Opinion and Editorial

Yet another attack against Islam's Prophet

Sumayyah Meehan
Filed on September 8, 2007

ONCE again the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been degraded in yet another Danish cartoon. This time Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks targetted the noble Prophet in the most disgusting fashion.

The Swedish newspaper, Nerikes Allehanda, claims that they were just exercising their right to freedom of expression and refuses to apologise.

But freedom of expression does not mean that you insult the most beloved Prophet of Islam and slap the faces of over 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. This latest insult is not freedom of expression. It is an all-out provocation.

The symbolism of the dog is a deliberate attempt to infuriate Muslims. The dog is considered an impure creature in Islam and is not even welcome in the Muslim home because angels are afraid of it and will not enter. Muslims really should blame themselves for the latest cartoon degradation. This is not the first time that the Prophet has been insulted in caricature. Denmark did it in September 2005. And the Muslim reaction was outrage and violent protests in several Islamic nations. Several Muslims died and were injured.

There was also a Middle East boycott of Danish goods that literally crippled the Danish industry in a matter of days. They lost millions if not billions in revenue. But the boycott only lasted for a few months.

Slowly, but surely, the Danish goods began to hit the shelves where they remain today. And Muslims are once again buying them and supporting a country that never even apologised for the insults. The message that Muslims as a whole sent was that our reaction is only temporary and proved that the Ummah is a 'soft-target'. The Swedes came out with their own cartoon because they do not fear the Muslim reaction. They know if we boycott them it will only be temporary and they will not lose much if anything. The Muslim world has proven to be weak in its hunger for consumer goods whereas we should be strong in boycotting companies that insult our Prophet and our religion.

Once the first boycott began it never should have ended. There are alternative to Danish, and Swedish, goods. Our enemies claim they have a right to 'express themselves'. That's fine. Muslims have the right to decide where to spend their money.

The enemies of Islam and Muslims continuously perpetrate the image that Muslims are uncivilised beasts. President Bush, himself, was recently quoted as saying, "The region would be dramatically transformed in a way that could imperil the civilised world."

The context of his statement was in terms of the US troops being pulled out of Iraq but Bush's sentiment is crystal clear; Muslims are uncivilised brutes. Just look at the violent protests and rampages that occurred after the last cartoons. I remember seeing one news report of a violent protest in Afghanistan where the flag of Denmark was burned. Muslims were shown on TV with angry faces, gaping mouths, and were videotaped destroying property.

The newscaster chimed in that the Muslim reaction was 'uncivilised' and 'destructive'. I firmly believe that Muslims had the right to be angry in 2005 as they do now.

But by engaging in unlawful and destructive protests Muslims really set themselves up for looking just like what our enemies call us, 'uncivilised'. It is utterly a self-fulfilling prophecy that all Muslims should be proactive in warding off.

The Muslim reaction over the latest cartoon slur against Muhammad (peace be upon him) should be firm and peaceful. There is no need for violence and it only makes us look bad in the global audience. Muslims should complain to the Swedish Embassy in their respective country and should most assuredly boycott Swedish goods unless a formal apology is received. Granted, the Swedish government will distance itself from the Nerikes Allehanda newspaper and say that they have no control over it and are not to blame. But the government itself must be held accountable. They control the licensing for the paper and could revoke it at their will.

If Muslims decided to unite and boycott Swedish goods it should not be a limited boycott like the Danish one was. It should be a permanent lifelong commitment to avoid all Swedish products. It should be something you teach your children to do and even your grandchildren.

It's easy for the enemies of Islam to insult our religion and our Prophet but it's even easier for us to not support them with our dirhams and dinars. The quickest way to bring any nation to its' knees is to hit them where it hurts...their wallet.

Sumayyah Meehan is a Kuwait-based American writer who embraced Islam. She can be reached at abidhjs@msn.com

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