The cartoons controversy is not about freedom of expression. It is about how a segment of European society views religion in general and Islam in particular.
Western 'liberals' who have chosen to defend the vilification of the Prophet Muhammad in caricatures that first appeared in a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, in September 2005 and which were subsequently reproduced in various dailies in a number of other countries, argue that their media are free to publish anything and do not impose restrictions upon themselves. This is not true at all. Elite and corporate interests, the dominant worldview prevalent in society, certain notions of the well-being of the majority and specific circumstances have always conditioned the freedom of the media.
Isn't it because of elite interests that in a democracy like Italy where the majority of the people were opposed to the invasion of Iraq very few anti-war intellectuals were interviewed in the mainstream print and electronic media? Isn't it because of a worldview that is skeptical of Islam that almost every newspaper editorial in France --- the nation that gave birth to the 'Rights of Man' --- bemoaned the electoral victory of the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria in 1992 and endorsed obliquely the usurpation of power by the military junta? Isn't it because of a specific circumstance - a deep seated collective guilt arising from the holocaust --- that the European media hounds and harasses anyone who dares to raise even the slightest doubt about that terrible tragedy?
What this shows is that there are issues that the Western media deliberately suppress --- in spite of their professed commitment to freedom of expression --- because they do not dovetail with the media's worldview or their interests.
Secularism in the West
It so happens that religion is one of those subjects that is at odds with the worldview of a lot of Western media practitioners. Often vehemently secular in outlook, sometimes contemptuous of matters of faith, they have no qualms about deriding the Sacred and the Transcendent. It is not surprising therefore that Christianity has been lambasted at some time or other in almost every major European newspaper and, on numerous occasions, Jesus Christ has been lampooned in films, cartoons and articles. This has caused grievous hurt to practicing Christians in the continent.
It is partly because of this attitude towards religion in general on the part of the media that Islam has also been targeted. But the vilification of Islam is also a consequence of other factors. With the dramatic growth of Muslim minorities in almost every European country in the last 20 years, the majority community has become more and more negative towards their presence, reflected in the rise of the phenomenon known as Islamophobia. While a degree of Muslim exclusivity has contributed towards this, it is the utter inability of the European to accord respect and equality to 'the other' in the socio-psychological sense which is the main problem. In an earlier period Jews had also been the victims of Europe's discrimination and demonization.
Stereotyping of Islam & Muslims
There is perhaps a more important reason for the demonization of the religion. It is the baneful impact of 911 and the war on terror upon Muslims and their subtle stereotyping in the media as a people prone to violence. Though most Western political leaders are careful to distinguish the Muslim fringe that resorts to violence in pursuit of its political objectives from the rest of the community, television images and media commentaries have often reinforced the erroneous equation of the religion with terror. It explains why some of the offensive cartoons of the Prophet published in the Jyllands-Posten made that link.
Equating Islam and Muslims with violence and terror is not new. It has been going on for a thousand years. It began with distorted and perverted biographies of the Prophet in Latin in France and Germany in the tenth and eleventh centuries and has continued into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries through the writings of men like Bernard Lewis and Daniel Pipes.
|When the Prophet was hurled with abuse and taunted with insults --- even when he was physically attacked --- he displayed tremendous restraint. Surely, the least that those who are protesting in his name can do is to try to emulate his example|
In the past, Islam was equated with violence partly because of the anger and antagonism generated by both the Muslim conquest of large parts of Europe and the defeat of Christendom at the hands of Muslim defenders of Jerusalem at the end of the crusades. The power and glory of Islamic civilization between the eighth and fourteenth centuries --- especially its pioneering role as the founder of modern science --- when much of Europe was shrouded in the darkness of the middle ages also caused a great deal of envy and resentment which European folk literature expressed through negative stereotyping of Islam and Muslims. This stereotyping with the emphasis upon 'Islamic violence' reached its zenith during the colonial epoch when Western powers ruled the roost.
