Controversy abounds following the many decisions made by various media not to publish or broadcast the Jesus and Mo cartoon in which Jesus and Mohammed are harmlessly seen greating one another as friends. Janice Turner (@victoriapeckham) reasonably challenged these decisions (The Times, Opinion, Feb 1st) but have we not all missed the point?
Christianity, as a whole, places much reliance on iconography to remind followers of God. Churches are decorated with really beautiful stained glass windows. One branch of Christianity makes great use statues of the Blessed Virgin. Even plain churches with none of the above are adorned with a cross.
Muslims have a direct relationship with God but a Christian’s relationship is guided by the use of icons
Christians and Muslims differ in their understanding of what Jesus was but my understanding is that very early on Muslims recognised a danger that if Islam allowed images of The Prophet to proliferate there was a danger that people might begin to worship the man or the image or icon.
Janice Turner’s comments may genuinely reflect less than a decent grasp of Islam. Mosques ate deliberately not adorned with any icons including images of the Prophet or even anything that may be said to represent God.
Issuing death threats against those who publish images of The Prophet may be a somewhat OTT. On the other hand describing images of him as “daft drawings” is surely irreverent.
I’ll be honest I’d like to challenge some Islamic practices but from an Islamic perspective. It is possible to do so from inside and with a grasp of the history Islamic culture. You cannot do so outside as most try to do.
Those of us who quickly mock Islamic dress codes, for example, could usefully learn their history – they would quickly see analogous codes in Christian and secular western cultures.