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.


03/12/2006 11:26:16 AM

By the way, my name is Mariam, it is the version of the name Mary as given in the Quran. For Mary, the mother of Jesus. Allah Hafiz


03/11/2006 06:47:40 PM

Maria Maria What surprises me is the vitriol in some of your responses! Really ? And how many people did "we" kill ? Did we burn the embassies of Pakistan or their flag ? You see here so clearly, the divisive effect this issue has had on Muslims and nonMuslims alike. I also that this should have been a problem that should have been confined to Denmark. If it wasn't for the this muslim cleric masqurading as a loyal Danish-Muslims whining to other Muslim clerics and rabble rousers in the Middle East it would have remained a Danish problem. Not only did this Muslim Cleric abd Iman show the cartoons that were published this man of peace added three more that were not published to further inflame the situation. You see here so clearly, the divisive effect this issue has had on Muslims and nonMuslims alike. And who was promoting this Cartoon Jihad ? Muslims !


03/10/2006 01:21:12 AM

Maria, your response illustrates me point perfectly. The anger in your words reveaks your closed mind. "Your clerics" caused the riots? Partly, but it was much more complicated than that, believe me. I was in Lahore on the day 2 people were burned to death during a riot, and clerics or not, if there were no cartoons perhaps these two people would still be alive. My point is, it was irresponsible and disrespectful to publish the cartoons, and a recipe for disaster to do so in a time where so much sectarian violence is rampant. Salam.


03/09/2006 11:40:04 AM

Maria How sad - couldn't you all see while this cartoon thing was happen that the public was being manipulated by the publishers of these cartoons, It is even sadder that YOU do not see the YOUR religous clerics that were fanning the flames of hatred around Dar al Islam. who had to know the effect this would have, who had to know that in a world already in turmoil it would cause widespread riots, demonstrations, and the death of many Muslims? And tell me, to what do you attribute these God like powers to foretell the savage reactions of Muslims ? Perhaps they should have known what would have happened from the murder of Van Gough ?


03/06/2006 12:30:19 PM

What surprises me is the vitriol in some of your responses! You see here so clearly, the divisive effect this issue has had on Muslims and nonMuslims alike. How sad - couldn't you all see while this cartoon thing was happen that the public was being manipulated by the publishers of these cartoons, who had to know the effect this would have, who had to know that in a world already in turmoil it would cause widespread riots, demonstrations, and the death of many Muslims? Perhaps your anger would be better served if you looked at the peddlers of these disgusting cartoons and saw them for what they are - ruthless people who saw a way to create news, and they didn't care if people were hurt or killed as a result.


03/01/2006 04:55:22 PM

"But for other European newspapers to reprint them just to say “We have the right to print these, and we will.”--that was the kicker Oh I see, when Muslims from around the world show support for a principle over an incident that "occurred in Denmark" that is ok, but when non-Muslims from around the world show support for the principles they believe in and hold "sacred" it is "the kicker" ! And was there extemist who demonstrated against this offensive attack on free speech ? Was there extremist who burned the Quran or the flags of Dar al Islam for this attack on free speech ? Was there extremist in Dar al Harab who killed or caused destruction of property over this offensive attack on their sacred principles ? Nooooo I doan think so.


02/28/2006 03:39:54 PM

How much money in handouts has Denmark and those European nations given to Palestine ? If Denmark was insentive to the muslim's, then why did they suspend the license of a radio station for inciting violence towards muslims ? And what I think is "most" sad is the death toll, which at last count was 45 people. Most of whom were muslims.


02/28/2006 03:26:33 PM

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 did Jesus, but he unlike Muhammad didn't inflict pain on others. 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. Since he isn't dead I think he HAS managed to "bear" it. Do you think that if the cartoons as described about Jesus were published the christians would act with the same intensity as the muslims have ? The same goes for the Prophet Muhammad. He has nothing to do with the terrorist monsters who kill in the name of Islam.


02/28/2006 03:07:17 PM

Yet, why was this so? Because Islam has little history of neither free-speech or free-thought. The stated reason for the publication of the cartoons was NOT to hurt the feelings of muslims nor too belittle "their" Prophet. Does Mr. Hassablla remember my favorite cartoon. The one in which the artist is cowering in fear after having drawn an image of "their" Prophet. And they same applies to the other nations of europe. Turned out to be a pretty Prophetic cartoon, didn't it ?


