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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

There Should Be Many More Films on Muhammad

In Islam it's forbidden to portray Muhammad. But why should we non-Muslims all be imposed Islamic laws? That's what Muslims are trying to do. We are inferior, and we should submit and obey.

In fact, there's never been a film (not just posted on the internet but actually shown in cinemas) about Muhammad or the origins of Islam as far as I know. Why not? Maybe because people have been understandably afraid of Muslim wrath.

We non-Muslims have a right to know about Muhammad without interference from Muslims and their own rules, which they have given themselves and are not our rules.

We have that right especially since a very, very large number of Muslims are coming to live among us in the West, particularly in Europe, often forcing their acceptance through illegal immigration, thus violating the laws of the country they enter even before they have established themselves in them.

Shouldn't we at least be allowed to learn about what this great mass of people who have imposed their presence on us believe?

Not everybody will want to read the Quran or even other books on Islam, but films are a popular way of spreading culture. Lots of people know literary masterpieces only through cinema visits and TV watching. So why not films about Islam, without having Muslims telling us what can and can't be said in them?

Something new is happening in historical research on the origins of Islam, which was strangely, almost incredibly, non-existent until now.

Now some books on the subject have been published.

One is Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam's Obscure Origins (Amazon USA) (Amazon UK) by Robert Spencer, renowned scholar of Islam and political activist.

In an interview on the book with FrontPageMag, he said:
The question of whether or not Muhammad existed is one that few have thought to ask, or dared to ask. For most of the fourteen hundred years since the prophet of Islam is thought to have walked the earth, almost everyone has taken his existence for granted.
...There is, in fact, considerable reason to question the historicity of Muhammad. Although the story of Muhammad, the Qur’an, and early Islam is widely accepted, on close examination the particulars of the story prove elusive. The more one looks at the origins of Islam, the less one sees. In Did Muhammad Exist?, I explore the questions that a small group of pioneering scholars has raised about the historical authenticity of the standard account of Muhammad’s life and prophetic career. A thorough review of the historical records provides startling indications that much, if not all, of what we know about Muhammad is legend, not historical fact. A careful investigation similarly suggests that the Qur’an is not a collection of what Muhammad presented as revelations from the one true God but was actually constructed from already existing material, mostly from the Jewish and Christian traditions.

It matters because my investigations, as the book shows, tend toward the probability that Islam was constructed as a political system foremost, and only secondarily a religious one – a point that has significant implications for the controversy today over anti-Sharia laws and how to regard the incursions of political Islam in the West.
Another book on the origin of Islam and the historical figure of Muhammad is What the Modern Martyr Should Know: Seventy-Two Grapes and Not a Single Virgin: The New Picture of Islam (Amazon USA) (Amazon UK) by Norbert G. Pressburg, translated from the German.

Islam versus Europe has written extensively about this work in several posts.

It says:
But in an earlier age when communications were more limited, when despotic rulers faced no outside scrutiny of any kind, when manuscripts could be burned en masse, dissident thinkers liquidated and alternative power centres subjugated through conquest, could a fake view of history have prevailed?

This is the thesis advanced in the book “Good Bye Mohammed” by Norbert G. Pressburg, so far available only in German. (I have no knowledge of whether an English translation is forthcoming.) Its scope and ramifications are astounding. Not only does it undermine the foundations of the Islamic religion, but it challenges assumptions that have long since come to be accepted by western historians and even anti-jihadists. If true, it will change everything.

Pressburg believes that Islam arose not in the 7th century AD, as standard historical accounts claim, but in the 9th or even 10th centuries. He believes the Muslims constructed a fake history stretching back hundreds of years, working up a fable of religious revelation and conquest that is now accepted by almost everyone, even those who reject the divine inspiration claimed for it.

The truth, as Pressburg tells it, is that no one called Muhammad existed. The tales of his life and sayings are simple inventions. Even the historical accounts of Muslim battles are invented, he believes. For example, Muslim historiography (and now standard history because the Muslim story has been accepted by everyone) tells of a decisive battle at Yarmuk fought between Byzantine forces and the Muslims. Pressburg notes there is no evidence this battle ever took place.
A third book is historian Tom Holland's In the Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire (Amazon USA) (Amazon UK) .

Holland's theory is not as revolutionary as that of the two books mentioned earlier but still interesting. He thinks that Islam, rather than pre-dating and motivating Arab conquests, followed them and was invented to justify them by invoking a religious obligation.

I have read excerpts from the book, published in British newspaper The Sunday Times, but I was a bit discouraged from reading the whole work when I watched the UK's Channel 4 documentary "Islam: The Untold Story", in which Holland asks Muslim scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr for constant reassurance. "Can a non-Muslim hope to understand the origins of the Muslim world?" Holland asked. "No", replied Nasr. One of the questions posed to him was whether Nasr would consider this historical research on Islam neocolonialist, to which the Islamic guru answered, probably to Holland's great relief, no. So Holland got permission to carry out his work.

Given Muslims'  incredible proneness to be insulted and provoked, it's understandable that anyone touching the subject would be afraid, but I doubt if fear is generally conducive to objective, impartial work.

Why doesn't a good, and exceptionally brave to the point of heroism, film director make a movie on one of these books?


  1. "In fact, there's never been a film (not just posted on the internet but actually shown in cinemas) about Muhammad or the origins of Islam as far as I know."

    Actually, there was a Mohammed movie in the 1970s. The story about that is revealing, but unsurprising.,9171,946751,00.html

    The above article recounts how in 1977, a group of Hanafi Muslims (i.e., Sunnis) took three buildings hostage in Washington, D.C.:

    They did this because a film about Mohammed premiered in the Nation's capital on March 9, 1977, and protesting its “blasphemous” portrayal of Mohammed, they attacked three buildings in downtown Washington D.C. and took 149 people hostage. Thirty-nine hours later, the siege was over — a reporter was dead and dozens of hostages had been stabbed, beaten or shot.

    As the article says:

    "The heart of the capital was under siege. Everywhere, it seemed, was the wail of sirens, snarled traffic, milling crowds, police marksmen poised on rooftops, swarms of reporters interviewing one another in the glare of floodlights. Extra guards were posted at Government buildings; on the Hill each member of Congress was offered an armed police escort. The Washington Monument was temporarily closed to visitors: it was within the range of snipers."

    I haven't found any clear accounts of the film's making and showing (I don't trust Wikipedia). From the garbled accounts, apparently some Syrian film-maker named Moustapha Akkad had some initial trouble making his film "Mohammed, Messenger of God" (titled "The Message" in the U.S.) and finally Qaddafi of Libya helped him finance it (!) and it was filmed in Morocco and Tunisia, with Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas among others. No actor played Mohammed -- from what I read somewhere, Akkad used the ingenious device of having the camera be Mohammed, thus never showing his face or body (this wasn't enough to stop those Muslims from taking people hostage).

    -- Hesperado

  2. Interesting information, confirming my guess that the scarcity of films on Islam's history has been caused at least partly by fear of the consequences.

    1. Yes -- when you look at how many Jesus movies there have been, and Moses, and other Judaeo-Christian themes.