Once again someone kills in the name of Islam, twisting the teachings of Islam to fit into their own agenda.
Once again, Islam is being discussed in the media as a source of terrorism. Once again the American Muslim community must live under constant suspicion, fearful that someone might reprise against any of us due to the actions of others.
Once again, the American Muslim Community must apologize for the insane action of others who would just as soon kill another Muslim, as they would kill a non-Muslim, for not believing the same way that they do.
On the evening of May 3rd, two gunmen pulled up to an event which was a contest to see who can draw the best cartoon of Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam. The event was hosted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an organization founded by fringe conspiracy theorist and notorious Islamo-phobe Pamela Gellar.
Pamela Gellar makes a living from spreading fear of Muslims. Gellar makes many outlandish accusations to spread fear of Muslims. She is famous for encouraging others to make videos of burning the Qur’an or to make cartoons depicting the Prophet of Muslim as a vile human being.
What she considers freedom of speech is to take something that is revered as sacred to the Muslims and to defile it, abusing a people in the process.
Muslims do not understand this behavior because the Prophet Muhammad said not to desecrate or to speak poorly about the object of another’s worship, so that they in turn attack Allah.
The two alleged culprits, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi were extremist Muslims that followed the Khawarij ideology. Simpson and Soofi had just recently pledged their abaya or allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS even proclaiming on Twitter that they would soon like to be martyred.
First of all we live in a pluralistic society. The laws of the United States are created so that no one religion will have superiority or more value over another. Freedom of speech was created as a right to protect speech. This freedom was created so that a person can speak openly about their rulers without fearing reprisal from their government.
Hate speech is not protected, or speech which incites violence.
Anyone can make an argument that taking something that is sacred and defiling it can constitute as hate speech. However, this is an issue to be taken up by the American legal system.
Pamela Gellar has been around for a while and was seen as a nut job. She had a very small following and by most was and is still seen as a bigot. However, this attack has given her a national platform to speak from and she can use this event to show that her message has validity.
Look no further than the extremely Islam-phobic new content of Fox News, as one of their anchors Megyn Kelly seemed to defend the depictions of Muhammad as “freedom of speech” in a segment with Richard Fowler.
The cartoons are obviously very offensive, but do you want to know what is more offensive to me? What is offensive to me is that people have this view about the Prophet Muhammad because of the actions of some of the Muslims today. The Prophet said that he is a reflection of his followers, so if people look at him badly it is because of the behavior of his people.
People will think badly of Islam and the Prophet when the people have bad manners and have turned away from the true teachings of Islam. The Prophet was soft with people, he took them at the condition of their heart. He was never harsh with people.
As Muslims, I believe that we should ignore people like Pamela Gellar. Giving people like her any attention adds credence to their arguments. We know that what they say is hurtful and harmful to us but we must ignore them. They are purposely trying to create a hostile environment but remember that our Prophet said to take a bad action and return it with a good action.
There has been some confusion about the issue of drawing the Prophet Muhammad in Islam. Obviously this is our Prophet and something that we hold sacred. Just like there are items that are held sacred to people from all other faiths.
It is not just drawing the Prophet that is considered unlawful in Islam but drawing any items that can be living and has an eye in the drawing is unlawful in Islam.
This is because of a Hadith that says drawing figures is like creating life and on the Day of Judgment you will be asked to blow life into whatever you have drawn, and when you cannot then you will be thrown to the Hellfire. Plants, the ocean, and things of that nature are allowed to be drawn.
Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad is the Seal of the Prophets. That he was born with the mark signifying that he was the last of the Prophets. They also believe that he is the greatest of all creation, that on the night of al-Miraj, that the Prophet was brought up to the 7th Heaven where only Allah is making Muhammad the only being in creation, that was given this distinction. This is one of many reasons that the Prophet is so revered to the Muslims.
There were people who insulted the Prophet, they spit on him, they put dung in front of his home, but he always ignored them. He always forgave people. The way to deal with the Pamela Gellar’s of the world is to ignore them.
We should pray for them and ask God to guide them. When they die they will be the ones who are judged for their actions, just like we are only judged for our own actions.
Are our actions befitting of the Prophet, or do we dishonor him?