Oil & Zionism
It is not just the residue of this huge historical baggage that colors Western perceptions of the Muslim world today. It is significant that it was when certain Muslim states began to exercise control over their oil from the early seventies onwards, thus challenging the Western grip over this vital commodity, that pejorative portrayals of Arabs and Muslims became rife in the mainstream Western media. Similarly, as Zionist influence over the critical sectors of American society increased and the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation intensified in the sixties, the American media accelerated its imaging of 'Muslim terror.' It is undeniably true that the politics of Israel and oil has been at the root of much of the stereotyping of the religion and its adherents in recent times.
Role of Media
Since the politics of Israel and oil is entrenched within a global hegemonic structure of power, it is doubtful that the mainstream Western media will cease to equate Islam with violence in the near future. For the media themselves are part of this hegemony. This is why one has to depend upon the alternative media and dissident civil society actors to present a balanced perspective on how the religion views violence and what the historical record has been on this score.
It is encouraging that there have always been non-Muslim writers in the past as in the present, from Wolfgang Goethe to Karen Armstrong, who have attempted to provide an honest picture of Islam to the public. It is bridge-builders of their kind who are crucial for inter-civilizational harmony between Islam and the West.
Unfortunately, most Muslims are not aware of the work of these bridge-builders. What they have been witnessing especially in the last few years are the stark consequences of global hegemony reflected in the slaughter of innocent Muslims in Palestine and Iraq; in the humiliation of occupation and subjugation; in the treachery of double standards; in the machinations of exclusion and marginalization. It explains to a great extent the explosion of violent fury in different parts of the Muslim world over the abusive caricaturing of the Prophet. It is anger that is driven by more than their boundless love for Muhammad.
Violent protest is not the way
However, what the cartoon protesters do not realize is that by resorting to violence they have unwittingly reinforced the worst prejudices of those detractors of Islam who are only too willing to link the religion to terror. Peaceful protest would have served the cause of Islam better. Such protest calls for a certain degree of restraint. It is true that in some of the protests Muslims have shown remarkable control over their emotions. But it should have been the norm.
After all, when the Prophet was hurled with abuse and taunted with insults --- even when he was physically attacked --- he displayed tremendous restraint. Surely, the least that those who are protesting in his name can do is to try to emulate his example.
Dr.Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST).
Those who do not wish to misunderstand things may read the Quran with understanding and they will find hundreds of passages acceptable to Jews,Christians,Hindus,Communists,Maxists,etcWill anyone dislike a muslim because there are passages in the Quran which he doesnt like or understand?If one doesnt want to quarrel with a Muslim,the latter will be powerless to foist a quarrel on him,and;similarly,he will be rendered powerless if a Muslim refuses his assistance to quarrell with him.Formerly only a few men wrote valuable books.Now, anybody writes and "prints " anything he likes,and POISON'S peoples minds.In view of above a true Muslim should not harbour anger,he should in fact suffer the anger of the opponent and he should never retaliate.There is no room for violence.The only force of universal application should be Love and "Soul-force" Muslims should adhere to
3.Non-cooperation with Danish authorities.
Brothers & Sisters.
It does stike me, everytime I see, an event either a protest or any kind of grouping by Muslims, how DISORGONISED and MESSY, we truly are. It seems to me, we are inccapable of maintaning order.I have come this conclusion, observing the passing of some events: the burails of the Lates( imam Homeini,Yasser Arafat, King Fahad, May there souls rest in peace and May Allah be pleased with them). These were just funerals, where due respect and order should have been applied; but that was not the case at all. The events were utter choas. The number of deads every year at the annual Hajj, also speaks volume for the same incompetance. What a shame! Al-Qur'an, urges Muslims to be organised, to consult each other. Al-Qur'an even draws our attention to the organisational skill of non-Muslims. Yet,we have failed to heed this important advice just as we are failing must of what make us claim: to SUBMIT to the WILL and ORDER of Allah(SHWTA): A MUSLIM, not a mu-uminu. There is a huge and a big difference between these two status, for someone who does understand.
