In all the coverage of the barbaric terror attacks in Paris Wednesday, one fact of the story kept getting repeated in a curious way on network news, cable news, and in most mainstream publications. They kept saying, “Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.”
Do you see it? You probably have become so used to it you don’t even notice anymore. But it’s strange, isn’t it?
Why on earth do the news media continue to proclaim Muhammad as a prophet? Isn’t “prophet,” in this context, a subjective modifier? Words are important, and the word “prophet” means something very specific.
The Prophetic Nature of Muhammad Is Not A Universal Truth
When the media calls Muhammad a “prophet” they are imparting to him a title that is not based in fact but is a matter of faith. To call Muhammad a “prophet,” don’t you have to believe he was divinely inspired? It is arguable that Muhammad’s status as a prophet is not an objective fact. And the media is supposed to deal in facts, whenever possible (climate change reporting notwithstanding.)
To be sure, if a reporter is Muslim, it would make sense, I suppose, to refer to Muhammad as “The Prophet Muhammad” because he personally believes that Muhammad was an inspired messenger from God. However, in our secular media, it would still be inappropriate.
Can you imagine MSNBC’s Chris Hayes referring to theCharlie Hebdo cartoons by saying, “When I first heard about the murders at the magazine’s office, I remembered the controversy nearly ten years ago over Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.” Of course not! (By the way, the preceding is an exact quote of Hayes last night except for the addition of “peace be upon him.”)
I’m sure many American journalists are Christians, but when reporting a story that involved Jesus Christ it wouldn’t be proper to refer to him as “Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” or “Jesus Christ, the Messiah.” Surely when an American journalist reports on cartoon images of “the Prophet Muhammad” he is not proclaiming his belief that Muhammad was, in fact, a prophet. So why do they do it?
Let’s Ask the Associated Press
Two years ago, Joel Engel at Legal Insurrection wrote about the Associated Press’s use of the term. He opined that “the Prophet Muhammad” had made its way into the legendary AP stylebook and the AP flatly denied it:
AP Stylebook entry is as follows:
Muhammad The chief prophet and central figure of the Islamic religion, Prophet Muhammad. Use other spellings only if preferred by a specific person for his own name or in a title or the name of an organization.
Prophet Muhammad is italicized in the entry showing that AP would capitalize the P before name. It does not mean “Prophet” should always be used before the name.
So if this is the case, why do reporters continue to do it?
To be clear, I am not suggesting that this is some conspiratorial “creeping Shariah” infecting American newsrooms. In fact, I think the reason behind this is the same deadly combination that infects most everything that Americans loathe about our mainstream media: It’s insipid political correctness mixed with intellectual laziness.
When it is easy to prove that Mohammad cribbed loads of his writings from the HOLY bible (you don’t see the mainstream media say THAT, do you?) it is a wonder that even Muslims call him A prophet, much less ”THE” Prophet!
Add to this that Mohammad admitted being ”inspired by DEMONS” who caused him to write all of the so-called “Satanic Verses,” found in the koran.
No real prophet of God would have ever done either of these things.
Aside from media people who probably think “Christ” is Jesus’ last name, I never hear Him refered to as “Jesus Christ, Jesus, the Christ” or whatever. It is usually just “Jesus” and usually in a story about a lawsuit.
If he prophesied anything, that prophecy is well hidden.
I know what Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, and others prophesied.
I know the records and reputations of Elijah and Elisha.
But Mohammed neither spoke the truth about what was, nor did he speak the truth about what was to be.
Anybody who has to get a special dispensation for extra wives is pretty sick, when you come down to it.
But not to give him the title of Prophet is desecration, and will be rewarded with fatwa and death.
So better keep saying it.