What is the Cartoon controversy?

Category: World Affairs Topics: Denmark, Freedom Of Speech Views: 12962

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.

Double Standards

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.

Historical Anger

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.

Bridge-Building

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).


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  72 Comments   Comment

  1. Ismail from Tanzania

    Allah SWT created both beleavers and non belevers lets potray restrain and petiency.Wisdom is required dear brothers in faith or imaan.

  2. Sulayman Akinlawon from Nigeria

    It is very unfortunate when the so called protectors of human rights and press freedom see nothing wrong in attacking islam and the respected symbols of Islam. It goes to further show that the west is truely an avowed enemy of Islam. Muslims the world over should not be cowed but stand up always to defend Islam.

  3. Hajji yak from Niger

    Inspite the fact that islam honour acccomodating the non-muslims and idolaters, it should not be taking for granted.We should accomodate thier exceses by showing our dissatisfaction through peaceful riots,as well as educate non muslims through publications as well as representing good images of islam in the media and internet.

  4. Suria from Malaysia

    Islam is a religion of peace. This does not mean we should be quiet when there are those who choose to deride and villify our beliefs. However, this doesn't mean either that we should go out and resort to violence. To 'argue with them in ways that are best' and to critique decisions (and in turn receive critique if it so be)in a manner that is conducive to the spread of knowledge and ensure that both sides of the argument are presented with equal weight, that is the true meaning of jihad - to fight for the truth. And we need to do so in a manner that does not play into the hands of those who wish to taunt us and fulfil the stereotypes they wish to see.

  5. MALIK-UL-ISLAM from India

    I am afraid these thoughts are put into our minds by selfish and false religious teachers.The English put the finishing touch.They have a habbit of writing history and quoting 10 to 11 centuries back, they pretend to study the habits, manners, behaviour,customs,religion, of all peoples and countries.Allah has given us limited mental capacity but they callenge Allah and indulge in novel experiments!They write about their researches in most laudatory terms and hypnotise us into believing them.Muslim leaders and their followers in ignorance then fall at their feet.

    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

    1.Peaceful Protests

    2.Non-violence.

    3.Non-cooperation with Danish authorities.

  6. Maoul-Ayene from U.K

    Assalamou aleikum

    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.

    Wassalam.

  7. zakia from Islamic Republic of Iran

    islam wants us to be polite ,but howmuch we are polite they insult us , now that they insult our holy prophet MUHAMMAD(pbuh) i cant tolerate anymore ... pray for me

  8. halim

    WHY PUT ON TRIAL THOSE WHO DEMONSTRATED AND EXPRESS THEIR FEELINGS WHEN THEIR RELOGION is BEING INSULTED, OF COURSE DURING DEMONSTRATION VIOLENCE DID TAKE PLACE AND SOME PROPERTIES DESTROYED. COMPARE TO WHAT THE US AND UK DID IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. HUNDRED OF THOUSANDS PEOPLE KILLED AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF PROPERTIES DESTROYED BUT NOBODY PUT BUSH AND BLAIR ON TRIAL.

    BUSH AND BLAIR SHOULD ALSO BE CHARGED JUST LIKE SADAM FOR THE CRIMES COMMITED BY THEIR SOLDIERS. WHY THE DOUBLE STANDARD....

  9. AKHTAR HUSAIN SHAIKH from india

    first do not any words say to Huzur. Mohammed S..A. for non muslims &do not interface in our religion islam

    "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

  10. amal from turkey

    this article instigate to violence and hate towards the west and the jews, if islam is a religion of peace it shouldnt be writting this type of articles.

  11. Farah Mustafa from UAE

    This article very aptly puts into percepective the anger and violence that is being seen across the world. Unfortunately, as the writer said very correctly, such acts of violence only reinforce the negative stereotyping that is prevalent, making Muslims lose the upper hand in any such situations.

  12. fatau alhassan from Ghana

    May ALLAH give you strong ,boldness& ability to write more of this articles.May ALLAH enrich islam with your kind.LONG LIVE ISLAM,LONG LIFE FOR U.

