Community & Society

Islam and the West

By the Late Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra) *

Islam in its intellectual content on the level of doctrine, Sharia, humanitarian concepts and the personality of the Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him and His Family) is being subjected, every now and then, to distorting and offending campaigns whether by the media and the arts (movies) or by research centres and intelligence agencies that depict Islam as the religion of violence and terror. This is done through generalizing the behaviour of one “Islamic” group to describe the religion of Islam as well as all Muslims.

It is noteworthy that these campaigns are not restricted to the media or arts, but have been transferred to the sphere of politics aiming at instigating against Muslims to kick them out of their countries…

In this regard, we have certain points we would like to clarify to both the Western and Islamic public opinions.

Firstly: We strongly believe in the freedom of expression, as a humanitarian and civilized principle, but we believe that this freedom should go hand in hand with respect, lest it will lose its humanitarian civilized content, and turn into a kind of aggression against the other, as it is an aggression on his sacred beliefs.

Thus the pictures that were published in certain media outlets that offended Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him and His Family) do not fall into the category of the freedom of expression. Rather, they are an aggression against one fifth of the earth’s population, as well as against many citizens in this or that country.

The Holy Quran gives us a humanitarian civilized principle. It says: “Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance” (6: 108). It means that every nation or community has its sacred symbols that should not be offended, for it will draw counter reactions, while Islam wishes to remove the element of excitation to conduct an objective and fruitful intellectual dialogue and not one based on instincts and emotional reaction.

Secondly: We call for studying the Glorious Quran in a scientific and objective way, so that the fair reader will find that the Quran emphasizes human dignity, calling for love and mercy, and to resorting to the best of means and words in dialogue and dealing with the other.It also represents a movement towards dialogue, a movement calling for meeting on the basis of the unity of Allah and the unity of humanity. It also states that Christians are the nearest to Muslims in their spirituality and human humbleness.

Thirdly: Instead of directing the efforts towards offending Islam and the Quran that embodies the values of good and justice, they should be directed against the brutal violence being actually practiced against the poor nations which include killing, destruction, plunder of wealth and confiscating the future, especially that the world is legitimizing usurpation and occupation that are based on the collective eradication of peoples…

Fourthly: as we reject the method of thinking in our Islamic society that is based on the mentality of cancelling the other who is different in religion sect, politics, etc… we believe that the method of Takfir (branding people with disbelief) has been adopted by many secular parties against Islam and the Muslims. And if this method produces in the Islamic sphere violence against Muslims or others, we see in the Takfiri Western movement a means of justifying any violence against Muslims in the Western societies that embraced them as citizens or residents.

Fifthly: We should be aware that some of the campaigns that we have seen in the Western media might be instituted by a mega lobby that aims at erecting barriers in the face of any serious international Muslim-Christian rapprochement, since those who sought to obtain a Christian acquaintance regarding their historic aggression against Jesus Christ (a.s.) having been also working on facilitating the acceptance of the theory of a Muslim-Christian clash. We are motioning this point, because we believe, that establishing a united Islamic-Christian spiritual and humanitarian front that is based on values, represents in itself a challenge to this lobby project that is based on violence, arrogance and despise of other nations.In this respect, we emphasize the need for the conscious Muslims to take the initiative to build broad relations with Western thinkers and researchers on all levels to thwarts the attempts of those who are misguiding the Western public opinions, about our Islamic issues.

Sixthly: It has become known that these aggressions against the Muslim’s sacred symbols could induce reactions that are in nobody’s interests. It could also provide a pretext for the Takfiri movements to justify its violence among the Muslim communities in the West, and deploy the young enthusiastic Muslims by focusing on the retaliation against the aggressions that target the Muslim sacred symbols in the name of freedom of expression…

Thus, the governments should assume its responsibility when it comes to showing this offending film or the like both in the present and the future, to safeguard the peace that we seek for the entire world.

Seventhly: We call upon all the Muslims in the world, especially the Muslim communities in the West, to haunt all movements that try to distort the image of Islam or offend its sacred symbols under any pretence. We ask their intellectuals, their elites, their religious scholars and all their popular potentials to shoulder their responsibilities on the media political, legal, artistic and literary levels, to stop these offending movements and reveal theirs goals, as well thwarting the attempts of those who want to create a rift between the Muslims and their Western societies.

They should resort to the civilized means that the laws of their countries guarantee and which increase the public opinion sympathy with our just causes.

We also call for an artistic wide movement to present the Western public opinion with the Islamic civilized values and to introduce Islam as a religion that opens up on all other religions, and that has contributed greatly to the human civilization. It is not a religion that makes any aggression but rather defends itself in the face of aggression.

In this respect, we emphasize the need for the conscious Muslims to take the initiative to build broad relations with Western thinkers and researchers on all levels to thwarts the attempts of those who are misguiding the Western public opinions, about our Islamic issues.

Lastly: We ask the United Nations and its member countries about their commitment to reject anti-Islamism that the former UN Secretary-General has emphasized, in addition to anti-Semitism, so that there will be no double standards.

And we have also called for international friendship between all men, and that all religion followers should meet on the basis of the values of justice, love, respect and good for all men.

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