Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Islamic Ban on Images of Mohammed is Real

Yes, I realize that it has not always been universally recognized by Muslims that representations of the Prophet Mohammad are not allowed. But Islam is a living religion. Its beliefs and practices evolve over time. Fundamentalists deny it, but that is the simple truth about any living religion.

Just about every sect of modern Christianity bears little relation to the Christianity practiced in Jesus' time or just after his death. Modern Judaism has little in common with the ethical and supernatural belief system that prevailed in the Kingdom of Judah 2700 years ago. Neither of those facts mean there are no Christians or Jews today.

Similarly, there is nothing contradictory to recognize that in the past many Muslims, including well-respected religious scholars, did not believe that any representation of Mohammad was prohibited while at the same time recognizing that in modern Islam, any such representations are often considered to be blasphemous. Talking about history might bring some perspective to the debate, but it does not prove that any true believing Muslim who might be offended by pictures of Mohammad is wrong about his or her own religion. Modern Islam exists as it is understood to exist by its adherents today.