Monday, July 25, 2011

What do Depictions of Gods Really Mean?

In my reading to prepare for today’s blog posting, I was somewhat surprised to learn that at least some of the hatred directed towards Scandinavian and some Western European countries was rationalized because of cartoon depictions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Now to clarify, Al Qaeda and related groups have a laundry list of reasons far to exhaustive to list here such as occupation of Arab lands, confiscation of Arab resources, and the imposition of puppet regimes on the Arab people. So cartoon depictions of the prophet Muhammad might be lower down on the rational list, but the fact that they’ve been named as a reason for suicide bombings as recently as December 2010 in Sweden, indicates that these cartoons have a valuable place inside the terrorist cannon of rationale. Why exactly are these cartoons given so much power, in certain circles of the Christian and Islamic world?

To many people, the cartoons would be just a perhaps crude depiction of a widely respected holy figure and draw the rebuke of newspaper readers and condemnation. To others whose life is based around a fundamentalist interpretation of their faith, these cartoon depictions of Muhammad, Jesus, and other religious figures are sacred and what might be read at humor within a one groups context is grounds to kill and maim for another group. Their prophet or divine has been desecrated and for that desecration the country that spawned the cartoonist must pay. I cannot reject this rationale strongly enough, people should never die for what they choose to put on a page, no matter how crude or insensitive it may be. But my position that people should never die for what they choose to put on a page is my reaction, terrorists operate on a different reality.

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