In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
|"Never let the hatred of a people towards you move you to commit injustice..." (Quran 5:8)|
The furor over the silly cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad does not want to die down. Despite appeals from Muslim leaders and apologies from the Danes, the protests continue. Now, some Danes have sought to retaliate against Muslim rage by desecrating Muslim graves.
This has gotten way out of hand. We have to look beyond this mess and try to find out what we can learn about each other and this episode, so that such furors do not occur in the future. Yet, I must pause and reflect about the publication of the cartoons in the first place.
They should never have been published.
Not because - if I may interject here - radical Muslim mutants will kill you if you do so. I am sick and tired of their using violence to handle difference and dissent. I don't know why the cartoonists drew the cartoons that they did, but I bet that part of their motivation was to provoke the Muslims. I think that the violence we have been witnessing will only encourage more defamatory depictions of the Prophet to be published in the future. That is why more violent protests are - not only wrong and un-Islamic - but totally counterproductive. It just cements the idea in the minds of many Westerners that Muslims are inherently violent.
Nevertheless, the cartoons should never have been published in the first place. First of all, I am going to assume that the cartoonists had no malicious intent in publishing the cartoons; I am going to assume that they wanted to engage in an honest discussion about the perils of terror in the name of religion, which was - I believe - the underlying message of the cartoons. Inserting the Prophet into this discussion completely destroyed any chance of any Muslim actually receiving this message, a message which I think is completely legitimate. Rather, equating the Prophet with the sins of a tiny minority of his "followers" completely closed the minds of the intended audience and only hurt Muslim feelings and sensibilities.
Secondly, publishing the cartoons can only exacerbate Europe's "Muslim problem." There are millions of Muslim immigrants - and their European-born children - who continue to face discrimination, alienation, and isolation from greater European society. In some countries, such as France, Muslims are relegated to rundown ghettos where their problems continue to fester - away from the eyes of the rest of society. Occasionally, these problems bubble up to the surface in the form of riots, like the recent riots in France.
Still, European leaders are coming to terms with the fact that they need to deal head on with the problem of integrating European Muslims into mainstream European society. Now, integration goes both ways. European Muslims themselves have to be willing and ready to integrate into mainstream society, to accept the fact that their European and Muslim identities are neither mutually exclusive nor contradictory.
At the same time, however, mainstream European society must also make their Muslim compatriots feel welcome. Publishing - and then later republishing - those cartoons all across Europe sends the message to European Muslims that: "Europe hates your Prophet, your religion, and does not want you." This will poison any attempt at trying to integrate European Muslims, especially the Muslim youth, into society and prevent them from being recruited by the radicals, who use alienation and isolation as the blood supply of their cancer of extremism.
Furthermore, these cartoons only increased the barriers of misunderstanding between the Western and Muslim worlds. Again, assuming that the cartoonists' did not have any malicious intent in publishing the cartoons about the Prophet - a possibly fallacious assumption, I admit - then at a time when there are those in both the Western and Muslim worlds that will benefit from a "clash of civilizations" and point to this episode as their evidence, publishing these cartoons has been a total disaster. They should never have been published.
I hope and pray that the violence in reaction to this cartoon mess dies down and does so quickly. It is totally unbecoming of the very man, devout Muslims claim to be defending. Both the Western and Muslim worlds must look beyond this fiasco and seek out what can be learned from this unfortunate episode. Both the Western and Muslim worlds must seek to understand each other and open more avenues of dialogue. Both the Western and Muslim worlds must seek to work together for the greater good of the entire world. If this happens as a result of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons, then the eternal words of God shall also apply to this case: "Perhaps you may hate a thing, and it turns out to be good for you" (Quran 2:216).
Hesham A. Hassaballa is a physician and writer based in Chicago. www.drhassaballa.com
I was originally going to comment verse by verse, but that was too long. So just a few comments. First while the extra verses do add extra content and support for 2:216 as a non-Muslim I see nothing of a redeeming factor with the addition of these verses. Such verses as shown illustrates the context in which the Koran was written and used
If the Koran was perfect in every way then each and every verse should be perfect and independent and any person of reasonable intelligence would understand, and not require so many years of long study to understand the true meaning. To take pieces "verses" from here and there to defend another verse in my eyes shows incredible weakness in the Koran, and the potential for abuse by Muslim "intellectuals"!
I would like to thank Iviews for publishing my original comment #35780 and this response to their editors response.
Yes Islam is the religion of peace but that does not mean the the religion of lambs to the slaughter a La Bush like Dave puts. Yes again I said that bad apples must be targeted a la Islamique meaning Muslims must do their best to hunt down George W Bush, Dick Cheeney and his co-terrorist regime just like your gov is working hard to hunt down our terrorist that brought shame Usama, Zawahiri and his terrorist team.
Our extremists are pushed hard to become criminals your terrorists are natural born criminals
Bad Christians and bad Jews and bad people in general only understand force so the best way to deal with you Dave is thru force a la islamique!
This is why I think Europe and America is the wrong place for Muslims to live. I 've been to Europe once with my Italian wife and will never go again. I turned down many invitations to visit the US. People like yourself misrepresent the good Americans and make them targets for our angry Muslims. ..
Europe created and run NATO org.
It is time for UNITED UMMAH org.
For those who think the protests are silly, remember how the indian struggle for independence started - there was a rumor floating around that British were using cartridges greased with pig and cow fat. Also the American revolution started when people got all worked up about taxes and took it out on tea shipments from Britain. I am hoping the cartoon thing becomes for us what those cartridges and tea bags were for India and US. Let's roll!
I cannot believe you as a muslim has no sense of understanding the reality.I am a newly convert female and i cn tell you of horrible things taking place with muslims in germany which our nazi like german government hides very well. Muslim women and children were suffering at the hands of Nazi gangs but now at the hands of the Deutsche government and police. You are too naive to look at facts sitting in USA probabbly, having no idea what is going on. What will you stand for if not for your Prophet and Allah ?
This article seems rather naive and shortsighted both in tone and scope. The author, like most non-Muslims, fails to place this racist cartoon provocation in the proper context, given the fact that:
1. Muslims in Europe constitute a religously based underclass that, like blacks in America, is made permanent with discrimination and racism in housing,employment, education, and govt. funding.
2. The claim of defense of "freedom of expression" falls apart on its face when the same groups espousing these slogans turn around and ban schoolgirls from wearing the headscarf (in France and Germany), criminalize any questioning of the Holocaust (even though as Norman Finkelstein has written it is an "industry" and "political weapon" used for blackmail and to silence critics of Israel), or have a blood stained legacy of centuries of colonialism in Muslim and African lands.
3. The govts that have chosen to publish these cartoons are parts of coalitions with neo-Nazi, far-right, anti-immigration i.e. anti-Muslim political parties and groups. The Dutch govt. depends on staying in power with a coalition member that gained 13% in the last election and which openly called for the forced expulsion of all Muslims, even ones born in Denmark. the same is true in Italy, France, and Germany.
4. Where is "freedom of the press" when reporters are "embedded" with U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq? Why aren't U.S. families allowed to see or show pictures of dead U.S. soldiers or coffins on television?
Unlike the myopic view of this "progressive" Muslim author, there are intelligent non-Muslims who do see the bigger picture and overall context of this situation, here are just two examples: