a young pakistani doctor blogs...
Monday, February 20, 2006
  Spread the word.
I condemned, as I’m sure most Muslims did, the publication of the offensive cartoons of the Prophet. I believe freedom of speech is a great thing. It’s an essential tool any open society must have in order to retain the capacity for self-criticism and thus continual self-appraisal and correction. However, using this much-cherished freedom to insult and offend runs counter to the spirit of a democracy, where many people with differing opinions, beliefs and values must learn to coexist in harmony. This is an abuse of a freedom that is meant for much nobler end. If a publication released well-argued criticisms of Islam or the Prophet (no matter how harsh it appeared to us or how much we disagreed with it) that would be a different matter altogether - such expression of ideas must be protected vigorously. However the cartoons were just plain insulting and derogatory. If instead of the Prophet, these cartoons addressed issues of race or Judaism and were made in the same spirit, they would be roundly condemned as being racist and anti-Semitic (and rightly so). As such, these cartoons express nothing but ignorant bigotry, a shameful action defended ignobly enough, with cries of ‘freedom of expression!’

Having said that however, I condemn even more strongly the nature of the demonstrations erupting all over the Muslim world. I believe the majority of Muslims are dismayed as I am to see bored, testosterone-pumped young men running around with stones and guns, firing in the air and damaging the property of fellow Muslims. Where does Islam sanction such actions? Do these people think God will not make them answer for the damage they’ve caused or the lives they’ve stolen? Do they believe they have some holy sanction from God to act like this?

And how loud are our good maulvis shouting to condemn the lives lost due to the protests they have organized? Do they care more about an insult made by some obscure foreign country than innocent people dying of mindless violence? Why haven’t they breathed fire on TV strongly condemning the violence and warning those who continue to act this way that they are breeching basic Islamic notions of peace and decency? Instead they make speeches fanning the flames, ensuring that more violence occurs and more lives are lost. I recall a hadeeth by the Prophet where he said that amongst the first people to enter Hell will be religious scholars, because they misused their position and betrayed the trust of their station.

Where is the moderate ‘silent majority’ in condemning this violence? Isn’t it time we spoke out and condemned segments of our own population for its actions? Isn’t it time that we take back our religion that has been hijacked from us? Who is the greater enemy of Islam here? The ignorant cartoonist? Or the violent ones amongst us who act as they do with impunity and with no fear of reproach from fellow Muslims? I think its time the silent majority stopped being so silent. I urge all the Muslim readers of this blog to post the following statement on their own blogs.

I strongly condemn the publication of the bigoted and offensive cartoons against the Prophet. However, I condemn in much stronger terms the violent reaction some Muslims have had to the publication. This reaction runs totally counter to my Islamic beliefs. They must be stopped immediately with an exhaustive investigation launched to arrest and punish the perpetrators. As a Muslim, mindless violence in the name of Islam is far more insulting to me than for an ill-informed, publicity-seeking newspaper to publish cartoons of my Prophet (pbuh).

Spread the word.
im with you one hundred percent...and i will post soemthing to this effect soonon my blog...
Thanks for picking up the cause man. We sure need individuals like you on board here.
but remember the voillence that we saw in Pakistan was all political and nothing to do with people protesting there. my friends who were in the procession tell me that it was a band of mysterious bunch of young people who joined the procession in lahore and created havoc.
In Islamabad i am told that there were riots all day but still not even a single shop was shattered by any protesters.
Similarly in Jordan and Syria it is the political unrest speaking in the processions. nothing to d owith the protests as such
Moiz, I agree with you. This is the work of a few thugs furthering their own agenda. However, the whole world see this as a protest being done in the name of islam. When they see the pictures on TV, they think it's muslims protesting the cartoons who are burning their own property. Its this notion I want to dispell and hence the short, reproducible quote I put at the end of the post. I want a loud and clear message sent out that muslims are strongly displeased by these kinds of protests. I want more and more muslims to disown these protests because right now, to the world at large, these protests belong to us
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Recent med school graduate from Peshawar, Pakistan. Started blogging when in throes of final year exams. Currently studying for USMLE Step 1. Aiming for the 2008 Match. I blog about my studies, my worries, and my thoughts on life. I live in Islamabad.

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