Opinion Editorials, February 2006, To see today's opinion articles, click here: www.aljazeerah.info
Flemming Rose Cartoons: Faking an Islamic-Christian Conflict to Fuel the Permanent War Strategy
An Interactive Dialog Between Hassan El-Najjar and Patti Leslie
Al-Jazeerah, February 12, 2006
Patti Leslie wrote:
Why is it OK to strap a bomb to oneself and blow up a bus filled with women and children, but when a cartoonist in another country makes fun of it, it's also appropriate to burn buildings and riot?
I don't understand the mentality of the Muslim community, nor do I think I want to. But where in polite society is it acceptable to hurt innocent people who were trying to find humor?
I have nothing to do with any of this and nor do I want to but I am troubled by their need to be violent. Why is it OK to make fun of the Christian faith but not to make light of their religion? I guess Christian's are taught to turn the other cheek. But if you want to make friends outside your own culture you have to be more understanding. And someone from the Muslim world needs to speak out to the rest of the world and try to make us understand. Right now the Muslims in America will never be accepted again, till someone speaks out and accepts the apology of the countries involved in this.
I don't believe that Christians, Muslims, or anyone else should be held responsible for the actions of others. The other night on CNN I saw an interview and they were showing Muslim cartoons of Jesus in a bad way. I'm not saying the Christian's did better, I just think they didn't pay attention. (which is something else all together) At this moment in the world I think we need thicker skin.
Let's not get angry and do violence against innocent people who had nothing
to do with the cartoons. Are you angry at me because if I had looked at the
cartoon I may have laughed? Or am I supposed to not be angry because of a young
Muslim strapped a bomb to himself, walked on a bus and blew up the children,
mothers and fathers sitting on there? The people in the embassy's had nothing to
do with those cartoons, why destroy property and hurt the ones not involved. I
don't know why they drew the cartoons, other than they were making light of
something that is bothering everyone on this planet. Which would be the
bombings. I have a thousand and one questions I would love to ask.
Hassan El-Najjar Replies:
First, I'll attempt to answer your questions as simple as possible just to give you information about the details of the small picture. Then, I'll give an explanation of what I think is underneath all of this reaction by Muslims worldwide, that is the big picture.
For your first question, the answer is no, it's not OK from the Islamic point of view for anybody to kill himself and kill others in a suicide attack. That's why it's wrong to depict the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as a terrorist. He never preached that.
For your second paragraph, it's OK if you do not understand others for variety of reasons, but it's not OK not to want to. We need to understand each other in order to learn how to coexist peacefully in this global village of ours.
It's not acceptable to find humor only by picking on Muslims, their religion, and their Prophet while it's against the law (in Europe) to be skeptical about the holocaust, for example. Europeans and people in the northern hemisphere generally must understand that Muslims cherish their religious values and hold messengers of God in a sacred status that nobody should make fun of. If Europeans cherish Israel and the holocaust and don't dare to touch them with profanity or skepticism, they should abide by the same rule towards Islam, its values, and towards the messenger of God, Muhammed, peace be upon him. So far, those who attack Islam are hypocritical, double-standard, and cowards because they do not dare to do the same towards Judaism, Jews, Israel, or even to the holocaust. I'm of course calling for the same treatment, not for attacking Judaism or Jews.
It's not OK for any Muslim to make fun of Christianity or Judaism. Actually, you cannot be a Muslim until you believe in God, His angels, His books, and His messengers. This means that Muslims cherish and hold very dear all messengers of God, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus Christ, in addition to the Prophet Muhammed, peace of God be upon all of them. Christians and Jews are described in the Holy Qur'an as people of the Book and Muslims are instructed to treat them well, invite them peacefully to Islam, and leave differences to the Day of Judgment for God to rule on them.
Yes, Christians were taught to turn the other cheek but they are not doing it right now. For about two centuries, they have been invading and occupying the lands of each other and lands of Muslims. They have invaded and occupied many Muslim countries for no reasons other than taking over their resources, such as the US-Led NATO invasion and occupation of Iraq. They have assisted Zionists to invade Palestine, establish Israel on its ruins, and evict its indigenous population, the Palestinian people, who are the true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. From 1948 until now, the Palestinian people have been deprived of their right to return to their land while Israelis have been assisted by NATO countries to launch war after war in order to subjugate not only the Palestinian people but also neighboring Arab states, and even Islamic states, like Iran right now. The US-Led NATO countries are now pressuring Iran to stop its nuclear program or risk being sanctioned, invaded, and occupied, like what happened to Iraq. The objective is keeping Israel as the only nuclear super power in the Middle East.
