9. I strongly agree with Muge Dreamer.
    As a european french girl , i am not Muslim , however i respect all religions of all kinds . And having lived with muslims for years and years , i do know all the good heart that this religion has generated as much as christian, bouddhist and others.
    I Am really sad that some unrespectfull and stupid journalist put the debate on another level and attack the sacred. democracy does not mean go beyond limits and does not mean you can attack everything by the words or drawings.
    THose drawing are hurting people believes and i strongly condemn them .
    I do not see terrorist as muslims. I do see terrorist as people who either want to get some sort of power and have evil in their heart or people who through pain and injustice have been lead to revenge towards a wrong target.

    Terrorist use the name of Allah to kill other people for their own selfish interest and aim and this is very wrong. Those journalists used Allah to express their feeling about terrorism and this is all the more wrong , stupid and narrow minded.

    I wish all religions leave in peace and understanding , i wish people with power did not use religion as a tool to get people with faith and love to fight against each other.

    WE are all brothers and sisters .

    Our god should be respected as something sacred. Democracy is a right but should not harm other people sacred land. God is full of love and does not permit anyone to be the hand to kill. Only god can decide. Meanwhile we are human and should not pretend to act in the name of God. He has enough power to do what he feels is the right things to do.

    Love to you all,


  10. I think that there is definately a lack of knowledge of the other civilisations amongst both sides (Muslims and the West). That is the biggest issue. There is a crucial need for sensibilisation of the people about the other tradtions: this is the role of the intellectuals and the clerics from the different countries in question. I saw the cartoons. It is simply a cheap and pure provocation and the worst of all is that it is not even funny (which usually is the main point of cartoons). Muslims should definately give more information about their prophet who is without any doubt one of the biggest figures in human history instead of destroying embassies and offering free advertisement for the cartoonist. It requires more wisdom than passion.

  11. Why doesn’t the muslim world have the same reaction when a radical and barbaric minority uses the name of Allah to inflict pain and death to innocent people? They say that we shouldn’t generalize muslims but in turn, they harm any innocent westerner as revenge for the misgivings of his government. I think it is about time that the majority of muslims express their anger at those who hijack their religion. I strongly believe that the caricatures where of bad taste- but what’s a caricature compared to these extremists tarnishing their religion’s image. Its about time fanatics should be brought to trial and dealt with according to the sharia. Only Allah should be the judge and people should not usurp this divine right.

  12. Much has been written about the Prophet Muhammad (saas), from indepth biographies by Muslim scholars and non-Muslim researchers to sayings upon sayings of others. Muhammad ibnu Abdillah was born in Mecca in the year 569 CE. He earned his living as a trader and was known by his people as al-amin (the trustworthy one). When Muhammad (saas) reached the age of 40, the angel Gabriel came to him with revelations that established his prophethood. Muhammad (saas) was first ordered to instruct his immediate family on Islam, including his beloved wife Khadija, but eventually it was revealed to him that he should begin delivering the message to all of mankind. In the next 20 years of his life, he communicated the message of Allah to his people, and set an example for how each human being should lead her or his life. This is especially valuable since Muhammad (saas) is the last Prophet of Allah. In the year 632, the year of his death, the Prophet delivered his famous last sermon.

  13. Mohamed with a bomb hair make Muslims unhappy. Muslims say Mohamed not a bomberhead. So muslims bomb buildings to show Muhamed don’t like bombs.

  14. I agree with what most have said. I am sure that the cartoons are in poor taste. I have to say however that the reaction to them is in even more poor taste. I really loose sympathy for Muslims who say that they are misinterpreted by the media. How can you misinterpret all this violence? There can be no moving foward with irrational testtosterone driven madness like this. To be sure christians have been responsible for violence but I would like to think they have progressed from that kind a violence on that kind of scale. You don’t like the cartoon? Don’t look at it. Don’t buy danish whatever…But running around throwing stones? You want to believe that Islam is not a male dominated religion where women are treated as second/third class citizens that resorts to violence at the drop of a hat/disenting opinion…and then something like this happens.

