Muhammad: the Banned Images

The scandalous book “Muhammad: The Banned Images” causes a considerable public reaction due to the attacks performed by the Muslim activists. The book touches upon important questions and people have different reactions on it.

John, A Journalist From Ireland

When I heard about the cartoon controversy and the protest which occurred in France after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, I have decided to read the newly published book “Muhammad: the Banned Images”. It amazed me how strict and authoritarian Islam really is. I believe I have experienced some kind of cognitive dissonance. I have always believed that any religious affiliation and belief in God, the values that religions create are supposed to be humane, kind, but not violent. After reading this book I realized that Islam is totalitarian and unbelievably patriarchal ideology, and so I have changed my mind about this religion forever. Something is certainly wrong when the religion of “peace” sparks out extremist violence all around the world, just because people have different opinions.

Mathew, Online Casino Manager From London

As an atheist, I have always been critical towards any religion, including Islam. My friend, who shares my worldview, advised me to read a book called “Muhammad: the Banned Images”, because he thought I might find it exciting, and I did. The book vividly describes how severe the Sharia law is, and how deep the religious beliefs are rooted in the Middle East. As a manager of an online casino, a person from gambling industry which is perceived as a vice in an Arabic world, I believe that their worldview is truly absent-minded. Constant censorship is what destroys any society; it violates one of the core values of freedom, which is freedom of speech. Constant restrictions are enforced onto any Islamic society by the Sharia law, which is a part of Islam; that is why these they cannot break free. The book is a good reading for anyone who cares about the roots of Islamic ignorance, rage and extremism.

Monica, Entrepreneur From Wales

Recently I have decided to read the book “Muhammad: the Banned Images” and to be honest, I have controversial feelings after I finished the reading. To my mind, the issues of censorship are quite important, and they have to be resolved. Yet many people form radically negative opinions about Islam in general. I think that this religion is in fact very complex to understand. There is a great number of peaceful moderate Muslims who hate extremists in the same way as Christians, atheists, pagans or anyone else does. There should be no prejudice to people because of their ethnicity or religious affiliation. The book provides different examples of bad sides of Islam, like justification of domestic violence, which is awful of course. Yet people have to remember that Quran also has positive verses, and teaches respect and humanism. The book has amazed me, and I might soon reconsider my view on Islam, yet deep down, I still sincerely believe that every religion should be respected.

Freedom Of Speech Or Feelings Of The Believers?

Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attack

Charlie Hebdo is a French weekly satirical magazine which is famous for publishing ironic cartoons that mock politics and religion. The magazine editors and cartoonists describe themselves as atheist, secular, anti-racist and left wing. Charlie Hebdo is notorious for publishing ironic and vulgar dark humor cartoons which concern holy sites and prophets of both Christianity and Islam. Due to the freedom of speech, however, the magazine was free to express their opinion and position on a range of issues.

Cartoon Crisis

In 2012 the magazine drew cartoons which depicted the scandalous “Innocence of Muslims” film. Islamic fundamentalists began violent protests around the whole world. Their outrageous protesting methods included raids, assaults, arsons and riots, which lead to the injury of 700 people and death of over 50 innocents.

Countries in which the protests occurred were:

  • Egypt
  • Yemen
  • Sudan
  • Pakistan
  • Afghanistan

Aggressive actions by Muslims caused serious consequences, not only in terms of lives lost, but in terms of policies as well.

The 2015 Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attack

The terrorist attack occurred only in a few hours after the magazine published cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad and the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Two Islamic extremists slaughtered 12 people, in an armed assault right in the editorial office of the magazine. The tragedy resulted in a series of protests through the entire France. The rallies were attended by approximately 3.7 million people, which makes them the largest in France, since 1944 when France was liberated from Nazis. The slogan “Je Suis Charlie” became nominal in struggling for liberty and freedom of speech.Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attack

Muhammad: the Banned Images

“The Banned images” is a book about the Jyllands-Posten cartoon controversy which was published in 2009. The book is an answer to those who refused publishing Prophet Muhammad cartoons in fear of a violence upsurge. The main topic of the book concerns freedom of speech and human rights. It includes over 30 pictures of Muhammad and describes the horrors of the totalitarian Sharia law and Islamic ideology. The book received sponsorship for Dr. Hull, professor of Duke University and the Voltaire Press.  

The main argument from Dr. Hull concerning the publication of “The Banned images” was that – “Our faculty has both the right and responsibility to speak out and debate critical issues as individuals and scholars”. Therefore, the book “Muhammad: the Banned Images” and Charlie Hebdo magazine both exposed Islam with a sarcastic attitude. The difference is that the magazine case caused a major outbreak of aggression.

The Clash Of Civilizations

Samuel Huntington has predicted the future 30 years ago. Today, Islamic fundamentalism is a global threat to the values of freedom and democracy. Twisted visions of diversity and tolerance have resulted in the European crisis, which was vividly described by Flemming Rose. Yet, the voice of reason cannot be silenced. Millions of protestors gather around the world and struggle for freedom of speech and condemn religion-based violence. Free speech is the fundamental value of humanity, and it can never be inferior to the feelings of believers.