This is why; I, for one, was not suprised to see the choas that surrounds the protest againts those TWISTED MIND of that artist. Sadly, the West will always be the West, nothing can change that, it is the will of Allah. The ironny is, Western Life Style is the sum of all what Allah says LAA!! yet they offer such SOCIAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, that can only be found in AL_QUR'AN, amazing!
In the meantime we are asked to be patient about what they say or do, and we should seek to please Allah through prayers. Of course this is hard, but of course this is one the rules to abide to as a Muslim. If I decide to be a member of a club or any institution, I have to obey the rules and regulations that governe that particular environment. Islam came through tribualtion, Islam will stay through tribulation, till the END, by the Will of Allah.
BUSH AND BLAIR SHOULD ALSO BE CHARGED JUST LIKE SADAM FOR THE CRIMES COMMITED BY THEIR SOLDIERS. WHY THE DOUBLE STANDARD....
"ISLAM ' THE RELIGION OF PEACE JOY AND SECURITY
never forget for our all muslims i am direct to say terrerist activity - bomber sucuder--etc....
we sorry to say " treat for tratt'
but never forget if our one question other religion he can not ask our
cartoonist any world thru fatwa catch& kill him in publicplace so lesson to an other people & never say to any question in future for islam
Actually these SATIN THINK TANK..... uses all the possibilities to present wrong image about Islam to the world. in fact they are involved in major terrorism activities around the world in any possible way, whether a Social, Political, Economical policies
This is my request to present a reality about Islam to the world with deeds and practical examples that are taught by Allah's through his prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H). I end my talk with the few verses of QURAN.
Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful exhortation; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord know best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.
They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous.
and you will see what this is all about.And them
you tell me,dont bring the fire out of people we
need to stand up.I did not say hurt people but stand up.
Are you protesting because you think that it is againstShariah, or are you protesting because of your love Rasul-Allah (SAW)???
Where were you when Jannat al-Baqi was demolished, when Saudi's wanted to paint the Prophet's green dome to Silver like the rest of the domes, where is everyone protesting against the demolition of the Prophet's house in Makkah, which will be replaced by a giant skyscraper hotel in its place?? Where are you protestors burning down embassies when this happens?
If we really love Rasul-Allah (SAW), we will not let these things happen. These are your own 'Muslim' brothers insulting Allah's most beloved.
a mad religion of the world. The 9-11
is being blamed on the Muslims. There are several questions unanswered. Who really knows who did what to whom on 9-11. The people items that US
government found on th wreckage, who are they identity theft is becoming big in the US.
I would like to simply choose an Islamic point of view over an ethnocentric point of view.
After a heated discussion on this very topic this week with some family I am glad to see that some of my thoughts on the violence demonstrated by Muslims have been felt by others.
Afterall, if you are asking individuals who simply dont have the same respect for their own prophets to understand why you, as a Muslim, are so angry about the disrespect they show yours you are fighting for a blind cause.
We need to demonstrate just why we are so upset and use our demonstrations as a forum. Then, after the non muslims learn about the core of their mistake will we be in a better position to influence someones next choice at doing sometheing offensive.
If our outrage over the acts being committed by Muslims in Darfur, in beheading captives or in bombing other Muslims in their masjids is less vociferous than our protests over a cartoon by a non-believer, how can we ever expect the non-believers to believe us when we say these acts are contrary to Islam.
protests from turning violent.Violence only proves to the non muslims of what politians are acusing muslims of being(terriorists). Keep up the good work
As-Salam-Alaikum.I believe in "Sabr".
I don't agree what Muslim people are doing now.
Violence brings more violence.I wish every Muslim remembers "Sura Kowser" before they go for violent activities.I know in my heart,that the people who drew and pulished the cartoon, they will get severe punishments from Allah.
One more thing I want to ask the people,those who are burning the fags, braking windows-doors etc, " Do they really love our beloved Prpophet Muhammad ( pbuh )"?
