Friday, February 03, 2006

Chaos Over Cartoons

Sheikh Yussef al-Qaradawi, a leading Islamic cleric and head of the International Association of Muslim Scholars called for an "international day of anger for God and his prophet" today over the recent republication of twelve cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in the European press. Make no mistake, this man is not calling for peaceful demonstrations. The Egyptian-born cleric who has Qatari citizenship and is based in Doha, is known for his support of militant groups like Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad and resistance groups fighting in Iraq.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Ahmed Akkari, a Muslim theologian from Copenhagen warned that "a clash of civilisations" could break out in Europe as newspapers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland decided to reproduce the twelve cartoons (click to see the cartoons over which all the fuss has been about).

I don't know whether these cartoons constitute hatred, bad taste, or freedom of the press. What I am interested in is how, once again, we see scholars and practitioners of Islam acting rather contrary to their worn-out assertions that Islam is a religion of peace. Contrast the roar of protest, violence, and threats sweeping through the Islamic world with what happens when Christian are killed, abused, or have their beliefs insulted publicly. Rather than calling for an "international day of anger", we call for an "international day of prayer." Rather than warning that mosques could be bombed as a result of the insult (as warnings have been issued that churches could be bombed as a result of these cartoons), Christians are urged to pray for those who insult them and to do good to them. Rather than burning flags and effigies, we write letters, asking for respect and justice without threatening retaliation if our requests are not met. Yes, we too may boycott the products of a nation (just as Muslims are being urged to boycott Danish products), but we do not make it a matter of righteousness before God. We mourn, we pray, we ask for justice, we may even decide to immigrate if we feel that the time has come to find a place where we can practice our faith according to our own conscience. But we do not hold our society hostage with warnings of violence. We do not act like the spoiled bully in the playground of the world who throws a violent tantrum every time someone calls us a nasty name.


Anonymous said...

If Muslims are offended by a picture of Mohammed with a bomb, how is burning down embassy buildings making the case that the depiction is wrong?

Perhaps we are seeing the true colors of Muslims.

Add to that the one Islamic scholar claiming Jews and Christians are preparing to wage the third world war with Muslims as the target.

Anonymous said...

On the lighter side, you might like to check out