Back in 2006 I posted to zombietime a small collection of historical representations of Mohammed (the 7th-century founder of Islam) and optimistically titled it “The Mohammed Image Archive.” Over time, the Archive did eventually grow to become the world’s largest repository of Mohammed portraits, a status it maintains to this day.
Even so, more Mohammeds are drawn and discovered every year, and the Archive has become woefully out-of-date. To address this problem, I have recently begun updating the Archive with many corrections and new images. But in the process I have once again come face to face with a mystery that has bothered me for almost a decade: Who is that green-turbanned man?
Specifically: In modern Iran it is not uncommon to encounter — either on posters, or in framed pictures, or as digital files — Islamic religious icons depicting a bearded man with a green turban, often clutching a Qur’an. Here is the most well-known example:
Westerners — that is to say, non-expert random people on the Internet who have used this image in countless satirical Photoshops — took one look at these Iranian icons and instantly just assumed they were portraits of Mohammed. Which they may very well be. But because Iran is Shi’ite, and the Shi’ite branch of Islam venerates Ali (Mohammed’s younger cousin) almost as much as they do Mohammed himself, I have long wondered whether or not these icons are perhaps actually portraits of Ali, and not portraits of Mohammed.
Here’s another prototypical example which (like many of them) also shows the figure with a single finger pointing upwards, and also accompanied by a calligraphic rendition of the shahada, the Muslim creed, which translates to “There is no god but Allah; Mohammed is the messenger of Allah”:
This portrait, however, has additional calligraphy at the top which may help to identify the figure.
Fueling my suspicions is the fact that Ali was 30 years younger than Mohammed (despite being his direct cousin) and these portraits almost all show a man who does look substantially younger than the traditional portraits of Mohammed, as in this example in which the figure is not pointing his finger upward:
The inclusion of the shahada in these images is not necessarily evidence that the man is himself Mohammed, even though he is named in it: the phrase is a standard mantra-like declaration of faith that appears on almost every religious artifact in the Muslim world, even ones that have no human figure at all.
Furthermore, there are other folk images from around the Shi’ite world which also show a green-turbanned man who may or may not be the same person as in the standardized portraits show above. For example, this picture shows an older-looking green-turbanned man, identified as Mohammed in some captions, along with his family:
Our final example comes from a 2005 news photo of the Al-Huda squatter’s camp in Baghdad:
This photo’s original caption stated that the poster shows the 12 Imams of Shi’ite Islam, starting with Ali (who is also the figure depicted in the larger portraits) and culminating with the hidden “12th Imam,” who is shown with a blank face (because he has not yet appeared). But that only muddies the waters further, because the caption affirms that Mohammed is not in the picture and that other Islamic leaders (including Ali) are indeed represented with a green turban.
So, I ask:
• Who is the green-turbanned man in all these images?
• Do they all depict the same person, or do some of them depict Ali, and the others Mohammed?
• Does anybody out there know Farsi (or Arabic) who is able to accurately translate the calligraphy in the second and fifth images?
• Is anybody out there a scholar or expert on Shi’ite Islam who definitely knows the story behind these images?
• And even if you don’t know Farsi and are not necessarily an expert, can you provide a link to any site with reliable-seeming information about these icons?
Be aware that the Internet is awash in misinformation, and that any identifying info about these images posted after 2006 could easily be in error, since many Western sites (including for a brief period, unfortunately, an early version of the Mohammed Image Archive itself) assumed these images were of Mohammed without ever actually verifying the assumption.
I have traced the source of the purported identification of these figures as Mohammed to a 2006 article in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten which itself linked to this authoritative-seeming Norwegian Web page hosted by the University of Bergen which states unequivocally that all the images above are indeed Mohammed. Based on this source, and this source only, the information richocheted around the world and has been repeated countless times. But is that Norwegian source accurate? How do we know?
Post any and all links, information or personal expertise on this topic in the comments below.
Updates will be made to this post if any reliable data emerges; and eventually the new info will be incorporated (along with credit to the discoverer) in the Mohammed Image Archive itself.
My new photo essay is now online at both zombietime and PJMedia.
The zombietime version has bigger pictures, slightly updated text, and new ending:
The PJMedia version has comments and social media widgets and all the bells and whistles:
Otherwise, both versions are essentially identical.
Basically, I went to a protest, took pictures, and uploaded them. Simple enough.
But I was faced with a dilemma: How can I summarize for my readers “what happened” at the protest? My problem was that all sorts of things happened, and it would be dishonest of me to cherrypick some single incident or theme and announce to the world that this one narrative summed up the entire event.