02/28/2006 01:29:28 PM

For one thing, it doesn't sound like we are being "asked" it sounds like we are being "told". We are "told" to submit to the "true" religion. We are "told" to become dhimmis in out own land. How come Islmo-centric people cannot tolerate the traditions(like free speech and freethought)of others, not only in Dar al Islam but in Dar al Harab ? I am sick and tired of the sugar coated Islamic propaganda being peddled by Mr. Hassablla and others.


02/27/2006 04:12:24 PM

There is nothing that will ever convice some non muslims about their opinion on Islam.. Unless they renounce it. Hesham being a propagandist for Islamist is a foolish statement. I read his articles and he is as moderate as can be without renouncing Islam. If muslims ask not to picture the Prophet wouldn't that be enough, how come eurocentic people cannot tolerate the traditions of others and then force their own. Then hide behind the free speech.


02/27/2006 12:26:23 PM

I think that this alleged "doctor" is nothing but a propagandist for Islamist. He presents a whitewashed, candy coated verison of Islam that has no basis in real life. I remember when the 9/11 occurred and he wrote a column. His first worry was not about the deaths caused bu his fellow adherents, but what kind of PR hit Islam would take.


02/20/2006 09:34:03 PM

Pretty cool stuff, you two.


02/20/2006 01:03:06 PM

cknuck, Yes, I saw it yesterday, and we exchanged two more messages on this board. It confirms what I believed all along: Dr. Hassaballa is a humane and intelligent person, probably a worthy representative of what Islam is really all about. I only hope that he writes for the audience where his words will do the most good. Writing on B-net informs non-Muslims that Islam should NOT be judged by the violence perpetrated in its name, and that is fine - but it doesn't actually help in terms of stopping that violence. So I hope he will ALSO write for newspapers or other media that will reach the Muslim populations where violence is being instigated by fanatical clerics, to tell the people THERE that hate-mongering is not what Islam is about and that the clerics who preach hatred are therefore disgracing the religion.


02/20/2006 11:30:38 AM

Hey H4C did you read the response to your request by MuslimJedi? What do think?


02/20/2006 10:11:55 AM

Quite right, joey. However, as a heretic myself (defined as a person who rejects religious doctrine), I think you should say that those who defile religious symbols or customs should be labelled blasphemers, not heretics.


02/20/2006 09:02:16 AM

Why do muslims just not buy that newspaper and simply ignore it? or perhaps write a letter to the editor to express their opinion? There is an art museum in New York that has depects Jesus in urine. There is a cartoon on this website that depicts Jesus with a gun under the title of 'Pro-Life Jesus'. Why do not muslims just lable them heritics, pray for their conversion, use logic and argument to try to show them how wrong they are, and then leave it to the almighty God. Joey


02/19/2006 05:24:32 PM

People will do anything to protect their beliefs wherein they think they are right. In this case however the restriction was put in to protect Muhammad and his disciples. Just try going to any nation run by a dictator and use the same cartoons to depict him. Heads will roll. It is a matter of control and fear is one of the great controllers. Such cosntrol applies to all religions. Fear of the Devil, fear of hell, fear fear fear. The sad thing about it is with all the fear, nothing changes...humans are still evil through and through although if you ask them...they are good to the nth degree. So how come the world is as it is?


02/19/2006 05:15:08 PM

Peace be unto you all: Heretic_for_Christ: I am trying with my writings. That is the best way I can disseminate my message. I only pray that God takes that message to all. I pray that God makes my message beneficial to all. I pray that I am a force for God's Wonderful Good as long as He lets me live and breathe on this earth. Amen. Peace be unto you all.


02/19/2006 04:01:48 PM

Dr. Hassaballa, Thank you for your candid reply. Will you say the same things TO THOSE CLERICS? To the people in the regions dominated by those clerics? Will you explain how it offends your sense of the true teachings of Islam? I am assuming that you are already doing what you can to teach the next generation of Muslim adults that fanaticism is not the way. But can you lend your voice to stop the rampant fanaticism that is currently unleashed?


