By Mehdi Bourakkadi
By Mehdi Bourakkadi
Morocco World News
Fez, September 17, 2012
When looking at the current world map you can’t help but notice that North Africa, the Middle-East and some Asian-Muslim countries stand out, starkly, as war zones or conflict areas. When you try to connect the dots or find a common pattern in all of these countries, the only logical connection you find is their religion, Islam.
Now for someone unaware of the details of this religion and its teachings, it is only normal to believe that Islam is a religion of torture, violence, dictatorship and so on. But, should we hold that person, or any other, responsible for reaching such a conclusion based on something he witnessed or heard about? Or should we blame ourselves for the bad publicity we give our religion? For abetting violence through our actions and reactions? For tarnishing the reputation of a religion that was once a miracle to mankind?
I asked myself these questions over and over after the staggering events that occurred all over the Arab and Muslim world after the release of the putrid video. I was curious enough to watch a few minutes of the YouTube trailer to see what the fuss was all about. The video, whose main aim was to sully our beloved Prophet’s (PBUH) reputation, was a low-quality, low-budget production. It features unknown actors whose anti-Islamic dialogue appears to have been dubbed. The green-screen graphics and effects seem more at home in a 1970s pornographic movie.
I felt insulted, as would any Muslim who sees such a diaphanous, insubstantial production. However, to be completely honest, I didn’t feel the same anger that was reflected on the streets of Cairo, Benghazi or Khartoum. Not because I am an infidel, or a “kaffir” as some extremists would jump and say as soon as they read that part, but only because having read the entire life of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), I know that their portrayal was nothing like Mohammed. This is the same Prophet that many philosophers and great thinkers have praised, that 1.5 billion people now follow. He is the sturdy leader that installed the foundations of a true democracy 1400 years ago.
I couldn’t quite grasp the immediate reaction that followed the release of this clip. The clip, apparently, was uploaded in 2011 but only surfaced recently, as the Arab world is experiencing the huge internal strife that comes between the abolition of dictatorships and the inauspicious process of building new democracies. Once again, one cannot help but raise the question: aren’t we the ones to blame? Are the attacks on the US consulate in Libya, the US embassy in Egypt and the German embassy in Sudan justified only because a member of their community has expressed his extremist opinions through a bewildering clip? If yes, then the United States and Germany have the right to defend their people who have been terrorized and assassinated in Libya, Cairo and Khartoum.
It is certainly understandable that such a provocative attack on the main figure of a religion of over 1 billion people should not go unpunished. The people behind this film, and it doesn’t matter who they might be, whether they are Israeli, American, or Egyptian Copt, should be brought to justice and should realize that their liberty stops where the liberty of others begins. However, we are obligated to condemn as well the Libyan murderers who conducted the attack on the US consulate, killing the US ambassador, Chris Stevens, a former Peace Corps volunteer and English teacher in our Atlas Mountains of Morocco. An innocent man who lost his life as a consequence of the idiocy of some venal goons. It was a life he dedicated to the development of the Middle East and the MENA region as shown here in this footage uploaded by the US State Department.
I took the liberty of asking a few people on social networking sites about their opinion on the matter. They pretty much all agreed that, once again, we’ve been duped into falling into the same trap. That is, reacting violently to violent accusations.
As is clear, it is a common knowledge that the reaction of the people in the streets of our Arab cities remains quite unfathomable, and not even remotely related to our Prophet’s way of behaving. There is a saying in Arabic that says about the love we have for Mohammed which could be translated to English as: “Ô you who pretend to love him, Are you at least following his teachings?” Because, as a matter of a fact, many people of our Muslim world do not act as Muslims, do not behave as the Prophet has shown us and told us to behave. The reply I often get to this is that belief and faith are located in the heart. Thus, one can not know if another is a person of faith or not. However, as our teacher, Dr. Tariq Ramadan, once said in a conference I attended, “Saying that faith is in the heart, is like saying to a teacher the day of the test that knowledge and answers are in your brain and head. They are consequently useless if not reported.”
Islam, besides being a religion, is a way of life. It is a definite guide book that allows you to live with a certain decency and respect among your fellow people. Never has Mohammed (PBUH) killed an ambassador, or a messenger, as this was a clear sign of war. Never has Mohammed (PBUH) attacked people over personal grudges, or as a reaction to the many insults he received. Never has the army of Mohammed (PBUH) fought unarmed people. So, what exactly are we standing for? Whom are we representing? Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) for those who don’t know him was known for his staggering equanimity. For his wisdom and calm in dealing with important matters.
This ambivalence of the current Muslim world is worrying. If you meditate on the life of Mohammed (PBUH), you’ll realize that unlike other prophets that preceded him, he had no miracle that changed events. He had no ship that allowed him to survive a flood, he did not resuscitate the dead, and no sea was cut in half for him to pass through. He had some small miracles to prove his prophecy but his true miracles were his people, a population of knowledge and hard work. The Muslim world experienced its golden ages while under the teachings of Mohammed (PBUH). This was the time when Muslims were first in everything: science, mechanics, engineering, architecture, medicine, war strategy, etc.
However, today, the Muslim world is the least productive. We rank last in education, health, science and inventions, and politics. We are involved in conflicts all around the globe. We are targeted by many forces. The chaos we live in today is a direct consequence of our foolish actions, our social hypocrisy and our lack of common sense.
No Muslim will allow the image of Mohammed to be tarnished, hence what we should actually do is work. We should co-exist as he did with the Jews in the medina, or as Omar did with the Christians in Jerusalem. We must strive hard against ourselves and our numerous flaws before tackling our enemies. We need to behave as we were taught to behave, with honor, humility, and honesty. We must prove to the world that this religion is indeed a religion of peace and harmony.
Edited by Ryan McAllister
Mehdi Bourakkadi Idrissi, is a student at the Faculty of Medicine of Fez-Morocco. Communication manager at the NGO Teach4 Morocco. He is interested in education, sports, social media, religions and politics. He blogs at: mbicorner.
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