  15. I am an Egyptian Muslim who had my BA from the American university in Cairo and also my MBA. I have traveled to many countries around the world and have a lot of friends in Europe and USA.
    I also work in a multinational co that is originally German. You can say that i come from a background where religion differences exist dramatically as my mother is a Christian and all her family of course while I, my father and brothers are Muslims. However, we all live in peace since 30 years respecting each other religious Beliefs and prayers.

    So as you see I am not really the kind of close-minded Muslim or Terrorist who kills people and calls my self real-Muslim.
    However, all of the west (Europe and USA) have to know that all of us as Muslims consider our prophet Mohamed Peace & Blessings be upon him as a vital and the Greatest ever leader not only for Islam but for the world as he is a man of peace & Mercy to Humanity which no one would understand except when reading about his life. We also respect and believe in Jesus and Moses and all other prophets. Prophet Mohamed peace and blessings be upon him is only the last of God’s prophets to the world carrying all the prophets’ teachings + some more to offer to the world from God a Final and Complete religion.

    As a result every Muslim of us is seriously ready to give up his life for Prophet Mohamed peace and blessings be upon him regardless of his education or background.
    Moreover, at this moment I really disrespect all these countries who have published those caricatures claiming freedom of expression. I used to respect a lot of European countries but now after i saw the developments of such caricatures and how European countries are speeding up to publish them as if they intentionally want to hurt the feelings and continue to challenge the 1.3 billion Muslims who simply represent about 20% of earth population, i can only say Europe has shown the truth of freedom of expression! which is a freedom of expression that have 2 faces. A big hatered hided in the heart for Muslims!. I challenge any European country would have talked about such a freedom of expression if some one would have published something to praise Hitler as a great leader for example or to talk about the Jewish holocaust! would you have considered that freedom of expression !!!! the answer to that is No you won’t of course but when it comes to Arab Muslims you are ready to go as far as you can to degrade and humiliate Muslims and their Prophet with a big smile and nice wordings about a claimed to be freedom of expression concept!

    Also on the other hand i admit that i regret that some Muslims are violent in dealing with this act because this is not what Islam calls for. me and many Muslims are against any violent act or killing for innocent people and i am sorry that such events happened.

    Unfortunately, yes we Arabs or Muslims maybe currently in this era are not great in many things but one thing we know for sure that we respect GOD and so all the prophets of GOD including Jesus, Moses blessings be upon them and finally Mohamed peace and blessings be upon him.
    NOT Seeing GOD or the prophets doesn’t mean not respecting them!

    Finally i think that News papers in Europe were smart enough to increase to drive away the anger and Rage of the Muslim World From USA and Britain after Iraq invasion to the EU community. !!
    Well Done and Good luck with your support to Denmark, they really need it !!!!

    Ashraf Hussein
    An Egyptian Muslim

  16. If it were not for freedom of speech, no moslem would be a
    able to criticize the printing of these caricatures. So,
    what would you prefer? Without freedom of the press,
    these sad and evil images of violence would not even be
    aired on tv.
    I think that its time a fatwah
    was decreed on all these violent “moslems” and they
    should all be jailed and answer for their crimes of
    violence, hatred, and slander as they always seem to
    believe that the Zionists and the west
    are behind everything anti-moslem, that the world is
    against them- do they really believe someone is out
    there to give them a hard time?
    All people want is a life of peace and tranquility.STOP

  17. re: the comment by nasrani. Very well put indeed.What a wonderful way to get respect for your religion; demonstrations, flag burning, boycotts, withdrawing aid workers, ambassadors recalled, embassy closures, gunmen occupying EU buildings, death threats and fear. Over cartoons? OVER CARTOONS?? You couldnt make a film about it, it would be ridiculed as a farce. Wake up and smell the coffee people, Muslims, Christians, whoever, you are here for a few decades on Earth, do you really believe that your chosen God is going to say “Yay! Way to go, you really spent those few years wisely!”. You missed the point, the BIG picture. You are supposed to have progressed, to have gained education to become civillised, to question and therfore to learn more, to accept questions and therefore teach. Not the culture of, they’ve upset us so “lets get ’em!!” Civilised? nowhere near. Religious? how can you be? People are different, with different thoughts and feelings, most people will just carry on with life after a critisism, a bit miffed, but carry on anyway. Tell you what, lets forget evolution and go back to the good old days of pre civilisation and just beat people with sticks who have differing views to us, oh hang on, seems we are quite close anyway. Personally I have studied all the major religions, for my own reasons, and have decided on none, and do you know, I live a peaceful life, in harmony with all races and religions. The only time my harmonious life is disrupted is by religious bigots who insist that “mine is the only religion and everyone will respect that!”. If I have made a big mistake by choosing “no” religion and I find myself, supprised, in front of the creator of all, I would hope that he/she/it would be a big enough person to say “well, you ****ed up, but I only gave you a short time to figure it out. At least you didnt go beating people with sticks and burning flags because you ‘thought you were right'”. Upset about peoples thoughts about your chosen religion? Get on your knees and pray for them, they may come round to your way of thought. They may not, but hey, thats life, enjoy it, it doesnt last too long.

