|Christ the Pantocrator, from the Hagia Sophia, Constantinople|
The presumed reason was that they were offended by the publication's many cartoons that mocked Islam, and specifically, its founder, Mohammed.
All this brings up an aspect of Islam that many of us are unfamiliar with: the objection -- of at least some Muslims -- to any depiction of Mohammed whatsoever. (I.e., I think we can all figure out why they don't like mocking depictions; we Catholics don't like that when it happens to us. No one likes that.) This item at CNN seems to explain it fairly well.
In the wake of this terrorist act, there have been some who wring their hands and say the murders are "understandable." Others, repulsed not only by these fascist acts, are further inflamed by this pusillanimous response, who insist the right response is to republish the offending images.
You may recall, for example, something similar a few years ago, called "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day."
Part of me reacts just like so many others who refuse to be intimidated -- and is tempted to say, sure, I'll publish an image of Mohammed. Why not? As a Catholic, I have no objection to images of Mohammed, or anything else. After all, we have images of God, saints and angels in our homes and churches. No problem.
But then there is the question of neighborliness and courtesy. And there, I follow a rule that I suspect most people do: I am fine with observing customs of others, when around them, provided doing so involves no compromise of anything I hold dear.
So, for example: while my religion does not prohibit me from any food, nor from consuming alcohol, when I am with someone whose religion does have such strictures, I am fine with avoiding those things -- simply as a matter of courtesy. When I visited the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem, I was advised not to bring a Bible or a prayer book; since I had no need to bring them, I did not. I did, however, wear my roman collar, and no one gave me a second look. When I visited a mosque in Turkey, I took off my shoes. That did not compromise my beliefs in the slightest. I was quiet and paid close attention to what our tour guide explained, but I was careful not to engage in any visible acts of prayer, so as to avoid any confusion -- or to give offense.
So here's how I see it. My religion says we honor God and his saints by veneration of images of him and them; so I have happily posted such images here -- such as the image above. I am sorry if other people disapprove, but this is my blog; and I am not doing it to offend you. I am a Christian, and am not shy about announcing it.
And if the day ever comes when it seems necessary not only to write about Mohammed (which I rarely do, as it happens), but to show a picture, then I guess that's what I'll do.
But I don't see why I need to do that. And I certainly see no reason to publish anything that is insulting. I didn't do it before; why should I start now?
Think of this way. The magazine that was attacked also published cartoons that mocked Jesus Christ and the pope. If it had been some fascistic "Catholics" who did this, would I then be obliged to republish those images? I don't think so.
What do you think?