Showing placards reading 'God Bless Hitler' and 'Freedom Go to Hell,' the Dutch politician Geert Wilders in his documentary entitled "Fitna" has tried to conclude that God is responsible for all the hatred that Islam shows towards Christians and Jews and the rest of the world. He quotes from the Quran to suggest that the divine scripture of Muslims poses a definite threat to freedom, peace and prosperity. The question any reasonable and good hearted person should ask after viewing such hate speech would be, "Why spend so much time on spreading hate?" Is that too much to ask one to think? The average Joe would agree.
However, anyone who watches Wilders documentary without being objective in his or her analysis is likely to develop a very negative image of Islam.
Doubtlessly, people with Muslim sounding names can be blamed for a lot of violence that has taken place in our world since 1993 when the first attack on the world trade center took place. Many organizations claming to be Muslims have expressed their determination to perpetuate violence against those opposed to them. But the world in general has failed to acknowledge that the victims of the rage of these so called Muslims and their organizations have also been Muslims who draw strength for peace and compassion from the same Scriptural source, the Dutch movie maker holds responsible for violence.
During the last 15 years, the toughest challenge, the advocates of violence have faced within the Muslim community, has come from the Muslim masses and intellectuals. Their pressure has forced the religious clergy in different parts of the Muslim world to maintain a distance from those who are still hiding in the caves, but theologically, they have also developed a stronger response against terror.
A cursory survey of all the daily newspapers in English and vernacular languages published in some 56 countries that have a majority of Muslim population clearly indicates that the articles denouncing terrorism and violence far exceeds the opinions supportive of acts of terror by a margin of 100,00 to one. Not a single website operated by a respectable Muslim organization and individual has ever published any article that supports terrorism. Of course obscure websites without any visible identity may be found all over the Internet. A look at the number of visitors to these sites indicate that only those who are monitoring these websites usually have access to them.
During the last 15 years, in over 2,000 mosques and Islamic centers in America, Muslim clergy and scholars have delivered Friday sermons on the themes of peace, pluralism, love and harmony and freedom, compassion and kindness. Of the themes of the conventions organized by five major US organizations the emphasis has always been outreaching and interfaith with our Christian and Jewish brethren. Some 35,000 meetings between Muslims, Jews and Christians have taken place under different forums during the last 15 years in the United States alone. Upholding faith and serving humanity, Islam in service of the society, peace and interfaith dialogue are some of the topics discussed at these conventions.
Muslims in America have held many seminars and workshops against terrorism resulting in the publications of several monographs against violence.
In at least 1200 forums organized by Muslim Americans in different parts of America, the Muslim clergy and scholars have clarified the verses that are often used in a negative context by the likes of Geert Wilders and other hate-mongers.
Through their tireless and consistent work, Muslim Americans have been at the forefront against violence, terrorism, racism and bigotry. They believe that the struggle or jihad against terror is a common jihad. They are not shy of saying openly and clearly that every human life is sacred and must be defended. Those who misuse Islam's name to serve their own political and zealot religious schemes do not represent the Muslim world nor the Islamic faith and are considered fanatics and uneducated.
Geert Wilders' documentary, in fact, portrays these same fanatics as mainstream Muslims, which in reality is clearly not the case. Wilder perpetuates the hatred that some special interest groups on all sides want to promote so that more blood can be shed and more violence can be promoted in the name of the "War on Terror." People are free to say whatever they wan and no one can stop them from spreading hatred or negative feelings about Muslims. However, what we must realize that freedom cannot be used as a curtain to hide our historical prejudices. Those who misuse freedom must also be exposed the way those who misuse religion, are to be exposed.
Many people ask why the Muslims of the world are not responding to violence the way Muslim Americans have been? Our media, intelligence agencies and special interest groups pick up only those stories in general that are bias towards Islam. However, during the last five months alone, in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, at least 300 forums denouncing violence took place in various universities and mosques. The struggle for peace is and justice and sensibility is a Muslim cry and a Muslim story along with the rest of humanity and unless, we all show our commitment to peace and reject violence in principle we will not be able to serve our common interests, Muslims in America are committed to defending their country like any other American. No one should have any doubt about it. This concept must be understood by those committed to defaming Muslims, Islam and its Holy Book the Quran, which is a great book for all of mankind and was read by great men including one of the founding fathers of America, Thomas Jefferson. Granted his opinion, Wilders documentary, however is a personal prejudice farce that demonizes an entire people for whom the majority of are not responsible. Furthermore these types of documentaries do not promote solidarity or understanding but only reveal the darkness of the groups or individuals who are making them. Lets move beyond the labeling and hate filled documentaries, movies, speeches ect. and begin to heal each other and work towards making the world a better place.
Dr. Aslam Abdullah is Editor-in-Chief of the Muslim Observer, director of the Islamic society of Nevada, Las Vegas and acting president of the Muslim Council of America, a Washington-based newly formed groups of Muslim activists.