  18. that’s so ashaming that some ignorant unbehaved people acts so irresponsably and offend other”s religions and thoughts

  19. Who ever made those cartoons are very STUPID! How dare they make fun of prophet Mohamed like that! They should respect
    other religions. How would you feel if someone made fun of your religion like that.

  20. The cartoons are offensive to Muslims, but the violent Muslim backlash is offensive
    to all of us. I am a Muslim woman born in the US, and I guess I am starting to
    feel the pangs of guilt for all the times I laughed at jokes poking fun at other
    people’s religions. (I love the Simpsons!) I do respect all people, and religious jokes never changed my opinion. So, while I view these cartoons as distasteful, they should never
    have gotten the attention they have by Muslims. We all would have been better off,
    I think, if we had just ignored them. But like someone mentioned earlier, passion
    gets the better of us. And I hope that all of us have the wisdom not to judge all
    Muslims by the violent and emotional actions of those Muslims showcased by the
    media. And thanks to this forum, for allowing “normal” Muslims to show others that
    we don’t all get “crazed up” by tasteless cartoons.

  21. I am tired of hearing how beautiful and peacefull the Muslim religion is. How we should educate ourselves to
    truly understand. Why? The education has been on going for some time now. Do or say something
    they do not like real or imagined and there will be bombings, beheadings, burnings, killings and
    more. Whats worse is our children are being educated also. In the Muslim world and the Western
    world. That means these things will go on eternity The Western world is trying to pull the
    Muslim world into the 21st century kicking and screaming and yet they do not want to come. It is
    a culture war and I fear it will not get better. It is getting harder and harder not to judge
    and differentiate between radicals and moderates when there doesn’t seem to be much understanding
    in the Muslim world. If a moderate Muslim dares speak out he is killed. Then there is the Shia and
    Sunnis killing each other……yes truly beautiful and peacefull.

  22. I think all people must try to understand the others. Even sometimes it is difficult to understand, people should try to tolerate.

    I am a Turk and as almost all Turks I am a Muslim. I lived in US about 3 months. I had alot of friends and I am keeping in touch with them. I tried to understand what they believe in assuming that if I born in US I would be a Christian. It would be nice to everyone to explore what Islam is and who is the Prophet Mohammed (SAV). Shortly it is a religion of the peace. You can ask that if the peace is the bombs. But it is not what the Islam says. As the abuse of Catholic church in the middle ages there is abuse of the people’s beliefs in the some poor Muslim countries. One of the biggest sins is suicide according to Islam. The stories of the wars in which Muslims fought, tells not to kill an innocent or a people without a gun. I am trying to tell how wrong the caricatures claims.

    I am not defending the violent protests of those caricatures. But since they are mostly poor people and thinking the poorness of them are stemming from the west, they go in an action with a small event.

    I could not find any of caricatures funny. I do not know generally how creative the Danish caricatures are but if the aims of those are fun they are very poor, I think. If the aim is to tell people something true it is poor again. I do not know what makes magazines and newspapers to publish those caricatures. I really worry about that.

    We,all, can live peacefully. Peace to all

  23. Re: Yana’s comment
    You say that these people are stupid. How would you
    describe those who are burning embassies, threatening
    to kill “infidels”, supporting terrorism- are they
    smarter? Do they live in peace and harmony?
    We have learned through history that
    the pen is mightier than the sword. Violence only leads
    to more violence, and with violence there is no

    Its time to turn the other cheek and let the Almighty
    decide the fate of those who offend him.

  24. Most of what deserved to be said about the Mohammed cartoon controversy has already been said, along with much that deserved to be left unsaid. One relatively neglected point, however, is the striking misrepresentation (often by both sides) of what the most controversial cartoons themselves were trying to say. Cartoonists, armed only with a drawing and a half dozen words, cannot create perceptions of reality. Rather, they utilize widely shared perceptions as a starting point for reinforcing or rebutting those perceptions. I invite readers to understand the meaning of the cartoons by answering the following multiple choice question. Which is a widely shared perception of reality among non-Muslims?
    a) Mohammed was a terrorist
    b) Mohammed was a vile and foolish creature deserving of mockery and ridicule
    c) Most Muslims are terrorists
    d) Islam has been widely and increasingly used as a justification for murderous violence that poses a serious threat to global harmony
    If you answered a, b, or c, I suppose you have a right to believe the cartoons ridiculed Mohammed or stereotyped Muslims, but I also expect you have been living on a different planet from the rest of us. I believe that the vast majority of those who have seen the cartoon of a bomb-turbaned Mohammed accurately interpreted it not as mockery or ridicule but as a warning. We ignore the lit fuse at the peril of all of us – Muslim and non-Muslim alike. The cartoons are hardly the latest warning. A song, “Fear Of God”, written early in 2001, anticipated some of the events that have followed (see “No Other Prize” at and the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie was an even earlier harbinger.

  25. thanks Miss. Ashraf Hussein,Your words were eloquent.i agree with you.
    moreover i think that, it was a political trick,
    “west” wants to represent that muslems are terrorists and strange phenomenons
    in this civil world.
    i confess they won this filthy game, because so many close-minded muslems help
    them to achieve their goal. now they’ve found a Justifiable reason for their
    Multiprograms. Afghanestan, Iraq & … .
    maybe, all of these baleful tragedies emanated from our cunctations. i am an
    iranian muslim and i think we as an Egyptian or Iranian people could not be a
    good heir of more than three thousands history and our advanced Civilization
    along with “ISLAM”.

    an iranian muslim.

  26. I lately felt marginalized when the event of prophet caricature surfaced and got heated.I noticed that most western media refers to geographic locations when referring to muslims like saying islamic countries and Arabs.The word Islam only means surrender to God.So anyone who surrenders to God(abide by the law of God-or the law of nature)is called a muslim.You can be a chinese but muslim,Australian
    Australian and muslim,not necessarily a muslim-born immigrant in western countries.I was born catholic but am muslim now.Attacking islam doesn’t mean attacking the religion of those far countries out there.It’s attacking many people who have chosen that faith out here as well.
    Being a travelled middle-aged catholic born Danish citizen,i know what “free press”,culural difference and secularism are
    Am wondering Do anti-islam fans know about our cases and the damage they are doing to their very own citizens and neighbors(by the way,believe it or not,the publisher of the caricature happened to be MY neighbor-it’s a small world)? Do they know what islam is really about?Why do they hate it?
    Prophet Muhammed caricature is a message of hate.Twin towers attack was a message of hate.These incidents were brought about by faith abuse and freedom abuse respectively.
    What’s the fuss?
    committers have only used their Freedom of belief (and action)they are entitled to.I believe in Jihad(oh yeah it’s an extremist belief,but hey there’s no strings to freedom of expression in the modern civilized world ;I saw Bush confirm my idea on CNN the other day.And so am free to express myself the way i want .
    So no one should condemn terrorism ;because it’s just a freedom of belief put into action just as YOU /the zog did ……

    faith’extremism results in faith-motivated Jihad,Freedom’extremism results in press Jihad.
    Let’s the see the vulgarent double standards of president Bush here.
    Bush shamelessly defended “free speech”.This same person openly vowed his disgust and hatred towards Aljazeera Tv station simply for reporting his barbaric unjustified crusade on Iraq.He even planned with Tony Blair to bomb Al Jazeera.
    Islam defends the law of nature and rejects freedom’extremism(or unrestrited freedom[euphemistically speaking).For instance,Islam is against Gay marriage coz it’s against nature,but secular countries allow gay marriage(and Lesbian marriage)coz they chose to live by the law of unrestricted freedom(even if it’s against the law of nature).Of course,the church is trodded upon as well as Islam and any
    other faith of reason
    in a flagrant contradiction,When the issue of gay marriage was brought to the attention of president Bush,he stood against his country’secular law of unrestricted freedom .In other words,he was unwittingly standing by islam(by stooding by the church).He was not supposed to favor religion over freedom as a leader of a secular nation.But he did it.

