Time’s Dilemma had it Really Selected the Most Newsworthy “Person of the Year”

December 31st, 2014
by LT. COLONEL JAMES G. ZUMWALT, USMC (RET)

On December 8th, TIME magazine announced 2014’s “Person of the Year”-the Ebola Fighters in West Africa. It was the publication’s 87thselection of such a title-bearer in its 91-year history.

The basis for selection, as always, turned on who was the year’s most influential newsmaker, regardless of whether the impact was positive or negative.

The Ebola fighters were selected as “they risked and persisted, sacrificed and saved” to prevent the spread of a disease that could kill millions. To date, successes stopping the threat in some countries have been met with failures in others.

Their success to date is actually what has minimized extensive news coverage about the threat this disease poses. And, should they eventually succeed in defeating Ebola, it will quickly become forgotten news by a media that tends to minimize the good and maximize the bad.

Thus, a better qualifier for the Ebola Fighters’ selection might have been those having the greatest potential to most influence 2014’s news.

While not wishing to diminish the courage of the Ebola Fighters and the significance of their actions, their influence just did not seem to capture 2014’s news headlines as much as did another individual’s-particularly since his influence factored into news every day this year.

Despite having died centuries ago, this person still wields influence today that leaves the world in turmoil.

And, had he been selected Person of the Year, TIME would have faced a
tremendous dilemma depicting him on its cover-for publishing his likeness would generate worldwide demonstrations. Thus, its only option would be to publish a blank cover.

The title of 2014’s Person of the Year, and perhaps even “Person of the Millennium”-deserved for being the most newsworthy-should have gone to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

For 1400 years, the road traveled to promote his hate-filled religion has been paved with the bones of millions of victims.

Ironically, while Muhammad’s focus targeted non-Muslims, more Muslims have died at the hands of fellow Muslims since his death than at the hands of non-Muslims.

While claiming to be a prophet, Muhammad failed to foresee the sectarian violence triggered by his failure to designate a successor.

Today, we witness the fallout from that failure as Muslim blood freely flows in Iraq and Syria. It is here ISIS, with its own brand of Sunni Islam and led by one now claiming to be a 21st century Muhammad, rapes, murders and plunders fellow Muslims.

Killing non-Muslims, once again in history, takes a back seat to Muslim-on-Muslim violence. However, non-Muslims need fear the fate awaiting them if a unified global Muslim community-such as that now sought by ISIS-is ever achieved.

Nonetheless, there seems to be one belief to which most Muslims adhere-a prohibition against any depiction of Prophet Muhammad’s likeness.

The 2011 BBC documentary “The Life of Muhammad” took care not to include a single image of him. An article about this noted, “Islam’s prohibition of pictures of Mohammad stems from its opposition to idolatrous images. This extends to all figurative art…Several Hadith, traditional accounts of Mohammad’s life and teaching, forbid depiction of God or his prophets.”

Interestingly, while some Islamic cultures, especially Persian, allow depictions, they fail to generate the same violent objections triggered by non-Muslims doing so.

Sadly, another reality about Islam-the “religion of peace”-is worth noting.

Had TIME selected Prophet Muhammad as 2014’s Person of the Year and displayed his likeness on its cover, the ensuing Muslim violence would have made him a front-runner for repeating the honor in 2015.

 

 

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