The need for Muslim unity
Mohammad Jamil


The anti-Islamic documentary movie, Innocence of Muslims, has sparked global protests and outrage in the Muslim world. Many governments have condemned the film made by a California-based Egyptian Coptic Christian filmmaker. The uprising in Libya and in Cairo, where the US mission was attacked and its flag set on fire, just goes to establish that religion and region are quite sensitive issues. It is demanded by the Muslims worldwide that the film producer and his associates should be tried for hate crime and for hurting their feelings.

And nobody should be allowed to indulge in sacrilege on the premise of freedom of thought and expression. In February 2006, for instance, violent protests were held across the Muslim world over the dastardly act of publishing cartoons blasphemous of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) by a Danish newspaper and its motivated reproduction by others in France, Italy, Netherlands and Norway. The reaction by the Muslims against the vandalism the world had witnessed under the guise of freedom of the press from the cartoonists in Denmark and Sweden should have served as an eye-opener.It appears that from time to time the Americans and Europeans try to test the patience of the Muslims, their devotion to and reverence for Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). But every time, they get the same response that all Muslims hold him in the highest esteem. The West claims to be the upholder of fundamental rights; it preaches tolerance and respect for others’ faiths, but in practice they do things that tend to inflame the sentiments of the Muslims. And when the Muslims retaliate, they label them as ‘extremists’. The US must realise that the Middle East, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, has become too dangerous and disturbed a place to stand such upheavals. Both governments and religious leaders should rise to the occasion to subside undercurrents of hatred and bias in order to make this world safer place to live in without having any feeling of trepidation and fear. Unfortunately, the Muslim are divided over fiqah, and the US and other big powers take advantage of those contradictions. There is urgent need for the OIC to convene a summit meeting to chalk out a plan to pressurise the US and Western countries to take measures to stop the hate campaign against Muslims. But the problem is that the Muslim countries are playing in the superpower’s hands, which was obvious when they threw Syria out of the OIC’s fold in the third extraordinary summit that was held at Makkah recently. The two-day summit moot, chaired by the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, ended with a clear polarisation within the 57-member body of Islamic states. Last year, Syria was suspended from the Arab League’s membership over its clampdown on the uprising, but the OIC suspended it without hearing the Syrian point of view. Since the organisation also faltered in calling for non-intervention by foreign forces in Syria, this has added to the impact of the jarring decision. The American and European countries have been eulogising the Arab Spring in Muslim countries. Though there were uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya, yet they deemed it appropriate only to supply weapons and provide funds to the rebels in Libya. As to the unrest in Middle East and North Africa, after Libya, Syria now is the target. Muslim countries have to understand that if they do not show unity they will be taken on one by one. Bobby Ghosh, in his article on violence caused by the controversial film, published in the TIME’s latest issue, wrote: “A chain of violence from Cairo to Benghazi raises the question: did the Arab Spring make the Middle East more dangerous?” He added: “Before the Arab Spring, this chain of events would likely have been stopped early. Dictators like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Gaddafi would have either blocked Internet access to prevent their people from seeing inflammatory material or used their security agencies to crackdown on protests long before they could reach critical mass.” Indeed, this is reflective of repentance for having supported the Arab Spring.