  13. Shaan Qazi from U.A.E

    I want to say JAZAKALLAH to the writer for bringing out a realistic facts.. .. .with this article

    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.

    Quran 16:125

    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.

    Quran 3:114

    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.

  14. Modu Muhammad from Nigeria

    It has always been the paradox of islam and muslims that when the chips are down,as in the frequent provocations to islam and muslims,we tend to throw the teachings of our faith right through the window.I sincerely hope that our ummah will heed this and other similar call to reason.Those that died in those violent protests are our loss,not Denmark"s.

  15. mami from mauritius

    Allah (swt) choses us how to pay respect to His chosen Prophet Mohammad (saw) sent to this Ummah as the last Prophet for the whole Universe. May Allah guide these people on the right path.

  16. AHMED DODO from NIGERIA

    I want to say thanks to the writer for bringing out a good educative article like this , to sanitise people on the actual things going on behind the publication of that unnecessary cartoon. The reality is no amount of negative cartoons can change the course of islam. Islam is the truth and the truth dont submit to lies no matter the circumstances.

  17. Dennis from usa palto alto

    READ THE CAVE IN THE QURAN,AND LOOK UP Eu/rope

    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.

  18. Alfa Abdulrazaq from Nigeria

    I actually areed to my my people what the westerners are trying to turn the islamic religion to i don't avtually know.All they do is trying to bring the religion down but Allah had already promised three things in this world,Allah says he will protect the religion of islam,second the holy Qur'an and the prophet Muhammad. so any body is trying to destroy those three things is just destroying himself.

  19. iliyas khan from india

    Freedom of expression must not be at the cost of Faith of Peoples.

  20. hassan drama from congo

    I am very much impressed by this article.For sure the most wise reaction could have been peacefull dmonstrations and diplomatic measures taken againist gorvnments which in the so called pretext of freedom of expression permite more than a billion people to be hurt by thier media .whatis remaining for us muslims to do is to defend our religion with knowledge -faith and posession.Its high time we prove to our detractors that they are wrong.we should do so by spreading the message of islam through the media as they are doing in order to inform those who are being misled the goodness of our religion.

  21. mujeeb mahedvi from india

    i was really very sorry to hear about the controversy and the way in whichthe european countries supported it by saying it as an freedom of expression . how would have they felt when such things would have been printed against jesus and whole muslim countries would have supported it it was really very sad and whole muslims throught the world should unite to prevent such incidents in future

  22. RAHMAT from NIGERIA

    I THINK IT IS PURE ENVY OF THE ISLAMIC FAITH. BECAUSE I REALLY DONT UNDERSTAND WHY SOMEONE WOULD REALLY JUST SIT & ACTUALLY THINK OF PUTTING UP A CARICATURE OF THE PROPHET. I BELIEVE TAHT ALLAH(SWT) IS THE BEST JUDGE & SINCE WE ARE ALL GOING TO RETURN TO HIM, HE SHALL JUDGE US ALL ACCORDINGLY. I REALLY DONT ARGUE WITH NONE MUSLIMS OR GIVE OPINIONS ON SUCH ISSUES IN PUBLIC GATHERINGS, I LEAVE ALL JUDGEMENT TO ALMIGHTY ALLAH FOR HE IS THE ALL KNOWING & MOST HIGH. ALLAHU A'LAM.

  23. Anjum from USA

    We cannot hold all of the Danish people resposible for the acts of a few people at 1 newspaper. The boycott, flag burning, and other protest needs to come to an end. The more sensible of us needs to get the emotional ones to cool down and understand that true Iman is not about vengeance or holding grudges. It's time to start forgiving and forgetting.

  24. Liban Gurhan from USA

    The western media has always had double standardsd when it comes to any story about Islam or Muslim people in general. According to Guardian of London, it reported last week that in April 2003, a Danish illustrator submitted a series of cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ. He received an email back from the paper's editor which said: "I don't think our readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore, I will not use them."