02/18/2006 09:55:55 PM

Peace be unto you all: Dr. Hassaballa here. To answer "Heretic_for_Christ": Most definitely, the cleric who issued the bounty for the cartoonists angers me deeply and profoundly. I CAN'T STAND when clerics issue stupid things like that. Totally unbecoming of a Muslim. Peace to you all.


02/18/2006 06:31:33 PM

This is idol worship. To kill over the image of a man, even Muhammad (peace be upon him), is contrary to the teachings of, well, Muhammad! The Qur'an has choice things to say about idolators. Let's hope it's all a bit of exaggeration.


02/18/2006 04:17:09 PM

I have to say that I continue to see muslim clerics say stuff such ast he following headline: 'Cleric Announces $1M Bounty on Cartoonist' Therefore I see no reason to believe that this is not correct according to the dictates of islam. Who are a bunch of western Christians to say a Pakistani muslim is wrong about islam?


02/18/2006 03:32:53 PM

acesr, Welcome to Beliefnet. I agree - I think all the truly worthy religious leaders would be appalled at the evil committed in their names.


02/18/2006 02:54:35 PM

I think they overreacted on the cartoon issue. now i can understand them being angry over the misuse of mohammed depicted in the cartoon,but i don't condone their actions simply because of my christian beliefs. the bible says,"be angry but sin not".if it's in the qua'ran they should read that scripture,besides as reverered as mohammad is among the muslims, he still served GOD who is all about peace and love and that's a very important part that they missed. if mohammad is looking down from heaven,i know he is quite upset over how his people are reacting because in my understanding,he was'nt about violence.they are constantly using his name in vain for the sake of war and that's an insult to him"


02/18/2006 09:12:19 AM

With all due respet to Hesham A. Hassaballa (whom I think is an all-right guy), the real problem isn't the cartoons. It's the belief that this is how EVERYBODY sees Islam ALL THE TIME. A cartoon, by itself, is not an attack on an entire people. It's when that cartoon is seen as representative of the entire dialogue, as if all Danes felt exactly the same way, with no exceptions - in person or sentiment. Meanwhile, this righteous indignation ignores the fact that political cartoonists make everything silly, every day, around the world. They also ignore all the Arab cartoons that are equally offensive in their portrayals of Israel, America, George Bush and the 9/11 attacks.\ What makes any group so special that it can decide which cartoons are funny and which ones merit a fatwa?


02/18/2006 07:46:47 AM

Sorry Henrietta we Christians have a bad record of retaliation, look at your prez.


02/18/2006 04:09:50 AM

The more Muslims act like they are in the Middle ges where everything is settled by stabbing the person who pissed you off, the more the world will continue to disrespect them, and in turn, Islam. Islam is a religion that neither deserves nor warrants such a treatment. Muslims should start behaving in the way they want others to perceive their religion.


02/18/2006 04:09:36 AM

However I do agree with you on that fact that the cartoons are incredibly offensive, and would never have been printed if they were off any other religion. The newspaper is jumping on the "let's trash Islam" bandwagon that started in 2001 with the WTC bombing. Also, they know they can get away with it because Muslims don't have the political power the Jews have, and the more they overreact, the more the world sees them as fanatics who can't take a joke. Muslims should use this as a tool to educate people. After all, the cartoons were printed in ignorance of the true greatness of the Prophet. Muslims should have used this to show that they are ready to join the civilised world by talking about how the cartoons are wrong about the Prophet. Instead, they only concentrated on how angry it made them, and showed the world once again that they are incapable of solving an issue with displomacy and tact. They have killed people over a cartoon, something no other religion has yet to do.


02/18/2006 04:09:22 AM

When it comes to the Catholic priests, even though it took the Church much longer than it should have, it condemned them. Not once did the Church leaders actually say that this was any way all right or that it was endorsed by the Bible. In all of this furor, we have only heard about how Muslims are hurt by the cartoons. We have not heard anyone say that the cartoons are untrue or lies, and that is because Muslims cannot do that. Why should they be angry when the cartoons have only printed the truth of what their own religious leaders have said? Something that muslims have yet to deny?


