CNN ran a solemn backgrounder piece yesterday explaining Why Islam forbids images of Mohammed aka Why images of Mohammed offend Muslims. (It has more than one title, don’t ask me why.)
(CNN) Violence over depictions of the Prophet Mohammed may mystify many non-Muslims, but it speaks to a central tenet of Islam: the worship of God alone.
No doubt it does, but so what? A central tenet of Islam may be relevant to Muslims (or it may not; it should be up to them), but it’s not relevant to anyone else. By the same token, a “central tenet” of Catholicism is not relevant to non-Catholics. It’s not even relevant to many Catholics, and it’s certainly not relevant to everyone else. Adherents of religion X don’t get to force the rest of the world to defer to the tenets of X, however central they may be.
So we get to go on being mystified, and disgusted and repelled, by violence over images of Mo, because we get to choose for ourselves which strictly religious taboos we will obey, if any. Other people don’t get to enforce their strictly religious taboos on the whole world.