By Larbi Arbaoui
By Larbi Arbaoui
Morocco World News
Taroudant, September 20, 2012
Amid this escalating furor provoked by the release of the amateurish film attacking the sacred prophet Mohamed (PBUH) and maliciously portraying him as a womanizer, among other disparaging attributes, it is wise to react in a more civilized way. It would be much effective to step back from the emotional storm of rage that drove millions of Muslims to take to the streets shouting “death to America” and looking for more embassies to burn, and question in a more reasonable manner the potential reasons and strategic aims behind the release of such insulting materials at this particular moment.
The question that arises and persistently conquers my thoughts is who is benefiting from the restless protests that have swept over the Islamic world?
The re-publication of cartoons, by a French magazine, depicting the prophet Mohamed (PBUH) naked in a ridiculing caricature has poured more fuel on the fire and put Charlie Hebdo on the black list of Islamic media. The succession of these fraudulent and extremist publications is clear-cut evidence that some parties are profiting, to a large extent, on Muslims’ restless rage and their ongoing furious protests.
The public opinion all over the Islamic world is cunningly manipulated and, sadly, most people are easily oriented to struggle and fight against issues miles away from home, while turning their backs on the real problems within their own countries. I am not blaming protestors who are driven to the streets by their unconditional love to the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH), as long as they remain peaceful, but it would be much wiser, I believe, to ignore any attempts to provoke Muslims by assaulting their sacred values. At the time when people are shouting for the death of blasphemers in “non-believer countries”, the cruel machine guns are taking innocents’ lives in Syria, and girls are being sexually abused under religious pretexts in refugee camps.
Undoubtedly offensive, the belated rude film and ridiculing caricature are incitement for religious hatred and the breaking down of tolerance, civilized dialogue and mutual respect that must be the pursuit of everyone in the world. But, if the west, or individuals and magazines in the United States and Europe are taking advantage of their countries’ “freedom of speech” to attack the highly sacred persons and values of a1,6 billion people for whatever reason, it would be naïve to react aggressively and become an easily manipulated populace at the beck and call of those with mischief-making agendas and very strategic political purposes.
Because of the economic crisis that has swept across the West, magazines that are trying to escape bankruptcy because of their low sales, have to take on topics like blasphemous caricatures, halal meat, religious freedoms and other hot and offensive headlines in an attempt to increase their sales. Unfortunately, this is the outcome of the capitalist system; seeking profit even at stark violation of people’s highly sacred values. Instead of raising intellectual issues and providing topics that address global concerns calling for respectful dialogue and cultural understanding, such unprofessional magazines incite hatred and feed extremism on both sides.
The West is requested, more than ever, to stop dealing with double standards concerning the freedom of press. The French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said “We are in a country where freedom of expression is guaranteed, including the freedom to draw caricatures,” in reference to Charlie Hebdo’s naked cartoons of the Muslim prophet while his country banned the publication of naked pictures of the wife of the British prince.
The world will trust the claims of the West to promote the values of democracy and tolerance, when decision-makers in Western countries stop using double standards every time they deal with Islam. The statement of the French Prime Minister could hold some truth if the publication of the naked pictures of the British Duchess was not prevented.
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