02/18/2006 04:08:43 AM

Dear Mr Hasbullah, I believe your comparison of the pictures and their relation to the Prophet with the case of child molestations by Catholic priests is wholly wrong. The reason the newspaper even managed to print that is becaue it is a widely known fact that mullahs use the bait of "enjoying 7 virgins in heaven if you die for our cause". No muslim, even you, has yet come out and said this is not true. In fact, your religious leaders use the Holy Quran as evidence that such a reward exists for the believers.


02/17/2006 08:37:24 PM

Dr. Hasaballa, said, "These depictions are so offensive because the Prophet holds such a special place in the hearts of every Muslim on earth." I'm a Christian and the "Trinity", Father, Son, and Holy Ghost hold a special place in our hearts. When a Christian is offended they turn to Christ and pray about it. They don't have world wide temper tantrums and burn buildings,cars, kill and threaten to decapitate the person who hurt us, or have million-dollar bounty for his death. Your fellow Muslims behavior is shocking and uncalled for in a civilized world. I perceived Muslims differently before this carnage happened in different countries. My perception now is one of distrust, disgust, and complete bafflement.


02/17/2006 04:13:31 PM

Here is a question for Dr. Hassaballa: You have explained why the cartoons anger you. Do you feel at least as angry at the Muslim cleric who has just offered a million-dollar bounty for the death of the cartoonists? If you do, I expect you will speak up and tell that cleric that he is a hate-mongerer who is disgracing your faith. If you don't (that is, if you think that cartoon depictions of Prophet Muhammed are much more serious offenses than inciting to murder), then nothing you might say has any worth.


02/17/2006 03:47:54 AM

What is all this jibberish about? Every day a billion Muslims bow toward Makkah in order to pray. If this isn't idolatry, what is?? And then, they are expected to do the Hajj - in which dozens of people are trampled to death as they circle around the Kaba. If this isn't idolatry, what is?? So how can anybody claim that characterization of the Islamic prophet is prohibited IN ORDER TO PREVENT IDOLATRY?? Of course, they will say, "But this is different." BUT IT ISN'T!! If you believe that your GOD IS OMNIPRESENT, then it is blasphemous to claim any PLACE, or THING, or PERSON, or TIME that is more "holy" than any other. So Muslims (as well as Catholics, Jews, etc.) shoud give up worshiping "holy places" and "holy persons" and "holy things." Such beliefs are totally ludicrous, childish, and silly!!


02/16/2006 11:55:10 AM

Pawn: We did get upset at the movie,and we do get upset at depecting Jesus or any other prophet for that matter.We also don't favor a prophet over another including Muhammad or Jesus they're all equal,but we also understand that christians believe it is O.K to depict Jesus,and if not and they protest it,we will support them.Furthermore, we do believe (and strongly) that Jesus is the Messiah and we are to follow him when he returns.


02/15/2006 02:53:32 PM

sacredcow, They did not get upset at that particular movie because to a Muslim Jesus may be a prophet, but not the greatest, that title would be placed upon the founder of Islam. Also Muslims do not believe Jesus to be the messiah, nor that he was the son of God (for Allah to take on a human form or have a son would defile the character of Allah). Though, from another article on this site it was asked: What would Muhammad do? My guess is that if Allah was profaned in some way Muhammad would feel justified at some kind of violent outburst.


02/14/2006 09:14:06 PM

I read somewhere recently (I didn't copy it down off the Internet) an opinion that is quite relevant which is: Why didn't Muslims protest against The Passion movie which, to them, promulgates the Christian idolatry and blasphemy that Jesus was God? After all, Islam says Jesus was the Messiah and holds him to be the greatest of prophets, even born a literal son of God. Double standard? Or just plain Muslim idolatry of Muhammad..


02/12/2006 11:57:01 AM

I was unaware of the lack of protest by the Egyptians. That is interesting to me. Well it all seems to be people wanting to battle. Ever since man has been here on earth we have fought each other. This has been the most peaceful years of man's life on earth. Now all we want to do is create more reasons to fight. What is it about fighting that makes us want to do it. Then when we do fight we realize we do not want to fight. Fighting is not holy and anyone who says it is, is evil in my opinion. I do not believe that the Qur'an says to go out and kill yourself for God. I think that is a misinterpretation of the Arabic. The work was written close to 1500 hundred years ago. The Arabic language has evolved since then and then try to translate into another language is impossible. The Bible says more about killing your enemies then the Qur'an does. Humans are pathetic.


