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As the Islamic world, in the guise of the 57-member state Organization of Islamic Cooperation, continues to push for the enforcement of “religious defamation” laws in the international arena—theoretically developed to protect all religions from insult, but in reality made for Islam—one great irony is lost, especially on Muslims: if such laws would ban movies and cartoons that defame Islam, they would also, by logical extension, have to ban the religion of Islam itself—the only religion whose core texts actively defame other religions.
To understand this, consider what “defamation” means. Typical dictionary-definitions include “to blacken another’s reputation” and “false or unjustified injury of the good reputation of another, as by slander or libel.” In Muslim usage, defamation simply means anything that insults or offends Islamic sensibilities.
However, to gain traction among the international community, the OIC maintains that such laws should protect all religions from defamation, not just Islam. Accordingly, the OIC is agreeing that any expression that “slanders” the religious sentiments of others should be banned.
What, then, do we do with Islam’s core religious texts—beginning with the Quran itself, which slanders, denigrates and blackens the reputation of other religions? Consider Christianity alone: Quran 5:73 declares that “Infidels are they who say Allah is one of three,” a reference to the Christian Trinity; Quran 5:73 says “Infidels are they who say Allah is the Christ, [Jesus] son of Mary”; and Quran 9:30 complains that “the Christians say the Christ is the son of Allah … may Allah’s curse be upon them!”
Considering that the word infidel (or kafir) is one of Islam’s most derogatory terms, what if a Christian book or Western movie appeared declaring that “Infidels are they who say Muhammad is the prophet of God—may God’s curse be upon them”? If Muslims would consider that a great defamation against Islam—and they would, with the attendant rioting, murders, etc.—then by the same standard it must be admitted that the Quran defames Christians and Christianity.
Similarly, consider how the Christian Cross, venerated among millions, is depicted—is defamed—in Islam: according to canonical hadiths, when he returns, Jesus supposedly will destroy all crosses; and Muhammad, who never allowed the cross in his presence, ordered someone wearing a cross to “take off that piece of idolatry.”
What if Christian books or Western movies declared that the sacred things of Islam—say the Black Stone in the Ka’ba of Mecca—are “idolatry” and that Muhammad himself will return and destroy them? If Muslims would consider that defamation against Islam—and they would, with all the attendant rioting, murders, etc.—then by the same standard it must be admitted that the hadith defames the Christian Cross.
Here is a particularly odious form of defamation against Christian sentiment, especially to the millions of Catholic and Orthodox Christians. According to Islam’s most authoritative Quranic exegetes, including the revered Ibn Kathir, Muhammad is in paradise married to and having sex with the Virgin Mary.
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