And why is he under police protection?
Generally thought to depict Mohammed prostrate beneath the bare feet of two angels, this 17th-century wooden sculpture by Mattheus van Beveren forms the base of the pulpit in the Catholic church of Our Lady of Dendermonde, a Dutch-speaking town in Belgium. The Brussels Journal first published the photo back in 2006 to point out, during the height of Cartoon Rage, that there is a "long tradition of depicting Mohammed in European iconography." The photo suddenly reappeared last Friday (May 9) on the front page of a Turkish newspaper above the caption: "Stop this hideous insult."
How do you "stop" a "hideous insult" that is literally carved into the religious, cultural and historical tradition of a nation? As The Brussels Journal notes, the sculpture dates to 1685, two years after the Siege of Vienna, when European Christian armies defeated Muslim Turks, who at the time appeared destined to conquer and convert Europe to Islam. The historic victory at Vienna notwithstanding, the Turkish paper now "demands that Belgium remove the pulpit." Remove the pulpit? Madness.
And (naturally) that's not all.
"Since Friday," The Brussels Journal reports,"we have received threats, while the authorities in Belgium, which has a large population of Turkish immigrants, fear that the pulpit and church may be attacked."
And the Belgian reaction? In typical dhimmi fashion, the Belgian press is blaming not the Muslims who are threatening journalists, the church, and the country's heritage but ... The Brussels Journal. So did Piet Buyse, the mayor of Dendemonde. Of course, Buyse also said the prone figure may in fact represent Luther or Calvin, while the church custodian surmised the figure "might even be a Jew."
No word on Lutheran, Calvinist or Jewish threats to the peace as yet.