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Cartoon Controversy

The publication of outrageous and blasphemous cartoon by the Norwegian and Danish newspapers depicting Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s) in negative light and linking Islam with violence has lacerated the feelings of Muslims all over the world. Protest against this shameful sacrilege inevitably evoked chain reaction. It is indeed surprising to see how people, who claim to be civilized, seldom realize the travesty to which they have reduced the civilization itself. The basic principle of civilized existence is mutual respect, which implies that people should not hurt each other's sentiments.

Causing injury to a person by words or deeds is bad enough. To hurt the feeling of an entire community is worse. It is intriguing to note this is exactly what some European countries are trying to do to Muslims who form a major chunk of global population. Instead of apologizing to the aggrieved community, some newspapers in a number of other European countries have exhibited contemptuous defiance by reproducing the provocative cartoons. In the rare cases where an apology has been expressed, the undercurrent divulges impenitence. To add insult to injury, freedom of expression is being cited to justify the deplorable conduct of a corrupt cartoonist. Obviously freedom of expression does not mean license to abuse. People's right not be insulted and offended overrides a newspaper's right to insult the Last Prophet of Islam. While enjoying freedom of expression, care has to be taken to see that it does not mean spitting of venom or flinging of filth against a person or community. In the guise of freedom of press, inciting religious and ethnic hatred is not acceptable. The detestable cartoon is nothing less than emotional torture and can be termed as intellectual terrorism.

The Muslims can never give a matching response to this vilification agenda, as they are obliged as an article of faith to respect all religions and revere all those who preached and propagated moral values in different times and climes. Therefore when the Last Prophet of Islam is attacked, Muslim cannot pay back the offenders in the same coin. Thus these transgressing caricaturists enjoy immunity. They can only protest against the blasphemy and the breach of the very essence of morality. Violence in word or deed would end up in greater violence. (Holy Qur'an, chapter 41/34)

“And never can be equal the good and evil, negative and positive. Hence ward-off evil with something that is better - and note, how someone, who is at odds from you because of enmity, will become a close friend!

(From Holy Qur'an 41/34)

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Let us not forget that this kind of calumny is not a recent phenomenon. The controversial cartoon and its enthusiastic reception in Europe have a menacingly symbolic significance. The peddlers of terror and hatred in the name of Islam have, in recent years, tarnished the fair image of Islam. These obscurantists have been a persistent source of annoyance to the Europeans. To express their ire and hostility against these agents of death and destruction, and to demonize a faith that is little understood by European societies and greatly misrepresented in western media, they have hit below the belt.

What was even more disturbing was the response of the Muslims. It is painful to see how Muslims round the world were ruled by emotion rather than wisdom. Attacking European diplomatic offices, commercial establishments and persons, creating law and order problems were measures that did not suit a community whose Prophet is described in Divine Scripture as Mercy to mankind. (Holy Qur'an, Chp.21/107)

“We have sent you O Mohammed entirely as a mercy for all the Worlds.”

(From Holy Qur'an 21/107)

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