The production of a 14-minute trailer humiliating Prophet Mohammed instigated a pandemonium worldwide. Due to our inability to understand one another, the world is raging.
As far as freedom and free speech are concerned, the West believes it knows best, and the world should go by its rules and ways. The Muslims around the world, on the other hand, are steadfast in holding their pride and dignity above anything else and in the process demeaning themselves to spiteful rage.
So shaming is in order. The first to shame are those who made the despicable movie ridiculing prophet Mohammed without thinking of the consequences. Shame, too, on those who posted it on September 11 to incite Muslims into flaring up on that day in particular. They succeeded in what they were out to accomplish: to purposefully enflame a mob-like response validating Muslim barbarity and simultaneously provoking the disgust of the West.
Let’s look at matters from the Muslim perspective. Prophet Mohammed is a sacred, not-to-be-depicted icon. To most Muslims, Prophet Mohammed’s figure should never be reproduced in any shape or form, let alone made fun of. Even at my age, I have yet to see a single portrait of Prophet Mohammed. It may be hard for the western world to envisage such respect, but that is the case—to everyone his own. So the West has to understand this mentality or bear the resulting rage and consequential hatred.
And before we go into free speech and to what extent we are truly free, do we not refute hateful expressions such as “Jews should be wiped off the face of the earth, ” “the holocaust did not happen,” or words belittling the 9/11 tragedy? Do we not find these thoughts despicable and repulsive?
If so, then the West must understand that demoting Prophet Mohammed is of equal caliber to Muslims, and we should not consider it freedom of any shape or form if it disgraces what others consider sacred. Indeed, it is hate speech—fair and square.
But at the same time, while we are in shaming mode, we must shame the Muslims, too: the Benghazians who killed an innocent man, an avid supporter of the Libyan cause, and the Egyptians who couldn’t curtail their anger and attacked the American Embassy when an embassy is sacred soil.
Then shame on those Muslims who resorted to burning homes and attacking stores of Christians around the world. And shame on the silly Egyptian Muslim who took his anger on the Bible and burned it—like as if that did any good.
These fervent but blinded Muslims are no better than the Americans who killed Muslims or vandalized mosques after September 11. And the silly Egyptian is no better than Terry Jones, who burned the Koran.
But the most shame in this vicious cycle goes to the French cartoonist and his magazine, Charles Hebdo, who decided to fan the flames of anger even more. To him, it was neither here nor there that people were dying. He ignored the rage around the world and decided to publish more demeaning depictions of the Prophet.
With a publicity stunt like this one, he may have gained some fame, but he did this regardless of lives lost and pain felt. He did it because “he can” lampoon anyone in France.
While a free France where anyone can be ridiculed may be a good thing, to millions he had done a truly incomprehensible act, and in the process he may have endangered French abroad, too. In anticipation of reactionary attacks, the French have decided to close off their embassies, schools, and centres in 20 countries around the world.
So, Mr. Cartoonist, accept the consequences of your behaviour. These simple Muslims may be enraged but it is the only way “they can.” These Muslims on the streets of Cairo, Kabul, or Teheran have neither the skills, nor the eloquence, or calm nature that allows them to treat this animosity in any other way.
What have we come to? The world seems to be reaching a deadly impasse. All seem to be at fault, and no one is listening to anyone else.
Now that I shamed half the world, we still need to take heed. Vindictive acts create hatred and result in severe repercussions, so we need to respect one another, avoid blind thoughtlessness, maintain our cool, ignore stupidity, and be aware of the consequences of our actions. Allah, God, Jesus, and every other God known to mankind, be with us in these trying times.