Report on May meeting: Mohammed – Role Model?

Guy Otten talking A good number enjoyed the talk by Guy Otten, chair of the Greater Manchester Humanists on Mohammed, in which he explored the Qur’an and the image of Mohammed that Muslims hold to.

He spoke strongly against the absolutism which says that the Qur’an is God’s words and cannot therefore be in any way criticised or analysed and pointed out contradictions and changes over time which seemed to prove that it could not be the unquestioned word of a god. He also quoted statements in Qur’an which actually themselves express doubt about Mohammed’s/god’s infallibility.

Looking at Mohammed’s life, Guy pointed out that Mohammed was a warlord first and foremost, and that, though some of his messages encouraged peace and compassion many of his actions did not. He also looked at suggestions that Mohammed might have been mentally ill and/or suffering from epilepsy.

A lively discussion ensued about the threat Islamists posed and what can be done – and it was recognised that they are not the same thing as Muslims, most of whom simply want and lead a quiet and productive life.

Guy’s talk was broken by images of Albert Namatjira, an Australian aboriginal artist whose work he admires.

Sue Falder

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