Books and Documents
Radical Islamism and Jihad
Freedom of Expression
Asghar Ali Engineer

Freedom of Expression
Asghar Ali Engineer

It is what it is. Of course the violence against Americans has to be strongly condemned. But the situation has given rise to an important question: can such a right be absolute as American law makes it out to be? Should it have any limits or not? According to this law, there is no limit and religious sentiments do not count. Even outright and wilful blasphemy cannot be barred or punished....

Aggressive Salafist Islamists Threaten Tunisia's Dream of Freedom
Nick Meo

Bearded, angry young men threatened the few staff who were around at lunchtime with iron bars, broke windows, smashed up ornamental fountains and threw bottles of wine and spirits into the empty pool, which is now full of shattered glass. "They said if I serve alcohol again they will come back and burn down the hotel," said Jamil Horchani, 64, whose family has run the place since 1976....


Humane Person Constitutes Artistic Freedom: Video and Virulence
A. Faizur Rahman

Surprisingly, such extreme anti-Islam acts come under the umbrella of free speech in countries where even a genuine criticism of Zionism is considered an anathema amounting to anti-Semitism. One fails to understand why American lawmakers who otherwise make no attempt to conceal their pro-Israel bias are so unwilling to differentiate between genuine criticism and defamation. Innocence of Muslims is not a critique of Islam but a bundle of outrageous lies about the Prophet....

Freedom of Speech and Defence of Values
Shafqat Hussain

...the speech that Hazrat Zainab (RA) gave in the court of Yazid, 1,400 years ago — speech that defends the interests and values of the wretched of the earth. We need defence of that speech, which speaks the truth to the powerful. Freedom of speech should not defend the indefensible but the undefended. The undefended and the wretched should be defended with the kind of passion for freedom of speech that Faiz talks about in his verse that I quoted....

Holocaust of Common Sense
Dr Haider Shah

Of late, in the backdrop of the blasphemous movie outrage, there has been a rising chorus of equating Holocaust denial with blasphemy-related offences. Mimicking some honourable media juggernauts, our young e-jihadis have also been citing it profusely over social networking sites. The Holocaust-related discourse, however, took a very serious turn when even our worthy prime minister used the catchphrase of ‘Holocaust denial’.....

Cause And Cure For Muslim Anger Resides In U.S
Saeed Naqvi

It is a paradox, of course, that rampaging anti Americanism in the Muslim world can eventually be controlled only by the very target of Muslim rage — the United States. In other words, calm will not descend unless the Washington establishment gets into a scrum, once it is free of such distractions as the US Presidential elections. And distractions are legion.....

How Is One To Choose Between One Brand Of Madness And Another?
Javed Anand

In this supposed “clash of civilisations”, how is one to choose between one brand of madness and another? Between those out to convince the world that there can be no such thing as a moderate Muslim because “Islam preaches violence”. And those Muslims who believe the best way to tell the world that “Islam means peace” is by resorting to violence each time someone provokes them with a book, a cartoon, a film....

Who Wants To Be A Bounty Hunter?
Faiza Mirza

It is difficult to assess the exact reaction of the targeted audience triggered by any such messages but I am pretty sure it must have been enough to motivate a chunk of Muslim people to attempt murder; but isn’t killing an exact contradiction of what our religion stands for? Instead of instigating violence, the rulers should not intervene in the judicial process otherwise we are bound to stay entrapped in this vicious circle of brutality....

The Media and The Innocence of Muslims
Hoda Salah

Since the start of the protests against the provocative and blasphemous film about Muhammad, I have often been contacted by European media as an "expert with Arab or Muslim background". In interviews, the first question usually is, "Ms Salah, why are the Muslims storming Western embassies?" or "Why are the Muslims so angry with the West?"This kind of question reveals a worrying phenomenon....

‘Ishq-e-Rasul’: Burning Down A Church With Effigies Of Hazrat Isa (Jesus Christ) And Hazrat Maryam
Hina Hafeezullah Ishaq

Surely, is burning down a church with effigies of Hazrat Isa (Jesus Christ) and Hazrat Maryam not a horrendous form of blasphemy? Congratulations to all my fellow Pakistanis who profess a higher level of ‘Imaan’ (faith) and ‘jazba’ (motivation) than the ordinary Muslim and were brave enough to display it on our streets by plundering, loot, arson and violence. Was it propaganda, or did they forget their Zohar, Asr, maghrib prayers?...

Islamophobic film ‘Innocence of Muslims’: The Muslim Response?
Yasser Latif Hamdani

The events of the last decade or so in general and in particular of the currently developing situation around the film Innocence of Muslims has brought Pakistanis a full circle. It must be stated here that in terms of the seriousness of the attack, this piddling film is of no lasting value. Besides being a horrible distortion of facts, it is artistically/cinematically flawed and would have been forgotten had such hoopla not been created about it....

Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool: Cutting Off Our Noses
Kamran Shafi

...did any of the leaders of the processions say to the participants to remain calm and orderly, if for nothing else, then for the sake of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself, who was a large-hearted and big man; who, when one day the woman who threw garbage on him as he passed her house did not appear on her balcony, stopped and asked if she was well. Did even one of Their Holinesses give this message to their flock? I fear not....

Islamophobia and Blasphemy: Alan Roberts has managed to make thousands of Muslims act in his anti-Islam video drama
Moustafa Bayoumi

The provocation this time is The Innocence of Muslims, an amateurish 14-minute video with the production quality of a cable-access show from the 1980s. A schlocky piece of derision, it resembles a pornographic version of The Ten Commandments spliced together with reruns of The A-Team. And it does not even make much sense. The lead actor playing Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, looks as if Colin Farrell and Forrest Gump had a baby and groomed him to look like Jesus....

