[Foundation-l] Wikimania and the Muhammad pix

Thomas Dalton thomas.dalton at gmail.com
Thu Feb 21 21:01:53 UTC 2008

> While it may not be educationally necessary in a literate society, in a
>  pre-literate society representational images can be very powerful.  In
>  illustrating some activity of Muhammed some representation of that
>  activity can be a powerful educational tool for those who cannot read.
>  Unfortunately, the power of abstraction comes from reading.  The Qur'an
>  certainly speaks of Muhammed, and thus creates pictures of him in
>  words.  Logical consistency would suggest the absurdity that these word
>  pictures should also be forbidden.  Abstract reasoning allows readers to
>  understand that any representations of Muhammed or Jesus are not based
>  on original photographs.
>  We cannot underestimate the power of images, symbols and myths as
>  entities in their own right.  These powers make no scientific sense at
>  all, but that does not diminish their influence.  Many Americans can be
>  very upset when they see their flag being abused, yet to the strictly
>  logical mind it is just a piece of cloth.

I think you're putting too much sway on *reading* the Qur'an. The
Qur'an is often spoken aloud (and even memorised), so illiterate
people can get just as much from the words as literate people can.

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