02/10/2006 05:10:25 PM

Eastcoastlady, No offense was taken. It's nice meeting fellow Star Trek fans here. :)


02/09/2006 12:11:30 PM

If the insult that justifies a Jihad and outright asking for a holocaust to the west is printing an image that dispicts Mohammed... Egypt should be under the torch by now... a lot of crock is what I see. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48746


02/09/2006 08:32:38 AM

And from one Trek fan to another,"Live Long and Prosper!"


02/09/2006 08:32:09 AM

Hey, Donna, It was very big of you to come back with such a gracious response. And it was a tad lazy of me not to go back and see the source of the quote was you. Sorry about that. I meant no disrespect.


02/08/2006 09:38:03 PM

Donna, Good quotes (and I remember that episode of Star Trek). Of course, they apply to how we deal with individuals; our attitudes toward groups (religious, political) may be different, because individuals are real whereas groups are artificial entities.


02/08/2006 06:25:03 PM

"I treat every man as a gentleman, not because he is, but because I am." -Ben Franklin And, showing my geeky roots: Elaan: Courtesy is not for inferiors. Kirk: Courtesy is for everyone...


02/08/2006 10:05:12 AM

The blurb on this article says that Muslim anger is over "lack of respect." Okay, but: 1. Respect is not an automatic right, but something that is earned. Speaking only for myself, I do not respect any religion simply because it is a religion. I respect the Islamic culture that was the intellectual light of the world while Europe was mired in the Dark Ages, but NOT the current culture that commits or condones (by silent assent) vengeance and violence. 2. Being treated with respect is nice; being treated with disrespect is not nice but absolutely not grounds for vengeance and violence.


02/07/2006 11:19:24 PM

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02/07/2006 09:33:40 PM

It wasn't the average working man who was out in the streets burning embassies. It was most likely the frustrated unemployed who were disgusted at their government but needed to take out the anger on someone. The West has a bad habbit of supporting corrupt rulers who are sympathetic to them and an endanger to their country. Not until people in these countries see democracy, literacy, and the ability to express their opinions freely (things we take for granted here), will they try to understand what freedom of expression is. As long as subservient rulers sit at the helm of the muslim world will the people have something else but faith as their only hope for salvation. And if someone attacks that, they are not going to turn a blind eye to the only thing they have left. Hence the reaction to the cartoons.


02/07/2006 08:23:39 PM

Eastcoastlady, The poster was me, and I see your point. I was on a message board in the Islam section of Beliefnet where they were condemned for the boycotts as well as the violence, and that is where my odd statement came from. But, yeah, as an exercise in logic, my question was rather pathetic. LOL "Except for.." -- but, then, that's the point. They did use violence. Violence is never justified except in self-defense, and then if there is no other way. I tend too much to look at the reasons for behavior and not enough at the behavior itself and its very real consequences for other people. It's a failing of mine. I'm too soft and don't set proper limits.


02/07/2006 06:46:36 PM

donnarowe, if the protestors had written letters of condemnation and carried out only peaceful protets, that would be one thing. But the way the poster posed the question, essentially, "Aside from the vandalism, murder and violence, how are they so diffferent from us?", turns the question into a joke.


02/07/2006 06:42:00 PM

(continued) The Danish cartoonist had the right to draw the caricature. If freedom of speech only applies to acceptable speech, then it isn't really freedom. The Muslims have the right to protest the cartoon. Th ey don't have the right to commit arson or murder, but they do have the right to express their anger. Instead of an instantaneous condemnation of their reaction, maybe we should try walking a mile in their shoes. While they could try walking a mile in ours as well, since I don't see much effort being made to understand our POV, their refusal to try to understand does not give us leave to behave however we wish. We are responsible for our own behavior.


