23 February, 2006

The Last Three Weeks

I spent the last three weeks having a quiet time with my Family; every evening, after sunset, I would take long walks with my two sons. I had very little time for the Internet, but spent long hours watching the T.V; the news, in particular. One subject was dominant: the cartoons on the Prophet Muhammad. I managed to have a look at the cartoons on the Internet.

For me, as for all practicing Muslims - the cartoons are extremely insulting! And, I have no doubt that, the publishing of the cartoons were intentional and well planned: to hurt and insult we Muslims in the most painful way possible! Picking on the Prophet, the most unifying symbol and the Greatest personality and role model - for all sects and branches of Islam, and depicting and representing him the way it was done in the cartoons, is the worse insult I can think of.

Islam does not allow the depiction in images , in any way, of all Quranic and Biblical Prophets. It is not, as reported by some, that justice can not be done in the creation of the images; but Prophet Muhammad, repeatedly advised his followers on the dangers of having his images lest Muslims later start worshipping his images rather than the One God. He repeatedly stressed that he is nothing more than a Prophet and a human.

Even if the images had been 'friendly', practicing Muslims would still find that totally unacceptable; but to have gone as far and depict the Prophet in the very negative way it was done, was only done so to inflame and with very sinister motives behind it. It has only inflamed further and widened the differences and mistrust more, between we Muslims and the West; was that the intention?

And all this was done in the name of 'freedom of speech'. As always, the West always employs double standards in such matters; Europe doesn't have absolute 'freedom of speech'. It all depends on what or who, one writes or speaks about. Europe and the West censor certain utterances or articles, and would even prosecute those behind such utterances or articles; it all depends. But Europe would like us to believe otherwise.

I, like all Muslims, object to this. I object to Islam being depicted in such a degrading and demeaning way. I object to us being portrayed as 'terrorists'. I object to the Greatest and most inspiring personality I know of - being depicted in such an insulting and lowly way. I do so peacefully! No matter what the West may think, it is not in the Muslim character to be violent and destructive. The Islamic world, is a reflection of that.

Watching or reading the news, one would think that the Islamic World is a war zone. One would think of the Islamic World as full of crime and violence. But, this is much further from the truth.

Rarely is it said that, of all the world's urban areas - those in the Islamic World have the least violence and crime; with the exception of: Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan - which have well founded reasons for being as bloody as they are. Very few other countries have such comparative peaceful urban areas as Muslim countries do have. Even Cairo with a population of about 20 million people has much less crime per day than the smallest urban areas in other parts of the world; be it - rape, brawls or fights, suicides, murders or any other kinds of violence. Be it Rabat or Kuala Lumpur or Tunis or Brunei or Amman or Dubai - rarely does one encounter violence or crime of any kind. Same here in Mukalla where I am: I can move with my Family in any part of Mukalla at any time of the day or night without any fear whatsoever.

Traveling around Hadramout too, is as safe for me and my Family as it is in Mukalla; where else do people stop to assist other motorists as easily as it is done here? In any part of Hadhramout, passing by motorists would stop to assist other motorists or others along the way - however remote the place is; it is that safe! Just as it is in many Muslim countries.