June 16, 2015
Two Responses to Ridicule and Mockery
Post by Brittany Tedesco
Four months after Muslim gunman murdered 12 people who worked for the Paris-based Charlie Hebdo magazine in response to their publishing a cartoon of Mohammed, the American Freedom Defense Initiative held its "First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest" on May 3 in Garland, Texas.
Around 350 people submitted their entries, the winner of which would walk away with $10,000. On the day of the exhibit, two Muslims opened fire on police officers present at the event. Both of the attackers were shot and killed.
This marked the first time ISIS took responsibility for an attack in the United States—and, in true Islamic fashion, the attack was spurred by the deep Muslim conviction that Mohammed can't be mocked, and those who mock him must be killed.
To understand this conviction, we must look to its origins: the man himself.
When Mohammad first started propagating the new religion of Islam in Mecca, his birthplace, he was highly unsuccessful. Most quietly resisted his message, but others—the more outspoken ones—mocked him. And why not? At that time, before Islam took over the area, speech was free. Poets wrote satire about him. A couple of slave girls sang silly songs about him.
Thirteen years after he began preaching Islam in Mecca, Mohammed moved to the city of Medina in the year 622 A.D. That's when he switched his tactics from preaching to killing, pillaging, and extorting. He gained a lot of followers this way. So many, in fact, that he was able to return to Mecca with an army of 10,000 soldiers.
Islam requires all Muslims to make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca during their lives. This is called the "Hajj," and is one of the five pillars of Islam.
The Ascent to Calvary by Jacopo Tintoretto
Mecca promptly surrendered. . . but Mohammed had some business to take care of: revenge on those poets and slave girls who made fun of him. Mohammed never forgot an insult.
According to the Hadith (the traditions of Mohammad), those who mocked Mohammed in Mecca were killed after he captured the city (Bukhari 4:241).
One of the victims was a Jewish poet named Ka'b bin al-Ashraf who wrote verses that Mohammed found insulting. He was stabbed to death (Bukhari 59:369).
Another poet, Uqba bin Abu Muayt, who mocked Mohammad in Mecca, was also killed. Before his throat was slit, he asked Mohammed who would look after his children. "Hell," Mohammad replied.
Mohammed killed a man who, years earlier, had goaded the camel that some of his children were riding on.
A slave girl who used to sing silly songs about him was also killed. . . along with a nursing mother of five. According to Mohammad's biographers, her child was pulled from her breast before she was run through with a sword.
A 2005 article by James Arlandson that appeared on the internet publication American Thinker states, "An authoritarian ruler must maintain his grip continuously. The first policy any tyrant imposes on his people shuts down free speech that expresses dissent and criticism."
Does this not describe the founder of the religio-political system of Islam? A system that survives and grows through fear and control—through intimidation and the stifling of any who would dare to mock or dissent from its founder.
In his book People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, M. Scott Peck writes: "The reader will be struck by the extraordinary willfulness of evil people. They are men and women of obviously strong will, determined to have their own way. There is a remarkable power in the manner in which they attempt to control others."
Peck continues: "The overcontrollingness of evil is well expressed through the Mormon myth that Christ and Satan were each required to present God with his own plan for dealing with the infant human race. Satan's plan was simple. . . just assign an angel with punitive power to each human, and He would have no trouble keeping them in line. Christ's plan was radically different. . . 'Let them have free will and go their own way,' he proposed, 'but allow me to live and die as one of them, both as an example of how to live and of how much You care for them.'"
Jesus Christ was willingly mocked and humiliated for our sakes. In startling contrast to Mohammad, who killed those who mocked him, Jesus cried out on behalf of his mockers, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."
Michelangelo's depiction of the Prophet Jeremiah, painted on the Sistine Chapel
God's people have a long history of being mocked and humiliated. Even before Jesus took on flesh to walk this earth, God's prophets faced scorn and ridicule.
People constantly poked fun at the prophet Jeremiah, who was called by God to warn the Jews that punishment was on its way unless they repented. In Jeremiah 20:7-9 (NIV), he laments, "I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, 'I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,' his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot."
The prophet Isaiah faced a humiliating task from God: to walk around naked for three years to signify that the Egyptians and Ethiopians would be taken captive by the king of Assyria.
Christians today continue to endure humiliation and mockery—ever since Jesus' death and resurrection.
I read about the Christian women in the Middle East who've been raped—and the young girls who've been captured by ISIS and forced to stand naked in slave markets to be ogled and scrutinized before being purchased for someone's sick pleasure.
I read about North Korean women who were thrown into prison camps because of their faith, where they faced torture and mockery. In one of the accounts I recently read, a woman described how she and the other women were forced to undress in front of the prison guards.
I'm going to be honest with you. This stuff makes me really uncomfortable. Often, when I read about these things, I wonder why God would allow it. Why doesn't He protect the honor and dignity of these women?
Silvia Tărniceriu, who was born to Christian parents in communist Romania, was thrown into prison for her faith. In her biography, God Knows My Size, she describes the filthy condition of the prison cell she inhabited and the abuse she faced at the hands of the prison guards. One day, she was forced to clean a cell full of human excrement with her bare hands.
Concerning the time she and other women were stripped of their clothes and paraded in front of prison guards, she writes, "We all felt the shame and humiliation of being exposed. We had no place to hide. I thought about when Jesus was crucified. They removed His clothes, too. The shame He bore, the exposure, the lack of decency—all this He did for my sake. Tears came to my eyes as I thought of what He went through to redeem the world from its sin. To redeem me from my sin."
Recently, a woman from a 100%-Islamic country visited Christian Aid Mission to tell us her story. She was brought up in Islamic school and groomed as a jihadist. Through a miraculous series of events, in which she obtained a copy of the Bible, she became a Christian. Afterward, she was thrown into prison, where she was mocked and spat upon.
Today, she is leading many to Christ. Because of her work, her country is no longer 100% Islamic. All those I've mentioned who've suffered for the name of Christ have been used mightily to build His Kingdom.
True followers of Jesus don't retaliate when they are mocked and abused. They endure humiliation, knowing that "suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us" (Romans 5:3-5 NIV).
Echoing the words of the Apostle Paul, they say, "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings" (Philippians 3:10 NIV).
They know that their "light and momentary troubles" are achieving for them "an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV).
They know Who they belong to: God, Who is, in the words of Franklin Graham, "holy, all-powerful and eternal. He needs no man to protect His honor. He is the sovereign of the universe who does whatever He pleases, and whose counsel and purpose can never be thwarted. . . He will have the last word on the Day of Judgment when all men will bow before Him."