02/07/2006 06:41:12 PM

"Are we supposed to take this question seriously?" Yes, Eastcoastlady, we are. I was speaking to the specifics of this particular controversy. I am well aware of the terrorism that has been unleashed upon the world by Islamist extremists, but the subject under discussion are the cartoons. I despise the carcicatures of Jews that appear in Muslim newspapers and I equally despise the caricatures of Muslims that appear in the West. Both are born from bigotry, and until we start to talk to one another instead of shouting at one another, nothing is going to be resolved.


02/07/2006 04:14:53 PM

"...the cartoon that showed the Prophet telling suicide bombers at the gates of heaven: "Stop! Stop! We have run out of virgins!..." Thats hilarious.


02/07/2006 02:09:39 PM

Saadaya, I am actually quite familiar with the early history of Islam, your post basically restates what I said in mine-- that Muhammed viewed the use of violence and force as a legitimate means of responding to a threat. I did not say he was a terrorist, rather, I stated that Muhammed, the terrorists, and for that matter just about all world governments have, at times sanctioned the use of violence in response to percieved threats, or as a meas to achieve certain goals. cont..


02/07/2006 01:10:28 PM

I think Hassaballa's article is a good start, and, Eastcoastlady, you have to admit that at least one Muslim has expressed dismay at the protests.


02/07/2006 12:56:22 PM

revinpitts wrote: Both sides have been going for the cheap thrill of goading the other in intentionally self-righteous and offensive ways. Which sides are you referring to?


02/07/2006 12:42:04 PM

Who could have guessed that a cartoonist in Denmark could have incited global rage in the muslim world? Salman Rushdie, author of "Satanic Verses" was condemned in a fatwah and hid out for 5 years. His offense was a revelation concerning the daughters of Allah, Al Lat, Al Huzzah, and Manat. If they were now portrayed in a cartoon would the muslim world become even more inflamed?


02/07/2006 12:37:34 PM

I do want to thank Mr. Hassaballa for being one of only two Muslim spokespeople I've heard or read who noted that if Muslims wish to be treated with respect, they should refrian from such odious practices themselves when it comes to depicting Jews and Christians in their media. (Not burning Arab churches because they are made at Danish secualrists would also be a good idea.) One commentator notes that the Israeli press, after years of suicide bombings, threats to be wiped off the map, and now denials that the Holocaust ever happened...has never engaged indepicting Muhammad in a disrespectful manner. Both sides have been going for the cheap thrill of goading the other in intentionally self-righteous and offensive ways..


02/07/2006 10:29:46 AM

There are two jihads, the lesser, which is external in the defense of Islam, and the greater, which is within ones' self. As said in the hadith, the greater struggle is that of the heart. It's time to realize that the lesser is meaningless unless the inner is taken fully. It's time to see that the outer struggle flows from the inner. This is a perfect opportunity for ALL of us, including Muslims, to take our struggle home, to the place within where all conflict begins.


02/07/2006 10:14:12 AM

Except for the burning of the embassies and the threats against the lives of Westerners, what have the Muslims done that is any different from passionate protests in the West? Are we supposed to take this question seriously?


02/07/2006 10:00:39 AM

Why can the world routinly make fun of Christians or Jews or the Pope- but there's a restriction on Islam? I don't think any of these cartoons are right, they don't uplift anyone- but what's fair for one group should be fair for everyone. If you can't take it, don't dish it out.


02/07/2006 09:47:52 AM

I feel SO lucky that I was raised with no religion. To me, spiritual faith is a personal thing; what do I care what other people think about my sense of God? But religion, unlike spirituality, creates elaborate rituals and laws concerning imagery and all sorts of other irrelevancies that have nothing to do with spiritual aliveness. This is why some religious people can hate and kill for their faith. Dr. Hassaballa is an intelligent and humane individual, but his religion blinds him to the truth: there never was any attack on the essence of Islam; there was only some semi-clever drawings commenting on the violence that has been committed in the name of Islam. Who has committed the greater desecration against Islam? Muslims who murder in the name of faith, or outsiders who did some drawings?


