My Solution to Draw Muhammad Day: Adeel Ahmed


ADEEL AHMED

I am extremely happy today that I do not live in Pakistan [which has banned Facebook for the day] –I need my daily dose of Facebook. “Draw Muhammad Day” has caused a great outcry in the Muslim community, in fact, it’s an outcry that I find to be way over the top.

I, a Muslim, born and raised in New York, find this reaction to be disappointing. I believe it’s because I have a difficult time comprehending our community.

I don’t understand – Why is there an outcry now? South Park has a reputation of disrespecting all religions. They have shown images of other great prophets, most recently, Jesus and made a mockery of him and no Muslim said anything then. Do we not respect him as much as we respect the prophet Muhammad? I find it hypocritical that we choose to complain only when it comes to our last prophet. Hollywood and the media has shown images and depictions of G-d (Bruce Almighty), Prophets (10 Commandments), etc., but there was no Muslim outcry.

The Quran states, “show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.” (7:199). That is exactly what we need to do. Although I doubt any of the artists will be asking for forgiveness for their drawings, I think we need to take advantage to reach out to non-Muslims and inform them about how we feel. We need to “invite (all) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious” (16:125). Of course, the ‘most gracious’ way does not include threats or violence.

We should be more open minded than others in our acceptance of freedom of expression, even if negative. Unlike places like Italy where you may be put in prison for up to five years for making negative comments about the Pope,[1] we should let the artists express themselves,  and we should express how we feel in a civilized manner.  If that doesn’t work, we should ‘avoid the ignorant.’ Boycotting or banning Facebook is not a solution. In fact, giving so much importance to drawings is a bit excessive.

Instead we should be tackling bigger and more important issues. How about fight for the rights of the innocent men among the guilty out in Guantanamo, or rally against the injustice done to women in Muslim countries, or show our disapproval of the acts of people like Faisal Shahzad, or try to bring American troops back home from places where they, along with civilians, are dying/being killed in vain.

These are just some issues that I think are much more important than some drawings by cartoonists.


[1] http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=5829430&page=1

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18 thoughts on “My Solution to Draw Muhammad Day: Adeel Ahmed

  1. Seriously? Firstly Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him is our role model, our last prophet. Just because christian people don’t defend themselves doesn’t mean we should do it for them. This event was made solely to terrorize the muslim community. When draw a holocaust day event was made on facebook, that was taken off since it was discriminating. Why not now?

    Your taking things too lightly, what’s it to you if people are closing their account. You keep your account it’s not affecting you, its our freedom of choice.

    • Muhammad is not a prophet and he was not a good man , look at history. Defend this evil man if u want but he is in HELL for his sins .

      • That is being a racist.I am muslim myself and we never said anything bad about christ. stop critisising our religions beliefs

  2. You raise some very good paradoxes. I think it has to do with the dogmatic view most people have taken of Islam. People forget the spiritual (i.e. the parts that require thought, exercision of free will/ one’s mind) and embrace the “physical” aspects.

    Praying five times a day and a nice long beard do not a muslim make. Where are the good works? Where is the charity? Where is the speaking out against injustice as you mention? Where is the morality, compassion, empathy? Where is the progressivism that Islam brought to the world?

    Christians are fond of asking “What Would Jesus Do?” Rarely, do the answers sound something like, “He would pray 3 times on Tuesday, then, when the moon’s full, he would distribute sweets to his neighbors.” The answers usually abound with elements of restraint, patience, and wisdom. (Oh, and that thing called Love.) They abound with spirituality.

    What would Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) say, if asked by a muslim, “what would you do if someone were to draw a cartoon of you?”

    People have been taught how to only act out an Islamic life. No one’s being taught to think Islamically. (Many people have read the Quran cover to cover in arabic, but, how many have read a translation cover to cover?) When you can only act a part, you latch on to superficial, visual cues. All other avenues of analysis are non-existent to you. With lack of analysis, understanding, comes fear*. Fear takes over, and voila. We have bans on facebook, and violence over drawings.

    *Thanks, Yoda.

    • Whatever religion – the foundation is BE GOOD, DO GOOD, HELP OTHERS. Other than these everything is interpretation and philosophy. Let us return to the fundamentals and abjure violence in action, word and spirit and every one shall prosper. Oh – also give modern education to the islamic masses.

  3. This is an excellent piece. Gets right to the point, I wish he expanded more on certain issues. Really great article though.

