Afghans hold placards reading: “Our leader Mohammed” during a protest against an anti-Islam film in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid)
On Friday, Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool (pbuh) [love of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Day] was observed throughout Pakistan. Many demonstrators carried signs with red hearts bearing the Prophet’s name and inspiring slogans (“Our leader Muhammad” and “Honor Our Prophet”). This positive theme had great potential, but unfortunately, was marred by more violence.
A thousand peaceful protests can be overshadowed by a single protest turned deadly, especially with the media so eager to highlight episodes of violence. Loons can hardly contain their glee.
In fact, Daniel Pipes wants to see more violence and mayhem. A lot more, until the so-called “Islamists” are finally tamed.
In his recent article published on mainstream conduit of hate, Fox News, Pipes has dipped into the historical archive and culled together an assortment of events, including the controversies over Salmon Rushdie’s lackluster book more than two decades ago, the Danish Cartoons of 2005, the nutty antics of the infamous “Reverend” Terry Jones, Qur’an burnings, and the recent provocations by the French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hedbo. He clearly relishes each and every incident that reinforces the notion of perpetual “Muslim outrage.”
According to his cynical interpretation of events, Muslims aren’t protesting because they’re defending their beloved Prophet Muhammad and their routinely maligned faith, Islam. Rather, Muslims, or “Islamists” in loon parlance, are protesting violently because they want to take over the West and abolish free speech.
Despite Pipes hateful motives and cynical exploitation of tragic events, he’s right about one thing: Provocateurs cannot be stopped by protests, and a violent backlash will only encourage more provocations. The right to free speech and exercising that right in a moral or responsible way are two different things, but it isn’t practical to legislate kindness and decency.
Many Muslims are quite understandably sickened and angered by attacks on their faith and the prophet they revere, but Islam is a religion of love and mercy, not of anger and revenge:
And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend. Qur’an 41:34
And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!” Qur’an: 25:63
You are neither hard-hearted nor of fierce character, nor one who shouts in the markets. You do not return evil for evil, but excuse and forgive. The Prophet Muhammad
These outrageous provocations will not end until they cease to generate sensational headlines, or in Pipe’s own callous words, ”until the Islamists [sic] become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”
A Muhammad Cartoon a day
by Daniel Pipes, Fox News
When Salman Rushdie mocked Islamic sanctities in his magical 1989 realist novel “The Satanic Verses,” Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini did something shockingly original: He issued a death edict on Rushdie and all those connected to the production of his book. By doing this, Khomeini sought to impose Islamic mores and laws on the West. We don’t insult the prophet, he effectively said, and neither can you.
That started a trend of condemning those in the West deemed anti-Islamic that persists to this day. Again and again, when Westerners are perceived as denigrating Muhammad, the Koran, or Islam, Islamists demonstrate, riot or kill.
Khomeini’s edict also had the unexpected side effect of empowering individuals – Western and Islamist alike – to drive their countries’ policies.
Fleming Rose, a newspaper editor, created the greatest crisis for Denmark since World War II by publishing 12 cartoons depicting Muhammad. Florida pastor Terry Jones sowed panic among American commanders in Afghanistan by threatening to burn a Koran. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and friends prompted a crisis in U.S.-Egyptian relations with his amateurish “Innocence of Muslims” video. And the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo caused the French government to temporarily shut down diplomatic missions in 20 countries. Plans by the German satirical magazine Titanic to publish attacks on Muhammad likewise led German missions to be closed.
On the Islamist side, an individual or group took one of these perceived offenses and turned it into a reason to riot. Khomeini did this with “The Satanic Verses.” Ahmad Abu Laban did likewise with the Danish cartoons. Afghan President Hamid Karzai goaded his people to riot over burned Korans by American soldiers, and Egyptian preacher Khaled Abdullah turned “Innocence of Muslims” into an international event.
Any Westerner can now buy a Koran for a dollar and burn it, while any Muslim with a platform can transform that act into a fighting offense. As passions rise on both sides of the divide, Western provocateurs and Islamist hotheads have found each other, as confrontations occur with increasing frequency.
Which prompts this question: What would happen if publishers and managers of major media outlets reached a consensus — “Enough of this intimidation, we will publish the most famous Danish Muhammad cartoon every day, until the Islamists tire out and no longer riot”? What would happen if Korans were recurrently burned?
Would repetition inspire institutionalization, generate ever-more outraged responses, and offer a vehicle for Islamists to ride to greater power? Or would it lead to routinization, to a wearing out of Islamists, and a realization that violence is counter-productive to their cause?
I predict the latter. A Muhammad cartoon published each day, or Koranic desecrations on a quasi-regular basis, would make it harder for Islamists to mobilize Muslim mobs. Westerners could then once again treat Islam as they do other religions – freely, to criticize without fear. That would demonstrate to Islamists that Westerners will not capitulate, that they reject Islamic law, that they are ready to stand up for their values.
So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.