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Freedom of Speech or Web of Deception

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA strongly condemned the attack stating that “The killing of any innocent person is completely wrong, and no religious or moral teachings anywhere in the world can sanction the killing of an ambassador or other representative of a State”.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Miami Islam Examiner
By Mansura Minhas | September 14, 2012

Ambassador Christopher Stevens was an accomplished diplomat, dedicated to building a stronger and safer Libya. He lost his life in the line of duty in a land that he loved and respected deeply. A fanatical mob seeking to avenge the vile depiction of Prophet Muhammad in a YouTube video attacked the U.S Consulate in Benghazi earlier this week.

There can be no justification for the attack that killed Ambassador Stevens, no matter how hateful the video is. Those who resorted to violence (in a misguided attempt to defend the honor of the Prophet) are completely wrong and their actions contravene the essence of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, a man whose honor they claim to hold dear. Prophet Muhammad preached and practiced restraint in the face of harshest animosity and provocations. Islamic history is replete with many examples of his benevolence, reconciliation and compromise to achieve peace at all costs.Thus, when such mobs get riled up and dupe the world as the torchbearers of that great Prophet, they are anything but that. They are just acting out their hate and vengeance, which has no place in Islam.

As the details of the video emerge, it is becoming increasingly apparent that it was a part of a concerted effort to malign Islam and pit all major faiths (Islam, Judaism, Christianity) against each other. The filmmaker hid behind the pseudonym Sam Becile and posed to be an Israeli Jew. Now that his true identity has been revealed, his web of deception and ulterior motives are coming to light. No Muslim has the heart to watch the despicable trailer of the video. It has left the non-Muslims cringing, even the avid proponents of free speech. All rational minds are disgusted at the obnoxious distortion of facts in the video. It would be naïve to assume that the filmmaker did not see the violence cascading once the video had been dubbed in Arabic.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian is now widely perceived to be the mastermind of the video. The Coptic Church was quick to denounce his actions and has distanced itself from him. Just like the peaceful Muslims who overwhelmingly and categorically denounced the violent attack in Benghazi.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA strongly condemned the attack stating that “The killing of any innocent person is completely wrong, and no religious or moral teachings anywhere in the world can sanction the killing of an ambassador or other representative of a State”.

The filmmaker camouflaged his hatred against a revered Prophet of 1.7 billion people as ‘free speech’- a fundamental right, at par with other moral values that he ignored, respect and dignity. Cloaking spite for a major religion under the guise of freedom of speech, also disregards responsibility that such a freedom mandates.

Media pundits, scholars and foreign policy experts are all weighing in on the chaos that has erupted in the aftermath of the violence in Benghazi. Some blame it on the United States interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East and Africa; some blame the mounting radicalization in the Muslim world. It is time to pause and reflect, to highlight the core issue here.

Extremism and intolerance are spreading in the world like a pandemic. When such tragedies happen, mischief-makers are ready to exploit and fuel the fire. Before the true identity of the filmmaker was revealed, he identified himself as an Israeli American Jew. Delving into the modus operandi of how the film was made, distributed and promoted reveals the ill intentions that were at play, which sought to stoke animosity amongst already embittered groups and pitch them against each other.

As the saying ‘birds of a feather flock together’ goes, Islamophobes gathered to capitalize on this opportunity to fulfill their hateful agenda. Steve Klein, an activist involved in the film, is the founder of Courageous Christian United, a group notorious for protests outside abortion clinics, Mormon churches and Islamic mosques in Southern California. Pastor Terry Jones, the infamous preacher, who tried to burn Quran last year, also jumped on the bandwagon and promoted the video.

Just as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Steve Klein and Terry Jones represent the radical fringes in Christianity and do not represent the Christian faith, the radicals that are protesting on the streets of Sudan, Libya and Egypt are not the true representatives of Islam. The modus operandi of the radicals across the globe might be different but they share the same aspiration; they are ideological twins that fuel bitterness and divisiveness in an already conflict-ridden world.

The fundamental right of freedom of speech is invaluable as it guarantees and protects differences of opinion and allows for criticism. However, that need not be vile, nasty and hateful. The filmmaker and his supporters clearly saw the violent reaction erupting, yet continued to plot their web of deception.

Compassion is cornerstone in all religions which seek to inculcate this highest moral value in their adherents. All human values that are aspired for, are in essence a reflection of the attributes of God. All religions are geared towards just relations and stress upon respect of human sensibilities.

When chaos erupts, saner voices are drowned out and mischief-makers dominate the airwaves. There is a dire need to work towards restoration of basic human values and bring back civility in discourse. Disagreements and differences will persist, however, the basic values of respect must be upheld and opponents’ dignity need not be tarnished. Freedom of speech must not be abused.

Human life is extremely precious and must be protected at all costs. Grievances must be settled amicably rather than averting to nastiness and hostility. The need to exhibit the astute moral value of respect is much needed. Needless to say, this is an enormous undertaking in a world riddled with divisiveness. However, it is possible if those who disagree demonstrate a true will to achieve this goal.

Read original post here: Freedom of Speech or Web of Deception

This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Ahmadiyya Times.

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