    Liban

  25. Akbar Khan from Canada

    This is a question to all those protesting these derogatory pictures of Prophet Muhammad (SAW):

    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.

  26. NA from US

    In my opinion, the media has made Islam

    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.

  27. Adam H from usa

    I am always glad to read the articles from Islamcity. Not because they are always correct or I agree with them all the time, but because I feel I get a less "arab" spin on it. My fathers side of the family is all arab and my mother is caucasian American. I have noticed that many people just cant take an objective view about what is going on in the world. It usually always becomes a reflection of their culture or upbringing.

    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.

  28. Dean Ethan from U.S.

    Is defending the Prophet's PBUH reputation from the disrespectful cartoons of the non-believers a greater jihad than defending Islam's reputation from the heinous acts being committed by Muslims in the name of Islam?

    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.

  29. Shaistah from UAE

    Its a nice article...The last paragraph really makes us wonder!

  30. Fay Ayache from Canada

    I wish that our fellow Muslims try to keep these

    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

  31. Ishrat Azim Chowdhury from Canada.

    Dear readers

    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 )"?

  32. Ahmad Imran from USA

    Mark Strenagle writes "Any religion which is intolerant of non-believers and their views is by definition intolerant, extremist, and not favored by God. Islam is no exception to this rule. Which is worse in God's eyes, cartoons or violence?"

    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.

  33. Mariambibi from Belgium

    Assalamu alykum

    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?

  34. Ann from USA

    I must say most of this article is very good and to the point. Very informative!

    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.

    Thanks

    Ann

  35. anonymous from anonymous

    A foolish or inconsiderate act by a person or a few persons does

    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)

  36. Bashir Usman Alfadarai from Nigeria

    I cannot agree more with Dr. Muzaffar's view. It is my my believe that we should not even engage in street protest but we should rather boycot those culprit Countries' products. This is the only language the materialistic west will understand. May Allah bless his prophet (SAW), Assalamu Alaikum

  37. ISAAC from MAURITIUS

    In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful.

    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.

    Comments:

    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)

  38. Ali Zubair from Saudi Arabia

    It was so cruel and painfull. No one can justify as this is an freedom of expression.

  39. Dejan Mihailovic from Belgium

    I agree completely with the views in this article especially concerning the role of Western media in demonising Islam. It is a pity that the moslems worldwide did not realise the same when these same media were demonising in previous fifteen years and spreading lies about their "war crimes".

  40. Mohammad Iqbal from Pakistan

    No compromise on this issue. Being a faithful Muslim the dignity of our Prophet (PBUH) demandes that as a true Muslim we should stop this act by force, if not possible, then by words, and if this is also not possible then at least one should consider this act as non-acceptable in his heart, which is the lowest degree of faith.

  41. Abdul Muneem Khan from India

    Those who have little knowledge or No knowledge about the Bombs in palastenian land (occupied Israel), Laden in Afghanistan, Blood in chechenya and the World Trade disaster, they should go and find the truth before they raise their finger on innocent people. I remember the word "Crusade" on 911 by Bush...later shadowed with War On Terror. Regarding the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) My only question is ..What was the Intention of those Cartoons ? Do you have the right to ask that question...and follow the next one with Holocaust ? Use the common sense and try to grow up with your mindset, 911 was purely planned project which is on its way to Iran crossing Afghanistan, Iraq and will definitely lead back to home. It is a human nature and behaviour they express their anger when hurt. For Example: Remember the day of Power failure in USA.

  42. Angela Harding from England /uk

    once again it is a small number of hot head's that is bring the rest down what I do not understand is if the holy book tells them how to be in all the day to day life why are they going aganst what they say the is in the holy book but you have good and bad in all the world and it's seems only the bad in the world that get's in the news papers no one what to hear about the good some people are doing I for one want to hear about the good people do not the killings the hurt Muhammed (peace be upon him) would not have wanted this this is not what he was teaching think about it just STOP and think

  43. Stop the madness from usa

    Would any of you be happy if Jesus (peace on him) was portrayed as Timothy McVeigh? He murdered many innocent children. Maybe like the Columbine kids? I'm sure their parents go to church.I do agree that the violence has to stop. But as long as envy, jealousy, greed and ignorance resides in the heart of men; beheadings, oppression and rape will continue in the world.

