The limitations of free speech and the obligations of Human dignity.
As some of you might have heard, last Thursday was dubbed “Draw Muhammed Day” (DMD), a day of “protest” fueled by a Facebook page that encouraged followers to post images of the prophet of Islam. Their way of protesting was to defame and insult Prophet Muhammed (Peace & Prayers be Upon Him) in the worst ways possible.
But what are they protesting exactly?
Well here is the complete story, But first allow me to apologize for next very very long post, what I intended to be a long article, turned out to be a 15 pages paper; but you’ll have to bear with me, because the topic at hand needs this lengthy post to be addressed. However to make things easier for those who have patience to read it, I divided it into 6 sections.
Section I: Déjà-vu
In April 2010, the controversial U.S. comedy television cartoon “South Park” censored two of their broadcasts which were to include cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PPBUH) along with other religious figures, after receiving threats from the New York blog “Revolution Muslim.”
The first of two episodes, both celebrating the 200th episode of South Park, was altered, substituting a cartoon of the prophet with a cartoon of a man dressed in a bear costume and claiming to be the prophet , while lamenting about his inability to appear on the celebration episode, which was populated with nearly all the famous people their show has lampooned in its history, as well as major religious figures, like Moses, Jesus and Buddha.
The second part of the episode, aired a week later, was labeled with the word “Censored” with the words of the prophet’s parody beeped out during broadcast and images of the prophet in the bear outfit were substituted with ones of Santa Claus in the same bear costume.
After the first part was aired, a member of an Islamic group called Revolution Muslims wrote in a post on the group’s Web site, that the episode “outright insulted” the prophet, adding: “We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid, and they will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.”
Mr. van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker and a critic of Islam, was killed by an Islamic militant in Amsterdam in 2004 after he made a film that discussed the abuse of Muslim women in some Islamic societies.
Until here the story is a repeated one… One with little significance and which could pass by with a little debate between those who supported South Park’s right to “free speech”, and those who supported Muslim’s right to “respect”.
But unfortunately the story didn’t end there…
As a protest to Comedy Central’s self-censorship of the South Park episode, one cartoonist, Molly Norris, came up with the satirical suggestion to make May 20 as “Draw Muhammad Day.” It was just a sarcastic suggestion on her behalf, but little did she know.
One facebook user, Jon Wellington, took her suggestion literally and started a page with the name “Everybody Draw Muhammed Day”, inviting all members to submit their own caricatures mocking the prophet!
Rapidly, as you can imagine, the page attracted some +110,000 users who engaged in the worst type of slander, slurs, hate speech and insults against the prophet of Islam and Islam in general.
Shocked that people took her “joke” seriously, Ms. Norris called for this event to be canceled, but it was too late for that. In late April, after she had rejected the idea for the May 20 protest, Norris stated on her website: “This was always about rights, never MEANT to disrespect religion. Alas if we don’t have rights, we will not be able to practice the religion of our choice”. Wellington announced on April 26 that he, too, was dropping out of the movement. “I am aghast that so many people are posting deeply offensive pictures of the Prophet,”.
And indeed things were getting too ugly, the members have surpassed the original purpose which was drawing Muhammed (PPBUH) -which was already unacceptable to Muslims- and went into the realm of insulting the prophet in every way possible, and the outcome was grotesque. One browse through the Pages gallery which was rapidly increasing by the second, was enough for any moderate Muslim to completely lose his/her nerve. It was shocking to Muslims and sensible non-Muslims alike.
But by that time it was too big to be stopped by the dropping out of both its founders, the page continued and the drawings got yet more revolting.
On the other hand Muslims tried to counter back and over the last two weeks Muslims worldwide have been setting their statuses to: Please Report the DMD page, inviting friends to report the page in the hope that facebook management would then delete it.
Radical Muslims went to the page and threatened the page admins, which of course infuriated the thousands of members even more, inciting worse drawings of the prophet.
While Moderate Muslims (like myself) went to the page and tried to engage in debates or dialogues with the admins and members, only to be met with the worst insults imaginable and a mockery that reveals a complete ignorance about Islam, freedom of speech and Human right altogether!
