There exists a marble frieze in the US Supreme Court building that overlooks the bench that contains carvings depicting 18 secular and religious lawgivers of the past. Guess who is included in the pantheon? Yes, it is the prophet Mohammed himself.
We know that Muslims are highly touchy about depictions of their prophet, some of them being willing to even kill those who do so. Hence it must have been quite awkward for all concerned to discover this. After the various controversies involving this issue, the Supreme Court included this explanation in its tourist materials: “The figure is a well-intentioned attempt by the sculptor to honor Muhammad, and it bears no resemblance to Muhammad. Muslims generally have a strong aversion to sculptured or pictured representations of their Prophet.” As Jerry Coyne points out, this of course raises the question of how they would know that the image has no resemblance to Mohammed since we know exactly as much about what he looks like as we know of Jesus and Buddha, which is zero. The whole point is that artist was trying to depict him. But so far as I am aware, there have been no threats against the Supreme Court about this matter.
What is interesting is that the excellent cartoon strip Jesus and Mo recently became the source of yet another dreary case of Muslims throwing a hissy fit in England, although the artist says clearly that the image is merely that of a body double of Mohammed, not the real thing.
I guess touchy Muslims feel brave enough to go after powerless cartoonists but going after the US Supreme Court is another thing altogether. Maryam Namazie says that the One Law For All movement that is sponsoring A Day to Defend Free Expression on February 11, 2102 boldly uses cartoons from Jesus and Mo on its publicity materials.
I have the feeling that this prohibition against depictions of Mohammed will lose steam pretty soon. The internet has plenty of images depicting him and is far too loose a structure to be policed in that way.