Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Cartoons Will Never Hurt Me.


The European press are clearly wrong to raise the temperature on things by re-publishing the offending images, but I can’t help thinking that Mohammed would have been more robust than to worry about them.

What worries me more is a minority mindset that reacts with cries of bloody violence, demanding hangings, lynchings and beheadings. It reminds me of the crowd we read about in Jerusalem, who, whipped into a rage by censorious priests over a man’s claims about representing God’s image, demanded his crucifixion.

He didn’t raise a finger.

Now that’s a holy, robust, God

Weeping to see people try to defend their image in ways that destroy the very heart of their message.

“We are all created in the image of some God. And there is no more important theological investigation than to find out in whose image we are making ourselves.” Brueggemann.

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10 responses to “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Cartoons Will Never Hurt Me.”

  1. I sat up and cheered when a teenage male muslim on the BBC news tonight raised the point about the way people should protest. He said people protesting by making threats of “Europe will pay” just incites further hatred and just reinforces the negaive stereotypes of Islam. He made this point to camera with such a group making an angry protest behind him. That was courageous!

  2. Doesn’t the reaction of the radicals help the artists point?

  3. No, I don’t think it does make the artists’ point. I think it serves to reinforce a fantasy that is useful to the radicals on both sides, but tragic for all moderates.
    The artists want to project a simplistic image of Islam as ‘the problem’. The fanatics want to similarly project an image of ‘the West’ as ‘the problem’. Both need to realise that their hatred is vicariously feeding off each other; they are each other’s shadows, and their hate is really some deeper insecurity about facing ‘the other’.


    Personally I’m sick of being proseletised by the West and so have always had sympathy fornations who feel undermined by us… so can we ask Jyllands to draw some depicting us as we are…


    Oh poo. Who’s the noob now, huh?

  7. For anyone interested in a fantastic meditation on Christian reaction to defacing the image of the divine, I highly recommend Shusako Endo’s Silence. “The Japanese Graham Greene’s” finest work about Catholic persecution in 17th Century Japan, and one of the best Christian books I have ever read.

  8. What I have come to appreciate over the past few days ( see personal post on Cartoon Prophet) how hard it is for us (as liberal tolerant Christians) to understand the negative significance of any “image” of The Prophet (never mind one showing him as a Bomber which I am told was first intended for a children’s book)to the normal non-militant Muslim – it is fundamental (in the proper sense of that word). I have asked two Muslim theologicans who know Christianity well if they can suggest a parrallel and they can’t. All I can suggest is that we do not get too overwhelmed by the appalling violence of the militants (which is part of a wider political struggle of our times) and concentrate on the sense of shock and outrage felt by indigenous local Muslims who abhor the violent reaction. That should provide us with some sense of perspective.

  9. I’ve posted something about this story on moot’s blog from a slightly different angle. The link to it is in my name under this post. Sadly, it’s not comfortable reading, so advance with caution.

  10. this is not an issue about cartoons or religion. It’s about a group of people who believe they are oppressed, and who now also believe they are being taunted.
    the desperately sad thing is that they probably were right (though im definitely not saying that justifies the response).
    many feminists have been saying, for a long time, that freedom of speech is a right that can be exercised only by those who have the money to own newspapers.