By Mounir Beniche
By Mounir Beniche
Morocco World News
Meknes, Morocco, October 10, 2012
In recent weeks, the world has been living, boiling and in tension over events that are causing fear and loathing among peoples due to the misrepresentation of the prophet of Islam in western media. Such depictions have awakened Muslim rage globally, leading to violent demonstrations. The question that arises here is what is the rationale behind the dissemination and the circulation of this video and cartoons ridiculing the prophet of Islam? Is it included in the realm of freedom of expression and acting spontaneously or it is related to an ideological apparatus and a pre-fabricated agenda?
Islam has been for decades a target of western media and this is clearly displayed in the outstanding book of Edward Said Covering Islam. The latter scrutinized the coverage of Islam in western mass media, showing that is biased and full of clichés reproducing the heritage of Orientalism. The production and the display of the film “Innocence of Muslims” is following the same pattern of those who are haunted in their “study’’ of Islam and its believers.
Many voices in the west including writers and intellectuals have stated that such portrayals of Islam, which is not pleasing Muslims, is part and parcel of freedom of thought and expression and no one has the right to prevent people from displaying their ideas freely. However, why do they have double standards when it comes to the holocaust or the objections recently to an Irish newspaper publishing topless photos of the princess of England, Kate?
It has become clear that the western mind is not serious and is hypocritical when dealing with the issue of democracy and freedom of speech. It is no longer trustworthy, living in ongoing contradictions and dichotomies. The reproduction of the frozen images about Islam, namely in light of the Islamic and Arab awakening is a real provocation to Muslims, who have revolted against dictatorship and have chosen Islamic leaders democratically. Hence, we can deduce that the creation of this film and the republishing of cartoons mocking the prophet of Islam operate within a well framed agenda.
The promoters of Islamophobia and the discourse of hatred are not pleased to see the world living in harmony and coexistence among nations regardless of their beliefs. Rather these people feel at-ease when they fuel tensions and free-floating hostility. Such hatred ideology targets to divide the world into binary oppositions: the world of “good” and the world of “evil.”
Wise intellectuals and writers have now a duty to promote a counter-discourse to challenge such notorious hate-based ideology. Interfaith dialogue has become an imperative, along with engaging in a dialogue among civilizations looking for what is common among nations and leading to a peaceful world based on mutual respect, tolerance and human brotherhood. Peace building is a process that invites free people all over the universe to work hand in hand to share values and ethics of non-violence and dialogue. It is an urgent call for lovers of peace to challenge the formation of the hate-based discourse and industry that is crippling peaceful coexistence.