The French fuel the anti-Muslim fire
The satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo just published a number of cartoons that poke fun at the Prophet Mohammad. One even depicted the Muslim religious figure bending over to show his butt and genitals.
This comes only a week after the low-budget film “The Innocence of Muslims” sparked international protests and violence against the United States, most notably in the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya.
In Tunisia, the ruling Islamist party urged Muslims not to overreact to the cartoons because it might “derail the Arab Spring and turn it into a conflict with the West.”
All of this leads me to one very important question: Why weren’t Muslims instructed to “be cool” when that ridiculous film came to light last week?
The obvious answer is that the film came from America while the cartoons came from France. Of course, the USA never endorsed “The Innocence of Muslims” and actually spoke out against it. But the fact that free speech allowed something like this to be produced and distributed didn’t fly with some Muslims, who immediately started protesting, attacking our embassies and even killing our diplomats.
I haven’t heard of the French receiving the same treatment, even though their government closed schools and embassies in twenty countries just to be safe.
When are people going to realize that just because a film comes from America doesn’t mean it is representative of all Americans or even our government? By this logic, you could also say that Americans support piracy because we allowed three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films to be released, with a fourth already in the works.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not asking for violence to be directed at the French for some offensive cartoons simply because Americans were targeted for an offensive film.
What I am asking for is an end to the violence. People have the right to share their opinions even if others find them offensive. And while pot-shots at religions like Islam are tasteless, they should also be taken with a grain of salt. What matters is that Muslims believe in Islam and know the “truth” based on these beliefs. So what if someone jokes about Mohammed? Does that make him any less important to Muslims?
I can say this, and I apologize in advance if I offend any of my Muslim readers: Islam’s image is far less affected by satirical films and cartoons than it is by all the violence that erupts when people overreact to them. I urge Muslims everywhere to stop the violence and to instead focus on what really matters, like increasing awareness of Islam and finding positive ways to connect with people in other cultures.
Hate will only take you so far in this world.
Posted on September 19, 2012, in Perspectives and tagged Arab Spring, commentary, current-events, France, Islam, Muhammad, musings, Muslim, news, opinion, perspectives, religion, tolerance, United States, Violence. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.