Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Thursday, February 07, 2008

And a well-researched article about the muhammad thing comes from ... Fox News??? *triple take*

Wikipedia has entries on Muhammad in several dozen languages. A quick survey found images of the Prophet on the Dutch, German, French, Spanish and Russian versions, but not on the Arabic, Turkish, Chinese, Albanian, Urdu or Bahasa Indonesia versions.

The Croatian edition depicted Muhammad, but the version written in the nearly identical Bosnian dialect did not, reflecting Bosnia's Islamic identity.

Surprisingly, one version in a language spoken overwhelmingly by Muslims had several images of Muhammad, both veiled and unveiled — the Farsi edition, legible to Persian-speakers in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and in the Iranian and Afghan diasporas worldwide.

That's actually not so surprising -- modern shiite islam of the type practiced in Iran doesn't seem to prohibit images of muhammad; and in fact there's a picture of him hanging in one of the biggest museums in Tehran.

Of course, there's a huge gulf between Tehran elites and the poor countryside; it would be nice if an expert on Islam/geopolitics was here to shed some light. But this whole episode is a nice window into the fact that Iran's relative secularism (compared to U.S. allies in the area) should always be staring us in the face. (Or maybe not -- see comments.)


Jim said...

Not sure if you noticed, but that article was the lead story on the main page for a little while yesterday afternoon. (Guess which image they used to push the story.)

Pharos said...

"Iran's relative secularism"

This has nothing to do with secularism. It's simply a different tradition, which places more emphasis on veneration (though maybe that's not the right word) of important religious figures.