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April 18, 2024

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Violence not a part of Islamic Beliefs

Every time one Muslim acts violently it gives all Muslims a black eye, the editor of the online publication ToledoMuslims.com said.

After the Danish newspaper, Jyllen-Posten, published a series of cartoons that portrayed the Muslim Prophet Mohammad as a terrorist, violence spurred around the world.

But the Muslims who are taking part in this violence are only a small percentage of all Muslims Mohammad Alo said, editor of ToledoMuslims.com.

‘People look at these Muslims and think this is the how all Muslims act because this is the only reaction they see,’ Mohammad Alo said. ‘The way they are reacting is embarrassing to us as a whole, it’s more important to be proactive than over reactive.’

In fact, over reaction and violent reaction is the only coverage Americans are seeing Zaher Ibrahim said, president of the Muslim Student Association at BGSU.

‘The U.S. news coverage has not covered both sides fairly,’ Ibrahim said. ‘It has portrayed the violence while it didn’t shed any light on the diplomatic attempts that were explored.’

For the most part Muslims initially sought a peaceful solution by urging the media to put an end to future publications of the cartoons, but were unsuccessful as the cartoons showed up in papers all over the world from Europe to the U.S.

These western medias used the defense of freedom of the press from censorship. But Imam Farooq Aboelzahab, religious leader at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, said freedom has limits.

‘You are free as long as long as you are not attacking a persons religion and beliefs,’ Aboelzahab said. ‘I can make fun of your religion and you can make fun of mine, but all that accomplishes is lack of respect for one another’s faith.’

With this lack of respect comes a lack of understanding of what the Muslim faith actually teaches Fatma Azzouz said, a Fulbright professor at the University who has worked for BBC and Voice of America and also a Muslim.

The cartoons depicted Mohammad in a violent nature through out the cartoons, which sends the message that the faith as a whole promotes or teaches violence.

‘The cartoons take the beliefs of millions of people and wipe their feet on it,’ Ibrahim said. ‘It’s not just against one person its against our sacred prophet and that’s why its such a big deal.’

Not only do the cartoons depict the whole Islam faith as being violent, but the cartoons do so with no regard to the actual teachings of Islam, Azzouz said.

‘Never does Islam ask to kill,’ she said. ‘One of the main teachings is to never make justice by yourself. You are required to take issues to the courts.’

Several courts throughout the Middle East have their foundations based on Islamic law, al shari’a, which prohibits images of any prophet or Allah.

The Protestant and Jewish faith have similar restrictions on making an image to a God or prophet in their ten commandments.

‘Though shall make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above’hellip;,’ the second Protestant commandment reads.

While Protestants, Jews and Muslims share the belief that God should not be given an image, the media in several secular countries aren’t held accountable to religious dogmas – so cartoons of Jesus, Mohammad and Allah are all fair game.

But Azzouz said that just because the media is allowed to publish whatever they want doesn’t mean that it’s fair to those they end up hurting.

‘Your freedom ends where the freedom of others starts,’ Azzouz said, referring to the French definition of liberty.

Liberty is exactly what Muslims felt was taken from them when these cartoons were published initially back in September by Jyllen-Posten, and then later republished by dozens of other papers – and frustrations soon turned into violence.

After embassies, foreigners and Christian churches were attacked several Muslims, including Alo, began worrying that people would start believing that all Muslims are violent – exactly what the cartoons were portraying in the first place.

‘Really I am surprised by the Muslims responses throughout the world,’ he said. ‘This is not how you respond with such actions. It is a bad representation of our religion.’

Ibrahim condemns the violence and said that there is no reason to start violence over the issue.

‘If anything, the prophet would never promote violence,’ he said. ‘And violence won’t undue any harm that was done by running the cartoon.’

But, Azzouz said these violent protests are not only about these cartoons.

‘It’s more about their economic and political situation than the cartoons,’ she said. ‘These people feel that they are trapped in poverty and the West in not helping them or even making it worse.’

Why these protests began is a matter of perception that no one fully understands – but most people do understand the severity of these cartoons.

The Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, MSA and ToledoMuslims.com have no future plans of having any protests regarding the cartoons.

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