02/07/2006 09:27:03 AM

Except for the burning of the embassies and the threats against the lives of Westerners, what have the Muslims done that is any different from passionate protests in the West? Many times the call has gone out to boycott certain products or services. Does anyone recall reading about the Montgomery bus boycott back in the 1950s? Flags have been burned a lot of times. Mass demonstrations? Been there, done that. I find the burning of the embassies and the physical violence troubling, but the Muslims are being condemned not only for the violent protest but for the boycotts as well, something they have every right to do. It's their choice as to with whom they do business. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and try to talk honestly and calmly with one another, without the condemnations. Just try to see the situation through Mr. Hassaballa's eyes. I have always found this gentleman to be a voice of reason and compassion.


02/07/2006 09:09:52 AM

Firebird, in the Qur'an Muhammad teaches that one must defend others from injustice: muslims are allowed to fight to defend those who are oppressed, or if a muslim is in danger of losing his home due to his religion. Muhammad entered Mecca peacefully, and he HAD to defend himself (and many of his followers defended him with their own lives) from his opponents due to the fact that they were threatened by the new muslim laws which required that the wealthy share their wealth with the poor. Many of his enemies were rich merchants from Mecca who did not want to share their wealth. You are not familiar with the history of early Islam. But Arabia was a place of utter lawlessness before Muhammad. He was human and experienced a range of normal human emotions, but he was no terrorist.


02/07/2006 09:04:33 AM

Firebird, You have expressed many of my own concerns. How much of the violence in Muslims today due to the Prophet's willingness to fight and kill others? I don't know, maybe not at all. Human nature is often violent and there certainly has been a lot of violence perpetrated in the name of that pacifist Jesus.


02/07/2006 04:34:55 AM

That is why the words of Hassaballa --Muhammed always had a smile on his face, forgave his enemies, and did not respond to attacks on his person and charater are simply historically inadequate. The Prophet knew quite well the value of the sword, and did not hesitate to use it against those whe he percived threatened the survival of the faith he founded. For the record, I do NOT believe Islam is necessarily a violent religion. However, pretending that the Prophet was someone that we KNOW he was not will not help transform the violent elements within Islam. Muslims, like memebers of all faiths, need to confront honestly the history of violence and injustice in their religion-- and in the case of Islam, that includes the violence perpetrated by the Prophet.


02/07/2006 04:29:50 AM

Unfortunately, the Prohphet Muhammed lived at a time in which better records were kept, and much more details of his life were known. We KNOW that Muhammed himself was a man of war, and that he raided caravans in order to ensure the survival of his fledgling state. We KNOW that he not only advocated, but engaged in, violence in order to advance his political and religious aims. The facts are the facts. Was it justified-- perhaps, perhaps not. Nevertheless, Muhammed, present day terrorists, and the United States Government for that matter all share a common feature. Violence is seen as an acceptable form of achieiving goals.


02/07/2006 04:25:17 AM

I completely understand why Muslims are angry about the cartoons, but it is completely disingenous for Hesham Hassaballa to claim that they are the equivilant of portraying Christ as a child molesting priest. There is no evidence to suggest that Jesus Christ engaged in anything REMOTELY AKIN to child molestation. Based on all the accounts we have of Him, he utterly rejected any form of violence or even resistance to violence, to the point that He sharply reprimanded His followers for drawing his sword to defend Him.(Oh, if only His professed followers heeded His words more often-- Do not resist an evil person) Of course, much of what Jesus was like has been lost in the fog of ancient history, and it is quite possible that the "real Jesus" had more warts than the Gospel writers (and others) passed on to us. (Though through faith I believe the Gospel accounts-- but I can't force you to.) cont...


02/07/2006 02:36:30 AM

I think the rioting, screaming, fire bombing mobs do more to insult Muhammad than the cartoonist, even though I believe the cartoons were both needlessly and intentionally offensive, and I would not have published them. The wild-eyed folks who are essentially chanting, "Death to everyone who disagrees with us!" end up drawing their own caricature of the Prophet. They are claiming that he would bless their fulminations and tantrums. If Muslims are called to represent Allah and the Prophet in the world, then the mobs are presenting a picture which is not very different from that presented in those cartoons.


