Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In The News: Muslim Extremists Arrested

inthenews

Danish newspaper Jyllands-Poste reprinted a cartoon Wednesday drawn by Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard one day after Danish police arrested three people suspected in a plot to murder Westergaard for his characterization of Muhammad. [characterization at right] Westergaard was one of 12 cartoonists who published cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad in 2005 that sparked widespread protests across the Islamic world. Several other Danish newspapers also reprinted Westergaard’s depiction Wednesday, accompanied by statements defending freedom of speech and the public’s right to see the cause of the backlash.

The Muhammad cartoon controversy led to a number of international lawsuits and arrests alleging defamation of character and disruption of the peace. A French court in March 2007 dismissed charges against Charlie-Hebdo magazine and its director after the court found that the defendants had not purposely meant to offend Muslims. In September, Bangladeshi authorities arrested cartoonist Arifur Rahman and suspended the publication of weekly satire magazine Alpin after it reprinted the cartoon. Last month, a former newspaper editor in Belarus was sentenced to three years in prison for reprinting the cartoons in the Zhoda newspaper.

The Jurist (Legal News and Research)

Analysis:

I appreciate and understand why Muslims would be upset about the characterization of Muhammad. While the cartoon is fairly innocuous compared to some of the obscene and blasphemous representations of Jesus Christ I have seen, it is easy to see why it would offend them. Similarly, I am disgusted about the way Jesus Christ has been represented in cartoons, movies, etc. It is blasphemous, and shows the ungodliness in the world today. I do not plot to harm these infidels, but I am distressed at the disrespect they show to my Lord.

While I deny that Muhammad is a true prophet of God, I recognize that Muslims consider him such, and are upset. Likewise, I appreciate the reason behind their desire that Muhammad not be represented. The claim is that even a flattering image of the man is not allowed, lest it become an idol to believers. Witnessing the superstitious nature characteristic of many Muslims, I can see how idolatry could become problematic.

However, the reaction of the Muslim community points out a radical difference between the Islamic faith and Christianity. While the Muslims are moved to anger and violence, the true Christian is called to love his enemies, and try to turn them away from error through the preaching of the Lord’s gospel. Consider the murder plots and anger expressed by the Muslims, and contrast it to the words of our Lord:

“You have heard it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mil, go with him two” (Matthew 5:38-41). As Christians, we must follow Jesus’ example, and overcome evil with good.