By The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah in Al-Hayat Daily
Islam in its intellectual content on the level of doctrine, Sharia, humanitarian concepts and the personality of the Messenger (p.) is being subjected, every now and then, to distorting and offending campaigns whether by the media and the arts (movies) or by research centers and intelligence agencies that depict Islam as the religion of violence and terror. This is done through generalizing the behaviour of one "Islamic" group to describe the religion of Islam as well as all Muslims.
It is noteworthy that these campaigns are not restricted to the media or arts, but have been transferred to the sphere of politics aiming at instigating against Muslims to kick them out of their countries, the last of which being that of a Dutch MP who produced a movie to offend the Quran, and called on Muslims that if they want to stay in Holland they have to tear half the Quran and throw it, since, according to his claim, it is the essence of evil. Moreover, he called on the Dutch government to ban the Quran just as it has banned some Nazi books.
In this regard we have certain points we would like to clarify to both the Western and Islamic public opinions.
Firstly: We strongly believe in the freedom of expression, as a humanitarian and civilized principle, but we believe that this freedom should go hand in hand with respect, lest it will lose its humanitarian civilized content, and turn into a kind of aggression against the other, as it is an aggression on his sacred beliefs.
Thus the pictures that were published in certain media outlets that offended Prophet Muhammad (p.) do not fall into the category of the freedom of expression. Rather, they are an aggression against one fifth of the earth's population, as well as against many citizens in this or that country.
The Holy Quran gives us a humanitarian civilized principle. It says: Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance, meaning that every nation or community has its sacred symbols that should not be offended, for it will draw counter reactions, while Islam wishes to remove the element of excitation to conduct an objective and fruitful intellectual dialogue and not one based on instincts and emotional reaction.
Secondly: As we emphasize that these methods are not related to the freedom of expression, we wonder as to why these people do not dare to criticize what the Jews teachings that despise other nations, with some rabies describing other nations as “insects and snakes”, or, as their books are full of, glorifying violence against other nations. Moreover, why are not the Western laws that prevent any criticism concerning Judaism, under the principle of rejecting anti-Semitism, criticized?
Thirdly: We call for studying the Glorious Quran in a scientific and objective way, so that the fair reader will find that the Quran emphasizes human dignity, since it considers man as Allah's viceroy on earth. And that the Quran is a call for love and mercy, as it calls to resorting to the best of means and words in dialogue and dealing with the other.
It also represents a movement towards dialogue, a movement calling for meeting on the basis of the unity of God and the unity of humanity. It also states that Christians are the nearest to Muslims in their spirituality and human humbleness. On the other hand, the Quran did not create anything new with respect to how man conducts his struggle against others, when it called for fighting as a reaction to the aggression of others. Allah says: Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors. This has always represented the civilized line of the legitimacy of self-defence, or in the face of an eminent aggression.
Fourthly: Instead of directing the efforts towards offending Islam and the Quran that embodies the values of good and justice, they should be directed against the brutal violence being actually practiced against the poor nations which include killing, destruction, plunder of wealth and confiscating the future, especially that the world is legitimizing usurpation and occupation that are based on the collective eradication of peoples, just as in Palestine where a Jewish state was instituted on the ruins of another nation under the pretence of religious historic rights.
Fifthly: as we reject the method of thinking in our Islamic society that is based on the mentality of cancelling the other who is different in religion sect, politics… etc, we believe that the method of Takifir has been adopted by many secular parties against Islam and the Muslims. And if this method produces in the Islamic sphere a violence against Muslims or others, we see in the Takifiri Western movement a means of justifying any violence against Muslims in the Western societies that embraced them as citizens or residents, especially that these calls have been accompanied by warnings made by the Israeli President a few years ago, in which he warned Europe that its states might become Muslim with the number of Muslims reaching 30 millions in a few years.
Sixthly: We should be aware that some of the campaigns that we have seen in the Western media might be instituted by a Jewish instigation movement that aims at erecting barriers in the face of any serious international Muslim Christian rapprochement, since those who sought to obtain a Christian acquittance regarding their historic aggression against Jesus Christ (a.s.) having been also working on facilitating the acceptance of the theory of a Muslim-Christian clash. We are motioning this point, because we believe, that establishing a united Islamic Christian spiritual and humanitarian front that is based on values, represents in itself a challenge to the Zionist project that is based on violence, arrogance and despise of other nations.
Seventhly: It has become known that these aggressions against the Muslim's sacred symbols could induce reactions that are in nobody's interests. It could also provide a pretence for the Takifiri movements to justify its violence among the Muslim communities in the West, and deploy the young enthusiastic Muslims by focusing on the retaliation against the aggressions that target the Muslim sacred symbols in the name of freedom of expression that falls short of accepting any criticism of any Israeli, Jewish or Zionist claim.
Thus the Dutch government, and all others, should assume its responsibility when it comes to showing this offending film or the like both in the present and the future, to safeguard the peace that we seek for the entire world.
Eighthly: We call upon all the Muslims in the world, especially the Muslim communities in the West, to haunt all movements that try to distort the image of Islam or offend its sacred symbols under any pretence. We ask their intellectuals, their elites, their religious scholars and all their popular potentials to shoulder their responsibilities on the media political, legal, artistic and literary levels, to stop these offending movements and reveal theirs goals, as well thwarting the attempts of those who want to create a rift between the Muslims and their Western societies.
They should resort to the civilized means that the laws of their countries guarantee and which increase the public opinion sympathy with our just causes.
We also call for an artistic wide movement to present the Western public opinion with the Islamic civilized values and to introduce Islam as a religion that opens up on all other religions, and that has contributed greatly to the human civilization. It is not a religion that makes any aggression but rather defends itself in the face of aggression.
In this respect, we emphasize the need for the conscious Muslims to take the initiative to build broad relations with Western thinkers and researchers on all levels to thwarts the attempts of those who are misguiding the Western public opinions, about our Islamic issues.
Lastly: We ask the United Nations and its member countries about their commitment to reject anti -Islamism that the former UN Secretary General has emphasized, in addition to anti-Semitism, so that there will be no double standards.
And we have also called for international friendship between all men, and that all religion followers should meet on the basis of the values of justice, love, respect and good for all men.