  44. Usman Ali Hannan from Canada

    Out of that freedom of speech, some speeches can come out really bad and offensive. Western media has only proven that. If these journalists fail to realize what is 'bad and offensive' and the severity of it, then they are like a child with a real gun. They heart others unjustly.

    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.

  45. K from S'pore

    To those who are disagreaable and neutral about it , one i might add. The media has a large degree of responsibility but to ask the muslims to accept the responsibility of TERRORIST attacks all over the world is totally absurd. One, the religion do not endorse this acts. All of the terrorists attacks are based on political means. Not on the religion itself.

    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.

    Thanks

  46. Mushtaq from USA

    Excellent article.

    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 http://www.nationalreview.com

  47. Anonomyous from US

    I do not agree with the protesting. So what if there was a cartoon of Prophet Muhammed? sallahu aliahi wa sallam, (May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) We Muslims should not make an issue out of any of this, the media is looking for us to react this way, they are looking to cause a riot, they are looking to make fools out of us. We should not stoop down to their level. Let them do what they please, if we make a scene about it, it will only encourage them to continue making a joke out of this religion. Further more in as much effort as they are putting into creating disunity, it is impossible for them to distroy Islam. Leave it in the hands of ALLAH, once Allah is here, there is nothing to fear Insha Allah

  48. riz from usa

    This is true but the comments people have made to this column is more supporting the western media picture of ISLAM to the world.The protesters who were out in the streets were may be the 10% of all muslims around the world.They have never shown the 90% muslims,who believe that this cartoon satuation should have held in a peaceful way.A comment from croton jonathan really struck me.He described muslims responsible for all ongoing iraq violence.You can't feel the pain unless you are hurt.Last of all world has gone beyond the boundries of morality.We are living in a system of jungle,where the mighty rules.

  49. Shahid from USA

    Well written,

    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.

    Jazak-Allah-o-Khairan

  50. Adam Ibrahim from Canada

    It's illegal for me to fly a confedirate flag outside my window, or paint a swaztika on my wall, or even have KKK on my license plate because it's "offensive". But if one isults the muslim community via a Mass Media thats OK?......talk about freedom of speach

    Yes the muslim community are over-reacting, but Re-printing them was just as STUPID

  51. Ahmed from United Kingdom

    Mashallah a good article. Mark, Islam is not intolerant of other religions, it is the individuals' own ignorance, who are going round commiting brainless acts (i.e. violent plaquards and burning embassies.) The cartoons were nothing but a cheap and immature insult at our beloved prophet (pbuh). There was a peaceful protest in London which was attended by more than 3000 people (10 times the number of people who attended the violent protest which happened the week before), but they didn't even get a quarter as much media coverage as the violent one. It's people like you who just want to see the violent side of a minority of muslims so you can try and point the finger at all the muslims and the whole religion. And looking at your definition of extremist, you are obviously rather extreme, since you come on this site and write such bigoted nonsense.

  52. Mr.khan from USA

    Mark:

    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

  53. Mohamed Ghabour, MD from USA

    I wish if you had a room to elaborate on the ealry mis-characterization of prophet Mohammad in Eyrope. I heared about the divine comedy by Dante Alegeri. I heared that the Vatican proptrayed the prophet as an advocate of protitution and gambling(From john Espesito). Please e-mail me all you know about the old abuse from Europe. Thank you

  54. Hanan from United States of America

    At the end of the day after all is said and done everyone of us will have to answer to Allah SWT for the things we have said and done; either we believe in Him or we don't believe in Him we will all meet Him. Allah makes it very clear in Surah 33ayat 57 and 58. The responsibility of the Ummah is to be the best example in how we handle situations like this. We should follow the dictates of our Glorious Religion ,Islam, and the Noble example of our Prophet Muhammad SAWS in all of our affairs. Thus we need to educate ourselves and others.We all will face the consquences of our actions. How much positive dawa did we do today?

