For years now, as we all know, newspapers, magazines, and book publishers around the Western world have shrunk from publishing texts that touch on some of the more uncomfortable truths about Islam, preferring instead to give us all but idyllic accounts of Muslim history and belief and hagiographies of its prophet. Similarly, film, TV, and theater producers have gotten into the habit of scrubbing scripts free of anything that might be considered critical of Islam, even as they've given the green light to one project after another that has done a thoroughgoing job of whitewashing the Religion of Peace.
Museums, too, have played this same timid game, quietly removing centuries-old images of Muhammed from display and putting them into storage for fear of offending believers. Meanwhile, museumgoers have been treated to shows that are sheer Islamic propaganda.
Last year, Nick Cohen wrote in the Observer about one such exhibition that was then on display at the British Museum. It professed to present an informed view of the history of the Hajj – the pilgrimage to Mecca – going all the way back to Muhammed. But, as Cohen observed, the museum's version of Muhammed's life stuck to "the authorised version of 'religious scholars,'" ignoring actual findings by real historians. It also excluded "evidence that might embarrass the Saudi royal family," such as the fact that those royals have "wrecked Mecca," destroying "the remnants of the 7th-century city."