That kind of slanted reportage is Standard Operating Procedure in journalism and blogging these days, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. There wasn’t merely one single incident or headline that happened at the protest, as convenient as it would be for me to claim there was. So I decided instead to present every narrative from the event, and use the report as a platform to deconstruct media bias itself.
Anyway, read the report to get the whole story.
To whet your appetite, here is a teaser, one of the chapters lifted from the overall photo essay. This narrative (one of several that I explore) asks the question: Since the anti-Trump rhetoric has already reached (even now at the very beginning of the campaign) its hyperbolic maximum, is there anything left to say? I suspect the next six months will be one long ear-splitting scream of rage.
“Trump = Nazi” Is Already Mandatory
Normally, a debate only descends to “Godwinization” (comparing your opponent to a Nazi) as a final desperate measure when all other arguments have failed and all lesser insults have been exhausted. In contemporary politics, calling someone a Nazi is the most extreme position you can take.
But when it comes to Trump’s opponents, their starting point is to call Trump a Nazi; the general election hasn’t even yet begun, and the anti-Trump rhetoric is already turned up to 11.
It’s kind of hard to imagine where the conversation will go from here. How can you amplify your rhetoric when the very first thing you say is the most extreme put-down you can conjure?
A textbook example of the logical fallacy known as Reductio ad Hitlerum.
Clear enough for you? (Notice that this particular attempt at a swastika has an intriguing extra bend in its lower leg. Is this a tentative experiment at designing a new kind of ultra-swastika which applies only to Trump — or mere sign-making incompetence?)
Sometimes the Trump=Nazi theme was as concise as possible.
While other times it was incorporated into a longer message.
You don’t even need to actually spell out the word “Nazi” in your anti-Trump message: a simple swastika will get the same point across.
Some protesters, trying to think outside the Nazi box, got creative and called Trump a mere “Fascist,” but on the political insult scale, “Fascist” is actually a slight step down from “Nazi.” It’s truly quite a conundrum; once you’ve gone full Nazi, any further elaboration of your argument only softens the insult. So you’re stuck saying “Nazi Nazi Nazi” over and over with no variation.
Bingo! Here’s a solution: The term “KKK” is the only political insult nearly on a par with “Nazi,” so expect to see a lot of this in the upcoming months.
Back in 2004, eleven long years ago, I made a satirical map of what Europe might look like in 2015, and posted the map on my site zombietime, along with a short satirical “news” article about how the EU was planning to intentionally hand the continent over to Muslim immigrants.
I had completely forgotten about this post (created on a whim one afternoon and uploaded as a joke), and in fact never even linked to it from my own home page, so that it became “orphaned” (unfindable by search engines) and lost to history.
The recent immigrant crisis in Europe jogged my memory and I suddenly had a vague recollection of my long-lost satirical article. After some searching I finally found the original, and was stunned at how eerily prescient it was.
Here’s the post as it still exists at zombietime; I repost it here in its entirety, for posterity:
The leaders of the European Union have agreed on a “road map” for the future. Sources close to the negotiations released the map to the media, showing how the EU’s leaders expect Europe to look in 2015, at the end of a ten-year plan they hope to adopt next year:
(And if you want proof that this was actually created in 2004: the URL was linked to in a still-online comment to this blog thread dated October 29, 2004.)
Looking at it now for the first time in 11 years, I am disturbed at how I somehow managed to predict (albeit even as a joke) what would happen to Europe in 2015.
Of course I got many details wrong: I didn’t foresee that each nation would no longer merely import their own pet Muslims (Turks to Germany, Pakistanis to Britain, Algerians to France, etc.), but that it would turn into a pan-Islamic colonization of the whole continent en masse. Also, having started assigning humorous new names to the nations in central Europe, I ran out of ideas after a few minutes and just abandoned the theme halfway through, leaving most of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia with their original names. But interestingly, I did predict that it would be the Hungarians and the Swiss who, among all central European nations, would most actively resist the immigration — exactly as is playing out today. How could I have known that?
What was a joke in 2004 is a brutal reality in 2015, and even the progressive elites who encouraged this continental suicide now concede that the immigration crisis is only going to get worse, with no end in sight, as seemingly half the population of the Middle East is now in the process of relocating to a new homeland in Europe.
I could have saved myself a lot of energy and dispensed with the individual nation names altogether and just written “The Middle Northeast” across the whole continent, or perhaps “The Caliphate of Europe.”
So, yeah, I unwittingly predicted the future — but I wish I hadn’t.