  55. Richard from usa

    I personally saw the cartoons, and didn't think they were to bad-while I admit that Im not Muslim, I have seen cartoons that arn't very nice to other religion's figuars, Like Jesus and Budda, and while those that follow those religions didn't like the cartoons they didn't resort to violence.

    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.

  56. Ahmed from USA

    I agree with Mark Sternagle. In a free world, religion is going to be challenged wether you like it or not. Islam does not get a free pass. Muslims must learn to have dialogue and not resort to violence when they disagree with someone. As I have stated before, there are worse ills in the world than some vulgar cartoon. (The journalist being held hostage in Iraq with the threat of being beheaded, the massacres in Sudan, the troubles in Chechnya, etc.)

    "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)

  57. wasi siddiqui from Canada

    The Wounds of Islam

    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

  58. Ahmed from UK

    I dont think consipracy minded degenerates who defame their Prophets like the anti-Muslim euro-fanatics are in a place to lecture anybody, particularly. THese are the same who invade, murder and brutalize millions everyday. This is a historical and current reality of the criminal european mindset. They dont believe in freedom of speech....a leopard cant change its spots.

  59. Reza Rabbani from Canada

    very well researched and well written. The last para speaks for itself - the jewel of any interpretation of Islam and the holy Prophet (pbuh).

    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.

  60. Amina from US

    Bridge-building. Yes it's great that there are people like Karen Armstrong engaged in bridge-building. It's also true many Muslims are unfamiliar with her work as we evidently are only willing to learn about Islam from other Muslims, rather than from people like Armstrong that have devoted years to a careful, critical study of Islam. But what about Muslim bridge-building? I see essentially none of this. There are groups of Muslims devoted to educating non-Muslims on what Islam is about -- but we should be educating ourselves on Islam, not telling others it "means peace". And more importantly, where is Karen Armstrong's Muslim counterpart in bridge-building? Where are the Muslims attempting to provide an honest picture of other religions and societies to Muslims? I sense that even our interfaith efforts are all for the purpose of enlightening others about Islam rather than enlightening ourselves (-- but that's becuase we think we're better, isn't it? ).

  61. feroz from india

    intrested in learning quran want to down load from web or please mail me the same & to learn namaz and offer 5 times a day

    thanking

  62. Ahsin from UK

    An important aspect of 'civilized society' should be respecting others feeling specially when they can be so provocative.

    This whole thing may be a part of 'provoke and punish' strategy. Muslims on the other hand must also try to be more tolerent.

  63. Hassan from Saudi Arabia

    THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD'S LAST SERMON

    "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.

  64. Syed from Desert

    What is a civilized behavior ?

    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.

  65. Jonathan Croton from USA

    There should be a measure of respsonsibility in Journalism. However, no one is right when everyone is wrong. With all of the recent violence that is how the West is starting to view muslims. To bring Oil and zionism into the picrure and say that we portrayed Muslims as terrorists after the 70's well all I have to say is look at Black Sept. during the Olympics, the bombings in Israel and in Jakarta and around the world add 9/11, the recent beheadings in Iraq.... I think that Muslims have managed to do that all on their own. It would be nice if they accepted responsibility a change.

  66. Samuel Hills from US

    Boycott Egypt

    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.

  67. Mark Sternagle from USA

    Any religion which is intolerant of non-believers and their views is by definition intolerant, extremist, and not favored by God. Islam is no exception to this rule. Which is worse in God's eyes, cartoons or violence?

  68. - from UK

    Did Mohammed commit violent acts -against non-believers in order to make them Muslim?

    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.

  69. Najeeb from USA

    Excellently put. I wish I had the wits, discipline, and willpower to produce such a piece.