S. Ashfaq


In view of the historical backdrop, it is clear that the West, particularly of United States’ relations with the Islamic world have been bloody and marked with deep wounds. It is now like an old wound which may open at any moment. Making of the insulting film “innocence of Muslims” in the United States to desecrate the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) followed by the insulting caricatures of him by French magazine Charlie Hebdo are the most recent examples of western minds imbued with Islamophobic ideas.

It is due to the kind courtesy of people like the British-American historian, Bernard Lewis, who have put such a powerful stress on Islamophobia that this issue has been deeply institutionalized in the minds of Western people and politicians.
This is not the first example of the west’s double-standard culture but there have been more such confrontational material in the past as well. Of the recent history, sentiments are still high in the Muslim world over blasphemous content produced by Salman Rushdie in 1989 in his book “Satanic Verses”. Later in the same string of series included publication of caricatures of Prophet Mohammad (Peace by upon him) in Denmark newspaper, burning of holy Quran at Bagram Airbase, desecrating of Holy Quran by US priest Terry Jones, and pictures of US troops urinating on the corps of dead Afghans. Each of these shameful acts invited the similar wrath of the people of Islamic states as “Innocence of Muslims” has witnessed. About the sacrilegious film making was not all but it has been widely distributed over the file sharing website “YouTube” in order to further instigate the Muslim masses. Now what the Muslims and the sane minds of the world should think of this act? That the west is in line with the war on Islam? Simple answer would be yes, Indeed. Since the production of the film has pursued no economic or entertainment purpose, but its sole goals are to fight Islam, insult the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and instigate Muslims.
The pith of any religious faith is that a prophet has been sent by God to convey a message to people. The core of Islam is also the message that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has brought to people which is bound in the Quran. It is by no accident that in a short time, both the message and the messenger - the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) - have come under attack in the United States. This is enough evidence to make us reach the conclusion that an organized current has come into being in order to counter Islam and it is trying to cause turmoil and unrest in the Muslim world according to a well-planned scheme.
It is important to note that the fundamental principles of every religion are among the most important values of any faithful society which strengthen its identity as well. Believing in those values connects people. Therefore, it is quite natural and obvious for any society to show reaction to insults against its fundamental values. Rather, it is incumbent on all thinkers and followers of other religions to react to this issue. If today, insults are targeting Prophet of Islam (PBUH), other religions may become victims of similar insults in the near future. The continuation of this ominous trend will bring with it the risk of new religious wars among human societies.
Unfortunately Washington’s response to the situation remained quite deplorable. The American administration has said it condemns the filthy movie but cannot proceed against the culprit as it would jeopardize the right of expression. The statement is clear manifestations of United States’ disregard for the sentiments of Muslims and revival of same old excuse given by London and Copenhagen where Satanic Verses and blasphemous caricatures were published. Now this is something that demands justice from the flag bearer of human rights’ violation in the world and global peace. If the Salman Rusdie, the Danish cartoonist and the American film-maker can be spared on the pretext of freedom of expression, then what about the emotions of thousands of millions Muslims? Has their religious emotions not been hurt? This only means that the western states have separate yardstick in measuring the emotions of an overwhelming majority of population that lives in Islamic countries and where there is a sizeable Muslim presence.
Besides, the role of European media in reflecting the increasingly xenophobic and Islamophobic society is condemnable. The movie and cartoons seek to test and provoke; they are not ridiculing some ordinary person but mocking Muslims' most sacred personality hiding behind the façade of freedom of expression. The win-win for the media is the explosive headline events, reporting them or creating them, also boosts sales. It is even sadder to watch most respected European newspapers acting more like tabloids.
Those who have made this film have actually taken freedom of speech as hostage and hidden behind this concept which they use as scapegoat. But insulting the sanctities of one and a half billions of human beings cannot be upheld under the pretext of freedom of speech because if it is actually supported, the ultimate consequences will be very detrimental to everybody.
Western powers and the US already feeling the heat of the global militancy may destabilize international order and endanger the global peace by not taking cognizance of the blasphemous and disgusting material. Therefore, to avoid this impact of extremist forces that seek to promote violence and have played a part in producing this film should be reduced to a minimum. In the words of Swiss Catholic priest Hans Küng, "There will be peace on earth when there is peace among the world religions. Without respect for people of different races or ethnicities or religions, how can we have a peaceful and harmonious society or world? And without a harmonious society, how can there be the necessary economic development and atmosphere conducive to spiritual happiness and self-realization?” The US should adhere to this for the love of peace, if nothing else.