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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Reading Between The Lines

An interesting piece appears in USA Today by Souheila al-Jadda entitled "Understanding the Outrage." I presume the author is Muslim. I won't bother to deconstruct it since it is, frankly, more of the rather lightweight both-sides-are-at-fault-here drivel. However, of peculiar interest is the following graph: Depicting Mohammed is generally prohibited in Islam. Portrayals, however, have and can be done in honorable ways. Persian Muslims, for many centuries, have illustrated the life of the prophet through miniature paintings. The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington has a frieze of Mohammed. But these depictions are done with dignity. What is interesting is that the author, in describing apparently acceptable (to Muslims) exceptions to what is "prohibited in Islam" uses one example that connects logically to his conclusion and one that is pure disconnect. When Roman Catholics believed meat should not be eaten on Fridays, anyone wanting to explore the depth and breadth of that dogma would be interested to learn if there were other Roman Catholics who did not hold to that belief. What Episcopalians or Lutherans consumed for their Friday repasts would be irrelevant, as would be what they thought of the fish-only day. However, the author of this piece references a depiction of Muhammad on the building of a predominantly secular and/or Christian nation for what apparently would not be offensive to at least some Muslims. And what if it were? Here again, at least to me, is that undercurrent of presumptuousness that other faiths and cultures must take into account Muslim sensibilities.

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