Concerning your statement that "Muslims in America will never be accepted again, till someone speaks out and accepts the apology of the countries involved in this." You're saying that every time there's an incident like this in the world, your acceptance of American Muslims will be in doubt until they respond to what you want them to do. This means that you're holding them responsible for anything other Muslims, in other countries, do. Is this a fair statement? Think about it. Do you want people around the world to hold you responsible for anything other Christians may do worldwide? Do you want people around the world to hold Jews everywhere, just because they are Jews, to be responsible for the Israeli occupation atrocities in the Palestinian territories? I don't think that it is fair to do so. Muslim Americans are here to stay. They are citizens of this country who should be treated respectfully and equally. I neither hold you responsible for the Danish cartoon atrocity nor I consider accepting you as a fellow American conditional to your position from publishing these cartoons that insult your fellow Muslim Americans.
Muslims hold Jesus Christ and all other messengers of God, peace and blessings of God be upon all of them, in high regard. It's not Islamic to depict anyone of them, let alone depicting them in a negative way. Muslims believe Jesus Christ was created with a word by God Almighty without a father. They also believe that he is the Messiah and that he will come back to Earth, and when he does they will fight on his side against the anti-Christ (Al-Dajjal). You can't find a better, more affectionate, and more loving description of Jesus and his mother, Mary the Virgin, than you find in the Holy Qur'an, particularly in Chapters 3, 5, and 19.
Muslims also have great love and respect for Moses and the believers who followed him. The Prophet Muhammed, peace of God and his blessings be upon him, observed that Jews in Medina used to fast the tenth day (Ashoura) of the first lunar month of Muharram every year (which coincided with February 9 this year). He asked them about why they did that. They answered that it was in gratitude for God for helping Moses and the Israelites out of the Egyptian bondage, which happened that day. Then, the Prophet recommended that Muslims also would fast Ashoura in gratitude to God for saving Moses and the Israelites from slavery, saying that Moses is ours too. Just think of this Sunna (teaching of the Prophet) and compare it with what Flemming Rose, the Cultural Editor of the Danish newspaper, who published the cartoons that insulted Prophet Muhammed. How can Flemming Rose belong to Judaism or to its followers while doing this to Prophet Muhammed, who taught the entire Muslim Ummah, Nation, to fast a day every year in commemoration and gratitude of the Passover!!!
I agree with you that reactions from some Muslims were unwarranted, particularly setting embassies on fire. It's even more sad that about eleven Muslims were killed many were injured in Afghanistan and other countries by the police for demonstrating against the cartoons. The right course of action is peaceful demonstrations and boycott of Danish products until the arrogant prime minister apologizes.
There's nothing wrong with making fun of terrorists and terrorism, whether perpetrated by individuals, groups, or states. What's wrong is depicting the Prophet, peace be upon him, as a terrorist. This is why Muslims are angry.
But why did Flemming Rose solicit then publish these cartoons, targeting the Prophet? Initially, he said he was practicing freedom of expression that Europeans cherish. A simple answer is that he was not telling the truth. He would not publish anything against Zionism, Israeli occupation practices, or the holocaust. He actually refused to publish cartoons insulting Jesus Christ, which was the right thing to do. A deeper answer is in seeing the bigger picture.
In brief, Flemming Rose has claimed his fifteen seconds of infame in the "War on Terror" or the Zionist Empire War to subjugate the Arab and Muslim worlds. His cartoons have thus served to fake an Islamic-Christian Conflict in order to Fuel the Permanent War Strategy, which would be the subject of a separate article. It's so sad that people like him, who are in control of the mass media in the West, continue to promote war, hate, and clash of civilizations, instead of peace, love, and cooperation.
Dr. Hassan El-Najjar is the Editor of Al-Jazeerah and Patti Leslie is a reader. She describes herself as an upper middle class, middle aged white woman who lives in western United States. Her work is testing medical software. She is also a mother.
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.