Freedom of Religion

Prophet, Islamist, cartoon or bear: which Mohammed most offends?


Apparently we now know the identity of the Islamist butcher known as ‘Jihadi John’, who has an undoubted penchant for making snuff movies involving the decapitation of charitable and humanitarian non-Muslims. According to numerous media outlets, our intelligence agencies have established that his real name is Mohammed Emwazi, who was brought up in West London and attended a Church of England primary school, where, according to CAGE, he was radicalised by evil Christian teachers who forced him to learn his times tables and attend the daily act of collective worship.

There has been a chorus of condemnation from British Muslims that this vile murderer should so scandalise and smear the name of Mohammed.


Why is it that millions of Muslims all over the world routinely take to the streets to protest against satirical depictions of the Mohammed of seventh-century Mecca, yet utter not a word when one bearing the name of ‘The Prophet’ today commits the most barbarous acts against his fellow man? Why is it that thousands of Muslims will riot, kill nuns or burn down churches in protest against an historically accurate Arabian description of the Mohammed of antiquity – such as that delivered by Pope Benedict XVI at the University of Regensburg in 2006 – yet lay not a finger on their keyboards or lift a pen to grieve against those multiple latter-day Mohammeds who peddle obsessive theological untruths or rape, torture and sell women into slavery in the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful?

Why is there uproar over a bear called Mohammed, but heedless indifference over murderers, hijackers and bombers who happen to bear the name of ‘The Prophet’?

Remember Mohammed Bear? A British teacher called Gillian Gibbons was sentenced by the courts in Sudan to 40 lashes (ie death) for agreeing that her seven-year-old pupils could name their classroom teddy bear ‘Mohammed’. It was a cross-cultural exercise in democratic education: the name was among eight suggestions offered by the children, and Mohammad was the preferred choice of 20 of the 23 pupils in the class, so Mrs Gibbons gave Mohammed Bear her blessing.

Then all hell broke loose. She was arrested, interrogated, imprisoned, and told that she faced a death sentence for sedition, defaming Islam and insulting ‘The Prophet’. No matter how cuddly, warm and comforting Mohammed Bear might have been (just like the meek and mild Mohammed of hijrah), the naming caused widespread offence and diplomatic turmoil.

Compare that lunatic zeal with the shoulder-shrug response to the cold-hearted, murderous al-Qaeda terrorist named Mohammed Atta, who participated in the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center on September 11 2001. As evil and hateful as he was, no prominent Muslims have expressed disgust that he dragged the name of their prophet through the mud. If the naming of a bear is such an insult to Islam that it demands 40 lashes to atone, how many more lashes might atone for the naming of the terrorist? And what of the masked Mohammed brandishing his blade as a prelude to a summary beheading? Why aren’t ten thousand Muslims marching up Whitehall incensed that Mohammed Emwazi should so defile the name of their prophet?

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful, it appears to be a greater crime to portray Mohammed in ancient illuminated manuscripts than it is to be named Mohammed and murder someone for smoking, watching football or holding hands in public with a girlfriend.

The West is being conditioned by reflexive Muslim outrage, which is a world apart from the Constitution of Medina. Under the new covenant, we are the dhimmis who live within Islamic territory governed by self-appointed religious authorities whose task it is to regulate society. Charlie Hebdo is free to publish its cartoons of Mohammed, but jihad demands retribution. The two Islamist brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, shot their way into the magazine’s Paris offices and killed 11 employees to cries of ‘Allahu Akbar!’. Their terrorist accomplices then proceeded to kill Jews in a kosher delicatessen.

The Kouachi brothers and all who follow them are the instruments of Islam for defence, survival and dominance, after the pattern and polity of Mohammed in Medina. Indeed, if either of the Kouachi brothers had been named Mohammed, the offence of the hook-nosed cartoon would still outweigh the satirical and disrespectful debasement of ‘The Prophet’ – perhaps because for a man named Mohammed to kill in the name of Allah the Most Beneficient, the Most Merciful, is neither historic defamation nor theological corruption. The Caliphate is consolidated territory – then and now. If it may not be realised by consultation and consent, it will be by struggle, bloodshed and war.

Amidst the fatwas of the jurists and theologians are the protests, marches, bombs, bullets and threats of Muslims – extremist or moderate. As they greet our Hellenic assertions of liberty with immutable imperial revelation, we are adopting a de facto and de jure standard of self-censorship which elevates Mohammed to a plane which Jesus long since ceased to occupy. There can be no injection of Westernisation; no freedom of speech or freedom of artistic expression when the Islamists carry AK47s and even ordinary Muslims blast the airwaves with a narrow Sunni-Wahhabi-Salafist interpretation of sharia which shuts down all debate and renders blasphemous even the devout Shia traditions of portraying Mohammed in art. There are two loyalties and two sets of institutions: they cannot stand side by side in a split society. If modernity cannot reform Islamism, it must dislocate and eradicate it. The shahada liberates all Muslims from servitude: there is no fear, exploitation, injustice and oppression.

The name of Mohammed is not sacred: ‘The Prophet’ is not God or even part of Him. Muslims who insist that he may never be depicted need to reflect upon their own history of Qutb – the complete liberation of the human soul to express itself. And then they might consider that the name of Mohammed is not most debased by solitary bears, venerable paintings or half-a-dozen cartoons, but by those thousands of latter-day prophets who have been possessed by the whispers of Shaytan. If creative metaphors of Mohammed may offend, how much more those actual Mohammeds who seek to follow literally the authentic path of the Sunnah?