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What if a Christian book or Western movie portrayed, say, Muhammad’s wife, Aisha the “Mother of Believers,” as being married to and having sex with a false prophet in heaven? If Muslims would consider that a great defamation against Islam—and they would, with all the attendant rioting, murders, etc.—then by the same standard it must be admitted that Islam’s most authoritative Quranic exegetes defame the Virgin Mary.
Nor does such defamation of Christianity occur in Islam’s ancient texts only; modern day Muslim scholars and sheikhs agree that it is permissible to defame Christianity. Qatar-based “Islam Web” even issued a fatwa that legitimizes insulting Christianity.
Now consider the wording used by Muslim leaders calling on the U.N. to enforce religious defamation laws in response to the Muhammad film on YouTube, and how these expressions can easily be used against Islam:
The OIC “deplored… an offensive and derogatory film on the life of Prophet Muhammad” and “called on the producers to show respect to the religious sentiments held sacred by Muslims and those of other faiths.”
But what about the “offensive and derogatory” depictions of Christianity in Islam’s core texts? Are Muslims willing to expunge these from the Quran and hadith, “to show respect to the religious sentiments held sacred … by those of other faiths,” in this case, Christians?
Turkish Prime Minister Erodgan said the film “insults religions” (note the inclusive plural) and called for “international legal regulations against attacks on whatpeople [not just Muslims] deem sacred.”
Well, what about the fact that Islam “insults religions”—including Judaism and all polytheistic religions? Should the West call for “international legal regulations against attacks on what people deem sacred,” in the case of Christianity, regulations against Islam’s teachings which attack the sanctity of Christ’s divinity, the Cross, and Virgin Mary?
Even Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti—who a few months ago called for the destruction of all Christian churches in the Arabian Peninsula (first reported here)—is calling for a “global ban on insults targeting all” religious figures, while the Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al Azhar is calling for “a U.N. resolution outlawing ‘insulting symbols and sanctities of Islam’ and other religions.” Again, they, too, claim to be interested in banning insults to all religions, while ignoring the fact that their own religion is built atop insulting all other religions.
And surely this is the grandest irony of all: the “defamation” that Muslims complain about—and that prompts great violence and bloodshed around the world—revolves around things like movies and cartoons, which are made by individuals who represent only themselves; on the other hand, Islam itself, through its holiest and most authoritative texts, denigrates and condemns—in a word, defames—all other religions, not to mention calls for violence against them (e.g., Quran 9:29).
It is this issue, Islam’s perceived “divine” right to defame and destroy, that the international community should be addressing—not silly cartoons and films.
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