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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 12:58 pm
Islamic reader Ahmed emails:
I am writing this letter in regards to your article on the prophet cartoons. You say that Muslims are vicious to other religions and disrespectful to western culture, but I am telling you we are not.
We are not spiteful to other religions but those who invade our land, rape our sisters, mothers, wives, and kill us; but still we do not disrespect them or their religion, but their belief—“Zionism”, not the Jewish religion or their Prophet, because it is against our beliefs and our moral values to disrespect someone on the basis of religion or to disrespect a messenger of God.
Mr. Blair, you think that we disrespect western culture (by the way, I don’t believe in Sheik Khalid Yasin’s comments) but what has western media done to our faith and religion? Islam is known for a man being able to marry 10 or more wives, oppressing women, terrorism, etc.
As a Muslim I was brought up to love all three main prophets: Abraham, Jesus, and Mohamed, who brought upon us the three holy religions. We as Muslims respect these prophets not for respect for Christians or Jews, but because we believe in them as prophets and respect them as such.
It is also not a matter of freedom of speech, it’s a matter of respect. Displaying cartoons of our beloved prophet is the same as insulting Muslims. Is anyone allowed to insult a race, religion, or group of people on the media? Why is that not allowed? Because it is wrong. You cannot argue that it is a matter of freedom of speech.
I’ll give you an example of something sensitive and close to your heart so you’ll know how deeply these cartoons affected us Muslims. Say if someone drew cartoons about the Bali bombings, making fun of the dead. Or the tsunami victims. Won’t you be deeply offended and hurt? It is wrong and there is no excuse for it.
All religions and their prophets should be given some respect. The prophet of any religion is their symbol. People believe in his or her word and devote their life to the sayings of their prophet. If you insult the prophet, you have disrespected the whole religion and made the prophet look small and demeaned him as a prophet or a man with such dignity, respect and love from his followers.
I hope I have changed your mind about the awful pictures of our beloved prophet.
No, you haven’t; but you have provided an absolutely brilliant example of how to respond to criticism of Islam. Argument—as much as I disagree with claims that Zionists are murdering land-invader sister-rapers—beats threats. For that matter, argument beats torching embassies and calling for a 9/11 attack on Europe. More argument; less arson.
UPDATE. And from reader Amanda, independent of the above, but related:
I’m Jewish, but consider myself number one as Australian, above and beyond all else. There are many things in the media which are unfavorable to Jews (and Christians, etc.), but as far as I’m concerned, one needs to cop it sweet, and respond with intelligence and dignity (or not at all), rather than with unjustifiable violence.
It is vitally important that as Australians we ensure that our kids can grow up with the knowledge that free speech is a right. Racial vilification issues aside, the whole world needs to focus on this point more strongly than ever.