The Great Mohammed Cartoon Crisis back in 2006 made the whole world aware of the assertion that no representational images are permitted in Islam, especially when they depict the Prophet. According to Muslim spokesmen and the talking heads on TV, all the rioting, arson, and death were the result of the grave insult to the Prophet delivered by those dastardly Danish cartoonists who dared to create images of Mohammed — and in such a blasphemous manner!
Many people have since pointed out that Mohammed has been frequently depicted by devout Muslims over the centuries, in paintings, drawings, and sculptures. When it comes to radiant kitschiness, paintings of Mohammed can rival all those lambs-and-cute-kids Jesus pictures.
So what’s the deal? Is it verboten to paint a picture of ol’ Mo, or not?
The latest example of Mohammed-idolatry comes from Iran. Our Israeli correspondent Abu Elvis sent us a link to this article from the Fars News Agency:
Iran Unveils Prophet Mohammad Painting
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian city of Zanjan has unveiled the largest miniature painting, which portrays the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) ascent to heaven.
The “largest miniature painting”? What the heck does that mean? And how can it be distinguished from the smallest oversized painting?
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Wouldn’t it be like the world’s fattest anorexic? Or the most recent antique?
According to a press tv report, it took two years for the artist, Reza Najafi-Asl, to create the painting in the style of Iran’s master miniaturist Mahmoud Farshchian.
I looked up some of Mahmoud Farshchian’s work, and if I could coin a phrase to describe his style, it would be “New Age Shi’ite”. Check out some of his symbolically-themed inspirational paintings and drawings.
The 32-year-old artist has used 70 acrylic colors to depict Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) sitting on a horse and three angels whirling around him.
Masoumeh Heidari has adorned the margin of the painting with illuminations, inspired by the work of the late illuminist, Haj Mirza Emami.
Obviously, since Iran is a Muslim theocracy and this new painting is a publicly acclaimed event, visual depictions of the Prophet are not always a bad thing.
Perhaps it’s a Shi’ite thing. Maybe the Sunnis are more strict about such matters.
Or maybe they only get mad about it when blasphemous infidels are the ones doing the depicting.