By Fatima Chowdhry
Religions drips with blood, ironically with the blood of the innocent. And yet it is an irony that a religion which was created to promote peace has become the cause of bloodshed. Yes , in the name of freedom of speech movies like “Innocence of Muslims” which are serving to cause pain to Muslim sentiment and incite the radical elements to violence in a current political environment that does not need murder and strife in the name of God.
The movie titled “Innocence of Muslims” is nothing short of a crude anti-Islam propaganda film that has been directed by Alan Roberts who has a long record of making soft porn movies and a man named Sam Bacile who has extensive criminal background. A few minutes in the trailer of the movie it becomes evident that the sole purpose of such a movie is to depict the Holy Prophet of Islam as a philanderer and pedophile. However, this is not only a misrepresentation of facts but a very prejudiced attack on the character of a prophet who is revered and honored through the Muslim world and even among non Muslims. At this juncture, we must also remember that freedom of speech should not be carried to the extent that under this begin label of “free speech” we become subject to hate speech.
Similarly it was highly irresponsible if not disrespectful of the French Magazine Charlie Hebdo to print insulting cartoons of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. I think the simple lapse in thought and feeling is that people forget that just as Muhammad (PBUH) is dear to the Muslims, so is Christ to the Christians and Moses is to the Jews. Thus, we cannot in a civilized society go insulting the Gods and Prophets of other religions for that would be disrespect and no one wants their beloved Prophets, to be disrespected. In this case, the anti-Islam movie and publication of French Cartoons only serve to increase strife between different religious groups and incite to violence and fuel the fires of religious differences in the world. How do such actions constitute “freedom of speech” when a religious figure and Prophet is being insulted? According to the LA Times the movie “Innocence of Muslims” does not meet a free speech test. Hence, this movie does not represent free speech as it does not condone the values of the constitution of the United Sates which promotes equal rights for all religions and minorities. Unfortunately, this hatred filled movie has incited violence in attacks on U.S Embassies and led to the death of U.S Ambassador.
Unfortunately, the west’s concept of Islam and its Prophet Muhammad is already jaded and misconstrued by prejudices. It is an oversight of western historian to depict Prophet Muhammad as a militant leader or to attribute the actions of radical extremist to the religion of peace and tolerance that was sent down with Muhammad. The fact remains that Prophet Muhammad forgave even those who threw stones at him in the valley of Taii’f and when an angel from God appeared asking if these people should be punished; Muhammad asked for their forgiveness because they did not know what they were doing in their ignorance.
This is the true character of the Prophet of Islam and the religion he preached and his message was always one of peace and tolerance. The few wars that were fought in his lifetime were fought in self defense and have been misconstrued to depict the Holy Prophet as violent leader. The Holy Quran nor does the Prophet of Islam condone violence even against those who insult its Prophet and Muslims should fare well to remember this message in these times. The Ahmadiyaa Muslim Community and its worldwide leader Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmed has urged for patience and forebearance in the face of such malicious attacks on the Prophet of God. The Ahmadiyaa Muslim Community follows a religion of peace and tolerance and that the Prophet Muhammad was sent as a messenger of peace not only for Muslims, but for the entire universe. It is also important to remember that Ahamdiyaa Muslims have faced persecution and death at the hands of extremists in Pakistan and other countries yet they have never retaliated to violence with violence. Perhaps the perpetrators of such vile propaganda and the extremist Mullahs of any religion would far well to remember this.
Although propaganda movies like “Innocence of Muslims” feeds the flames of Islamophobia in the west, yet Muslim do not need to attack embassies and destroy their own countries as a reactionary measure. It is better for us to keep in mind that no community, religion, or individual has the right to insult or malign the character of a Muslim, Sikh Christian or Jew or be it any other religious community, The filmmakers who question the “Innocence of Muslims” need to ask themselves how “innocent” their intentions are and how very different are they in fact from the extremist fanatics who rage in the name of a God who does not condone such bloodshed , be it the God of Muhammad or of any other?