Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to not 'defend' Islam [EDITED]

So... reading the news today and it turns out that some 'satirical' French magazine decided to print a newspaper where they pretended to ask the Prophet Muhammad to be their editor. It was full of the usual junk and, while clearly trying to capitalize on 'anti-Islamic' feeling in France*, it's the same rubbish, different day.

Then some misguided fool firebombed the newspaper's offices, destroying everything. Sadly, I knew this would probably happen. We have no idea who did this crime, and yes it's a crime, but it was probably some Muslim. Thoroughly predictable, thoroughly wrong, and thoroughly stupid.

Why, I ask myself, must these self declared 'defenders' of my faith stoop so low as to commit violence? What gives them the right to harm or damage another person or their property? Islam does not give them this right! They act out of misplaced anger and are utterly wrong.

I condemn their violent actions unconditionally. My suspicions is that it was a bunch of young hot heads, fueled by the idiocy on certain web forums, who did it. Their actions have hurt us all and they should be ashamed of what they did. I hope they are caught and the appropriate sentence is handed to them.

The thing is, these 'defenders' do more harm than good. When the newspaper decided to do it's publication, I saw the story on the BBC website. A few lines, a statement from the paper, and that was it. The moment the firebombing was reported, it shot up to the number one read article in a matter of hours. Some small newspaper being firebombed made a giant splash around the world.

This on the BBC, a news organization committed to balanced and fair reporting, that steadfastly stays away from any dramatization in its news to the extent that the site can be about as fun to read as a cereal packet. I've not even bothered to open some of the other news sites or check the anti-Islam blogs, but I expect that it will be huge there as well. Such stories are hotly demanded in this day and age.

So, what have these defenders actually achieved? Nothing. The idiocy of these youngsters has merely provoked the issue further, bringing more attention to it. If they really wanted to defend it, a letter to the editor would suffice, perhaps a phone call. Especially in Europe, where free speech is guaranteed even when it is an attack on someone else. Muslims must respect the laws of the land they live in, Islam demands it, and use proper channels to state their views.

If one is to defend Islam, one must absolve oneself from anger, emotion and personal feelings. You should take a step back, a deep breath and always remember that violence solves nothing. Words and education change minds and hearts, violence turns people away. The 'defenders' were really quite selfish in doing what they did, acting without thought or reasoning, to commit violence.

In cases like this, where the whole point is merely to provoke a reaction, it's best to ignore the stupidity. Had this newspaper been ignored, nothing would have happened. It would have published it's silly little articles and that would have been that. By a handful of people committing violence, 1.57 billion Muslims have been stained. This little episode won't die now, we'll be hearing of it, having it used to judge us all, for a long time.

So much for defending


*EDIT 1: It was pointed out to me on Facebook that the magazine wasn't really doing anything or picking on Islam. Christianity is 'attacked' just as much if not more in France; thus it is wrong for me to say the magazine was riding on the anti-Islam wave. A statement from the magazine, to the effect that they state they are not provoking, supports this. No one denies that anti-Islam feelings are alive and kicking in France and Europe in general in a way that anti-Christianity feelings are not. However it's a stretch to say they caused this.

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