Did it almost happen here?

Unless this 1997 report is incorrect, the statue of Muhammad on the United States Supreme Court building triggered riots on the other side of the world nearly a decade ago:

March 14, 1997

No sooner had the United States Supreme Court rejected a petition from domestic Muslim groups to remove a 66-year-old depiction of the prophet Mohammed from its courtroom than riots over the issue broke out half-way around the world in the Kashmiri capital of Srinagar.

At issue is a marble sculpture on the walls of the high court's chamber depicting Mohammed as one of 18 historical law-givers. The piece was crafted in 1935 by Adolph Weinman (1870-1952) whose other works include the Lincoln Memorial in Madison, Wis., and the facade for the Post Office Department building in Washington, D.C. Weinman also designed the dime and half dollar for the 1916 coin issue, and he executed the bust of Horace Mann which is displayed in the American Hall of Fame.

Hey! That's the same "fascist" dime I dropped the dime on back in 2004!

Last December, Islamists noticed the depiction of Mohammed, and declared that the display violated Muslim law which prohibits the showing of any countenance of the "prophet." A coalition of Islamic groups lobbied to have the image sand blasted, and even offered to pay for the project and to replace it with a marble inscription bearing quotations from the Koran.
Hey, isn't that a coverup of our own history they demanded?

The nerve!

Fortunately, Rehnquist didn't go along with it:

On Wednesday, Chief Justice William Rehnquist said that altering the frieze would damage the artistry of the work. "It is part of the architectural and aesthetic unit that has been in place more than 60 years," wrote Rehnquist adding, "Altering the depiction of Mohammed would impair the artistic integrity of the whole."

But a member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told Reuter news service that "The image remains, so our concerns remain. It is a matter of principle for us." He said that the coalition was consulting with other groups, and added that "We are in it for the long haul." The coalition also said that it objected to the specific depiction of Mohammed who is shown with a sword in his hand; he is standing between images of Charlemagne and the Emperor Justinian.

The more things change, the more they stay the same?


What baffles me is that I have not been able to verify the above story, which was written by Conrad Goeringer, described as "Senior Staff Writer for American Atheist Magazine, and Director of Online Services for the organization."

Why didn't I hear about this, and why isn't it appearing elsewhere? Might it be fictional?

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh has more on CAIR. (Apparently the group believes that potrayals of religious figures "in a way that many adherents of the religion find blasphemous" above should be constitutionally prohibited as "hate speech" or "incitement.")

I think CAIR should remember that this is still the United States.

MORE (02/07/06): The story is confirmed in this anniversary report at CAIR's web site, on page 22.

(Via this WorldNetDaily article, datelined today.)

posted by Eric on 02.06.06 at 06:47 PM


It doesn't help that the Prophet is holding the Book of Allah in his left hand. Back then, they didn't use toilet paper and, to put it as delicately as possible, let's just say the left hand was avoided where hygiene was required.

David Ross   ·  February 7, 2006 5:07 AM

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