Words seem to fail me these days! I have tried to write this blog many times but after finishing and re reading, I find my vocabulary too weak and inadequate to express my sentiments. The agony, rage and a sense of helplessness and despair that I am feeling are common to the majority of the two billion Muslims around the world! Like all Muslims (and even sensible non-Muslims), I heard with indignation and disbelief that a video clip called Innocence of Muslims in which an attempt has been made to degrade our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. has been posted on the YouTube. So much has been written on the issue, initially I wondered whether I should write anything more or not. But my conscience keeps me restless during the days and sleepless during the nights. My share may be only a drop in the ocean, but I feel compelled to share my sentiments with my readers because whether they express it or not, I know that they all must be going through the same pain and frustration (how could any Muslim not react to such venom and insult to the person we revere and respect as the Messenger of Allah).
I would like to clarify first that by no means do I favour or defend the violence and unnecessary loss of precious lives and property, in reaction to the blasphemous video, especially here in Pakistan. We had every right to protest, but I feel ashamed and disappointed that we did not do so in a civilized and disciplined manner. Precious lives were lost and property was burned and raised to the ground by unruly mobs.
The Government of Pakistan made a great blunder by calling Friday (the 21st September) Yaum e Ishq e Nabi, the day to show love for the Prophet PBUH a public holiday. Making decisions in haste and not taking into consideration the consequences it will lead to, have cost us a lot in the past. Making no proper security arrangements and ignoring the religious fanaticism which the video has whipped frenzy into the life of an average Pakistani, Mr. Zardari our (un)popular President conveniently flew off to England on a private visit and the more (un) popular Prime Minister not even have enough courage to venture out to the Convention Centre in Islamabad to make his speech in the announced seminar. The country was left in the hands of miscreants and mischief mongers who (in the name of love for the Prohet PBUH) took the law into their hands. The rangers were conspicuous by their absence and the police was not at all prepared for the free show of anger and violence.
But in spite of all this which I do not defend, I must lodge my protest against the so called ‘Freedom of Expression’. Every civilized society gives freedom of expression to its members and it is one of the basic rights in a democratic nation. But where do we draw a line between this freedom and pure venom, unasked (and intentional) provocation of the religious sentiments of billions of people around the world? We claim that we live in a civilized world but have we proved that we are a civilized generation? Trying to defame and insult the Prophet Muslims love and hold in high esteem, is just an act of snobbery and hatred, something which no one can get away with the so called right of Freedom of Expression! In his criminal act of releasing the video Innocence of Muslims via YouTube, Sam Bacille has thrown all norms of civility, ethics and morals to the air!
The President of the United State of America, Mr Obama in his speech in the General assembly has tried to pacify the Muslim sentiments of indignation by declaring that USA disowns the movie and has nothing to do with it. He has urged the entire humanity to reject the disgusting video which has sparked outrage throughout the Muslim World. He is right in most of the things he said as he also criticized Muslims for causing loss to lives and property and reacting violently to the hate movie.
But, I disagree with you Mr Obama when you declare, (quote) “As president of our country and commander in chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so” (unquote). With due respects Mr. President, I must remind you that you may be the President of The United States of America, but please do not forget that you hold this post for only five or at the most ten years. Comparing criticism on yourself with the downright insulting and blasphemous video about the Prophet of Islam is simply outrageous! Hazrat Muhammad S.A.W. is a personality who is loved and respected by Muslims and (although grudgingly) by sensible non-Muslims as well, since the advent of Islam and will be done so till all times to come! If you are criticized, this is the price you have to pay for reaching the highest rung of the ladder of success. In no means can this justify a madman’s sickening and malicious endeavor to try to insult our Prophet PBUH.
This is not something which you can call Freedom of Speech or Expression. It is downright provocation and can be likened to pouring petrol over a flame. For years, USA has been mounting pressure on Pakistan to ‘Do More’ in the War against terrorism. We as a nation have suffered a lot because of this war. Lives (most of them innocent) have been lost and our economy is on the down slide! Now this is the time for Pakistanis and all the Muslim Ummah to ask the USA and President Barack Obama to ‘DO MORE’!
According to the laws of The USA, a person can be sued for causing physical or psychological damage to some one. Don’t you feel that Bacille who made the hate movie, should be brought to court and given exemplary punishment for hurting and enflaming the emotions of more than two billion people. Muslims may be held responsible for the loss to lives and property but the root cause behind this outrage and fury should be dealt with an iron fist. Instead of declaring your inability to ban the disastrous video and attributing it to freedom of expression, you Mr. Obama should ‘Do More’ and deal with the issue more effectively by not only slamming an immediate ban on it but also amending the laws which have rendered you helpless inspite of the outcry and protests all over the world.
To all Muslims, I would like to appeal, show your love for Hazrat Muhammad Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam by trying to ponder how he would have reacted in such a situation. He preached humanity and compassion, forgave when he could avenge and always refused to be provocated in the most sensitive situations. Instead of walking in the trap deliberately set up to further derogate the Muslims we must exercise restraint and lodge our protest according to the norms of a civilized society. This is the time when we can prove to the world that barring a minority of religious extremist, Muslims are a peace loving and disciplined people. This is what Ishq E Nabi (love of the Prophet) demands from us!