Saturday, February 11, 2006

Muhammad Cartoon

This is the first cartoon I've drawn in quite awhile. I'm having a bit of a problem with sizing, but I'll fix that in the future hopefully.

I wanted to add some comments as to the above cartoon. First you'll notice I managed to draw the prophet Muhammad without depicting his image in any way. I find this part of Islam so different from Christianity and Judaism at least from the perspective from here in the United States. It's not uncommon for cartoons and humor in general to take pot shots at Jesus and Christianity or for Jews to laugh at themselves, case in point John Stewart does this regularily. Although Muhammad never made it sacreligious to depict his image, he did frown on it as he felt that this would lead to idolatry.

My comment in the cartoon that the box was "sheilding Islam from the vulgarity of the modern world" is a personal viewpoint that Islam is struggling with the 21st century. One the one hand, they've embraced communication technology such as satellite TV and cell phones, yet deplore the "information" that can be viewed through this technology such as pornography and alcoholism, to name a couple of things.

As a amateur cartoonist I've looked on in wonder as the Islamic world has took to the streets with violent protests over a cartoon. It's that old argument of freedom of speech versus what speech is acceptable. The Islam world is struggling with this concept. The people want more freedom of speech, but with limits, at least as concerned with Muhammad. As well, there is the feeling that they have been persecuted and laughed at by the West.

I look at these protests as part of a larger picture. I think the Arab world is essentially in a civil rights movement. They want to throw off the controlling regimes in various countries, they want a type of democracy, they want a voice in how their lives are run. We just don't recognize it as a civil rights movement because many of the voices are wrapped in the language and desires of their religion of Islam.

In some of the countries, Iran and Syria for instance, protest is only allowed by the ruling government and almost exclusively in opposition to the West. We have to wonder if when given the chance to protest, the people in those countries are willing to participate because they are never allowed to spontaniously protest for other issues and in particularily against their own governments. Iran and Syria use similar tactics as George Bush in that they turn anger at their government from within by using fear of others in the world to get the people to forget about their own government.

The White House gives us an endless feeding of fear of terrorism as Iran for instance gives their people an endless fear of the U.S. That's when you know a government doesn't have the full support of the people, the use of distraction to other countries. "Hey, look over there, don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain."


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