“Interrupting Whiteness”: National Education Conference to Blame White Teachers and Students for School Woes
My latest post is now online at PJMedia:
However bad you thought things were in public schools, they’re much much worse:
A major national conference for teachers and school administrators starting on Saturday, October 10, in Baltimore will focus exclusively on race and racism, featuring workshops on “interrupting whiteness” in American schools, the “dominance of White supremacy” in society, “White privilege” enjoyed by Caucasian students, “white domination of thought,” and how to “decenter whiteness.”
The conference, officially titled The National Summit for Courageous Conversation 2015, is organized by the Pacific Educational Group (PEG), a large and influential consulting firm hired by hundreds of school districts nationwide — often under pressure from the federal government — to address “racial gaps” in scholastic performance and behavior problems in the classroom.
A sampling of the kind of workshops at the conference, taken directly from the official program:
It Ain’t H1N1, But It’s Just as Deadly: The Negative Effects of White Privilege for People of Color
Explore the realities of white privilege and the deep wounds that many people of color have felt due to this ugly reality. Hear historical perspectives and learn how the evolution of white privilege has been parented by white supremacy, racism, and institutional racism from the past to the present. Take a different look at white privilege and consider how many people of color have been conditioned to believe that they shouldn’t be afforded the privilege that white folks receive, which gives white privilege the power to positively affect many white people and negatively affect all people. Engage in this challenging opportunity to examine yourself critically and to look at the effects that white privilege has had on society and communities of color.
Click HERE to read the rest.
My latest photo essay — the first in quite a while — is now online!:
While this new report covers all aspects of this year’s “Up Your Alley” fetish street fair, I pay special attention to a bizarre fad sweeping the gay underground: “puppy play,” or pretending to be a dog during sadomasochistic group sex romps.
Up Your Alley was teeming with men not only dressed as dogs (or a least a fetishistic approximation of caninehood), but also behaving as dogs.
Why? Read the report to find out!
Today’s terror attack on Charlie Hedbo, the irreverent French satirical magazine that was one of the few media outlets in France to publish the original “Mohammed cartoons,” is an attempt by Islamic fundamentalists to enforce shari’a worldwide, even on non-Muslims.
We must not let them succeed.
Self-censoring out of fear means self-imposition of shari’a (Islamic law).
Self-censoring out of “respect” (actually just a euphemism for fear) means you are submitting to the terrorists’ worldview.
The way to overcome them in this instance is to overwhelm them with disrespect and mockery.
They can silence one magazine, but they can’t silence the entire Internet.
Every blogger, of every political stripe, be it left, right, and everywhere in between, needs to realize that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are the two keystones of your ideology, whatever it may be. You need to make a stand. You need to make these terrorists lose the ideological battle.
And the way to do that is to republish the Mohammed cartoons yourselves. Today. Right now.
Fill the world with images of Mohammed so that the terrorists realize they can never expunge them all.
But where to get the pictures? Easy.
The Mohammed Image Archive, which I have hosted at zombietime since the day of the original “Mohammed cartoon crisis” back in May of 2006, has not only a full collection of the original cartoons, but more importantly the largest collection of Mohammed imagery ever assembled in the history of the world.
I hereby grant permission, and even encourage, anyone reading this to repost any images found anywhere on the Mohammed Image Archive. No limits. Repost them all, if you want to.
Go to any of these pages, download whatever images you choose, repost, and help to win the most important cultural war humanity has faced in a long time:
Here’s a selection of Mohammed images to get the ball rolling:
The original cartoon that started the entire controversy back in 2006, which culminated in today’s terror attack.
Illustration showing Mohammed (on the right) preaching his final sermon to his earliest converts, on Mount Arafat near Mecca; taken from a medieval-era manuscript of the astronomical treatise The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries by the Persian scholar al-Biruni; currently housed in the collection of the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris (Manuscrits Arabe 1489 fol. 5v).
“Mohammed Cursing the Vines,” German woodcut print, c. 1481. Presumably Mohammed is cursing the vines for producing the grapes that got him drunk.
This prescient cartoon was published way back in 2006 by J.J. McCullough.
In 1928, Liebig’s Extract of Meat Company issued a series of advertising trading cards to promote its canned beef extract products. The 1928 card set illustrated six different pivotal points in Mohammed’s life. The most striking of the cards was the second one, seen here, which showed the Archangel Gabriel escorting Mohammed up to the presence of Allah in Paradise — the climax of his legendary “Night Journey.”
“Piss Mohammed” is a parody of Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ” that incorporates the original controversial Danish cartoon.
“Married to Children,” a parody of the TV sitcom “Married with Children,” lampoons Mohammed’s marriage to the 6-year-old Aisha. It circulated extensively on the Web in the months after the 2006 cartoon crisis.
The caption to this cartoon by Steph Bergol says, in French:
Mohammed (being carried away by devils): “It is a judicial error! I am Mohammed, the prophet!”
