Sunday, February 05, 2006

Is "un-Koranic" a word?

Over the past few days, angry Muslims have set fire to the Danish and Norwegian embassies as an act of protest over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. One cartoon showed their prophet Mohammad with a turban shaped like a bomb and another had Mohammed in "heaven" declaring to a long line of men that there are no more virgins left for the afterlife.

In response to this "attack on their faith," a great multitude of Islamic believers have reacted in what seems to be the only way they know: violence. Why don't the Islamic leaders stand up and denounce this? Why not use that as an opportunity to teach from their holy book what Islam is allegedly all about? Why not declare their eschatology and try to prove exegetically what the Koran teaches?

In a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal from
February 8, 2006, author Amir Taheri makes some very poignant observations:

The "rage machine" was set in motion when the Muslim Brotherhood--a political, not a religious, organization--called on sympathizers in the Middle East and Europe to take the field. A fatwa was issued by Yussuf al-Qaradawi, a Brotherhood sheikh with his own program on al-Jazeera. Not to be left behind, the Brotherhood's rivals, Hizb al-Tahrir al-Islami (Islamic Liberation Party) and the Movement of the Exiles (Ghuraba), joined the fray. Believing that there might be something in it for themselves, the Syrian Baathist leaders abandoned their party's 60-year-old secular pretensions and organized attacks on the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus and Beirut.

The article goes on to explain the rationale for the violent reaction:

The Muslim Brotherhood's position, put by one of its younger militants, Tariq Ramadan--who is, strangely enough, also an adviser to the British home secretary--can be summed up as follows: It is against Islamic principles to represent by imagery not only Muhammad but all the prophets of Islam; and the Muslim world is not used to laughing at religion. Both claims, however, are false.

There is no Quranic injunction against images, whether of Muhammad or anyone else. ... The claim that the ban on depicting Muhammad and other prophets is an absolute principle of Islam is also refuted by history. Many portraits of Muhammad have been drawn by Muslim artists, often commissioned by Muslim rulers. There is no space here to provide an exhaustive list, but these are some of the most famous: (and the article goes on to list several such works).

So, on a trumped up charge, thousands of Muslims have made numerous attacks for un-Koranic (Is that a word - like "unbiblical"?) reasons. There is something jarring about the way the Muslims responded - beyond the sheer level of violence. Regarding this, John Piper had some good words (as usual) here:

"Am I missing it, or is there an unusual silence in the blogosphere about the Muslim outrage over the cartoons of Mohammed. To me this cries out for the observation that when artists put the crucifix in a flask of urine, Christians were grieved and angered, but not one threatened to kill anyone. Our longing is to convert the blasphemers with the Good News of Christ's death and resurrection, not kill them.

Our faith is based on One who was reviled not just in cartoons but in reality and received it patiently for the salvation of the cartoonists. These riots are filled with intimations about the glorious difference between Christ and Mohammed, and between the way of Christ and the way of Islam.

And the cowing of the press around the world and the
US government is ominous for the fear we are under of Islam--not just extremist Islam. I do not respect the teachings of Islam which when followed devoutly lead to destruction.

So I have been pondering which will take me out first, Islam, Uncle Sam, or cancer. No matter, all authority belongs to Jesus. I just want to bear faithful witness to his glorious gospel of peace to the end."

No comments: