Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks is facing the prospect of being "slaughtered like a lamb" because he drew a cartoon that depicted Mohammed with the body of a dog, an animal Muslims consider impure. Iraqi Al-Qaeda leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi is offering a $150,000 reward for the slitting of Vilks' throat and a $50,000 reward for the murder of Ulf Johannson, the newspaper editor who printed Vilk's cartoons.
That has not stopped Christian Newswire from reprinting Vilks' cartoon in an "an expression of solidarity, to stand against attempts to intimidate journalists and publishers," according to a September 16 press release. Garry McCullough, director of Christian Newswire, said the refusal to show the cartoons displays an anti-Christian bias: "If there was an anti-Catholic or Anti-Baptist or anti-Protestant cartoon, there wouldn't be a controversy. The injustice is that everybody's faith is made fun of, but no one else goes around saying I'm going to kill you because of it."
Bassam Madany, professor of missions at Westminster Theological Seminary, disagrees with both Vilks and Christian Newswire: "Every human being is created in the image of God and after his likeness. ... We may not depict the founder of their religion as an animal, especially as a despised, impure animal."
Madany, who was born in Syria and broadcast the Gospel in Arabic for 36 years, said Muslims consider any visual depiction of their prophet "utter blasphemy." He said a confrontational tone only worsens the situation of Christians living among Muslims: "We are not living in a vacuum. We have our boys and our ladies in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have Turkey which has just gone back to Islam. ... When the Western world does something like that, it doesn't help us. ... It makes our life miserable, because once in a while they take it out on us."