St. Peter (with a scimitar through his chest): “Definitely: GUILTY!”
After one of the recent anti-police riots in the San Francisco Bay Area, I stumbled across this flyer posted in a BART (subway) station:
It was made by the Revolutionary Communist Party, one of several communist groups that have been leading the protests and going all-out to ignite a race war in the aftermath of the Mike Brown and Eric Garner incidents.
It merits a close examination, to grasp the mindset of the radicals behind all these protests — so here’s a zoomed-in version that’s more easily readable:
…There’s countless videos where these fuckin’ pigs wantonly murder people right in front of a camera knowing they’re being recorded! What the fuck is it gonna take to get these muthafuckers to stop?! The answer is Revolution — Nothing Less! Nothing less than overthrowing the capitalist-imperialist system that they so viciously serve and protect…
This shit has to stop and you can be part of stopping it. All these pigs, all the courts, all the prisons are there not because they want to keep our communities safe, all that shit is there because they fear YOU! They know what you rising up and not staying in your place could turn into. They fear what your righteous anger and your unwillingness to just bow down to their illegitimate authority represents. They fear your potential to transform and become the gravediggers of this system and that’s why they hate you! A pig killed Eric Garner with his bare hands, enraged because the big Black man didn’t follow orders and call him “sir”! That’s why they killed him! That’s why they killed Oscar Grant! That’s why they killed Ezell Ford! And that’s why they MURDERED Michael Brown! They fear you inspiring others with your rebelliousness, with your outrage, with your refusal to just keep taking this shit. But more than they fear you joining others in righteous protest, more than they fear you breaking windows, burning buildings, or flipping over a fuckin’ cop car, more than they fear even another LA Rebellion, they fear you coming together as an organized revolutionary force to overthrow their rotten fuckin’ system.
…If we fight for meaningless reforms, they get what they want. If we turn away from revolution and the leadership of the Revolutionary Communist Party, they get what they want. They get us walking around in circles aimlessly without any real clarity about the problem and much less the solution. And while now is not the time to go all out for revolution, now IS the time to resist, now IS the time to fight back, now IS the time to build the movement FOR revolution, and now is the time to strengthen the organized force that will lead that revolution. …
It confirms what I’ve been trying to explain to folks whenever this topic comes up in conversation: That the people leading these mobs really think they are starting a revolution — and not just any revolution but a communist revolution.
These are not just “peaceful protests” against “police brutality,” as the mainstream media endlessly parrots. This is an attempt to ignite a race war, as the necessary precursor to the complete overthrow of democratic capitalist society.
I’m a little late in posting this here, as I published the original report at PJMedia back on December 20 — but for those who missed it:
A little background:
Earlier this year Bill Maher was invited to give the commencement speech at U.C. Berkeley’s upcoming winter graduation ceremony. The invitation was uncontroversial — until October when Maher got into an on-air argument with Ben Affleck about the nature of Islam, during which Maher repeated the same statements (Islam is inherently violent, all religion is oppressive, etc.) that he’s been making for decades. But because of the media firestorm over the incident, Cal’s Muslim student groups suddenly became aware that Maher doesn’t like Islam (nor any other religion), and they tried to force the chancellor to rescind the invitation. The chancellor refused, so the student groups vowed to “shut down” Maher’s appearance and prevent him from speaking when the day finally arrived.
Well, at that point the media’s attention was drawn elsewhere, and when the day finally did arrive, no one (except me) was around to document whether or not the Muslim students fulfilled their promise to shut Maher down.
Turns out the answer was “No.” Despite grandiose promises, only a handful of protesters showed up, and the speech went off without a hitch. (Tight security probably helped.) See the full report at PJMedia for details.
I recently came across a car for sale in the SF Bay Area with this sign affixed to it:
Now, I could imagine how maybe if you had only once heard the phrase “Chevrolet Caprice” or “Chevy Caprice” you could have misheard it and thought perhaps it was spelled “Cheby.”
But if you own the car, you must know that it’s a “Chevy.”
I guess there are just people out there whose brains work differently than mine, and for them there is no linkage between printed text and the sound it represents.
Or maybe spelling is by now a thing of the past, a forgotten tradition like curtsying or phrenology.
Back in September I published at PJMedia a big shiny new photo essay about a major “climate rally” in Oakland at which the communists finally stepped out from the shadows and took charge of the environmental movement.
But because I was too busy and lazy and distracted I never got around to posting the report at zombietime, or even making a notification about it here at zomblog — until now.
So, over two months after it happened, I at last present the official zombietime edition of:
(The original PJMedia version can be seen here.)
A teaser photo to whet your appetite: