By Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Prisonersolidarity.org
May 4, 2006
analysts and critics have called the outrage over the Danish cartoons
"a clash of civilizations by subsets of Islamic fundamentalists,"
while others have called the outrage "state-inspired riots."
But why not call the outrage what it really is: A genuinely religious
outrage inspired by the immaturity, recklessness and stupidity of
a newspaper editor for soliciting and then printing those provocative
and inflammatory cartoons which he knew would provoke an outcry
from the local Danish Muslims.
those infamous cartoons published out of ignorance? Flemming Rose,
the editor of The Jyllands-Posten, can best speak for himself.
He has defiantly said that "he solicited and published the
cartoons to get the reaction from the local Muslims, and to teach
them the value of democracy." Therefore, contrary to what former-President
Bill Clinton said in a recent TV interview, the behavior of the
editor was not did out of ignorance. It was a deliberate insult
not only to the local Muslims in Denmark but also to the entire
Muslim ummah (nation) under the auspices of freedom of speech.
as it may, freedom of speech does not grant an editor, or any person,
a license to insult and inflame the passion of a people or a nation.
If a pluralistic society is to truly exist in peace and harmony,
then freedom of speech cannot be an absolute right.
deliberate attack and assault on Islam is not new, and even moderate
Muslims are now waking up and smelling the coffee. That is, there
is apparently a global assault/attack on Islam--culturally, militarily,
politically and religiously--and Muslims have a sacred duty of safeguarding
and defending their Prophet and their creed. Echoing this same argument,
Shaikh Abdul-Aziz Al-Shaikh, Saudi Arabia's grand mufti (a great
Muslim scholar authorized to issue legal verdicts), said to nearly
3 million Muslim pilgrims during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca,
"Oh, Muslim nation, there is a war against our creed, against
our culture under the pretext of fighting terrorism. We should stand
firm and united in protecting our religion."
Islam does stress tolerance in almost every facet of life, there
can be no understanding or compromise for this type of blatant cynicism,
disrespect and insult to Prophet Muhammad ibn Abdullah (upon whom
be peace), a noble and the most beloved personage who was sent as
a mercy to mankind and all that exists. Still, non-Muslims cannot
fathom why the outrage over the cartoons. For many Muslims, to sit
idle and allow this grave injustice to go unchecked is to collaborate
with this evil, cynical act.
teaches that when Muslims see an evil, they have both a moral and
religious obligation to try to prevent it with their hands. If they
are unable to prevent it with their hands, they should try to prevent
it with their tongue by speaking out against it. And if they're
still unable or afraid to do even that, then they should at least
hate the evil in their heart. But under no circumstances should
they sit motionless and become toothless. To do nothing is tantamount
to disbelief and amounts to aiding and abetting the enemies in the
destruction of Islam.
defending and supporting Prophet Muhammad with their bodies, monies
and lives is not an innovation as some want the world to believe.
They unflinchingly defended him in life and shall defend him in
death, and this is non-negotionable. The sooner the world realizes
this, the better chance the world has at resolving the current crisis.
But, as long as European countries continue to find justification
and excuses for the editor's actions, there will be no peaceful
resolution to the violent outrage and massive demonstrations. Instead,
Muslims will continue to sacrifice themselves for the person who
is dearer to them than themselves.
of the Prophet's companions, Abdullah bin Hisham, reported: We were
with the Prophet and he was holding the hand of Umar bin al-Khattab,
the second caliph in Islam. Umar said to him, "O Allah's Messenger!
You are dearer to me than everything except my own self." The
Prophet said, "No, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, (you will
not have complete faith) till I am dearer to you than your own self."
Then Umar said to him, "Now, by Allah, you are dearer to me
than my own self." The Prophet said, "Now, O Umar, (now
you are a believer)." This tradition exemplifies the closeness
Muslims felt, and many still feel, for their Prophet. He is a paradigm
for all humanity and represents the best of Muslim identity. Moreover,
he represents everything Muslims hold dear about Islam and this
insult cannot be tolerated.
even if the cartoons were not insulting and distasteful, there would
still be an outrage over creating the cartoons. Why? Plain and simple,
making and displaying pictures of animated objects--of people, animals,
and all living creatures--is strictly forbidden in Islam. In stark
contrast, picture making and keeping pictures is primarily the pastime
and art occupation of non-Muslims.
