Sunday, February 24, 2008

Western notion of freedom is an open license to vilify Islam

On February 13th 2008, at least seventeen Danish newspapers vowed to defend freedom of expression and reprinted a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed. The conservative broadsheet Berlingske Tidende wrote in an editorial: "Freedom of expression gives you the right to think, to speak and to draw what you like... no matter how many terrorist plots there are...รข€‌ It is evident that the Danish media did not learn anything from the outcry of Muslims that accompanied the newspaper Jyllands-Posten decision to publish the original cartoons in 2005. Denmark is the not the only western country that insists on vilification of Islam.

The Dutch government has refused to take action against Dutch Member of Parliament Geert Wilders who has recently made a derogatory movie about the Quran. The government has defended Wilder’s actions by citing freedom of expression. A year earlier, the Dutch government banned the Burqah. In Britain under the guise of freedom and tolerance, the Shariah debate has been used by the media and government ministers to denigrate Islam and set a new price for Muslim loyalty to the State.

France and Germany have imposed a ban on the wearing of hijabs. European security forces routinely harass, arrest and torture Muslims for simply being Muslims. Writers and journalists are free to insult Islam and their right to do so is passionately defended by politicians. Take Oriana Fallaci, the Italian war correspondent wrote a book entitled 'Anger and Pride' in which she described Muslims as 'vile creatures who urinate in baptisteries' and 'multiply like rats'. To the horror of Muslims, Italy's Defence Minister, Antonio Martino, praised Fallaci for having the courage to write the book.

In Muslims eyes, America” the leading state of the West” is notorious for the humiliation and torture of Muslims in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, responsible for the destruction and defilement of Iraq’s mosques, the debaser of Muslim women and the slayer of tens of thousands of innocent Muslims. Testimonies from human rights organisations, journalists, lawyers, US officials, former prisoners, rape victims, tell the true horror of Americas war on Islam. In this war, western ideals of 'religious freedom and the freedom of expression have given way to religious intolerance and anti-Muslim demagoguery.

Away from Washington, the US media, esteemed think tanks and leaders of the religious right who are counted among President Bush's closest allies exploited free speech to vilify Islam. Rev. Franklin Graham, described Islam as a "very evil and wicked religion". Evangelist Pat Robertson, called Prophet Muhammad "an absolute wild-eyed fanatic . . . a robber and brigand . . . a killer". Jerry Falwell called the prophet of Islam a terrorist.

On the international front the West was quick to sacrifice freedom of religion in preference for forging alliances with despotic regimes across the Muslim world. The regimes of King Abdullah, Musharraf and Karimov who routinely torture, imprison and kill Muslims for expressing their Islamic beliefs became the main players in Westerns’ crusade against Islam.

The West claims that individuals are free to worship whatever deity they choose. But in practice this leads to perpetual conflicts amongst people, as religious beliefs and practices professed by some can be interpreted as offensive and insulting to others. Hence, western governments are constantly intervening in the disputes and resort to legislation to protect the religious rights of some people by depriving others. Often, the real benefactors of freedom of religion are those individuals or groups whose beliefs coincide with the interests of the government or those who possess the ability to exert influence over the government. That is why the religious right in America is allowed to attack Islam because their fiery rhetoric is in full harmony with President Bush's war on Islam. However, if the same conservative Christians were to insult Jews or the Zionist state of Israel the US government would adopt stern measures to curb their insults.

Likewise western governments use religious freedom or freedom of expression to pry open societies closed to western values or totally ignore freedom when it does not concur with their interests. In the case of Karimovs massacre of Muslims in Andijon, the West has chosen to water down its response, as the protestors are avid supporters of Islam and not democracy. Such hypocrisy only serves to underscore the perception amongst Muslims that the America and Europe are solely interested in the utter destruction of Islamic values and practices.

Islam does not believe in the fanciful idea of freedom of religion or freedom of expression, where a handful of men decide which beliefs and thoughts are legally beyond reproach and which beliefs and thoughts are subject to unfettered criticism and legislation. Islam stipulates that life, honour, blood, property, belief, race and the mind are to be protected by the Islamic State. All the citizens of the Caliphate are guaranteed these rights, irrespective of whether they are Muslim or non-Muslims. Islam also protects the rights of non-muslims to worship without any fear of retribution or vilification of their beliefs. The messenger (saw) of Allah said: "One who hurts a dhimmi (non-Muslim citizen of the Caliphate), he hurts me and the one who hurts me, hurts Allah"

Therefore it is prohibited for a Muslim to insult the beliefs of a non-Muslim or to damage their places of worship. The Islamic history is unrivalled in its ability to guarantee the religious rights of non-Muslims under the shade of the Caliphate.

Muslims living under the tyrannical rule of regimes supported by the west need to realise that holding demonstration or boycotting western goods will not prevent the West from carrying out further acts of aggression against them. The only way to prevent the West and her surrogates from attacking Islam and humiliating Muslims is to re-establish the Caliphate.

The rights of the Muslims were protected, until the very last days of the Caliphate. During the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, Britain decided to stage a play, which depicted the life of the messenger (saw) of Allah in a derogatory manner. On hearing this Sultan Abdul Hamid complained to the British government to put an immediate end to the play. The British government defended its decision to hold the play by citing free speech. When Sultan Abdul Hamid threatened Britain with military action only then did Britain relent.

By Abid Mustafa
February 18 2008

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