Mark is operating on the assumptions that Islam is inherently intolerant. That is, his flawed perception and is the basis of Islamophobia. Mark fails to understand the economic , political, social issues plagueing the Muslim world and lambasts Islam for the turmoil. Mark thus projects his "inherent bias" against Islam by painting everything Islam with a very broad stereotyping. The article pin points the very state of mind that gives rise to Islamophobia and unfortunately is the living breathing example of it.
Of course no Muslim can ignore the insults contained in the cartoons. I feel badly hurt by them.
On the other hand they also make me think: WHY WAS OUR DEAR PROPHET PICTURED AS A TERRORIST? This was only possible because SOME people - totally in contradiction to what their religion tells them about killing innocent unarmed people who are not directly involved in a war - have given Islam this twisted and ugly image.
I condemn cartoonists who rub salt in this open wound, knowing it is a sensitive issue, but much more do I condemn all agressive people who commit violence and murder and then blame it on our beautiful religion.
It makes me wonder who is the worst ennemy of Islam: the one making it look bad, or the one shocked by what SOME people do in its name?
The part I disagree with is that it made it seem that the protest were more violent than not.
While it is wrong to be violent in the protest the majority of the protest were not violent. The article implied that most of the protest were violent.
not give permission for the 'offended' to hate an entire culture or
to do harm to innocent people. It is no more proper for the
'west' to hate all muslims due to 9/11 than it is for muslims to
hate all westerners due to a couple of stupid cartoons. The only
way for people to coexist is to dialogue. Violent protests or
actions do not tend to bring about meaningful dialogue.
At a recent local gathering of clergy from many different
religions (muslim included), each shared something of their
beliefs. Many claimed that theirs was the only 'true' religion
(rubbish, IMHO). Only on one ideal was agreed upon by all -
that we need to love one another.
Learn from this. The only way we (people of this planet) will
ever find peace is to put down our differences and love one
another. All of the prophets said this. Those of you who can
recite your holy books so well - why do you not heed the most
important message of all?
(from a non-believer who loves)
Surah Al-Qamar Ruku 3 Ayahs 51 - 53
And (oft) in the past have We destroyed gangs like unto you: Then is there any that will receive admonition?
All that they do is noted in (their) Books (of Deeds):
Every matter small and great is on record.
Ashyaakum: 'gangs or parties or collection of men like you.'-addressed to wicked men who arrogantly rely upon their own strength or combination, neither of which can stand for a moment against the Will of Allah. (54.51)
It is a wise and sensible approach to realize that 'freedom of speech' has its bindings just as everything else has its binding. Nothing in this world goes free of bound, not even freedom of speech.
Perhaps those media outlets are not ready to accept such a viewpoint. I really feel sad for people who are willing to accept such a 'freedom of speech', because they are insensible to others' feelings.
Insensible persons do insensible things. Europe during the second world war did many insensible things, precisely because they are dominated by insensible beings. I am not saying we are in such situations. But it is better to be careful. For history repeats itself, but in different guise, which makes it hard to recognize the repetition sometimes.
To say that the muslims are trying to bring the world under us is also another absurd point. Looking at it, its a common symptom of islamophobia.
If a religion is being held responsible for terrorist acts, let me ask you, should i hold the religion of IRA responsible? Should i say then caholicism or protestanism produce violence? Surely both of this religions are peaceful and they should not be held responsible. The people who act violent should be held responsible.NOT THE BELEIVERS OR THE RELIGION.
One might say its just a cartoon. However, let me reiterate that in the religion of Islam, protraying the prophet is forbidden and no other picture of the prophet has been produced. With the exception of certain historical paintings. As it is blasphemous , forbidden and unholy.
To add to that the cartoons were insulting and despairaging.
If western countries prevent any insulting jokes or articles of the holocaust, why then the double standards?
Just my cents worth.
Do you ever have a system to send these artcles to national media to print or send it to different writes of opinions in US newspapers as answers to their "OP-Eds".