Bigger organization called for an Islamic boycott of facebook, or a mass deactivation campaign. Indeed, a plethora of counter groups condemning the campaign proposed a mass deactivation campaign as a reaction to Facebook’s failure to remove the offending page.
On the other hand, Pakistan banned facebook completely for an indefinite period of time, after wide national protests, while Saudi Arabia blocked only the controversial page.
Come the 20th of May and the page remained with a rapidly exploding gallery of some +12,000 user-posted blasphemous depictions of the prophet which included: animals resemblance, nudity and worse transgressions on Muhammed (PPBUH).
Of course the page attracted the western’s media attention, it got coverage from almost all big news networks including CNN and MSNBC which interviewed the creator of the page and celebrated his “courage” in standing out against “terror” and ignorance, and hailed him as a true fighter for “Freedom of speech”.
One day later, on Friday the 21st of May the Facebook page was taken down globally for two days only, Facebook officials told the Associated Press they played no role in the removal of the “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” page.
The page is back now and still up and running till this date.
In a followup to the DMD, there was a much smaller controversy going on in South Africa, known as Zapiro’s controversy, the Mail & Guardian published a cartoon by the famous South African cartoonist Jonathan Zapiro on Friday the 21st edition, depicting the prophet reclining in a psychiatrist’s chair bemoaning his followers’ lack of humor, mocking Pakistan’s “over-reaction” to DMD, which caused a stir in South Africa in return.
So far this had had all the Ingredients of a full fledged controversy. The clash of civilizations theorists must be having the time of their lives, and sharpening their pencils to write new books!
Section II: A conspiracy? Or a conspiracy theory?
As you can imagine, Muslims, all Muslims, who truly believe in Islam that is, are infuriated by the DMD ordeal. In fact, it seems like Islam is being targeted by a vicious and almost systematic campaign which is constantly increasing in altitude and magnitude. and if you don’t believe it let me recap the latest news of this Islamophobic campaign:
27th March 2008: Fitna, a 17 minutes biased political feature directly attacking Islam, was released to the Internet. Other longer and more comprehensive features attacking Islam were released also in the United States.
1st of July 2009: Marwa El-Sherbini (The Hijab Martyr) was stabbed to death in front of her three-year-old son in a courtroom in Dresden, Germany. She had just given evidence against her attacker, Alex Wiens, who had used racist insults against her because she wore an Islamic headscarf, when he suddenly attacked El-Sherbini with an 18 cm long blade and stabbed her 16 times. El-Sherbini’s husband, who was present at the hearing, tried to intervene and was mistakenly shot by a police officer who was called to the court room.
6th of July 2009: In UK, the Glasgow branch of Islamic Relief was attacked and badly damaged by a fire which police said was started deliberately.
29th of November 2009: In a clear act of “religious oppression”, the citizens of Switzerland voted on a referendum of a constitutional amendment banning the construction of new minarets which was approved by 57.5% of the participating voters.
It is such a bizarre referendum, considering the fact that there are only four minarets in Switzerland, so they can hardly be perceived as a threat!
The Swiss Green Party have declared that the ban introduces a contradiction into the Swiss constitution, which also contains a paragraph which guarantees freedom of religion and they have announced their intention to appeal to the European Court on Human Rights on the matter.
On the other hand and not so far down the lands of enlightenment, the Alliance for the Future of Austria stated that “as long as fanatic Islamists describe their mosques as army barracks … we will prevent building such installations to protect our democracy, human rights and freedom”.
13th of December 2009: The Mosque of Castres in southern France, was vandalized during the night, a Swastika in black paint, “Sieg Heil” in German, “France to the French” in French, and “White Power” in English were scrawled on the mosque, pig feet were hung on the mosque’s door. Additionally 148 French Muslim graves were desecrated near Arras. A pig’s head was hung from a headstone and profanities insulting Islam and Muslims were daubed on some graves.
January 2010: a report from the University of Exeter’s European Muslim research centre noted that the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes has increased, ranging from “death threats and murder to persistent low-level assaults, such as spitting and name-calling”. The Islamophobic incidents it described include but are not limited to:
• Neil Lewington, a violent extremist nationalist convicted in July 2009 of a bomb plot.
