The Byzantine icon above is the work of the 16th-century iconographer Theophanes the Cretan. There are many things that are un-Islamic about it:
1. It is an image of human beings, which violates the traditional Islamic prohibition of images;
2. It depicts Jesus not as a Muslim prophet but as the incarnate Son of God (his halo reads ο ων, the One Who Is, a title of divinity derived from the name of God that God gives to Moses in Exodus 3:14), in violation of the oft-repeated Qur’anic injunction that Allah has no Son (4:171; 9:30; 25:2; 39:4; 72:3; etc. etc.);
3. In line with #2, it depicts what Muslims would consider to be idolatry, as the holy child’s mother kneels and adores him;
4. In the beam or spear coming from heaven down to the child in the cradle, it depicts the activity of the Divine in the world, assuming the doctrine of the Trinity, which is rejected somewhat imprecisely in Qur’an 4:171 and 5:116;
5. The cradle resembles a casket, foreshadowing the redemptive death of Christ, which is denied in Qur’an 4:157.
Now, whether you are a Christian or not, whether or not you believe all or any of these things, the question that is before us this Christmas is whether or not people should be allowed to believe these things if they think they are true. Nowhere in the Islamic world today do people who believe these things enjoy full equality of rights with Muslims. In Pakistan, Egypt and elsewhere Christians are frequently victimized because, as I have tried to show above, some of their core beliefs are considered blasphemous in authoritative Islam.
And that assumption of blasphemy, since Islam is a political program as well as a set of religious beliefs, does not allow for live-and-let live tolerance of those with whom one disagrees. The blasphemers and those who insult Islam must be subjugated under the rule of the Muslims. We see this agenda being articulated every day; we see Christians and others victimized by it every day; and we see the world largely yawning and indifferent as all this goes on.
This Christmas, remember that the Islamic supremacist program has you on its list. You may not be a Christian. You may not be a Jew. You may not be a Hindu. But the jihad is universal. You are on the list. So this Christmas, may all of us whose conversion, subjugation, or death is envisioned by the adherents of Sharia stand together. Let us stand together as Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, secularists, what have you, and stand up against those who would kill us or subject us to institutionalized discrimination because they find our beliefs offensive.
For be assured: if we do not stand together, they will prevail. And if they do, and all the rich expressions of the human spirit, from Theophanes the Cretan to the fashioners of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, from Aristotle to Oriana, will be trampled into the mud, destroyed, exploded, ruined, effaced. We will all be the poorer. Our children will be the poorer.
Merry Christmas to all Christian Jihad Watchers who celebrate the Feast on this day.