    However,gay marriage is an individul personal issue that do not carry a message of hate towards muslims.God disallaw it,but if people do not want to heed that disapproval,it’s their own choice.Muslims won’t and aren’t supposed to coerce them to stop it.That’s God job.Muslims can only share their opinion at best(and that was exactly what Prophet Muhammed was doing-a divine message conveyor).This is
    This is an example of unrestricted freedom that is yet tolerated by muslims,so muslims can live in unrestricted freedom communities so long as they are left alone living by their choices in return.

    “imagine you were walking in the street and someone shouts at you insulting you publically,would you call it his “free speech”?Wouldn’t you react?
    And imagine if you return home and report this incident to your wife(oh forgot,you dont marry dogs) and your girl(your victim) told you”i don’t understand your attitude”,how would you feel Mr scum?

    dont you know stinky trolls that Prophet muhammed is our Freedom. He’s the one who freed us fromthe scum you now call “civilization”. Muslims before him, lived by unrestricted freedom law(like the shit you boast about now)thousands of years ago
    they didnt have sex regulated(can have sex with many women without the notion of marriage at all-which you dogs call it civilization nowadays).
    Prophet Muhammed regulated our lives and desires put us into a context(where we came from and where we going)
    The “freedom” you’re talking about (assholes)is sth we left behind thousands of years ago;but we didnt call it freedom then

    We call it “Law of the jungle”
    something nonebelievers would never understand, the greatness of God and all prophets

    if a dog urinates in a great river it does not affect the taste of its water.I only have a question for you: What on earth were you thinking???!!!!!

  27. Eric Hence, you are a prime example of someone who should just forget about religion completely and concentrate on getting a basic education. Your views do nothing for either side of this debate

  28. Thoughts on an Islamic Prophet……

    I respect Muslims and any religion that acknowledges there is just but one God. I also have respect for free speech and not letting free speech be controlled by terror. I believe the Danish people should be proud to freely speak their minds, and I ho…..

  29. For Muslim majority countries to react emotionally to these cartoons with boycotts is to nurture the extremists on the other side, making it a test of wills. On one side, the extremists argue: “See, we told you, the West is against Islam.” On the other side they say, “See, Muslims can’t be integrated into Europe, and they are destroying our values by not accepting what we stand for.” This way of opening a debate on emotional grounds is, in fact, a way of closing the door on rational discourse.

    What we need now on both sides is an understanding that this is not a legal issue, or an issue of rights. Free speech is a right in Europe and legally protected. No one should contest this. At the same time, there should be an understanding that the complexion of European society has changed with immigrants from diverse cultures. Because of that, there should be sensitivity to Muslims and others living in Europe.
    Anyway lets finish these words by a quotation from the Quran addressing the prophet: “You were sent as a mercy for mankind”.

  30. How on earth can anyone say that the object of the
    caricatures is Mohammed when nobody knows what he
    looks like? I don’t think anyone can produce a photo of
    him. So why all these violence over a supposed likeness
    of Mohammed? I think that man should go about his
    business and let God judge those who offend him. To all
    those demonstrating all over the world against the
    drawings with hatred in their eyes and acts-
    do you think God gave you the right to
    accuse and threaten those who do not think like you?
    You think you are so free but your minds aren’t as your
    thoughts are dictated by the radicals. Stop and think
    what good you are doing to mankind. If you do not agree
    with the West’s beliefs in freedom, you have a choice-
    no one is forcing you to
    stay. Why are there so many muslims out of their
    countries? I guess the West has given them a better life,
    jobs, respect, tolerance. I don’t hear of massive
    immigration to countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran,
    Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, etc.

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