• Terence Gavan, a violent extremist nationalist convicted in January 2010 of manufacturing nail bombs and other explosives, firearms and weapons.
• A gang attack in November 2009 on Muslim students at City University.
• The murder in September 2009 of Muslim pensioner, Ikram Syed ul-Haq, who “was brutally beaten to death in front of his three year old granddaughter race-hate gang”.
• A serious assault in August 2007 on the Imam at London Central Mosque.
• An arson attack in June 2009 on Greenwich Islamic Centre.
• A young Moroccan, being nearly killed while waiting to take a bus from Willesden to Regent’s Park in London and left in a coma for three months.
4th of January 2010: In Ontario, Canada the largest mosque of the city on Stone Church Road was firebombed.
27th of April 2010: France announced that the French government would push for a new law prohibiting full head-coverings (niqab) in all public areas.
Laws prohibiting wearing of burqa (full body, including head) and/or niqab (only head) coverings in public places is close to being passed in Belgium. In Denmark, wearing the garments has been “limited” but not forbidden in public places since January this year. In Netherlands, a law echoing the French and Belgian texts is currently being drafted, while in Italy full face coverings have been forbidden since 1975.
In Egypt, a country with an Islamic majority (over 85% of the population) and more than once the leader of the Islamic world, Niqab have been banned in Schools, universities and other public services.
Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician behind the hate movie Fitna and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), a political party in the Netherlands, proposed a full ban on Hijab, Islamic schools, the building of new mosques, and on non-western immigration. Geert also announced that he plans to release a sequel to fitna on March 2010, he said it is scheduled to be released after Dutch elections in June.
And finally, the 20th of May ordeal, which might as well be the worst of all, looks like the latest symptom of this hate campaign against Islam.
But what is it that we can do about it?
After all, this time it’s +100,000 cartoonists from all around the globe not just one, and +10,000 cartoons not just 12!
It seems like that they’ve won this time, doesn’t it? But really, did they?
Section III: Freedom of speech? Really?
Those responsible for DMD, claim that it is a form of protest, to defend their Freedom of speech, which Islam is trying to limit. And if that is the case they have all the right to do so.
But what is Freedom of speech, and how is Islam limiting their freedom of expression?! By getting offended at extremely insulting drawings of the prophet?
Ok, here is the deal as we all know it, but the west fails to recognize it; the very act of drawing the prophet in any way, shape, or form is anathema to Muslims, the act itself is very offensive, even if the drawing is an artistic rendering of the prophet, like the ones of saints in churches, still it would be offensive to Muslims. It is simply against our faith. To us, drawing the prophet is a desecration beyond any desecration.
Why? It’s not of non-muslims’ business to ask why! It just is that way…
With that stated, you can imagine how infuriating an extremely insulting cartoon of the prophet would be!
Drawing the prophet in these offensive ways, or in any other way, would be as much an offense to Muslims as per say killing a sacred cow in front of a Hindu, in fact it is way more offensive than that!
(There is no comparison here between the two sacred figures, I’m just likening the desecration of Holies to any other religion)
So is it of the West’s right to disrespect (and sacrilege) the beliefs of Muslims?
Unfortunately, to some extent it is…
Our human rights include the “right” to be offensive. But along with our rights also come responsibilities that are inherent into these very rights to guarantee Freedom and Dignity to the offender and the offended.
Those include the responsibility to also defend each others’ human dignity and respect. Such commitment to human dignity is a fundamental part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
Human dignity is also recognized in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which recognizes “the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
And here, let me drift to a side story, which tells us why the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted in the first place.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created in the aftermath of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, a nation that brought crimes against humanity to a level not previously witnessed by mankind.
But what was the Nazisi first tool of degrading other nations?
The Nazis’ first tool to degrade human dignity was Julius Streicher’s “Der Sturmer” (the Attacker) newspaper created in 1923; Streicher was inspired to join the Nazi party after hearing an Adolf Hitler speech in 1921. Der Sturmer (“the Attacker”) was a publication that attacked the humanity and dignity of Jews in Germany and around the world, using…. yes you have guessed it CARTOONS.
