By S. M. Hali

The recent outrage by the Muslim Ummah protesting against a low budget blasphemous movie produced in the USA and the west’s condemnation of the remonstration of the Islamists depict occidental double standards. The US State Department assures the Muslims that the sacrilegious film was not sponsored by the US Government. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during her meeting with her Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, made it clear that the protests which had turned violent and, sadly, resulted in loss of life, cannot be tolerated. She admitted that there is provocation, and the US had made clear that it does not in any way support provocation. She reiterated that the US Government found the video that’s at the core of this series of events offensive, disgusting and reprehensible. 

Unfortunately, the west displays double standards in its dealing. Terry Jones, a small time pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, a small nondenominational Christian church in Gainesville, Florida had his ten minutes of fame when he burnt copies of the Islamic Holy Book, the Quràn. His despicable act was condemned but no legal action was taken against him. The Danish caricatures ridiculing Muhammad (MBUH) were in bad taste and violently protested by the Muslim Ummah but no legal action was taken against the cartoonist, who caused mental agony to billions of Muslims all over the globe. Salman Rushdie, the author of Satanic Verses, was revered by the west although his blasphemous book was reviled by the Muslims all over the globe. Now similar revulsion has been caused by the profane film, which would have gone unnoticed if the producer had not taken pains to translate it in Arabic and post it on “You Tube”.

  US: Friend or Foe

The sad aspect is that all these heinous acts causing mental anguish to Muslims for defaming their beloved Prophet are brushed aside by the west under the “Freedom of Speech Act”. It is indeed doublespeak when the punishment for the denial of Holocaust ranges to imprisonment of one up to ten years in a number of western countries. Nudity is permissible but in some western countries, Muslim women covering their heads with scarves can be punished or sacked from their jobs or expelled from educational institutions. In Denmark construction of magnificent palaces, citadels and mansions is permissible but the domes of mosques are prohibited. Smoking at public places is prohibited as it is injurious to health but the onslaught of venomous comments against a religious entity is permissible under freedom of speech. In Germany Hitler’s Mein Kampf is banned but books preaching hate and odium against Islam are tolerable. It is high time that the Occident reviews its laws against blasphemy and the reviling of other religions.

On the other hand, we Muslims and especially Pakistanis need to rein in our anger. Friday September 21, 2012 was declared as the day of “Love for the Holy Prophet (MPBUH)” but it turned into a day of expressing extreme hatred, violence and aggression. The same Holy Prophet (MPBUH), whom we revere and whose Sunnah (teaching and practices) we are ordained to follow, were conveniently forgotten. Prophet Muhammad (MPBUH) was a paragon of love and virtue. He decried violent behaviour and forgave even those who caused him physical harm. Everyone recalls the story of the infidel old lady, who used to throw garbage on the Holy Prophet (MPBUH) when he used to go the mosque to offer his morning prayers. Muhammad (MPBUH) never lost his temper but returned home to change his clothes and then proceed for prayers. One day the old lady did not appear to throw garbage at him so he came back to her house after prayers, only to find her sick in bed. Muhammad (MPBUH) performed her household chores and tended her till she recovered. The old lady was so inspired by Muhammad (MPBUH) that she entered the fold of Islam.

  Peace dialogue in critical stage

Pakistanis, who attacked and burned a church, cinema houses, looted ATMs, torched cars and petrol pumps, only caused damage to their own country. They lost an ideal opportunity for displaying to the world that their sentiments had been hurt but they were capable of protesting peacefully. By giving vent to their extreme emotions and violence, they only revealed their barbaric nature and brought Islam a bad name. No wonder an Indian student has taunted that India does not need to build Pakistan-specific Agni/Prithvi missiles. “Just produce a blasphemous movie, post it on You Tube and in retaliation, Pakistanis will destroy their own country.”

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