September 12th, 2012
12:06 PM ET
Ambassador's killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed
By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors
(CNN) – Violence over depictions of the Prophet Mohammed may mystify many non-Muslims, but it speaks to a central tenet of Islam: that the Prophet was a man, not God, and that portraying him threatens to lead to worshiping a human instead of Allah.
“It's all rooted in the notion of idol worship,” says Akbar Ahmed, who chairs the Islamic Studies department at American University. “In Islam, the notion of God versus any depiction of God or any sacred figure is very strong."
“The Prophet himself was aware that if people saw his face portrayed by people, they would soon start worshiping him,” Ahmed says. “So he himself spoke against such images, saying ‘I’m just a man.’”
The prohibition against such portrayals was on stark display Tuesday, as mobs in Egypt and Libya attacked U.S. compounds in response to a film that vilifies the Prophet Mohammed, who founded Islam in the 7th century. The attack on the U.S. personnel in Benghazi, Libya, was orchestrated by extremists who used the protests as a diversion, U.S. sources told CNN Wednesday.
The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi killed J. Christopher Stevens, Washington's ambassador to Libya, as well as three other Americans at the compound.
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The film that’s believed to have inspired the violence depicts the Prophet Mohammed as a child molester, womanizer and ruthless killer, going a big step beyond violating the basic Muslim prohibition against depicting the Prophet, even in a favorable light.
There are questions about who is behind the movie. Initial reports identified a supposedly Israeli-American real-estate developer named Sam Bacile, but it's unclear if that person even exists. A member of the film's production staff told CNN that the producer's name was listed as Abenob Nakoula Basseley.
In Sunni mosques, the largest branch of the faith, there are no images of people of any kind. The spaces are often decorated with verses from the Quran.
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Mohamed Magid, an imam who leads the Islamic Society of North America, says the Muslim prohibition on depicting prophets extends to Jesus and Moses, who Islam treats as prophets.
“Pictures and images are prohibited from being worshiped,” Magid says.
There have been historical instances of Muslims depicting the Prophet, says Omid Safi, a religious studies professor at the University of North Carolina who has studied the issue.
"We have had visual depictions of the Prophet in the form of miniatures and pictures in the Iranian context, the Turkish context, the central Asian Context,” says Safi, author of the book "Memories of Mohammed." “The one significant context where depictions of the Prophet have not been image-related has been in the Arab context.”
“As you go farther east, away from the Arabian Peninsula, you find depictions of the prophet in art,” said Johari Abdul-Malik, the imam for Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia. He noted that images of the teachings of the prophet were sometimes used to bridge gaps in illiteracy.
But even depictions of the Prophet by Muslim artists has been a sensitive issue.
Akbar, a former Pakistani ambassador to the United Kingdom, says that Muslim artists in the 15th and 16th centuries would depict the Prophet but took pains to avoid drawing his face.
“It would be as if he was wearing a veil on his face, so the really orthodox could not object – that was the solution they found," Akbar says.
In a Muslim film called “The Messenger,” which circulated throughout the Muslim world in the 1970s and 1980s, the Prophet is depicted only as a shadow.
Adbul-Malik said that in the Quran, there is “no statement from the prophet requesting his image not be recorded.” The passages relating to a ban on creating images of the prophets come from the hadith, recordings of the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed and his closest companions. The hadith is not viewed on the same plane as the Quran but as important to understanding the Quran.
Scholars of religion say Muslim opposition to portraying Mohammed wasn’t generally violated in earlier centuries because of a gulf between much of the Muslim world and the West.
In the age of globalization, non-Muslims and critics of Islam have felt free to depict Mohammed, including in offensive ways.
In 2006, a Danish cartoonist’s depiction of the Prophet wearing a bomb as a turban with a lit fuse provoked demonstrations across the world.
Akbar says that until relatively recently, depictions of Jesus tended to be reverential, but Christianity has had a decades-long head start in dealing with negative portrayals of Jesus in film and art.
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About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
I have watched the certain video, and must say that it is not completely unhistorical. Muhammad was not perfect, ineed. Yet, maybe, it is somewhat unwise to provoke the Muslims by such a video (however, I don't think that the producer should be punished for his video for the sake of religious freedom and freedom of expression; it must be possible to criticise sharply a religion, especially the Isalm ,which has caused a lot of sorrow, suffering and bloodshed in the course of history).
It is only that we should not stress too much the fact that Muhammad was a womanizer because even Western leaders or princes had a preference for women.