The notorious Der Sturmer cartoons were historically significant in spreading images to degrade Jews and portray them as enemies against Germans and all of humanity. The Der Sturmer anti-Semitic newspaper and cartoons were used to spread hate against Jews throughout Germany among the common man, and were distributed to Germans in countries around the world.
How can humanity not have learned its lessons after seeing the consequences of demonizing and degrading identity groups in Nazi Germany? But we know it did not and has not. Even as the United States of America was signing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, offensive cartoons continued to appear and have continued to appear over the decades — especially about black Americans.
There seems to be no end of ways to create offensive cartoons about any race, religion, gender, or national origin. Mocking the human dignity of others in offensive cartoons depicting men, women, children seems to be the great equalizer of those promoting disrespect and some cases, outright hatred. Still, offensive cartoons have been defended by our freedom of expression.
Nowadays, offensive cartoons which mock and demonize the Terrorist Arabs (Muslims), runs in almost all news publications in USA and Europe.
Do Muslims feel offended by these cartoons?
Do they protest them or seek to limit them?
In fact, it’s not just cartoons, as I mentioned before there are more than 5 famous and wide spread “documentary” features which are completely biased and attacks Islam and Muslims in the worst ways possible, these documentaries demonizes Islam and Muslims, drives at painting all Muslims (1.8 billion ppl) as terrorists and barbarian hordes, who pose a threat not just to western culture, but also to the entire human civilization and survival! Their release and spread almost went unchallenged by Muslims.
Not to mention Fox news thugs and the right wing in USA and Europe, which constantly attacks Islam at large. Those also goes almost without objection from Muslims.
This should drive westerners to ask themselves, why is it only in the case of the prophet’s cartoons that Muslims get infuriated?
Because simply it’s considered sacrilege of Islam, not an attack or a form of freedom of speech.
A friend of mine, Khalid Bahaa ElDin, wrote in his status the following: “When you attack black people, they call it Racism. When you attack Jewish people, they call it Anti-Semitism. When you attack women, they call it Sexism. When you attack homosexuality, they call it Intolerance. When you attack your country, they call it Treason. When you attack a religious sect, they call it Hate speech. But when you attack the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him, they want to call it freedom of speech.”
And it’s true, USA and the west have adopted restrictions over freedom of speech, in the name of Political correctness, whereby regulating or preventing the use of some language, imagery, ideas, policies, and behaviors seen as “offensive” to a group of people of a certain ethnicity, gender, race, culture, sexual orientation or disability.
How about a group of people who constitutes almost 1/3 of the planet’s population?!
Shouldn’t Political Correctness extend to protect the Religious faith of this group?
NO… not to the west, no!
Section IV: Why the Prophet?
Ok, I’ll ask this question to all those, who agree with the notion that drawing Prophet Muhammed (PPBUH) is a form of “Freedom of Speech”.
What good is it?
Political Cartoons in their acceptable form have a purpose and set definition: “an illustration or comic strip containing a political or social message, that usually relates to current events or personalities. (Wikipedia’s definition)
What does drawing the Prophet accomplish from the above?
Well I’ll tell you what it accomplishes: It outrages Muslims!!! And that is the only real purpose of it!
The organizers of DMD knew this, and that’s precisely why they organized the event, they wanted to offend for the sake of offending and not in some holy fight for “freedom of speech”!
Austin Dacey, writing for Religion Dispatches, argued, “The debate over cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad is often framed as a clash between free speech and religious attitudes. But it is just as much a clash between conflicting religious attitudes, and the freedom at stake is not only freedom of expression but freedom of religion.”
In an analysis of the protest movement, Brendan O’Neill was critical of the concept of “mocking Muhammad”, writing, “… these two camps – the Muhammad-drawers and the Muslim offence-takers – are locked in a deadly embrace. Islamic extremists need Western depictions of Muhammad as evidence that there is a new crusade against Islam, while the Muhammad-knockers need the flag-burning, street-stomping antics of the extremists as evidence that their defense of the Enlightenment is a risky, important business.”
And that’s really the story, but it goes deeper than that; those “Freedom Fighters” (Fighting for their freedom of speech, while destroying our freedom of religion!) need the hostile attitudes and behaviors of Muslims, to prove to themselves and the world that they are right combating Islam.