  4. @A B

    I of course, cannot speak for the author of the article. However, it’s an over-simplification on your part to dismiss his argument based on, “it’s my choice, it doesn’t affect you.”

    Actually, your choice does affect him, me, us. When you do things as a muslim, you represent all muslims. It’s not like you’re doing it out of an individual reason that pertains only to you. In the case of the boycotting, you do it as a muslim. Now, if you to take a stance that goes against the teachings of islam, and you’re taking that stance as a representative of Islam, then you are propagating misinformation. You are presenting beliefs, priorities, that do not represent me. I would find that offensive. And, I would be duty-bound to correct your misbehavior, as I believe the author of the article tries to do.

    Islam teaches us, all of us, to learn, think, and be just. Not react out of fear, run away from difficulties (that is, run from the more serious issues plaguing Islam and run towards a few drawings), and cling to a philosophy of ignorance.

  5. Imran,

    You and the author of this article are two very progressive, intelligent and thoughtful men.

    Imran, you have asked the perfect questions about the content of Islam in how it is practiced.

    Christianity is a relationship with our Heavenly Father God through our Messiah Jesus.

    I just don’t see that Muslims have that. It seems that the entire emphasis is on following endless rules and they vary depending on what country and culture you live in. And, it seems that they can be changed depending on different factors.

    Jesus came to save us from the “rules of the law” and to bring us a new method of relationship with God, through the change and forgiveness of our sinful nature with Jesus’ sacrifice.

    I’m sorry that Islam doesn’t seem to offer this intimacy with your God.

    But you are asking the correct questions to affect change.

    Congratulations!

  6. A.B.,

    I’m thinking about your comment about Christians not defending themselves. Why should we get so upset and cause a big ruckus when someone makes a negative comment about Christianity or Jesus? What another person does is between God and them. Not other’s business unless that person’s action physically harms another. And, making a negative comments about another’s religion doesn’t physically harm another. Christians are secure about Jesus and the theology of Christianity. We don’t have to over-react because we know that there is concrete, historical proof for the Bible. If someone else wants try and say untrue things then their actions are between God and them on judgment day and not our job to judge them. We don’t have to prove to anyone that we feel comfortable and secure in our religion regardless of what anyone else says about it.

  7. A.B.,

    I think you don’t understand the event. It was not done to terrorize anyone. It was done to remind everyone that we have “free speech” and “nothing” is too sacred.

    I bet people tell you that you are too controlling sometimes???

    People feel that Islam is trying to control free speech.

    That is what the event was about. In fact, it wasn’t really directed solely at Islam. It’s just that the drawings were the loudest example of something lately trying to control everyone else’s free speech.

    This type of event and reaction happens when anyone or something tries to control free speech.

    Think about it. But think about it outside of the box. Can you?

  8. A.B.,

    I ask you. In your reaction, where am I supposed to see the peacefulness of Islam?

    You are acting as though Christians are stupid if we don’t get all high on our horse just because someone said something negative about Jesus. Geez, if all thoughout the last two thousand years, if all of Christianity reacted everytime someone said something negative about Jesus, we would never have had time to invent every thing that makes the world run today.

    Forgive and forget! It’s good for your heart and immune system, not to mention good for your relationships and goals.

    • Believing in Prophet Jesus/Isa (peace be upon him) and all the Prophets is the essential part of Muslims’ faith. They also believe in the second coming of Jesus/Isa (peace be upon him) to the world to establish truth and justice. Hence, though we do believe in “freedom of speech” but never extend it to insult any sacred personalities who have nothing to do with what their followers are doing.
      Refer to Michael H. Hart, a Jewish New Yorker, for what he says about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

  9. Good argument and thankyou for reminding us what the Quran says…Pakistan does get emotional on religion…for good reasons, especially nowadays. Does that mean all Pakistani should be vilified?

    You begin your argument by picking on Pakistan, and then end up with identifying issues particular to your own country as Guantanamo, American troops! Your nervousness of Pakistani Muslims shows through!

    Daily dose of Facebook, and ‘freedom of expression’ tops your list of issues. Come and live in Pakistan.

  10. As an Atheist I do not understand the problem: Allah or God simply doesn’t exist.It is an imagination in the minds of poorly educated and simple minded people.
    Especially Muslims are not trained to think critically: They believe everything they find in their Medieval books.
    Priests and Imams take their profits of this phantasies.
    There is no afterlife: enjoy your life now!

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