“Hear us – Don’t insult our Prophet.”
By: Husseinali Datoo
Human dignity and mutual respect is a fundamental human right, which does not stand alone without Freedom of expression or above other related rights.
Across the Muslim World there is rightly indignation and hurt at the latest deliberate attack on Islam, in the form of the film – Innocence of Muslims-. Unquestionably this resentment is shared by all who believe in human rights and moral decency.
As I mentioned earlier, expression of free speech (FREEDOM OF SPEECH) is a basic human right; but that intentionally incite hatred and spark acts of violence are rightly to be condemned.
The deliberately made film of Prophet Mohammed(Peace be upon Him) contains disgusting dialogue that insults Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H) whom 1.6+ Billion Muslims hold in high esteem- This is a known fact.
This is not the first time that sentiments of the Muslim community have been tampered and countless times we have seen Islam and Holy Prophet denigrated and this action surprisingly is endorsed by the leaders of the free world in the guise of free speech.
Understandably the feelings of Muslims cry out in anger and as before this film has incited widespread protests throughout the World; protests directly triggered by the offensive, degrading film, sadly causing loss of life.
If freedom of speech is to be valued than the making and distribution of this film is not an expression of freedom of any kind as making of this disgusting film does not in any way contribute of value to promote understanding between different religions.
More so all these insults to Islam and the Holy prophet serve no purpose other than to provoke further potential violence, enabling Muslims to be marginalized and demonized once more, constructing some persistent justification for continued causes of hurt and anger to Muslims.
Allowing this film to be shown or not has little to do with censorship and or free speech, and to reduce this issue to such thinking is a convenient diversion, made-up in order to avoid discussing the filmmaker’s intention. Therefore the film breaches international guidelines on free speech, and should be banned, its makers charged and prosecuted.
For the record: Google removed 1,710 videos and closed their affiliated accounts because, as Google put it, ‘a substantial number of those videos concerned Holocaust denial and defense of Holocaust deniers’. Google ‘closed the users’ accounts within 24 hours’ of receiving the complaint by a group that monitored anti-Semitism. While at the same moment surprisingly Google said ‘this video,-Innocence of Muslims- widely available on the Web, is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube’. (Huffingdon Post)
It cannot be further expressed that Muslims through the world know the mischievous intent of the ever increasing insults to Islam and the Prophet and of the intention of film maker’s as well.
If only those who denigrate the Prophet and the- so called supporters of freedom of speech- would care to read about what the Prophet of Islam had actually taught and learn from his attributes surely.
For instance, that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had enjoined upon his followers that, “when the bier of anyone passes by you, whether [of a] Jew, Christian, or Muslim, rise to your feet.”
According to yet another tradition, once a bier passed by him, and he stood up; and it was said to him: “This is the bier of a Jew.” Muhammad (peace be upon him) said something to the effect, “Was he not a soul?”
All of this goes to show how enlightened and humane an approach the Prophet had towards even the Jews and Christians. It would take volumes to write about the attributes of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.(PBUH)
What we, in the Muslim world, fail to understand are the dual standards followed on this issue by the media and writers in the West.
But may be to them freedom of speech mean that religious sentiments are tampered with and expect Muslims to react with an air of resignation?
We need to give encouragement to Muslim scholars to delve into their treasury of wisdom to see what they have there to contribute to the discussion about the future of Islam. A good word of advice to the Muslim community is to think big and inform the writers and filmmakers about Islam and the Prophet Mohammad.( PBUH)
Karen Armstrong in her book Mohammed the Prophet of our time describes him as preaching loyalty to God rather than tribe; reconciliation rather than retaliation: care for orphans and the poor: and in many ways empowerment of women which will be a surprise to some. The Quran gave women property rights. Indeed radical changes at a time when women were traded like camels.
Surely words of wisdom……
This world is a multi-faith, multicultural society and there is no room for hatred but love…..
May peace prevail……
The writer is an Optometrist and Writer lives in Dar es Salaam Tanzania