02/07/2006 12:18:15 AM

The impulse to react and condemn the cartoons makes an actual investigation into their message impossible. If art is about anything, it's about suspending judgment while we open our minds. A picture of the prophet, made up to look like a terrorist, may well be offensive to many but it's also valuable. Not only does it remind Muslims of their devotion to this figure, whose insult they take personally. It also reminds them of how many people see Islam. In truth, the real reason Muslims react so angrily is that they take the insult personally. They suspect that westerners know how offensive such imagery is to them so that its display is perceived, by them, as a giant sign that says, "We hate you." A better way is to so live that those who publish such things are shamed by them, not because an angry crowd of protestors has called for it but because love shames the tokens of hatred.


02/06/2006 11:52:46 PM

Mr. Hassaballa is clearly worthy of respect on a personal level, but I wonder if I could ever respect Muhammad in a way that would be acceptable to him or other Muslims. I see Muhammad as somebody who had "revelations" that suited his own needs and vision. Most of his much-lauded mercy came after military victories, with conditions that made the conquered people forever second-class citizens. While merciful in a sense, allowing those conquered to live at some decent level left economies and labor force intact and provided future converts. Quite shrewd, really. If I expressed in cartoons my belief that many of Muhammad's revelations were in fact self-serving delusions or lies, would that be unforgivably hurtful to Muslim feelings? There's an awful lot of Islam-based criticism directed at those European countries that have a lot of Muslim immigrants. How can Europeans respond without noting that they don't think much of Muhammad? Will this inevitably be seen as intolerable disrespect?


02/06/2006 10:32:08 PM

"It is time for each Muslim to be aware they represent Islam to the non-Muslim world." Nice idea, but how many Christians think they represent Christianity to the non-Christian world?


02/06/2006 10:04:15 PM

The point of the satire in the cartoons seems to have been in part to evoke a reaction. I cannot imagine that a reasonably informed and intelligent person would not have been aware of the likely result, (especially in the age of the internet where very little that is controversial remains local.) (continued)


02/06/2006 10:03:41 PM

That said: When this type of reaction results in fatwas of the Salmon Rushdie variety, it reminds us that the legacy of the prophet is Islam, and those who practice it. The cartoonists point out that the legacy of the prophet as seen through Western eyes often appears like what they caricature. In reacting violently, those Muslims who do so reinforce that image. It is time for Muslims to ask what image of the prophet is created by violent actions done in the name of Islam? It is time for each Muslim to be aware they represent Islam to the non-Muslim world. If you wish Islam to be seen, practice its virtues so that all may see. But if you wish to blaspheme Islam there is no better way than committing acts in Islam's name which heap scorn upon it and support these false images.


02/06/2006 09:49:21 PM

I'm surprised to learn that Arabs publish cartoons of Jews drinking blood, although maybe I shouldn't be. Why shouldn't Muslims be hypocrites, liars and murderers like the rest of us? No group has a monopoly on evil.


02/06/2006 09:35:56 PM

I agree with Mr. Hessaballa on just about everything. From what I know of him, Muhammad would not be torching embassies or beating people up; if he would be, he ain't much of a Prophet. I think part of the problem is maybe that while Muslims take the cartoons literally---this is Muhammad and he stands for this---I at least think of them as being more symbolic, that Muhammad stands for Islam and Islam, in current issues, stands for this much of the time. But the cartoons were still offensive. I don't know if the cartoonists really knew about the no-picture rule (it seems they might have), but they should have apologized. As should every Arab cartoonist who has shown pictures of Jews drinking blood. God bless!


02/06/2006 09:16:34 PM

Partly he points out a (probably natural) miscommunication. The cartoonists portrayed Muhammad as terroristic because some terrorism flows from some Islamic clerics and probably things in Islam. Muslims interpreted them as saying all Muslims were like that. Then other papers re-published them to make the point they won't give up their freedom but the Muslims saw that as piling on. When cultures are so different it would be wise to give a little on both sides. Papers should have a darned good reason to insult a whole other culture (and check to see if they might be doing it unintentionally) and the folks in the other culture should consider maybe the insult wasn't intended that way and maybe they should ask why someone would view them that way. Certainly US citizens should ask ourselves why much of the world views the US as negatively as they do. Another worthwhile article on this issue. Well done, B’net.