Mohammed Image Archive

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The Jyllands-Posten Cartoons


The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten created the furor over depictions of Mohammed by publishing a series of 12 drawings after a local author said he was unable to find any artist willing to depict Mohammed for his upcoming illustrated book. The publication of the images in Jyllands-Posten has been condemned around the Islamic world, and has led to the burning of embassies and a boycott of Denmark by Muslim nations.

Here are the Jyllands-Posten drawings, for the record. Each image is an individual jpeg file, courtesy of the Face of Muhammed site. (If you would like to have one jpeg containing all 12 images together, click here.) Scroll down below the 12 original cartoon images on this page to find additional information about the fake Mohammed images distributed in the Middle East to incite outrage, and a detailed follow-up on the illustrated book that started the fuss:
















This is what the original Jyllands-Posten page looked like. Notice that there were only 12 cartoons.
(Hat tip: Joanna.)


As seen here, on May 28, 2006, the left-wing Danish newspaper Politiken also reprinted the cartoons, thinking themselves immune to attacks from Muslims because they reprinted the cartoons only for the purpose of criticizing them. Politiken has had a grudge against Jyllands-Posten ever since the cartoon scandal broke.
(Hat tip: SpartacusDk.)



In early 2008, Kurt Westergaard, the artist who drew the original "exploding head" Mohammed, drew this follow-up version of it, which he explained thusly: "It is me on the right. My head is about to explode of anger concerning the insult to my person. At the same time I am angry about the actions of terror in New York, Madrid and London. I had a special personal relation to New York. I loved to sit in the wonderful bookstore, Borders, in the World Trade Center. To the left I have added the old drawing of Mohammad, because it started it all. The hare symbolizes my own personal courage, which is not that big. It is the part of me, which maybe prefers to get away, and that cannot control everything."
(Hat tip: Infidel Blogger's Alliance.)


The Fake Cartoons and the Akkari-Laban dossier

Yet when a delegation of Danish imams went to the Middle East to "discuss" the issue of the cartoons with senior officials and prominent Islamic scholars, the imams openly distributed a booklet that showed many additional images -- not only the original 12 Jyllands-Posten cartoons, but three fraudulent anti-Mohammed depictions that were much more offensive than the ones published in Denmark, and 10 irrelevant Dadaist satires about the controversy that had been published in a different Danish newspaper called Weekendavisen. That 43-page booket, which is what actually started the worldwide controversy over depicting Mohammed, was later dubbed "the Akkari-Laban dossier", named after the two Danish Muslims who assembled it, Akhmad Akkari and Imam Ahmad Abu Laban. A complete, full-color reproduction of the entire booklet can be downloaded as a 12mb PDF file at this URL. The three fake additional images are what ignited the outrage in the Muslim world, even though they had nothing whatsoever to do with the Jyllands-Posten cartoons and were probably fabricated by the creators of the Akkari-Laban dossier itself for the very purpose of stirring up controversy. They are presented below, taken from the PDF of the full dossier.
(Hat tip: Gerry, Martin H., and rfs.)



The first image showed a man wearing a pig snout mask, singing into a microphone, under a Danish caption that reads, "This is the true picture of Muhammed." It was quickly pointed out by bloggers that this image of "Mohammed" was actually just a bad photocopy of an AP news photo from 2005 showing French comedian Jacques Barrot competing in a pig-squealing contest in France while wearing a rubber pig nose, and as such was completely unrelated to Mohammed, Denmark, or the "cartoon controversy" in any way. Even so, the imams passed it off as a blasphemous image of Mohammed to demonstrate to Muslims worldwide just how disrepectful Danes were toward Islam.


The next image showed a crudely Photoshopped picture of dog humping a Muslim kneeling in prayer, under a caption that says in Danish, "This is why Muslims pray." The fake image didn't even purport to show Mohammed at all, and was included in the dossier simply to infuriate Muslim sensibilities.
(Thanks to: Daniel and Ken.)



The last of the three fake images was a simplistic sketch of Mohammed as a demon with his penis hanging out, under the caption, "The pedophile 'prophet' Muhammed."


In addition to the three fake images, the dossier inexplicably included a scan of a satirical feature from a 2005 edition of the newspaper Weekendavisen which had ten "portraits" of "Mohammed" that were actually mostly just reproductions of well-known artworks which had been given new titles -- identifying for example the Mona Lisa or a chair or an abstract shape as being pictures of "Mohammed." The humor underlying this satirical Weekendavisen feature is based on the Dadaist principles of Marcel Duchamp and René Magritte who pointed out that any image can be said to represent anything we want it to -- an obtuse postmodern philosophy that probably went right over the heads of the Islamic fundamentalists who saw the page. The dossier included not only this full-page scan from Weekendavisen, but then ten individual scans of each satirical image, with explanations in Arabic. All ten images are examined in more detail on the Mohammed Image Archive's "This Is Mohammed" page.


While people across the Middle East are rioting over the publication of the 12 cartoons in European papers, no one seems to have minded that the cartoons were printed last fall in an Egyptian paper as well.

So far, 143 newspapers around the world have published the Danish cartoons. You can see a full list of them at the Danish news site eJour. (Hat tip: foreign devil.)

An English transcript of an interview with Kurt Westergaard (the artist who drew the most famous of the 12 cartoons, showing Mohammed with a bomb in his turban) can be found on the "Tabooh" blog site (though it currently seems to be offline); the interview also includes Kasem Said Ahmad, one of the Danish imams who traveled to the Middle East to stir up anger about the cartoons. During the interview, Westergaard refuses to apologize for freedom of speech, saying he would do it all over again if given a chance; then Ahmad becomes furious and tries to end the interview and stop the camera crew from filming. You can download the entire Danish-language video (88mb QuickTime file) by right-clicking (Windows) or control-clocking (Mac) here.

The entire controversy started when Danish author Kåre Bluitgen complained that he could not find an artist brave enought to illustrate his upcoming book about Mohammed. The newspaper Jyllands-Posten issued a call for submissions from any artists willing to take up the challenge. In the ensuing brouhaha, the original book was almost forgotten; it has now been released, and does feature page after page of Mohammed depictions. This site features scans of several of the pages (hat tip: nord, Rune, Kim and Mikkel.), as does the "Face of Mohammed" blog, and the WikiIslam page. (This Danish blog also has some information about the release of the book.) The images below are sample pages taken from the book (titled Koranen og profeten Muhammeds liv, or The Koran and the life of the prophet Mohammed in English), which overall features dozens of drawings of Mohammed. The artist created the illustrations on one condition only: that he remain anonymous.


The cover, showing Mohammed riding on Buraq, his magical flying animal.


Mohammed in a cave seeing an apparition of the Angel Gabriel.


Mohammed preaching.


Mohammed converting seven Arabian demons to Islam.


Mohammed and his child-bride Aisha.


Angels helping Mohammed and his followers in battle.


A tribe of Jews being massacred on Mohammed's orders.


Mohammed "looking for loot" in the desert.


Mohammed destroying the pagan idols in Mecca.


Muslims in battle against infidels. (It's not clear which person in this drawing is Mohammed.)




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Islamic Depictions of Mohammed in Full
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European Medieval and Renaissance Images
Dante's Inferno
Miscellaneous Mohammed Images
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"This Is Mohammed"
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