"They can fool some people some times, but they can't fool all the people all the time"
There is a reason why the media is showing Islam in a negative way. The same way the media showed the American Indians, Blacks, Russians, etc. in a negative way. People should go back and study the history of America. And study the history of Germany's Hitler. Then you will get your answer. African-Americans were simply hanged, killed, churches bombed etc. why? Because they were BLACK! Native Americans were forced off their land starved, and killed, why? Because they were considered savages. This is the real reasoning for the movies depicting that Arabs and Muslims are morons and are backwards. This makes it easier for our troops to go into the Middle East and kill.
If the Muslims do not wake up, even in America and other countries, they will find themselves as the Jews found themselves, in a Holocaust. I am sure that the Iraqi's and the Afghanis are very sorry the day the Americans hit their land.
Trust me, if the US government wanted to put a halt to the hate, they could. The US government knows who the real threat is. They know well about Islam and Muslims. But, they have lots of faces. They allow the media to feed the average American garbage about Islam.
Secondly, I see some people posting about Biblical Christianity. What are these folks talking about? My sisters who happen to be Christians told me that people are running from the churches. Please, as an African-American, do not let me get started on the churches. All the murdering that the churches did to Blacks in the name of Jesus. What about the Catholics and the Prostiants in Ireland?
As far as someone posted that Muslims were the ones setting off bombs, evidently they have not seen the news lately. In Sri Lanka, how many bombs have gone off in the past year? These are Hindus against Buddhist. Are they not terrorist?
I guess my point is, people need to sweep around their own back door, before they sweep around others.
"Fitna is one of the latest.
2Billion Muslims should worry about it ,they r inviting us to retaliate,to fulfil the desire.
The peace loving citizens should come front and start writing what Catholic did in past against the humanity since Nicea holocoust in 325AD till what is happening around us.
May peace and blessings of God Almighty never depart from your head, and may it sink down and remain nourishing your heart. Amen.
I agree with Shuja. But why not go a little further. None of their flights into any Muslim country. No imports again - ever. Do they get their oil from the Middle-East. Stop it for 15 days or maybe 15 years!
And finally 'The World' is crying for freedom of speech/expression. So let's have it - across the board! Let's us be able to talk about other events - with respect for all!
My wishes of peace to all.
You write "How convenient when we forget the Red Brigades for example, one of the msot blood thirsty European terrorist organizations.".
Fine. You know and I know that Red Broigades were ruthlessly eliminated from Germany, and nobody have heard of them for a long time; they are no longer a threat to Germany.
Now should muslim Jihadis be treated exactly the same way as were the Red Brogades? i.e., no qustions, no trial;, just the bullet into the head; ruthless elimination; is it what you want, Mr IMRAN?
You also write "Now tell me who killed millions of Jews during WWII? Other than Christian German soldiers that is.....
Or who killed millions in Korea and Indo China other than the Americans and Australians, and the French to name three".
Let us extend it further. Who killed 3 million Bengalis in Bangladesh in 1971? Well, it were Pakistani muslims killing Bengali muslims (and Hindus/Sikhs). Or who killed 2 million Cambodians (out of a total population of about 7 million)from 1975-1978? It were the Cambodians (i.e., Pol Pot regime) killing Cambodians. And Cambodians are Buddhists -- Buddhism is probably the most peaceful religion one can think of; where necessary, Buddhists are quite violent.
Mr. Imran, no religion or race is immune from killing; we all do. Only, we can see killing by others, not our own. No religion has monopoly on violence; people of all religions are violent; only thing is that some justify their violence by quoting their holy scriptures.
Mr Imran, be careful when you quote from history. Limited knowledge does not convince anybody. It can bite you back. People are not ignorant.
Since 1979 or even earlier when so called Jihadists went from Pakistan to fight Russians in Afghanistan. Or during the late 60s and early 70s when the Palestinians were running wild.
How convenient when we forget the Red Brigades for example, one of the msot blood thirsty European terrorist organizations.
Now tell me who killed millions of Jews during WWII? Other than Christian German soldiers that is.....
Or who killed millions in Korea and Indo China other than the Americans and Australians, and the French to name three......
By talking about this third rate Dutch politician you have given him his 15 minutes of fame.
Instead you should have asked people to read Sura Ahzab verses 56-58 for the answer to those who mock Islam.
And left it to ALLAH (SWT).
Come on. Mohammed Bakri, ex-Imam of a London mosque (now living in Lebanon) said, that with minor modifications, any moslem could have produced this film and would have been true. So, please don't blame Wilders. The blame lies elsewhere.
Dr Abdullah also writes "Geert Wilders' documentary, in fact, portrays these same fanatics as mainstream Muslims, which in reality is clearly not the case".
Well, these fanatics are the image of Islam, like it or not. Without these fanatics, nobody in the west would have paid any attention to muslims or islam. So, it is up to moslems to take care of these fanatics, not the non-muslims. But moslems will not take care of them; rather, they have let them loose all over the muslim (especially Pakistan) and western world.
It is an old saying "As you sow, so you will reap; don't blame others".
Sugar-coating does not help.
By the way, I have seen the movie 3 times; there was nothing new in it which I did not know before. Most of the scenes have appeared in Palestinian TV, Iraqi TV and Lebanese TV over the last few years; and many similar ones are being repeated on children's shows on Palestinian TV.