I myself don't hate any Muslim or any Muslim country, I only reject the Islam as a doctrine. According to the will of the good being which has created us we shall love each other independent from distinct belief, nationality, color. social status and the like. Please keep in mind this when you read my following lines, and let us love the ordinary Muslims as victims of evil seducers:
One of the greatest errors of Muhammad was that he regarded it as legitimate to spread and defend his self-made, non-divine religion using the sword. Jihad or Islamic Holy War belongs to the core tenets of genuine Islam, and any honest man or historian will not deny that. Muhammad was a warlord and it is possible that he invented the Islam only in order to unite the ancient Arabs for a war against the Christian Empire Byzantium (Easter Roman Empire). It is also possible that Muhammad was obsessed by a demon and believed the moronic things which he teached.
In contrast the Christian doctrine or faith rejects any violence as a mean to spread or defend the faith. A Christian or Christian leader shall only fight by using words but not any physical weapon. The crusades were conducted by the moronic popes (the current one is called Benedict XVI), and have nothing to do with genuine Christianity. Catholicism or papalism is anti-Christian just as Islam.
The Muslims should not be set up too much about the video because it contains some histrorical truth: Muhammad was indeed violent and a lover of the women, everybody knows that.
It is only that a Christian should maybe not stress too much the errors of Islam or Muhammad when he approaches the Muslims but more emphasize the good message of the gospel (regretably yet this can enrage the Muslims).
The basic Christian message is that Jesus Christ or Jesus from Nazareth was not only a (Jewish) man but man and God at the same time. In his unholy Koran Muhammad reduces Jesus Christ to a mere human being, even if an Islamic (!) prophet, which is like saying Mister Obama would only be a frog or a bug. I guess, nobody of us would like to be called a bug or a frog, and hence we should not call Jesus Christ only a prophet but God or the Son of God, a person of the Holy Trinity.
As far as I know there is no reliable historical docu-ment which accuses Jesus Christ of any sin or any wrongdoing. Jesus Christ indeed lived a holy life, which cannot be imitated by any mere human being. Jesus Christ had got the full divine power of holiness, he had got the Holy Spirit of the eternal God without measure (any Christian has only gifts of the Holy Spirit but not the Spirit in fullness).
I myself love the women and hate my fellow human beings like Muhammad, it is only that this longing and misbehaviour is dampened through the Holy Spirit of God which I received through faith and sacramental baptism, and this is what I wish for every Muslim that he gets to know the realising power of Jesus' death and resurrection: Jesus, God's Son, has borne our sins when he died for us on the cross, and has resurrected for the sake of our justification. Dear Muslim, believe that and get baptized, and God will make you better than Muhammad or me.
We know little about Jesus' lifestyle outside of what it would be like for anyone to live in 1st century Palestine, etc. So lets not imply all sorts of fantasy about it.
And Xtianity spread mainly with the use of the sword, disease and enforced slavery all around the Globe. So lets not try to re-write history on that front too. Xtianity forced its Religion on peoples all across the planet, and when rejected or resisted murdered and otherwise exploited those peoples to their own ends. Sometimes they didnt even bother to spread their faith, but simply exploited the natives.
Xtianity has a long trail of tears and blood in its legacy. So please dont try to re-write its collective SINS.
You should not accuse genuine Christianity as it was insti-tuted by Christ himself for the sins and crimes of any false churches (for example the Catholic Church), cults and sects.
No crime or sin can be justified through the doctrine of original Christianity as it was teached by Jesus Christ. Genuine Chrisitanity leads human beings which are sinners by nature to love and righteousness in daily life.
I myself am personally attacked by Muslims but don't take revenge (I commend my cases to the Lord).
Claiming any belief is easy but proving the same is another question. I challenge any Christian to prove that bible of today is authentic then only open
Your mouths .
Imagine if Muslims simply surrounded an object of their disdain, like an Embassy, etc and had a huge, and dare I say calm Sit-in...? Just imagine how much more positive a response they'd receive, instead of acting like animals and undisciplined thugs.
Imagine how that scene would play out across the World, IF they simply held a peaceful protest that showed not a few dozens of people on a testosterone fueled rampage – but instead a larger more awe inspiring peaceful action...?
Enough fantasy for now...lets get back to the reality of how out of control and uncivilized are most of their demonstrations. And how absolutely detrimental they are to their own cause...
The only light it shines on the Muslim "religion" is the it is evil. It's a cult, not a religion.