They need to believe that Islam is Violent and Barbaric… and the easiest way to do that is: Offend those who believe in it by the crudest and most sacrilegious way.
I understand that not everyone who participated in that day had this perverse intention in themselves . But cartoons about Muhammad (PPBUH) has caused an outcry of indignation by offended Muslims in the past, it comes as no surprise. I am aware this outcry may well be one of the reasons for the continued popularity of the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PPBUH). To some non-Muslims it is a defiance to those telling you that you are not allowed to do this. Their perspective is “I’ll show them what I can and cannot do. I’ll show them about how they seek to silence my freedom of expression.” Which is an extremely childish and immature approach yet valid to some. People like to win arguments, and they don’t like being told what they can and cannot express. But there is also a point at which our reason must also win over our emotions of anger and frustration.
There are many things that we are “free” to do, but we do not do them out of respect for others, as part of a civilized society.
But somehow, millions of westerns seems to have forgotten this basic fact! When it comes to cartoons about Muhammad and Muslims, such reasoning seems to disappear.
Some non-Muslims are simply angry, tired of being threatened, and want to “strike back” at religious extremists, by targeting all Muslims. But they do that, oblivious or simply ignoring the fact that by doing so they have judged all Muslims as one, singular monolithic group that must all think and believe the same way! How different is it for non-Muslims to condemn all Muslims than it is for Muslim religious supremacists to condemn all non-Muslims unequivocally?
Then there are those who have the approach of “if our religious views can be mocked, why can’t theirs?” because Christian imagery is regularly defiled and disgraced in art galleries, national television & on the Internet, but this is not a case of comparison here, because the right of “not insulting my holy beliefs” is a right that they have given up by choice, and not by someone else forcing it on them!
And this in itself should bring them to the conclusion that they won’t be able to force it on us, not by drawing thousand or even millions of drawings of Prophet Muhammed (PPBUH). Doing so will however widen the gap, and make co-existence almost impossible, something, that sometimes I suspect they already know and seek!
So, if they won’t be able to alter our belief that drawing the Prophet is a sacrilege… what is it that the DMD will accomplish?
It will widen the gap between the west and Islam… it will increase the number of West Haters among Muslims, who will no doubt join the ranks of Radical Islam and threaten the west even more… leading to the ultimate clash, which becomes more evident and looming every passing day.
Is that what they want? sometimes, and recently more often than any, I feel it is exactly what they seek!
Section V: Lesson of the past, are indeed lost!
About 5 years ago, after the famous Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, I wrote an angered article titled: “Freedom of Speech and the so called clash of civilization”. Of course, I felt infuriated, deeply offended and helpless (feelings which I revisited even stronger on Thursday), so naturally in my article I called upon all Muslims to rise up (peacefully) against the cartoons and boycott Danish, many did the same, and that led to an efficient consumer boycott which have cost Denmark (134 million Euros) in economic losses.
In that very article, I asked about the definitions of hypocrisy in relation to the hypocrisy of the west, and I examined the limits of “Freedom of speech”.
I quote from that article: “In the past years how many books, articles, cartoons, movies, TV shows… etc. have attacked Muslims and Arabs in the western media and press? Hundreds? Thousands? Millions?
… Did we try to take away their freedom of speech in attacking us, then??! But when this freedom of speech turns into a cheap pointless way to offend that reflects a shallow minded stupidity and total ignorance of our religion… don’t we have the right to protest against it? (it is our “Freedom of speech & action” that they don’t like after all, now isn’t it?)…
In many European countries, there are laws that will land in jail any person who thinks about denying not only the historicity of the Jewish holocaust, but also the method by which Jews were put to death by the Nazis. In some of these countries, this prohibition goes as far as prosecuting those who would claim or attempt to prove that less than 6 million jews were slaughtered by the Nazis. In none of these countries are there similar laws that threaten people with loss of freedom and wealth.
Quickly now: what defines a hypocrite? Answer: a person who follows the letter of the law, but not its spirit. The laws against anti-Semitism are: laws against anti-Semitism enacted by hypocritical Europeans with blood on their hands from the genocides in their recent and distant past, and much guilt to atone for in their hearts and minds.
