Blasphemy versus Freedom of Speech

About the Author: Mayyda Asif Bajwa is the student of Pharm. D at Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan.

Islam calls towards peaceBelieve in one God (Allah) and His last Prophet (Hazrat Muhammad Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam) is part of our faith and loving Prophet more than our parents and children is culmination of our faith. A film brought forth in this instance ridiculing Prophet and mocking Islam is a direct attack to our faith. Especially when faith ensconces our living and Prophet looked upon as complete code of life. This film an exercise of shear hatred is just another example while many such acts lie in line including ‘Satanic verses ‘and caricatures displayed in French magazine.

For Quran our response had been comparatively docile as Allah himself takes the responsibility of its safeguard while in case of Prophet Responsibility is somewhat laid upon our shoulder as it brings our faith into interrogation. Thus a stringent response at our end is pretty instinctual and undoubtedly a gestated one. Government’s declaration of holiday was a hasty decision without bringing in concern for the management leaving unguided rallies turning into mobs.

Was this not known that people of the state come from different background, be it educational or with respect to values. An average man cannot be expected to think beyond the apparent pros and cons.

I smell propaganda, rally drawn for political motives, hooligan taking full advantage of the situation eviscerating protest against government, fellow citizens, state property, and razing church to ground, devouring human lives, missing their prayers rather adhering protest strictly against the inflammatory anti-Islamic movie, the real and lost cause of remonstrance. However if this had been a Muslim impute then there is no more point of protest. However at this position I will not balk in stating that if they can do things like this in the name of freedom of expression than what are their issues with our freedom of expressing anger (Defying indecorous gesticulates).

Now moving to some facts about the man behind the film backed by Terry Jones is no more than an ordinary man working in some gas filling station, having fraudulent accounts, not paying the actors, keeping them incognizant of his motives behind making film and getting it dubbed it in an anti -Islamic way. Current legal framework is enough to set him behind the bars but the question arises would this be enough and an end to such a situation.

Answer is no specially with the kind of response the film has achieved. In the present world of rating every view, a single click or sharing link even to discourage it has brought the maker with benefits both in terms of money and fame tempting others to do the same in the name of freedom of expression.

One school of thought arrogates that dissidents fall prey to the trap laid by the makers launching it to defame Islam and Muslims as short tempered nation losing sense of judgment and when prone to unfavorable situations as later their talk shows included such pernicious remarks about us.

Let’s not forget that our fight is against an entire different view point so solution should be assayed within their system and mind frame. They empower their men, taking individual right superior to religion and keeping religion open for discussion and criticism .Keeping all possible Medias open to freedom of expression no matter at cost of Muslim sentiments. And when it comes to Pakistan they don’t even hesitate to immunize people like Ramon Davis.

Fingers may also be pointed our way as we protest this particular act while we are their staunch followers in others fields -be it the sarcastic political or other reality shows, adopting their dressing style in the routine life ,keeping their language above our national language. Continuous displaying an ugly picture of Pakistan at our very own media, religious shows run by people later said to have fake degrees and actors with colorful acting round the clock later becoming Sufis in Ramadan ,quick fatwas by Ulamas later looked down- setting not so good standards at our end. However west loses its intellect and racialism when it comes to Pakistan and make everything legal that is beneficial to them or fulfils their objectives. In an interview Tariq Ramadan (A professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford university) says: “best response would have been to ignore the video & to unite with all the people (Muslims’ those having no religion or belonging to other religion) who want to protect freedom of speech while asking individual to use the right in decent, respectful and reasonable way.

We need to keep in mind that we Muslims produce 5% of global GDP and not much in number as non Muslims all together yet possess rights, solution lies looking into laws made by west binding people not to entice others or ridicule religious feeling as with holocaust. Other possible way could be filtering material coming via different portals as complete blockade would be just a one way obstruction of knowledge, taking issue to UNO keeping ethics and humanity epic of the discussion.

Islam is peaceThe best revenge would be to bring best of our self before the world. We need to mend our attitudes as Islam is judged by what Muslims portray rather than what Book holds for it. Most amazing outcome of this issue is the increasing interest of western youth to know Islam and to study Prophet’s personality while many Muslims are tackling the issue in a sensible way enhancing following of the religion Islam and probably its acceptability in near future plus the outrage over movie lessen chances of American intervention to Iran its next target.

Now let the world looks over the matter and adjudicate that whether mere objurgating would be enough and what if such incendiary acts continue. For Muslims however Quran holds “To you be your way, and to me mine” Surah Al-Kafirun preaching a peaceful co-existence.

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