Why We Muslims Are Angry

You want to know why Muslims are so offended by the caricature of the Prophet? It boils down to respect--a lack of it.

BY: Hesham A. Hassaballa

 

The reaction to the Danish caricature of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) can be described as nothing short of mind-boggling. Angry protests sparked across the Muslim world: Flags were burned, guns were fired in the air, people were threatened and even beaten, products were boycotted, and ambassadors were recalled. All this over a bunch of cartoons.

Yet, why was this so? What was it about these caricatures that infuriated many Muslims worldwide so much that they would torch a Danish embassy and bring sales of Danish cheese to a halt in the Middle East?

I think it’s more than--as many media outlets are reporting--the Islamic tradition that forbids the caricature of God or any of the prophets. Of course any image made of God or His prophets will invoke some Muslim protest. But it is the grossly negative caricature in the Danish cartoons that has sparked the intensity of this furor.

The cartoons depict the Prophet Muhammad to be a blood-thirsty brigand, a knife-wielding Bedouin, an inhuman terrorist. What was particularly bothersome to me was the cartoon that showed the Prophet telling suicide bombers at the gates of heaven: "Stop! Stop! We have run out of virgins!"

These depictions are so offensive because the Prophet holds such a special place in the hearts of every Muslim on earth. We believe he was the Messenger of God and the seal of the prophets. Islam tells us he was visited by the Angel Gabriel, that he ascended to heaven and spoke to God, and that he transmitted the very word of God to His servants on earth.

The Prophet suffered so much pain and torment just to give the message of Islam to the world, a message that will save me on earth and in the hereafter. So I love and revere the Prophet, and to see him maligned and attacked in such an insensitive and repulsive way causes a pain in my heart that I simply cannot bear.

These caricatures of the Prophet is akin to publishing a cartoon of Jesus Christ as a Catholic priest being dragged away in handcuffs for sexually abusing a young boy. Christ is wholly innocent of the crimes committed by a minority of Catholic priests against young boys. If such a cartoon were to ever be published, I would be shocked, angered, and deeply offended.

The same goes for the Prophet Muhammad. He has nothing to do with the terrorist monsters who kill in the name of Islam. It is completely inappropriate to equate him with them. I would never attack the character of any of God's Prophets. These men are His representatives to humanity and deserve nothing short of respect, honor, and reverence. In my mind, to attack their character is to attack God Himself.

But the Muslim reaction went way too far.
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