I will never defend, accept, or fail to denounce a depiction of the Prophet by a Westerner, regardless of their excuse, progressive or offensive.
Depicting the Prophet is an injustice, and it is an injustice because the West has a habit of ignoring the copyright-by-virtue-of-existing laws, those which it conveniently affords itself, when regarding the works of ‘foreigners’:
It is an injustice because Picasso is credited and celebrated for inventing ‘cubism’ while his people destroyed the African art from which cubism was inspired. Meanwhile they named it something new–‘cubism’–repackaged it as a white invention and sold it for millions among themselves, while they called the originals “primitive art.”
It is an injustice because Africans were not thought of as Christians until the presence of missionaries in the African continent, when in reality the religion had been practiced in the continent long before Jesus had light hair and blue eyes.
It is an injustice because not only can the works of a people be appropriated, but so can the people themselves, whether in whitewashed depictions of Jesus or in white men invoking the name of MLK Jr. to lecture frustrated people of color about peace.
It is an injustice because conspiracy theorists suggest that aliens built the pyramids of Egypt and Mayan temples instead of each respective native population, because that is more likely; no one would ever think question that the Greeks and Romans built anything.
It is an injustice because the Swastika, once a symbol of peace, eternity, and infinity, is now associated and can only be associated with Nazis.
It is an injustice because contemporary fashion designers derive their inspiration from traditional cultures in Africa and Asia with no mention of the names responsible for originals; the works, arts, cultures, and labor of a people of color are the property of the public as long as that public is white.
It is an injustice because only Western copyright laws when applying to Western ‘creators’ are elevated over the global economy; any culture who does not attribute rights in a way that the West can understand is subjected to the thievery of their creative work and the capital derived from it.
It is an injustice because due to the aforementioned, because Muslims refuse to engage in the depictions of their Prophets, the face of the Prophet becomes grounds for opportunist warfare.
As the West cannot accept the disengagement of Muslims, whether Western or Eastern, from visually ‘claiming’ the physique of the Prophet, the West enforces a dynamic in which Muslims feel pressured to engage in a Western-type practice of depicting religious figures, a pseudo-conversion and abandonment of self-identity, in fear that the Prophet will be caricaturized and misconceived by the interpretations of the West if these interpretations are allowed to stand alone.
It is an injustice because depictors of the Prophet Muhammad believe their approach to religious figures, to anyone or anything, to be the default approach to the world, to trump all other forms of religious or cultural practice, and to believe that the absence of depiction, of the visual, is the concession to be conquered and altered, silence as evidence of compliance.
A non-Muslim drawing the Prophet Muhammad makes the Prophet Muhammad, his image, and his legacy, immediately inaccessible to Muslims who practice Islam by not creating images of him. It successfully privileges the non-Muslim view of him, as a racist caricature, when no imagery from practicing Muslims can exist to combat this view.