Violence In His Name Blasphemes The Rasool?
Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

Violence In His Name Blasphemes The Rasool?
Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

To the young Muslims, the acts of the ‘other’, that is the non-Muslim, in insulting the Rasool in myriads ways and forms that is verbal, in writing, cartoons and films making is blasphemy. They are told it is deplorable and punishable by death. ‘Off with the infidels heads’, come the sermon from the pulpit, and so ‘behead them’ come out the placards on the streets! There are two issues here. One is the definition of blasphemy and the other the punishment for it.....

The Rage against the West
Ali Khan Mahmudabad

The Rage against the West
Ali Khan Mahmudabad

Following a spate of offensive material over the past few years, ranging from the Danish cartoons to the antics of a pyromaniac pastor from Florida, certain political groups get much mileage from depicting Muslims as an amorphous, homogenous group, largely driven by their emotions, passion and anger. There is no attempt to see the historical, economic, social, political and most importantly, local context of their discontent....

Critical Tussle in Pakistan over Insult to Islam:  Way Ahead
C Uday Bhaskar

A brief quote from the last sermon of the Prophet (I am grateful to Sultan Shahin for drawing my attention to this) sheds light on the way ahead: “All of mankind is from Adam and Eve (Hawwa), an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black nor does a black have any superiority over a white, EXCEPT BY PIETY AND GOOD DEEDS.  Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves.  Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware: do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.” Looking back on how he was 'loved' on Friday, perhaps the Prophet would have been saddened but not angry....

The Fiendish Mind of an Ex-Convict
S Iftikhar Murshed

A criminal in whose remorseless heart only evil resides has succeeded in provoking the entire Muslim world into senseless violence which has resulted in more than thirty deaths till now. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a naturalised US citizen of Egyptian origin, has admitted that he is the manager of the company that produced the film Innocence of Muslims which demonises Islam and its illustrious Prophet....


Islam-Baiting -- One for Coptic Revenge in Egypt and One for Political Manipulation in America
Najam Sethi

"Islam-baiting" in the West and "Islamic-rage" in the East both serve useful political purposes. Consider the case of the blasphemous film "Innocence of Muslims". Therefore two simultaneous local cases are made out for Islam-baiting -- one for Coptic revenge for religious politics in Egypt and one for political manipulation in America on the eve of a new presidential election.....

Beyond Insulting the Prophet: Defying Hypocrisies East and West
Hamid Dabashi

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in a rare public appearance, delivered a fiery speech protesting the "Innocence of Muslims" and called for a weeklong protest against the film [EPA] In a rare public appearance, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has delivered a fiery speech protesting the film that has mocked Islam and Prophet Muhammad. He has called for a weeklong protest against the film....

Internet Videos Will Insult Your Religion. Ignore Them
William Saletan

Dear Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Jews, You’re living in the age of the Internet. Your religion will be mocked, and the mockery will find its way to you. Get over it. If you don’t, what’s happening this week will happen again and again? A couple of idiots with a video camera and an Internet connection will trigger riots across the globe. They’ll bait you into killing one another. Stop it. Stop following their script....

Which Way Will Pakistan Tilt?
C. Uday Bhaskar, New Age Islam

Which Way Will Pakistan Tilt?
C. Uday Bhaskar, New Age Islam

Specific to South Asia, Pakistan has witnessed the most intense street protests and local right-wing groups have compelled the government to declare Sep 21 as 'Love the Prophet Day' ('Youme-Ishq-e-Rasool') and a national holiday. Similar protests and agitations on a smaller scale have taken place in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka - though these have been relatively less violent. The entry of the French cartoons into the already roiled anti-Islam waters is only likely to add to the prevailing turbulence and provide more fodder to those constituencies that seek to sow discord and bitterness between those of the Islamic faith and the "other" - currently symbolised by the US led "west"....

Religion and the Right to Free Speech
Mike Ghouse for New Age Islam

Religion and the Right to Free Speech
Mike Ghouse

For Americans, it’s an alien idea to imagine the Government controlling one's freedom to express. Indeed, freedom of speech is a value of all religions, without which no religion would have come into being and or would have flourished. For those who are biased towards Islam, Islam believes in freedom as much as any religion. It is the individuals who mess up, the right wing Muslims want to kill the one who insults the prophet and the right wing Christians want to tell what a woman can or cannot do with her body....


Social Values, Not Religion, At the Heart of Protests
Leena El-Ali

As before, this is not so much a confrontation between Islam and the West – or with democratic values – as it is a collision between a world where "traditional" values remain of paramount importance, and one where the values of a modern, "individualist" society reign supreme. Social values, rather than religion per se, are at the heart of the matter. In Western societies, individual rights are accorded the highest value....


Beautiful Islam Vs the Ugly Muslim
Yassir Morsi

Ironic, then, that in the same Islamophobic rhetoric, that I assume Aly wants to oppose, he himself writes about Muslims by describing how their emotion is their politics. The piece says nothing sophisticated about the world the Muslim youth inherits, but instead turns their reaction into their world. It is a strange circular logic that defends his argument. ...

The movie trailer itself is awful – it demonstrates the core truth that the American rightwing more often than not is just not funny, because being funny requires having some empathy. Empathy isn’t the strong suit of a bunch of people who seem to figure that providing healthcare for the poor is tantamount to sending rich people to the gulag....

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