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Anti-Islam film: Protest – Yes; Killing – No!

By Ishola Haroon Balogun

Islam demands that every Muslim protects the honour of the religion and the Prophet (s.a.w). That is why Muslims see the anti-Islam film of Sam Bacile, a 56-year-old Israeli as an insult of the highest order. Those who see it as a mere comedy or entertainment to serve their pleasure got it all wrong because the over 1.6 billion Muslim faithful world over are offended and ready at all times to defend their religion. Islam and Prophet Muhammad are dear to them more than anything else.

Investigation reveals that the film was made in three months in the summer of 2011, with 59 actors and about 45 people behind the camera. The full film has been shown once, to a mostly empty theater in Hollywood earlier this year after which it was posted on internet (YouTube) on July 1, 2012. It initially went unnoticed until late last month when comments and anger began to pile. Bacile has since gone into hiding.

What was however astounding was that Bacile was thereafter reported to have spoken from an undisclosed location, showing no remorse, remained defiant, saying that he intended, by his film, to be provocative, condemning the religion. At that point, showing dissatisfaction through organised protest against such matter is not only right and natural but also a religious duty.

What is however not accepted in Islam is the killing of people which is against the Shariah. We are not permitted to kill. Order than the time of war on Muslims, no Muslim is permitted to kill fellow human being. The state rather has the right of execution after undergoing trial in the court of law. A few days ago, an angered Pakistani Muslim businessman promised to give a $100,000 prize-money to whoever finds and presents Sam Bacile (I guess for a jungle justice) but the Pakistani authorities swiftly rejected it, saying that was not allowed.

Incendiary films, literature and cartoons that poke Islam are not an expression of free speech; they are inflammatory much as they are also defamatory. Why should anyone go to that length, denigrating Islam to satisfy personal whims?

I recall in 2005, a Danish newspaper published 12 caricatures of the Prophet (s.a.w) which also triggered riots in many Muslim countries. Just a few days ago, somebody sent a morbid text to me to deride the prophet and Islam and threatening thunder and brimstone on November 15. I am not surprised because much of this incendiary stuff come from the Christians bigots, who like Muslim bigots, are no better, killing people here and there. How many times have you heard or seen a Muslim defacing or denigrating the symbol of other religion? Who are the terrorists?

The enemies of Islam are frustrated in the face of the thriving Islamic consciousness, uniqueness of the religion, the untainted Glorious Quran that is devoid of error and that has surpassed all times, the unity and oneness of Islam world-over right from Adam (a.s) to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w)

No matter what they do, Allah has promised to protect the religion; no matter how they attempt to dishonour and deride Islam, the Prophet or the symbol; they will never succeed. Islam which has been thriving since the days of our for-bearer, Adam (a.s.) to the present time will continue to thrive no matter the evil machinations against Islam by those bigots who think their religion is better and superior.

The Quran says: “Say (O Muslim), “We believe in Allah and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Abraham (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Ya’qub (Jacob), and to Al-Asbat [the twelve sons of Ya’qub (Jacob)], and that which has been given to Musa (Moses) and ‘Isa (Jesus), and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam)”. (Qur’an 2:136)

The killing of the American envoy and other innocent people in Libya is unfortunate. Islam does not support that and no Islamic scholar will advocate that because the Prophet had never thought us to go that far. Infact, he never avenged insult and vituperation on him. The Prophet (s.a.w) is our leader and had set ample examples in this matter, as it was recorded in a number of hadiths. He routinely ignored insults from his enemies. One reported by Anas said: “I was walking with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w), and he was wearing a Najraanee cloak with a rough collar. A Bedouin came and seized him roughly by the edge of his cloak, and I saw the marks left on his neck by the collar. Then the Bedouin ordered him to give him some of the wealth of Allah that he had. The Prophet (s.a.w) turned to him and smiled, then ordered that he should be given something.”

Yes, as human beings, we have our emotions; sometimes we may lose control of our temper but remember that Allah has promised the righteous (muttaqeen) who keep away from the causes of anger and struggle within themselves to control it. The Prophet (s.a.w) described the great reward for doing this by saying: “Whoever controls his anger at the time when he has the means to act upon it; Allah will fill his heart with contentment on the Day of Resurrection.” This is one of the ways of extinguishing the flames of anger. Let us even remember that our beloved Prophet forgave thousands of Pagans who committed atrocities against the Muslims and their families such as killings and rapping.

Let us cultivate the act of invoking Allah to change the hearts of those who denigrate Islam and the Prophet. Allah’s Messenger never took revenge over anybody for his own sake. He only did on a few cases after he was commanded by Allah to fight back.

The West on the other hand must shift from just condemning religious bigotry to criminalising it, building on the UNHRC’s Resolution 16/18. Perpetrators must be brought to book for the whole world to see because inflammatory words, action, film can set the world on fire. This is far greater than what the West calls terrorism. If the Dujail or American trial of Sadam Hussein could be applauded, then a resounding applause will resonate even from Muslim countries if similar trial and punishment is meted out on the perpetrators of this act.
Ma sallam.

Deportation of 171 Pilgrims: What is National Hajj Commission doing?

It is disheartening that women who have put everything together including the huge amount of money for hajj exercise, a religious call by Almighty Allah to the Holy land, were deported on account that they were not accompanied by their husbands or (maharam) close male companion.

Not less than 171 women from Taraba and Kastina were Thursday deported into the country. Government and the commission should not fold their arms while our pilgrims are being manhandled.

As at press time, the fate of over a thousand of other Nigerian women currently being kept in a camp close to Jeddah by Saudi authorities on the same ground hang in the balance as they were denied entry.  Some of the deportees narrated their experiences in the hands Saudi authorities.

“We spent three days in the camp, kept under the watchful eyes of no nonsense security agents that neither understand our dialect nor speak English, my brother we were dehumanized by Saudi Arabian Authority for no reason,” a middle-aged woman said.

We gathered that earlier, when the issue was raised by the Saudi authority a couple of weeks back, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alh Sa’ad Abubakar waded in and sorted out the issue. But what could have happened again, and what is the Hajj Commission and government doing about it? The intending pilgrims and others about to fly to the holy land need to know, at least to avert further embarrassment.


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