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“Islamophobia” Imagined? – Crayon Wars or Harmony Through Colour

By  • on November 3, 2013

I recently came across a short article by Tim Murphy at a website called Mother Jones.  The title of the article[1] shrieked out “Anti-Islam Activists Are Freaking Out About Crayons Now”!   The alarmist tone anticipating some kind of ‘crayon war’ seemed to me to be yet another example of smearing, as unreasonable, people who have concerns about sharia.  Like the widespread usage of the term ‘Islamophobia’ to demonise people this approach seems to be part of a general refusal to discuss the issues and engage in dialogue.  It would have been far more positive if the article had tried to engage with those with whom it disagreed.

The article related to a decision by crayon manufacturer Crayola to make Islam themed colouring books for Ramadan and the negative reaction to this from some sharia critics.  Unfortunately, negative rhetoric sometimes results when people feel that their culture is being routinely discriminated against. Many people believe that Islam is being promoted while other religions are being undermined; the colouring book decision obviously touched this particular nerve.  This is the real issue and those that engage in promotions such as the one organised by Crayola should try to be sensitive to such feelings.

They should also, perhaps, do a bit more research before they begin similar promotions in future.  What immediately struck me about the Mother Jones article was that the image that was used to illustrate it may actually be regarded by many Sunni Muslims as un-Islamic.  This relates to the picture of the boy kneeling down happily reading his book (the Koran?).  The decision to include this particular image ignored the prohibition of Aniconism is Islam.  A Wikipedia article makes this basic point as follows:

“Aniconism in Islam is a proscription in Islam against the creation of images of sentient living beings. The most absolute proscription is of images of God in Islam, followed by depictions of Muhammad, and then Islamic prophets and the relatives of Muhammad, but the depiction of all humans and animals is discouraged in the hadith and by the long tradition of Islamic authorities, especially Sunni ones. This has led to Islamic art being dominated by Islamic geometric patterns, calligraphy and the barely representational foliage patterns of the arabesque…”[2]

The article in fact reminded me of another faux pas made by a school that changed the name of a play from the three little pigs to the three little puppies[3] without realising that dogs as well as pigs are haram in Islam.

Well-meaning but ill-informed people who blindly embrace political correctness often seem to know very little about the subjects on which they make judgements.  Similarly those who denounce sharia critics as somehow being “racist” often have a profound lack of knowledge themselves.  They seem to believe that feeling something in their heart makes that something so.  It is therefore ironic when “Islamophobes” are accused of lacking knowledge of Islam.  The website Unveiling Islamophobia provides the following introductory sentence in its misconceptions section:

“In many, if not all cases, Islamophobia is often fueled [sic] by a lack of knowledge of Islam itself.”[4]

This raises the question of who the real “Islamophobes” are.  Are they the sharia critics who have done extensive research or the politically correct pro sharia crowd who have not?

More here.

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