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Published On:28 September 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Indecency against the prophet is a sign of West’s moral and intellectual defeat

By Abdul Rashid Agwan

The barrage of cartoons, films, books, bloggers and events in many western countries, mortifying Prophet Muhammad, is nothing but a sign of West’s moral and intellectual defeat vis-à-vis Islam. Recently, the western society is not only seen getting bankrupt economically but morally as well. It is gradually losing its sheen and sobriety as a claimant of superior culture.

The West known for tolerance, liberalism, religious liberty and dialogue-oriented bridging among people is being steadily replaced by a West, infested with intolerance, conservatism, monoculturalism and racial frenzies.

The bizarre acts in the West remind of a failing debater who, exhausted of arguments and logical consistency, jumps to invectives and diatribes. There has been a time when a section of literature and media carried repeated assertions regarding certain ‘faults’ in Islam such as polygamy, triple divorce, barbaric punishments, and the like. Then, there appears the recent phenomenon of terrorism. However, in the concerning debates the ultimate winner has been Islam. The faith has been condemned for all these alleged faults but the objective judgment in the West could never endorse the allegations. The consistent disputation on various aspects of Islam has only assured of its appeal as a viable religion. Today, the European churches and synagogues are giving a deserted look whereas mosques are thriving there with young worshippers. The Hijab has a special attraction for those western women who do not subscribe to the prevailing culture’s impropriety. The more it has been written against the Quran the newer western readers joined its circle of admirers in a great number. The plank of terrorism has also failed with reducing takers to believe that it has something to be associated especially with Islam and Muslim society. And, the West is back to square again on the front of vilifying the Prophet of Islam in a frustrated manner.

There is another reason for abrupt events in the West which polarizes local societies into Christian and Muslim classes; the Zionism. Peace and religious tolerance between these two religious communities do not suit to the Jews as the third influential factor in the West. In normalcy, the majority of Christians resume thinking that Jews are their actual masters, they control all their affairs. It becomes evident to them that politics, economy, culture, media and international relations prevailing in the West are actually subservient to the Zionist cause. In a tense and conflicting situation, like the one presently obtained there, the Christian majority finds Muslims responsible for all their problems. Their immigration to the European countries is seen as a threat to native employment, the increasing Muslim population is found as a gradual takeover of Europe by an ‘alien’ culture. Identities related to Hijab, mosques and minarets, Arabic names, the Quran and the inspiring life of Prophet Muhammad are depicted as threats to the Western society. In order to put Christian and Muslim communities against each other in Europe and elsewhere, funds are being provided by the Zionist agencies to the rightist leaders and organizations and the sponsored media is systematically giving coverage to events which could aggravate religious polarization there. Even Zionist organizations such as Middle East Forum as been alleged to financially support election campaign of anti-Islam leaders such as the Dutch politician Geert Wilders. The ethnic tension also suits many European rulers since it distracts public attention from their failures on economic and other fronts.

As a reverend personality, the Prophet of Islam is not the first target of the Western sacrilege.

The Judo-Christian culture yokes a history fraught with shameless denigration of prophets andreligious personalities. The present day Jews are cherishing to build Temple of David on the site of Aqsa mosque of Jerusalem but their predecessors threw a lot of profanity on Prophet David for proving him amorous. His alleged adultery with Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite is a well known story of the Bible. How even sympathetic Western scholars write about him, can be understood from this passage: “David was probably the greatest lover in the Old Testament.

As a man after God's own heart, he was the greatest responder to the Love of God. He was very handsome. He had beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. The Hebrew word for David is from the root which means delight from love, or lover. The first letter of his name is the pictorial for the point of a female breast.” The Jewish tribes killed many prophets like Prophet Zechariah and John the Baptist. The innocence of Mary in giving a miraculous birth to a fatherless Jesus was largely doubted in the Judo-Christian history. More recently the mockery of Jesus and other religious personalities by various western writers and artists has led to enactment of anti-blasphemy laws in most Christian countries. Since it is difficult to target Jesusand his family anymore due to rigorous criminal codes, some western intellectuals take liberty in making the Prophet of Islam as the pursuit of their inveterate addiction.

France remains one of the European countries where anti-blasphemy law does not exist and some ultra-liberal sections there take the liberty to print sacrilegious materials from time to time; both against Christianity and Islam. In 2005, the French newspaper Liberation brought out a cartoon of a naked Jesus wearing nothing but a condom and the organization General Alliance against Racism & for the Respect of French & Christian Identity unsuccessfully sought a legal order against it while arguing that it had offended all Christians and "injured their right to practice their religion". The court characterized the portrayal as "crude" but said it did not contravene any laws. In a legal suit against the Charlie Hebdo, the magazine which reproduced its 2007 cartoon of Prophet of Islam recently, the court commented that "the drawing, taken on its own, could be interpreted as shocking for followers of this religion [Islam]" but had to be seen in the wider context of the magazine examining the issue of religious fundamentalism.

