The western world and its omnipresent and mighty media machine have for years tried to portray the medieval Al Qaida as one of the symbols of Islam and Muslims. It is for the true believers and the informed Ummah to exercise caution when defending the pillars of the faith and the Holy Quran. This deference should draw a clear, visible and uncompromising line away from what Al Qaida and its infamous minions profess and propose.
A Coptic Christian with a criminal background living in California produced a cheap and worthless video film ‘Innocence of Mulsims’ insulting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The clip, posted on You Tube indeed lacks even the bare minimum artistic or technical value. It also failed to attract the quality and volume of attention its producers and sponsors had expected.
A week before the 9/11 anniversary, an extremist American-Egyptian, Morris Sediq, who has been denied citizenship in Egypt due to his extremist position against Islam, apprised his journalist friend of such a film. The friend seemingly warned him that the film could seriously undermine the already tense relations between Muslims and Coptic in Egypt.
Three days later, one of the Salafist TV channels in Egypt showed a part of the clip. On the same day Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri who has replaced Osama bin Laden as Al Queda chief released a video telling Egyptians and Libyans to take action for the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman, one of those convicted in the September 11 attack and jailed in the U.S.
Al-Zawahiri also reminded that one of his senior lieutenants, Abu Yahya al-Libi had been killed in a U.S. drone attack. Abu Yahya, a Libyan, was killed by the Americans in Afghanistan on June 4, 2012.
The next day (the day after the film on the Prophet and Zawahiri’s video were released) Cairo and Benghazi erupted in violence and the American diplomatic missions in Cairo and Benghazi were attacked.
The U.S. ambassador to Libya along with three other diplomats was murdered in Benghazi, and Muslims protested in several countries to condemn the blasphemous U.S.-made film and Israel. Tens of people were killed in the violent demonstrations.
Respected observers, filmmakers and film critics insist that the disparaging film on the Prophet is a miserable piece by any conceivable standard. It is worth mentioning that Jewish, Americans, Christians, Coptic, Evangelical Christians and secular neo-cons acknowledge that the film was made and broadcast with a specific plan and intention.
The first point is that given the cognizance in the West about Muslim sensitivities toward all things related to their faith, the film was designed to whip up collective instigation among Muslims. Here parallels can and should be drawn with past controversies like the Israelis’ dancing party in Al Aqsa Mosque, or a week before 9/11 holding beer festival in another mosque and the scandalous American pastor Terry Jones resuming his outrageous anti-Islamic activities.
Needless to say, the Satanic Verses of fugitive author Salman Rushdie, the sacrilegious caricatures published in Danish and French newspapers, production of anti-Islamic films by the rabid rightist Dutchman Geert Wilders and other such measures follow a pattern. If we accept that all these irresponsible moves were and are by design and direction with one primary intention, they should be recognized as such. Intelligent and effective moves should be initiated to both counter such crude behavior and uphold the lofty appeal and status of Islam.
The West is not alien to the reality that Muslims from Indonesia to Morocco will defend their beliefs and religious values come what may. The religion of Muhammad and his holy book are indeed redlines for Muslims. With this knowledge western powers embrace two paradigms:
1. Muslim reaction to insults and western plots over the past 25 years, mainly after the Satanic Verses … was as follows: protestors gathered in front of diplomatic missions, attacked it and the centers that protected western interests. As a result usually some local police and security forces are killed.
Western powers and their mass media (TV) exploit such rage in the best possible manner against Islam and in the process portray a harsh and violent image of Islam and Muslims. Remember the now irrelevant “war on terror” and the “terrorist” label?
This projection has different meanings for different people. Under the guise of such news coverage, military action and other aggressions against Muslims are normally justified and the typical man in the U.S. and Europe thinks Muslims need to pay for such “extremism”. By the same token, leading anti-war activists and peace advocates have little to say and for understandable reasons are usually passive.
2. By tarnishing the image of Islam, they seek to weaken the trend of conversion toward this religion. Since the late 1990s European and American Muslims, with the exception of immigrants, have followed a different path from that of their governments. Islam is the fastest growing religion in today’s France.
In the present political jargon the concept of ‘nation’ refers to a population that lives in clearly defined borders and under the control of a specific government with a special flag. But the Holy Quran says nation means religion, a way of life and the concept of “Prophet Ibrahim’s faith”.
Seen from the narrow western political angle, if a French, German or American citizen converts to Islam, he is simply much less trustworthy and reliable as other citizens, inasmuch as suddenly he/she may follow a different course.
The West is out to harm Islam and Muslims and is making a shocking use of racist and cleansing tools. The unusually harsh regulations against Muslims and deporting them to their own countries in recent years were obviously based on such cleansing policy. Small wonder that Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said recently the “multiculturalism” was a failure!
By instigating Muslims the western powers also have other plans and know that Muslims will certainly respond to sacrilege and blasphemy. These powers think inciting the ranks of the believers would also undermine their strong belief in and demand for a society founded on the true values, foundations and teachings of their faith.
Case of Egypt
Take the case of Egypt. After more than half a century Islamic groups are in control of that important country. But West does not want Egyptians to embrace and implement their free, peaceful and workable model and solve their multitude of problems in the social, political, cultural and economic arenas.
Egyptians want normal and friendly relations with Iran, Malaysia and Turkey. This demand, however, does not fit well with the U.S. and Israeli equation. So, the West believes that through such distractions and incitement Muslims would mobilize their energies elsewhere and get preoccupied with peripheries instead of the lofty goals. And for this reason Egypt and its newly-born Islamic order is targeted. There can be no second opinion about this covert intention, more so because of Egypt’s proximity to the lawless occupying power next door.
The new crop of western policymakers has decided to mislead and distract Muslims with the aim of wasting their abilities and opportunities to reconstruct and follow an Islamic-indigenous pattern. So, what should we do?
No Big Deal
Insulting and harming the feelings of others does not demand special skill or talent. In the era of communication highways, insulting and harming religious beliefs is no big deal. In this sense, the anti-Muslim powerhouses and their proxies have done a terribly wonderful job by publishing books, caricatures, hate films movies and also computer games. They will continue to do so.
True, avoiding and permanently abolishing such moves is not possible for obvious reasons. But defending our Prophet and his holy book is the religious obligation of every Muslim. The bottom line is that if the attack has a strategic depth the defense too should be effective and comprehensive.
All things considered, the best option is to attack the underlying strategy of the belligerent powers. Frenzy, street violence or stopgap reaction have not produced the desired results so far, and neither will they in the future. The West has two Achilles heels: economic interest and a perceived polished image.
To discourage and curb Islamophobia Muslims and their leaders should have vision, rewrite their agenda, and focus on intelligent, effective and long-range policy, namely:
-If the West insists that purchasing oil is a strategic tool, (then) not selling oil can and should also be our strategic option. Muslims in oil-exporting countries, besides condemning the rudeness and crudeness of anti-Islamic charlatans, should also demand that their governments revise their oil deals with, for instance, France and Uncle Sam; the latter, for all practical purposes, having now been deprived of the “No.1” status.
-Promoting commerce with and among Muslim countries, not in the sense of isolating ourselves, but rather giving priority to goods and services in and from the Islamic world.
-Islamic preachers, scholars, writers and the elite, besides defending the holy book and Islam, must openly call on their followers and supporters to refrain from radicalism and violence that create the grounds for the spread of Islamophobia.
-Coordinated and strong proposals by governments and Islamic scholars must legally define and separate the border between slander/indignity and the values of freedom of speech/ideas.
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