The man behind it is a closet atheist and the movie was secretly funded by atheists' cult. Its real intent was more than plain ridicule and insult of Mohammed and Islam but rather not less than creating war and chaos between all religions. And they are now planning to on of the 3 Major religions(Christianity, Islam, Jewish).
It's their long-time obsession to topple down and end religions of all sorts. But they don't have enough numbers to doit. They are just a drop in a bucket even in the non-believers segment.
It's now their design to stir-up the the one or a couple of the major religious group to anger to make them (all religions) anihilate each other that they (atheists) will prevail in the end.
I just hope that all our muslim brothers will be enlightened that they may discern things in deeper perspective that will not be used by atheists to further their evil agenda.
Uh no! Why make stuff up? Why must the religious always drag their prejudices and propaganda lies into every thing that involves one religious person/group attacking another....?
You folks do plenty of damage to yourselves...no need for atheists to get in the act, our sideline critiques are enough, letting you folks do your damage to your own Religions is all we need...
Keep up the hatred and the intolerance...its what's doing the most damage, always has...!
Depth? You're looking at the wrong place, depth is as deep as a puddle in these Islamic communities – depth and real introspection is what YOU are all are taught to avoid when you seek out Extremist leadership and their counsel – when you put what amounts to Psychopathic Teachers and alleged holy men in charge of your own Beliefs...!
Depth is anathema to modern Islam as taught in these regions of stunted development and avoidance of responsibility.
Islam is now the religion of Blame. Its always everyone else's fault – its a religion that doesnt teach personal responsibility beyond that which involves violence against others...that you all take pride in, murdering others in the name of your Prophet, not even your God, but your Prophet.
Its Mohammed and also the Quran that is worshiped, not Allah.
@khourshid; for the argument that Islam is a Religion of Peace; please go to http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ for an statistical account of how well Islam is doing in spreading peace.
ofcource it is...and you can visit this website to know the lies of the website link u posted..
Muslims take symbols waay too seriously. They don't understand that all things visible are passing away, and only meaning remains forever.
Atheists deny that symbols have any meaning at all. They stupidly reject that meaning is necessary for all life.
Together they represent farthest opposite ends of the faith spectrum, near the edge of the abyss.
Before you enter into this world, you do not have a choice to choose religion! Why this kolaveri?
No child has ever 'chosen' religion. Religion has always been imposed upon children through the use of treachery, deceit, cowardice and violence or the threat of violence.
Taken from the book; "Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat" of Dr. Peter Hammond
As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will for the most part be regarded as a "peace-loving" minority, and not as a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:
the U.S. — 0.6%; Australia — 1.5%; Canada – 1.9%; China — 1.8%; Italy — 1.5%; Norway — 1.8%.
At 2% – 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs. This is happening in:
Denmark — 2%; Germany — 3.7%; the UK — 2.7%; Spain — 4%; Thailand — 4.6%.
From 5% +, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves – along with threats for failure to comply. This is occurring in:
France — 8%;Philippines — 5%; Sweden — 5%; Switzerland — 4.3%;The Netherlands — 5.5%; Trinidad & Tobago — 5.8%.
At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos) under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia law over the entire world.
When Muslims approach 10% + of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris, we are already seeing car-burnings. Any non-Muslim action offends Islam, and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam, with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam. Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections in:
Guyana — 10%;India — 13.4%;Israel — 16%;Kenya — 10%;Russia — 15%.
After reaching 20% +, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, such as in:
Ethiopia — 32.8%.
At 40% +, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare, such as in:
Bosnia — 40%;Chad — 53.1%;Lebanon — 59.7%.
From 60% +, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels, such as in:
Albania — 70%;Malaysia — 60.4%;Qatar — 77.5%;Sudan — 70%.
After 80% +, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some State-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim, such as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:
Bangladesh — 83%;Egypt — 90%;Gaza — 98.7%;Indonesia — 86.1%;Iran — 98%;Iraq — 97%;Jordan — 92%;Morocco — 98.7%;Pakistan — 97%;Palestine — 99%;Syria — 90%;Tajikistan — 90%;Turkey — 99.8%;UAE — 96%.
100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ — the Islamic House of Peace. Here there’s supposed to be peace, because everybody is a Muslim, the Madrasses are the only schools, and Quran is the only word, such as in:
Afghanistan — 100%;Saudi Arabia — 100%;Somalia — 100%;Yemen — 100%.
Unfortunately, peace is never achieved, as in these 100% Muslim states the most radical Muslims intimidate and spew hatred, and satisfy their blood lust by killing less radical Muslims, for a variety of reasons..
Amen Brother. This is crazy. Just get over Islam. Seems like violence is their answer to everything.
