I was reading various bloggers’ arguments for and against participating in today’s Draw Mohammed Day and only belatedly did it occur to me that, as a blogger, I could participate, too. I thought about it — it is very compelling, the argument of “spreading the risk” (the loonies can’t kill or believably threaten a huge number of people, as compared to the very real threat they pose to, say, the Danish cartoonists).
However, I think the ones who should be drawing Mohammed today are the Muslims, in particular, the ones who consider themselves moderate and/or secular or nonextremist — whatever their own term for themselves is. It’s their religion, and the atrocities committed in its name are their business, not mine. They need to define their religion better, for themselves.
It is not for the world to demand such a definition. This demand is what the artistic attacks on Christianity are, and it is irrelevant; G. K. Chesterton answered such things in the introduction to his masterpiece, The Everlasting Man:
…[T]hese people have got into an intermediate state, have fallen into an intervening valley from which they can see neither the heights beyond them nor the heights behind. They cannot get out of the penumbra of Christian controversy. They cannot be Christians and they can not leave off being Anti-Christians. Their whole atmosphere is the atmosphere of a reaction: sulks, perversity, petty criticism. They still live in the shadow of the faith and have lost the light of the faith.
Now the best relation to our spiritual home is to be near enough to love it. But the next best is to be far enough away not to hate it. It is the contention of these pages that while the best judge of Christianity is a Christian, the next best judge would be something more like a Confucian. The worst judge of all is the man now most ready with his judgements; the ill-educated Christian turning gradually into the ill-tempered agnostic, entangled in the end of a feud of which he never understood the beginning, blighted with a sort of hereditary boredom with he knows not what, and already weary of hearing what he has never heard.
I am a Theravadan Buddhist, not a Confucian, but do recognize the truth of what Chesterton said back in 1925. And what bores these anti-Christians still are today!
And, too, where is “the Muslim Chesterton” today? One is sorely needed.
Anyway, instead of a drawing today, I am thinking about and will praise Khalid Abdalla, Lewis Alsamari, Omar Berdouni, and Jamie Harding for playing the hijackers in the must-see-when-you’re-ready-for-it United 93 by Paul Greengrass. Would you do that? I couldn’t. I admire them. Sure, they are all individuals, all had different reasons, but I like Mr. Abdalla’s comments in the IMDb bio linked above the best: he walked that tightrope well. That they could all do this and still be decent human beings and, some of them, good Muslims has profoundly helped me come to grips with it all.
Out of respect to him and his fellow actors in that movie, and all the probably millions of Muslim people with similar attitudes to theirs, there will be no drawing of Mohammed from me today.