Tuesday, March 09, 2010

What holy city?

American Thinker discusses whether to call Mohammed a prophet. Or The Prophet.

The Times, the AP, and Reuters all have style manuals setting forth their policies about usage for proper names like "Jesus." Both the Times and Reuters manuals explicitly caution against using the term "Christ" when referring to Jesus because it is a theological term, "a title non-Christians would not give him," as Reuters' handbook says.

Similarly, the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage does not list "Prophet Muhammad" as an acceptable usage. It says only: "Muhammad. Use this spelling for the name of the prophet of the Muslim religion." Both Reuters and the AP Stylebook identify Muhammad as "Prophet," but neither explicitly states whether "Prophet Muhammad" is a preferred, disfavored, or neutral usage.

If the New York Times views Jesus as "undisputed and therefore preferred," its current practice regarding Muhammad does not meet the same standard. As a historical personage, Muhammad is, well, at least as "undisputed" as Jesus. Thus his name alone should presumably be preferred. But in fact the paper regularly refers to Muhammad by his religious title, "Prophet Muhammad."

A pet peeve of mine is the use of the term the holy city of Najav, (or any other currently "holy city" in some Arab country). Oh yeah? Holy to whom? Did Muhammad water his camels there, or something?

I don't hear anyone referring to Jerusalem as a holy city. Or Rome. I personally consider New York City a pretty sacred place, the undoubted center of the universe, where moreover you can get decent bagels, and I resent people bombing it.

So one person's holy city is another person's dump, and let's keep religion out of it.

Ht to Opinion Journal.


Anonymous said...

I personally consider New York City a pretty sacred place, the undoubted center of the universe


Thank you for saying that, Miriam.

That has been bothering me for a long time.

airforcewife said...

I also agree. Very much.

I think I'll start telling people I attended college in "The Holy City of Fresno, CA." Or, at least those people who inject "holy city" into the conversation first.