It did not go unnoticed that the cop who was murdered on the sidewalk in Paris after the Charlie Hebdo massacre was a Muslim. In a video seen around the world, Ahmed Merabet is seen lying on the sidewalk with his hands up, while one of the Kouachi brothers walks up to him and shoots him without mercy.
Some people have substituted the now-famed “Je Suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) hastag with a “Je Suis Ahmed” hastag, and taken note of the fact that Officer Merabet was protecting the publication that was ridiculing his religion.
If I was a cartoonist, I probably wouldn’t be drawing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad at this point. Not that it shouldn’t be allowed. I just wouldn’t do it. It’s interesting, because one reads in the Old Testament about how God is peculiarly touchy about not having the Israelites see his face. But Jesus, we have many, many depictions of. For some reason, any depictions of the prophet Mohammad, on the other hand, are considered blasphemous. It’s not immediately apparent why. He’s not God, just a prophet. And the Quran — at least if you can trust Wikipedia — does not explicitly forbid images of the prophet. The concern seems to be that the use of images can become idolatry — although how an image of the thing you are worshipping becomes idolatry is a little beyond me — but for whatever reason, images (and especially cartoons) seem to be verboten.
So, if I was a cartoonist, I just wouldn’t go there right now. There are plenty of other ways to make points about religions, and especially religious fanaticism, that don’t require the use of cartoons.