Your screed should be posted everywhere. Thank you for posting it here.
I will read the book.
Albania — 70%; uhm that is a pile of lies, I am Albanian born and raised in Albania, I should know that If I am not muslim that I should be persecuted or that I should pay any kind of religious related taxes, as a matter of fact, religion is only a small fraction of our lives as for the most part we respect one another, but it is people like you spreading lies and rumors in the hope of riots and engaging wars, why, maybe I do not know, war is profitable for the like of you, wake up people, there is no truth anymore only the sides and variations of truth depending who is telling it. Leave religions alone and leave the people of religions alone. Do something more productive, I do not know, maybe like educate people of the possibility that they maybe different in different cultures and religions, it is ok to be different, do not hope to profit on someones misery and maybe life, that is not healthy that is not right.....
THESE TIMES ARE ALL GOING TO COME TO AN END REAL SOON ITS NOT THE MOVIE STUID ITS YOU.
The forming of mobs, riotous behavior and the killing of our ambassador and countrymen is perhaps the most senseless, violent example of pure ignorance of others' cultures that I know. It shows total intolerance, hatred and mob psyche based on complete misinformation. It seems to me that we as a sovereign nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all should enlighten muslim peoples in other countries to the simple fact that practically no one in America has seen or cares about the low budget, amateur video, or plan to see it. The stupid video is meaningless until they give it meaning by their insane reaction. The entire episode has frightening overtones due to the vastness of stupidity and baseless aggression involved.
An ambassador and three of his staff are murdered, are we really to believe the cause is an obscure video? No, the movie is a distraction we should not fall for. Where is the outrage to put a stop to this insanity? islam is not a religion it is a regime, murder is murder no matter the motive.
Their mission, Convert or kill us all, it's time we return the same before it's too late!
Few 100% true Reasons why Islam is a terrible and evil religion to stay far away from...
1. "Prophet" Muhammed was an evil & disgusting pédophile who had several wives like a maniac!
2. Islam = submission. Allah tell Muslims to submit to his will; otherwise he will torture and torment you in life for eternity. Allah also permits war and violence against non-Muslims!
3. Islam treats non-adherents worse than animals. If they are people of the books (Christians or Jews), classify them as "dhimmis" and make them pay a special tax (Jizya) to the Islamic government, or they should be enslave, rob, rápe, and lynch them as you please unless they convert to Islam.
4. Death Penalty for any Muslims leaving Islam, being gay, atheist or insulting Muhammed.
5. Quran: "Men are better than women", "Men could have many wives", "Men could hit their wives" etc.
6. Unlike Christians – Muslims pray and serve Allah, rather than praying for themselves or someone else.
7. Islam is the most violent Religion by far –>> http://www.thereligionofpeace.com <<–
8. Muslims frequently persecute and kill Christians unless they convert to their cult. Churches have either been converting into Mosque. (Hagia Sophia an example) or being burned down in Islamic countries.
9. Non-Muslims are forbidden visiting Mecca, and no freedom of/from religion in Saudi Arabia & many other Islamic nations.
10. Islam is spreading like rats in western countries (Europe & North America), and seek to spread their "Sharia Laws", as well as trying to convert as many people to their "peaceful" religion and ev. taking over the nation.
They start by opening mosques and marry Christian or Jewish women so they will convert to Islam and raise Muslim kids.
11. It is the DUTY of every Muslim to expand Islam and strive for world domination.
12. Quran is nothing but hate and violence. Muslim children are brainwashed and brought up with violence and hatred towards non-Muslims. God forbid you are Christian minority in any Muslim country!
13. Islam says they believe in Jesus (Isa), yet they deny his words and the Bible.
14. Muslims in western nations tries to act 'nice and tolerant' to make non-Muslims believe & think their evil religion is peaceful so people fall into their cult and convert! Blacks, prisoners, and poor women are the main targeted!
May our Lord save us from Islam and its violence & disgusting people!
Muslims could openly practice their religion freely in western (Christian) nations, but Christians or any Non-Muslims would risk getting their head cut off doing so in any Islamic nation, both secular and extremist !! 🙁
!!!! The more freedom we give those Muslims by letting them wearing their scary Islamic clothes, opening mosques (paying no tax), shoveling their evil religion in our throats, wanting Sharia Laws, etc. – the more problems will be caused !!!!
!!!! Most Muslims are extremists, and even "moderate" Muslims still support them, so we should NOT tolerate them and we should BAN Islam unless they allow other religious minority in their countries to live in peace !!!!!
i marvel at your knowledge about islam and Prophet. He was such a man that even his adversaries called him(ameen as opposed to a liar)!