The spirit of the law, which would extend this protection to Muslims as well, if not indeed other religious groups, is nowhere to be found in the Western legal code. You can curse the Prophet of the Muslims at will and with total impunity. However, approach the holocaust at your own risks and perils if you do not include in your discussion the standard, ritualistic incantations about the six million Jewish victims of the European Nazis. There is a word for this in the English language: hypocrisy.” – end of quote
These words stand equally true today…
The fallout from the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons was not just the boycott, the Islamic world was enraged, demonstrations and protests against the cartoons broke out worldwide, and some of them turned ugly, namingly in 3 locations Iran, Syria & Lebanon. Radical death threats and reward offers for killing those responsible for the cartoons were made, but this incidents remain singular and pose a minority, at large the protests were peaceful, despite the name calling and flag burning.
On the other hand a group of 25 Muslim youth Islamic clerics from Egypt and other countries, visited Denmark, and engaged in cultural debates about the cartoons, these were called “The interfaith cross cultural Dialogue of Religions”, the event was part of a larger campgain called “Know the Prophet”, which was launched in the wake of the cartoons in cooperation with 42 prominent preachers and Islamic scholars, including Egypt’s Mufti Ali Gomaa.
5 years later, what was accomplished? Nothing!
The same cartoons were reprinted on a wider scale in 2008, and in 2010 the 12 cartoons became 12,000!
And I think it is safe to assume that all what the West remembers from the 2005 cartoon controversy is: the angry protests and death threats.
So what is the solution? What is it that we should do?
Should we boycott again? Or hold more interfaith conferences on dialogue and respect?
Not to me, not this time!
This time I’m totally disgusted, appalled & sickened by the ordeal of DMD that I dare say the following:
I’ve lost all respect of the west and its superficial culture…
A hypocritical culture built on masked racism, intolerance, double standards, prejudice and rooted hate of the other… a vain culture of exploitation, bigotry and discrimination.
Don’t misunderstand my words; I still respect some aspects of their civilization, their technological advancement, scientific research, arts and literature for example… I have western friends and I still respect them as individuals also…
But I utterly disrespect their collective culture.
I disrespect the sum of it… and I utterly distaste what it stands for…
I know that some of you will accuse me of falling down the same hole the people responsible for defaming Islam have fell down, which is generalizing and judging a cultural as a whole.
But no, actually, I know that there are a lot of “westerners” who do not approve of demonizing Islam and Muslims, and may be even more who are against the insult of Prophet Muhammed (PPBUH), but from where I’m standing those voices remain a minority, and judging by the statics, Islamphobia continues to grow against all logic & reason.
I say against all reason and logic, because a realty fact check for the global death tolls during the last 10 years will reveal that the majority of armed conflict victims are MUSLIMS, and if we widen the time interval to include the 90’s, the death toll will get much worse!
I say against all reason and logic, because another realty fact check for global conflicts during the last 10 years will reveal that almost the majority (if not all) of armed conflicts were NOT perpetrated by Muslims!
I say against all reason and logic, because another realty fact check for the global Mass destruction weapons arsenal will reveal that Muslims almost have none!
And yet we, Muslims are portrayed by the west as the global evil power which threatens the world with extinction.
To me, the West is the live proof that some things will never, ever change. The age old, underlying 500 years hate of the west towards Islam can get masked, or buried for a while, it can get renamed or redefined… it can change its shape or form, but will it go away?
It simply won’t!
Section VI: Can inaction be the right course of action?
Here is what I think we should do about “Draw Muhammed Day”, and similar incidents which will surely take place.
(at least that’s what I will do)
As I said before, I honestly think that the people responsible for such acts of insulting prophet Muhammed (PPBUH) need and want us to act violently; they want the protests and death threats, the radical chants and burning flags, in order to justify their Hate of Islam.
Well let’s not give them that. Let’s not fall in their trap, let’s recognize this for what it is, a cheap childish stunt to provoke and offend us, from ignorant hordes who really are worthless in the course of history.
Actually come to think about it, this is not just the logical thing to do, I dare say, it’s the Islamic right thing to do.