Therefore, even if the cartoon was "shocking or hurtful to Muslims, there was no deliberate intention to offend them". Contrarily, in the case of nude pictures of Duchess of Cambridge Middleton Kate that recently appeared in a French magazine Closer, the French judiciary seems more reasonable when the magazine’s further publication was banned and the police raided the magazine’s offices and seized its copies. In the French justice, disparagement of holy prophets and grief of billions of Christians and Muslims does not call forth any legal action but an inconvenience to princess of a western country carries much more gravity for it.

Although European courts generally do not favor aggrieved religious sections, as exemplified from the fate of the above sited two cases, there are some voices in the West which speak for decency in public life. On the murder of Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh in 2004, for his anti-Islam sacrilege, Fred Halliday, an Irish expert of international relations, commented, “Any decent society, whatever its supposed discursive exceptionalism, should have prohibited [van Gogh's vilification] and, were it made, to punish the perpetrator. Theo van Gogh should not have been murdered. He should, however, have been arrested and compelled to issue an apology. Had this occurred, Dutch society would have demonstrated its ability, cultural traumas or not, to meet its moral obligations towards immigrants. And, probably, Theo van Gogh would still be alive today”. Unfortunately, the western leaders and media generally condemn reactions and not the provocations which are aplenty nowadays. Inducement to crime is also a crime. The one who incites someone to commit suicide is also considered offender in the eyes of law. A public address which leads to violence is also punishable under law. However, provocative material is regularly being published in the West without any deterrent but the entailing violent reaction that takes out somewhere becomes the target of censure.

According to International Terrorism Monitor, when Iraqi Christians became targets of some Muslim militants, the most hated terrorist in the West Osama Bin Laden called it ‘pollution of Jihad’. At least that much morality could be shown by an unexpected one. But, how many westerners have instantly come out to condemn sacrilegious films, cartoons or blogs which take a toll of many innocent lives every now and then? No eminent person either in Europe or the U.S. and none of the hundreds of Nobel Laureates there, no one from the papal family and the globally dispersed Christian clergy have disapproved such acts. The silent majority of the West is really silent. Whatever reactions on record are against the agitators; why they make so much fuss on trivial matters? The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has said “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” Perhaps this is truer of the present western society than any other one. This is nothing but a sheer madness that blasphemous movies, cartoons, blogs and books are being produced in the West without any aggravation or need. The courts are not taking unbecoming provocations seriously and the public opinion is also not strong enough to deter miscreants.

Tragically the western political system has also become equally insensitive to such a sacrilege.

Say for example, the French government has banned demonstrations against publication of some provocative cartoons in a satirical weekly but not the magazine itself which triggered the protests, although either both deserved interdiction for ‘breach of public safety’ or acquiescence under ‘freedom of expression’. In the U.S., the Obama administration has taken no action against the irreverent film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ but it spent about $70,000 in TV ads in Pakistan announcing that the government respects religion and it had nothing to do with the movie. These ads were displayed only in Pakistan, even not back home in the U.S. itself, obviously not to share the grief of local people but to ‘manage’ its possible ramification on the war front in the Af-Pak region. What a crude joke from a leading western country which shows reverence to religion only when it becomes a military exigency!

Muslims are in a dilemma since their traditions do not allow making mockery of religious personalities, respected by Jews and Christians or any other denomination; firstly this is considered as an obnoxious act in itself and secondly they equally revere Biblical prophets.
This holds back Muslims to react by making similar movies and cartoons of David, Solomon, Moses, Marry or Jesus. These are two distinct traditions; one is unmindful of blatant contempt to all reverend personalities and the other is cautious in paying reverence even to the religious and cultural heroes of opponents. In such a situation moderate Muslim leaders have no choice but to release appeals of restrain. As Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Muslim Council, has done by describing both the film and the cartoons as "acts of aggression" but at the same time he urged French Muslims not to protest in the streets since it would be “counterproductive”. Perhaps, there is one more way to face the challenge. That is by reminding the western elite of the religious tenets of their own. Muslims can either follow this advice of the Gospel Luke wherein Jesus is recorded to have said: “But I tell you who hear me:

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. ….”. Or, they can join Pope Benedict XVI in his Christmas 2010 prayer “Lord, make your promise come finally true! Break the rods of the oppressors! Burn the tramping boots! Let the time of the garments rolled in blood come to an end!”

In any case, the frantic events in a number of western countries ranging from Wisconsin Gurudwara killings in the U.S. to genocidal firing on immigrants in Netherland and from the anti-Quran movement of Father Terry Jones to Swiss government’s referendum on construction of minaret of the Geneva-based mosque in the precincts of Turkish embassy, all comprise signs of a new West in making, an intellectually and morally defeated West. 

The Christian activist C. Wright Mills wrote a few months back in The Nation on the silence of Christian majority regarding the prevailing violence and ethnic tension and termed it a Christian society’s moral defeat. He says, “By sitting down and by keeping quiet, by all too often echoing the claptrap of the higher immorality that now passes for political leadership - you are helping to enfeeblefurther in this time of cruel troubles the ideals of your Founder (Jesus). Christianity is part of the moral defeat of man today…”

[Abdul Rashid Agwan is President of Universal Knowledge Trust, a Delhi-based Think Tank, and can be contacted on agwan@rediffmail.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on September 28, 2012. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on September 28, 2012. Filed under , , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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