It was prophet who urged the Arabs to stop killing their daughters in infancy. It was he , who emphasized the need to give a better life to their women.
you are ignorant about how the muslims treated non-muslims in their nation. Please do a little study about Medina , and how the minority were prote3cted in Medina
Paying zijiya or tax of 2.5 % is to bring equality of taxes among muslims and non-muslims. Every year the muslims have to pay 2.5 % of their net worth towards zakat, while the non-muslims don't have to pay zakat as per their religion. In order to bring parity ,this jiziya or tax was imposed on the non mulsims living in muslim majority nation(however, this system is not prevalent in Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, Sudan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, even Yemen etc).
Well islam does not allow the freedom of genitals. when one is married with a lady then both must be faithful to one another. ISLAM DOES NOT ALLOW SIN CITIES and the SINS associated with such CITIES. Marriage is preferred to having illicit affairs.
Who told you that Muslims don't seek blessings for people and the world. They Worship Allah butm it does not stop them from seeking blessings for the whole world. Worship and seeking blessings are two different things
Muslims do not deny Jesus but they revere him like one of the mightiest prophet. Muslims condemn those portion of bible that are edited everyday " by representatives of God " in the Publishing houses.
Quran Does not teach violence:Quran says "If any one killed a person not in retaliation of murder or (and) or to spread mischief in land -it would be as if he killed the whole humankind, and if any one saved a life of humankind"(Quran 5:i32). You moron do not read such verses that is why you call it a violent religion
Muslims ought to be nice and need not act nice. Those who are not nice cannot claim to be in islamic fold.
All your statements are premises as you know to express your mind without doing any researh on what you write.
It were people like you who crucified jesus on the altar of falsehoood. Peter too denied Jesus, what else to talk about
Your knowledge about Islam is incomplete..I suggest you to please read Quran and try to understand it.
Prayer changes things-
Prayer changes things how?
Religion is mankinds oldest organized criminal activity first begun in india millions of years ago when india was still a solid part of south africa/pangea, 2300 miles south of where india is now.
Prayer changes me before my Maker. And that's change enough for life, and more life.
Living things that do not use language are naturally atheistical. At one time all the human tribes were female-orientated matriarchal tribes because the women drove (banished) the males away from themselves. Those women never practiced religion because there were and are no such things as gods.
This "religion" is obviously not from God. This is a religion of hate not love, this should be apparent to all by now. "Salvation is of the Jews"....Jesus/Messiah. Jn. 4 Isn't it interesting that Muslims hate Jews, and Christians, both of whom are truly from God. Have we figured out yet who Islam is serving?
Jesus can take anything man throws at Him, including death.
Mud, you are aptly named.
There are major repercussions when a woman has too much influence. Some say the Arabs are offspring of Abe's slave wife. They've been fighting about a non-existent birth-right with 'physical' Israel for a long time. Somebody needs to remind them about a little matter of divorce God executed. The clay was reformed by the potter.
Given that it is highly unlikely that there are any gods, it is highly unlikely that any religion is from a god.
The born again birthright is what matters.....'Hbr 2:16 For verily he took not on [him the nature of] angels; but he took on [him] the seed of Abraham.'
I have no issue with them being angry.
It's how they express that anger is the issue.
We in the western world understand that peaceful political decent is the way to protest and bring about change.
In the Muslim world the religious and political leaders stay in power by stoking the fears of the masses.
It's the only society that stands by passively as there people are slaughtered by the leaders and explode in rage over a picture or a torn page.
My image of the Muslim world is a society that has no regard for human life. A society that still has honor killings and force juveniles to marry men in their 50-60 and 70s and it's find with the Childs parents. It's a society that places no value on woman.
It's a society that talks about how there holly book is against killing of any person, then that leaders send people into the street.
I have no anger toward the Muslims, I feel sorry for them
And yet religion is claimed to be a civilizing influence on people.
So what if some moron is the US makes movie.
The Arabs that attacked these embassies need to take responsibility for their actions; I find their response in numbers far more offensive and repulsive then the few people who made the ridiculous movie.
Our American boys give their lives (and the US Government gives taxpayers money) to defend Governments and peoples that don't deserve it. If we don't smarten up, we will be living under Muslim dominance worldwide, God forbid. Political correctness and liberalism in this kind of a world does not work and the sooner we realize it, the better. I hope it's not too late already!
Your tinfoil hat has slipped off.