by Kenneth Roberts
Photoshopping is slang for the digital editing of photos. In photoshopping, images are edited and manipulated to create an illusion or deception.
Helicopter Shark Mohammed
The ‘Helicopter_Shark‘ was a famous example of photo manipulation in which two photographs were digitally combined to give the impression that a shark was leaping from the water to attack a military helicopter. Modern Islamic apologetics go to similar lengths to manipulate the biography of Mohammed even adding elements not in the foundational texts. A typical example of Islamic ‘helicopter shark’ is this story:
There was a lady who threw garbage in the path of the Prophet on a daily basis. One day, she didn‘t do it. The prophet went to inquire about her health, because he thought she might be sick. This lady ended up converting to Islam.
There is no reference provided for the preceding, because it is not Islamic. The actual story is from the life of Abdul Baha, a founder of Baha’iism that has been photoshopped into Mohammed’s biography by modern Muslim apologists.
The real story of a woman who insulted Mohammed is found below with its reference:
A Jewish woman used to insult the Prophet and say bad things about him, so a man strangled her until she died, and the Prophet ruled that no blood money was due in this case. (Abu Dawud 4349)
Glamour Photo Mohammed
In glamour photos, the term “airbrushing” describes the removal of physical imperfections of photo models or the enhancement of their attributes in an attempt to fabricate an image of unrealistic female perfection.
Modern Muslims similarly create an ‘airbrushed’ or ‘photoshopped’ image of Mohammed by leaving out his offensive traits and enhancing any qualities that appeal to our modern concerns for human rights and civil liberties.
Here is an example of ‘airbrushed’ Mohammed found on an Islamic website:
“He (Mohammed) suffered from all but harmed none. He was affectionate and loving towards his friends and forgiving and merciful towards his enemies. He was sincere and honest in his mission; good and fair in his dealings; and just in deciding affairs of friends as well as of enemies. In short, all goodness and excellence have been combined in the person and personality of Hazrat Mohammed”.
However, the unphotoshopped Mohammed is neither affectionate nor merciful:
“Aisha, the Mother of the Faithful, was asked, ‘How did the Messenger of Allah behave?’ She replied, ‘His eye did not weep for anyone.’” Tabari VIII:40
A main aim in photo editing is the removal of unwanted objects in the photo. Before photoshopping, this was done by airbrushing. Stalin routinely airbrushed his enemies out of photographs. The term “airbrushed out” has come to mean rewriting history to pretend something was never there.
Contemporary academics have called the process of removing components from an image object removal. It is considered unethical because it is an intentional misrepresentation of historical facts.
The ‘objects’ modern Islamists want to remove are Mohammed’s …
‘It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision.’ Koran 33.36
‘While I was sleeping, the keys to the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand.’ Bukhari:V4B52N220
“Hang up your scourge where your wife can see it.” Kash-shaf (the revealer) of al-Zamkhshari (Vol. 1, p. 525)
“No two religions are to exist in the Arab Peninsula”, The Sira, pp. 50, 51
“The apostle of God defeated the people until they entered Islam by hook or by crook.” “The Ordinances of Qur’an”, Al Shafi, page 50
“Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme.” K. 8:39
“How many a township have We destroyed! As a raid by night, or while they slept at noon, Our terror came unto them.” K. 7:4
‘Terrorists cannot be Muslims’ or can they?
One of the claims of modern Islamists is that ‘a terrorist cannot be a Muslim’.
Just after 9-11, the late Anwar Awlaki, mentor to notable terrorists, said, “There is no way that the people who did this (9-11) could be Muslim, and if they claim to be Muslim, then they have perverted their religion.” Awlaki’s later terrorism proved he did not believe his own definition.
By Awlaki’s definition, many leading Muslims of history are excluded from the religion of Islam:
Osama Bin Laden was not a Muslim when he cast terror into the hearts of Americans on 9-11.
Sayeed Maududi was not a Muslim when he wrote: “Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam.” Sayeed Abdul A’la Maududi, Jihad in Islam, p.9
Sultan Mehmet V was also not a Muslim when he signed the Universal Fatwa of 1915 sanctioning the genocide of three million of his Christian subjects.
Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), was not a Muslim when he wrote, “the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.” (emphasis added)
Tamurlane was not a Muslim when he wrote glowingly of his mass murders: ‘I had crossed the rivers Ganges and Jumna and I had sent many of the abominable infidels to hell, and had purified the land from their foul existence….Thanks to almighty Allah.”
Hajjaj, the governor of Iraq was not a Muslim when he ordered his general Qasim to “behave in such a way that no enemy of the true faith is left in that country”.
Mohammed’s successful general Khalid ibn Walid was not a Muslim when Mohammed sent him to destroy all the pagan temples of the neighboring tribes of Mecca. Khalid reached the Jazima tribe and asked them to say, “We are Muslims”. But they said, “We are Sabians” – whereupon Khalid slaughtered the whole tribe.
By Awlaki’s definition, Mohammed could not be a Muslim either. The Sira (his official biography) is filled with violent acts initiated by Mohammed. In the Sira, Mohammed orders or leads a violent act every six weeks resulting in assassination, plundering, enslavement, rape, genocide, ethnic cleansing and territorial conquest.
The Sira explicitly states that many detractors ran away because of Mohammed’s acts of terrorism. The Sira depicts Mohammed as a successful terrorist. Muslim apologists seldom refer to the Sira…object removal.
The Ethics of Manipulating Mohammed’s Image
In Islam, it is considered moral to manipulate Mohammed’s image to create a favorable impression with kafirs. The moral basis for photoshopping Mohammed’s ‘image’ is called taqiyya.
Taqiyya is sacred concealment for the advancement of Islamic political supremacism. Taqiyya is a form of verbal jihad used to defeat Islam’s opponents by using disinformation. Mohammed used taqiyya frequently in the Sira.
Taqiyya is a doctrine of disinformation endorsed by all branches of Islam. Governments of Islamic countries use taqiyya as a normative policy technique, especially in Shi’ite Iran where taqiyya has greater acceptability.
Taqiyya is basically a kind of object removal.
Our Reaction to Islamic Photoshopping
In light of Islam’s dualistic doctrine of taqiyya, should we ever take at face value the depictions of Mohammed invented by modern apologists of Islam? Or should we rigorously investigate them and do our own research into Islam’s foundational texts to determine whether they have been photoshopped?
Should we not compare the photoshopped versions of Islam with Islam’s canonical writers and spokesmen? Should we not study orthodox authorities of Islam such as Bukhari, Ibn Ishaq, Taymiyyah, Tabari, Nawawi, Ibn Kathir, since they represent Islam’s canonical consensus?
As we saw, Muslim apologists, like the late Anwar Awlaki, use taqiyya to justify misrepresentations of Mohammed’s biography or of the supremacist agenda of jihad, Mohammed’s method.
We need to ask: ‘Has this image of a non-violent Mohammed been photoshopped?’
Bill Warner, Director, Center for the Study of Political Islam
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