Prophet Muhammad was insulted and mocked during his lifetime on earth by non believers, did he send them death threats, did he send his apostles rioting and protesting? did he behead those who mocked him?
He forgave and he was patient, and evidently, that brought some of the very people who mocked him to their sense and they even entered Islam later on.
Allah in the Holy Quran wrote:
وَإِذَا رَأَيْتَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَخُوضُونَ فِىٓ ءَايَٰتِنَا فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا۟ فِى حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِۦ ۚ وَإِمَّا يُنسِيَنَّكَ ٱلشَّيْطَٰنُ فَلَا تَقْعُدْ بَعْدَ ٱلذِّكْرَىٰ مَعَ ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ
“And when you see those who engage in [offensive] discourse concerning Our verses, then turn away from them until they enter into another conversion. And if Satan should cause you to forget, then do not remain after the reminder with the wrongdoing people.” 6:68
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ ﴿1﴾ ٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ فِى صَلَاتِهِمْ خَٰشِعُونَ ﴿2﴾ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ ٱللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ ﴿3
“Successful indeed are the believers. * Who are humble during their prayers. * And who keep aloof from vain talk.” 23:1-3
أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ يُؤْتَوْنَ أَجْرَهُم مَّرَّتَيْنِ بِمَا صَبَرُوا۟ وَيَدْرَءُونَ بِٱلْحَسَنَةِ ٱلسَّيِّئَةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَٰهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ ﴿54﴾ وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا۟ ٱللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُوا۟ عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا۟ لَنَآ أَعْمَٰلُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَٰلُكُمْ سَلَٰمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لَا نَبْتَغِى ٱلْجَٰهِلِينَ ﴿55﴾ إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِى مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَهْدِى مَن يَشَآءُ ۚ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِٱلْمُهْتَدِينَ ﴿56
“Those will be given their reward twice for what they patiently endured and [because] they avert evil through good, and from what We have provided them they spend(in charity). * And when they hear ill speech, they turn away from it and say, “For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds, Peace be upon you; we seek not the ignorant.” * You [Prophet] cannot guide everyone you love to the truth; it is God who guides whoever He will: He knows best those who will receive guidance.” 28:54-56
So to all Muslims who were as deeply offended by DMD as I am:
Dear brother and sister,
Patience, Allah is with those who are Patient.
We Muslims are ordered by Allah (before any Declaration of Human Rights), to respect fellow Humans, all religions, universal human rights and the dignity of one another.
We believe that all human beings are born equal in all aspect including dignity. Such human dignity is not just a right, it is also a responsibility.
قال رسول الله محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم
“يا أيها الناس ألا إن ربكم واحد، وإن أباكم واحد، ألا لا فضل لعربي على أعجمي، ولا لعجمي على عربي، ولا لأحمر على أسود، ولا أسود على أحمر إلا بالتقوى، أبلّغت؟ قالوا: بلّغ رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم
The Prophet Muhammed, Peace & Prayers be Upon Him, said:
“O People, Your God is One, and your father is One, there is no preference for Arab upon Ajami (westerner), nor there is for Ajami upon Arab, not to Red over black (of skin), nor to Black over Red, except with Taqwa (Piety & Good doing)”.
And to those who want to take an action, I offer Muslim readers the opportunity on to publicly express online their own commitment to universal human rights and pluralism, as a counter to “Draw Muhammad Day.” Provide your responses on your commitment to universal human rights and pluralism via at firstname.lastname@example.org, and they will be shared with the world on Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.)’s web site at RealCourage.org.
Let’s prove that we were and still are more civilized than they are.
To all non-Muslims who may read this,
Contempt and hate have the same universal application, regardless of our religion, race, gender, or ethnicity.
But we can choose a different path. Instead of choosing universal contempt, we can choose a path of universal human rights and dignity.
We share a common conscience towards how we treat humanity and how respect each other. We share a common responsibility to our shared universal human rights. We share a common obligation to upholding each other’s human rights, including the right of Freedom of religion, which is m.
We are Responsible for Equality And Liberty, so let’s take up this responsibility.