there are many moderate and westernized Muslims who dupe both Muslims
and non-Muslims alike by claiming there's nothing in the Qur'an
which prohibits pictures, this is far, very far from the truth and
will never be accepted by those staunch Muslims who follow the example
and teachings of the Prophet in their pristine purity. Allah Almighty
says, "And whatever the Messenger (Muhammad) gives you, take
it; and whatever he forbids you, abstain (from it)." (Q. 59:7)
It is clear, unequivocally clear, from the above passage in the
Qur'an that it is incumbent upon all Muslims to obey the commands
and prohibitions of their Prophet. In obeying him they are actually
obeying Allah, and disobedience to him is actually disobedience
to Allah. So, what did the Prophet say regarding pictures? For the
sake of brevity, hereunder are a few traditions regarding their
A'isha, one of the wives of the Prophet, said: "The Messenger
of Allah returned from a journey and I had screened my door with
a curtain having on it pictures of winged horses. He commanded me
to remove it." (Muslim)
· The Messenger of Allah said: "The most grievous punishment
on the Day of Resurrection will be for those who imitate Allah in
the act of creation (i.e., making pictures and images)." (Muslim)
· The Messenger of Allah said: "Every picture maker
will be in the fire of Hell. A body will be created for every picture
made by the picture maker, and this body will torment him (the picture
maker) in Hell." (Mishkaat)
Prophet made the latter saying while destroying a picture. It's
interesting to note that not only will the picture makers be punished
on the Day of Resurrection, but they will be commanded to give life
to what they tried to create. Indeed an impossible task to accomplish,
for only Allah has the power to give life and to take it away.
prevent Muslims from falling into idolatry is another reason for
the prohibition of pictures, for worship should be done exclusively
for Allah. By all means, Muslims should avoid the pitfall of other
religious communities. With the utmost respect to Christians, the
short of it is, and intending no offense, when a pious person among
them dies, they build a place of worship over his grave and then
draw pictures in it (the place of worship).
this is the Islamic stance on pictures and insulting its Prophet,
the violent outrage and massive demonstrations could have been avoided
if level heads would have prevailed. How? The Danish Muslim population
sought to resolve the matter through petitioning and peaceful protests,
but the Danish government refused to condemn the cartoons or to
meet with the local Muslims' representatives. Its inaction and insensitivity
inflamed the local Muslims and caused them to seek the help of Arabs
and Muslims' embassies in Denmark, the oldest monarch in Europe
where Muslims make up only 2% of the Danish population.
add further insult to injury, the unrepentant editor's position
has been, "Love it or leave it." Such defiance has prompted
a millionaire in Pakistan to put a million dollar bounty on the
editor's head. Remember Salman Rushdie and the bounty that was placed
on his head for writing the book Satanic Verses? Well, history
is indeed repeating itself.
that the cartoons were designed to incite hate and acts of terrorism
against Muslims, why isn't Flemming Rose being held accountable
for his actions? And if this is "free speech" and "fair
game," then why has Imam Abu Hamza al-Masri been recently convicted
and sentenced to seven years in prison for "free speech"--inciting
hate and terrorism--in London? Better yet, if it's truly "free
speech," why is a reporter for Al-Jazeerah being detained
at Guantanamo Bay for "inciting hate and terrorism?" It
seems like the West is trying to teach Muslims more about hypocrisy
short, if it's good for the goose, then it has to be good for the
gander. More succinctly, Muslim governments should demand that the
editor be detained, indicted and prosecuted for "inciting hate
and terrorism." It's precisely what his actions have caused
in the world over. If their demand is not met, then Muslim governments
should stop arresting jihadists and supporting this so-called war
on terrorism, for the playing field is hardly what one would call
Siddique Abdullah Hasan is the founding editor of Compassion,
a newsletter to develop healing communication between capital punishment
offenders and murdered victims' families. He is also a co-editor
of the web portal Prisonersolidarity.org.
The respected Sunni Muslim prison Imam was sentenced to death row
for his alleged leadership in the 1993 Lucasville prison rebellion.
He is currently on death row at Ohio's super-max prison in Youngstown,
and is appealing his sentence. For more on his case, see Staughton
Lynd's book, Lucasville:
The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising. (Temple University
To contact Hasan about a writing assignment and/or a column on issues
relating to Islam, incarceration and prison life, send inquiries
Siddique Abdullah Hasan, R 130-559
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road
Youngstown, OH 44505-4635
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