For example send this to www.nationalreview.com
I only wish that our religious and political leaders realize these facts. Instead of saving their power and position; they need to, on one hand condemn the insulting media blitz and at the same time the violence that is now being portrayed as the negative publicity for Islam. As it is, the west in general does not get to see the real Islam and always the term "terror" and "Islam" are used synonimously. All the condemnation that has been voiced in the world by Muslims, has not been publicized by the western media.
I only wish that all the peace loving citizens of this world would investigate on their own and find the real truth about Islam. Those who have done so have accepted this as their way of life and I have great faith in Allah, that others will do same as well. May Allah guide and help us all.
Yes the muslim community are over-reacting, but Re-printing them was just as STUPID
Who is more tolerant?
Islam and Prophets including Jesus.They had laws protecting Jews,Christians, even idolators and were respected. Non-Believers always lived in peace and protected by the laws.
What was the root cause of violence around any part of muslim world?
Your aggression,invasions intolerance, oppression, hate, but love for only their resources -oil, gas etc.
The real question is not the cartoons. It was the images/pictures, speaking against of the Muhammad or Islam that offends muslims. WE feel sad when when we see pictures/images of other prophets(eg. Jesus) and Mother Mary. That is not right even it is done by the same faith people.There should be LAWS to protect all religions and the values.
Of course the violence in any form (aggression and invasions, etc) not only worse in God's eyes but it is big a crime against the humanity. We are all believers of the same GOD. We may believe/disbelieve in what you and us believe about the prophets, that's all.
Muhammad and other prophets like Jesus and Moses never preached hatred or violence against any religion/any group as they prayed to the same one GOD(who created them and all).All the people in this world came from Adam and Eve. That is the bottomline. Just read the authentic books of Islam and Hadith- you will find it.
By the way, Who are extremists? who are killing people? Who are making plans everytime to bomb other countries? who are the root causes of instability? Who are saying we are god's army and god's agents? Who is controlling the world and its resources? Who is propoganding hate against Islam and Muslims? Why Muslim countries are attacked everytime? I do not have to say..
We have to do a lot like: Healthcare and medicare, economy, Violence-streetgangs, rape, incest,sex abuse, poverty, education,natural disasters, environment,politics and so on.. If we spend money here that we are spending abroad, this will be a better country and happy peopl
The way that the Muslims that are resorting to violence-all that does is confirm what everyone thinks of your religion, that it is not a religion of peace, but one of violence,
I don't see Muslims protesting against the terroist cutting off peoples heads, and blowing up buildings, and killing innocent childen-where are those protest? If Muslims want the world to view the religion of Islam much better perhaps they should protest peacefully on the cartoons, and the terroist that are using Islam in a bad way.
"The Prophet never chastised his followers for challenging him, for questioning, indeed he praised people who did not let their shyness get in the way of speaking frankly. Another value, we note, that many in the Muslim world have neglected to uphold." - Progressive Muslims Union Statement on Cartoon Controversy (http://www.muslimwakeup.com/main/archives/2006/02/pmu_statement_o.php#more)
After the death of Prophet Mohammed in 632A.D
The Islamic history was about to be changed
Conspirators come up with evil plans
To remove Prophet Mohammed body from the grave
Prophet Mohammed came in dream of Governor of Baghdad
And showed him those men's evil faces
Governor acted promptly and arrested those men
He kiss the feet of Prophet Mohammed
And put Iron gates around his grave
The conspirators doesn't end their evils plans
They created world's April fool day
By killing Muslim leaders deceiving them as a peace day
Islam again came down as to the religion of it's lowest
11 September was created to label Muslims as "Terrorist"
Conspirator inflected Islam with another wound
This time by drawing Prophet Mohammed cartoons
Islam will live until the world exists
Islam's enemy will face justice from Allah soon
The events proven what the Quran say:
These people will never ever going to be Muslims friends".
Copy right (2006) Wasi Siddiqui
Unfortunately, the present muslim culture was born out of the preachings and practices of those Islamic scholars who unwittingly accepted ignorance as scholarship: preaching consequence without the knowledge of sequence, established conscience without science (conscience minus science).