Tyranny of the Silence. The Story of Flemming Rose

Flemming Rose

Flemming Rose was born in Denmark and grew up in Copenhagen. He majored in Russian language and literature in the University of Copenhagen. Through his life he has worked as a correspondent and editor for Berlingske Tidende and Jyllands-Posten newspapers. Later he became an active advocate of free speech and published his own book “Tyranny of the Silence”, which concerns the worldwide free speech suppression issue.Flemming Rose tyranny of the silence

Issues of Diversity

Rose states that the European Union is at crisis, for it cannot control excessive diversity in terms of modern globalization. The melting pot of cultural diversity creates a serious threat for freedom of speech. Certainly, in comparison with the 17th, 18th and even the beginning of 20th century the levels of free speech are higher. Yet if we compare current situation with the one which occurred 30 years ago, the status quo of free speech is in decline.

Some countries like Russia and China have rigid speech control, yet such tendencies are becoming increasingly popular in Western Europe. EU enforces policies which restrict the freedom of speech and label many statements as propaganda of hate. People who have different opinions that do not coincide with the “accepted” are instantly claimed as racist or xenophobic.

Many countries have criminalized criticism of:

  • Holocaust (Germany)
  • Armenian Genocide (Denmark)
  • Criticism of Ukrainian freedom fighters (Ukraine)
  • Criticism of the behavior of the Soviet Union during the World War 2 (Russia)

Flemming’s main point is that protecting historical memory through legislation is a truly authoritarian idea. The criminalization of the “glorification of terror” is in fact a euphemism, which in reality means criminalization of individual’s opinion. Label any critique or call for debate as an insult and punish the offenders is the kind of Soviet Union censorship style.Flemming Rose tyranny of the silence

The Cartoon Scandal

Flemming has commissioned the publishing of the drawings by Prophet Muhammad in the Jylands-Posten newspaper. The reason for such action was that many creative artists refused to publish their cartoons because they feared Muslim violence, and they were right. Allah’s revelation through Prophet Muhammad can never be criticized; in fact any Islamic religious dogma can never be criticized.

The result was the outburst of violence from the Islamic fundamentalists, the Charlie Hebdo attack. The Cartoons and the Islamic bloodshed created a public uproar. Of course, the result was ongoing free speech suppression.

Flemming Rose is a defender of the liberal enlightenment values and an advocate of global tolerance. He argues that Catholics and Protestants slaughtered each other for many centuries, yet they learned to coexist in peace. It’s crucial to understand that tolerance is living alongside with something that you don’t like or don’t understand. It is the core value of liberty – to have the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. Today the governments of the EU and other countries in the world are both part of the problem, and part of the solution. Governments need to remove constraining “hate propaganda” policies and encourage freedom of speech in the entire world.

Background and Bustle Around the “Banned” Images

I came up with this book at first when I noticed an article in The New York Times which had described the ban of Muhammad’s Images in the new book by Yale Press. That time there were a lot of serious rumours and actions within that situation. It was said, Yale University together with Press decided to do so, because of the consultation results (authorities and diplomacy dealing with Islam questions recommended to reject those illustrations). Although, those 12 ‘banned’ pictures had been already printed in the Danish edition few years before (September 2005). Moreover, it was considered that all illustrations including those for children book made by an Islamic artist Gustave Doré of Muhammad would be prohibited by the Yale Press as well.

Banned Images

The “Banned” Images by Muhammad is a book written as an answer to “The Cartoons that Shook the World” (2009) book which refused to publish Muhammad’s cartoons. Both books were released almost simultaneously in 2009. This decision was announced by the director of Yale University Press, John Donatich, arguing that it could cause serious problems connecting with the “risk of instigating violence”. From his telephone conversation, the decision upon those images withdrawal was not initiated by him only and recommendation to remove historical images that are “overwhelming and unanimous” was developed by the meeting of experts in that sphere. banned images

Content of the Book

The “Banned” Images is first of all about the First Amendment rights and free speech. It includes 31 illustrations of Muhammad. It is aimed at depicting a vast variety of Muslims’ prohibitions and ‘bans’, hence it has some political and religious issues. It also includes some images drown by non-Muslim origin artists which get through the development of Islamic world. All pictures are full-size and of a good quality which perfectly illustrates a colour transfer. There are pictures by Gustave Dore, William Blake, Salvador Dali, Ottoman, and Mughal empires.

Sponsorship of the Book edition

A curious thing is that introduction of this book done by Dr. Hull. I consider it as a great intro to the controversial book which is controversial itself. Hull was the Director of the Program at his native Duke University (Values and Ethics in the Marketplace). In his intro, he sharply says about the university and its graduates (Nathan Hale, for instance, as he was hung by the British for his speech). In 2008 he enhanced those pictures (Danish cartoons) appearance in one of Flemming Rose. He is also a well known due to his works in local and international editions such as San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes.com, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Barron’s.

In November 2009, exactly due to the efforts of Professor Gary Hull Images were published in The “Banned”. Hull had owned a Voltaire Press which sponsored the book edition. So far from the Hull publication, a picture book by Muhammad is an ‘errata to the bowdlerized version of Klausen’s book’.