Conscience is like a search light to show the path out of darkness. Today we muslims have the roadmap to peace and happiness, but we do not have the light to read the directions in map. We will only be able to read the directions when we regain our God consciousness, demonstrated by our beloved Prophet (peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him).
Keep up the good work Dr. Chandra Muzaffar.
This whole thing may be a part of 'provoke and punish' strategy. Muslims on the other hand must also try to be more tolerent.
"O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I don't know whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you carefully and TAKE THIS WORDS TO THOSE WHO COULD NOT BE PRESENT HERE TODAY.
O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your LORD, and that HE will indeed reckon your deeds. ALLAH has forbidden you to take usury (Interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived...
Beware of Satan, for your safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.
O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have right over you. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and comitted helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to commit adultery.
O People, listen to me in earnest, whorship ALLAH, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadhan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to. You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. YOU ARE ALL EQUAL. NOBODY HAS SUPERIORITY OVER OTHER EXCEPT BY PIETY AND GOOD ACTION.
Remember, one day you will appear before ALLAH and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
O People, NO PROPHET OR APOSTLE WILL COME AFTER ME AND NO NEW FAITH WILL BE BORN.
Freedom of speech like that of an animal ?
Is justice, respect, responsibility, thoughts is a civilized behavior ?
I am sure all the animals have freedom of speech to speak what ever they want.
But they can never have justice, respect among each other, and they will never be
responsible of their own actions and certainly they don't have power of thought for others.
Is west is the most civilized society or more getting like an animal kingdom.
The cartoons looked so familiar to me: they were actually printed in the Egyptian Newspaper Al Fagr back in October 2005. I repeat, October 2005, during Ramadan, for all the Egyptian muslim population to see, and not a single squeak of outrage was present. Al Fagr isn't a small newspaper either: it has respectable circulation in Egypt, since it's helmed by known Journalist Adel Hamoudah. Looking around in my house I found the copy of the newspaper, so I decided to scan it and present to all of you to see. These hypocrties! Guess we will have to Boycott Egypt now as well, huh?
Now while the Arab islamic population was going crazy over the outrage created by their government's media over these cartoons, their governments was benifitting from its people's distraction. The Saudi royal Family used it to distract its people from the outrage over the Hajj stampede. The Jordanian government used it to distract its people from their new minimum wage law demanded by their labor unions. The Syrian Government used it to create secterian division in Lebanon and change the focus on the Harriri murder. And, finally, the Egyptian government is using it to distract us while it passes through the new Judiciary reforms and Social Security Bill- which will cut over $300 million dollars in benefits to some of Egypt's poorest families. But, see, the people were not paying attention, because they were too busy defending the prophet by sending out millions of e-mails and SMS-messages, boycotting cheese and Lego and burning Butter and the Danish Flag. Let's not even mention the idiots who went the usual route of "It's a jewish conspiracy", spouted the stupid argument about the Holocaust, or went on a diatribe with the old favorite "There is an organized campaign-headed by the west and the Jews- to attack and discredit Islam, and we have to defend it". They proved, once again, that the Arab world is ..deserves no better than its leaders.
In the real world ideas are challenged - to expect that no one will challenge your beliefs, especially in the face of the suicide bombings, is to perhaps live in a dream world.
Are the terrorist actions being backed up by the teachings of the Prophet?
These questions will continue to be asked whether pictures are drawn of the Prophet or not.
What we are really asking you to do is to go against your religion to protect ourselves. Isn't it?
Everyone is afraid of you - you are threatening our reporters our writers, artists and politicians. Regardless of what the Koran teaches its followers, in a modern world doesn't Islam have to step up and take more responsiblity for what its followers are doing?
All this energy around a silly cartoon - which no one would have remembered - while at the same time there is a real live reporter sitting in an Islamic land, about to be beheaded and no one is protesting for her life.
It seems clear where your priorities lay. Your aims are to bring the world under your religion - and the insults directed at the Prophet amount to a serious blow to these plans.