A delicate moment

Published Sep 14, 2012 11:07pm

A DUBIOUS character of unclear nationality makes a highly offensive film about Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the US. With the help of others who, based on the available footage, had little purpose beyond tastelessly mocking the religion, a portion of it reaches the Arab world on the Internet. Understandably, in a part of the world where many are protective of their faith above all else, these clips spark deep offence. And the protests that follow once again feed into the false and destabilising impression that there is a war between civilisations, raising questions about whether Muslim countries and the West can survive peacefully alongside each other in an increasingly globalised world. The reality is, though, that controversies such as the one over this film or the Danish cartoons or the Quran-burning in Texas are not in fact conflicts between monolithic concepts of ‘Islam’ and ‘the West’. Nor are they attempts by certain countries or governments to destablise others. They are storms brewed by small numbers of incendiary, irresponsible people with little regard for global sensitivities or the consequences their actions can have.

The best way to respond to such actions is to ignore them or to protest peacefully, and that is where the reaction to the film clips in some Muslim countries could have been different. Attacking American missions and their innocent employees holds a government responsible for the actions of independent actors. It chooses violence over the rule of law. And it works against Muslims themselves, strengthening the paranoid impression that has developed around the world that they harbour a deep and dangerous hatred of all things non-Muslim. Responding violently to the creations of fringe elements simply feeds into the false impressions of Islam these elements believe in and are trying to perpetuate.

But in the days to come it is not just violence, but politics and diplomacy that will also be at stake. How this plays out will in part depend on how the issue is handled by America and Egypt, where the president is trying to balance the country’s newly won democracy with his obligations to the outside world. The US-backed Arab Spring has, as a natural consequence of increased freedom, given more space to religious conservatives. The way to tackle this increased complexity is for America to honour sensitivities in the Muslim world and for Muslim countries to keep violence in check. Neither can afford to let democracy in the region, or relations between America and Muslim countries, be held hostage to the actions of a group of reckless and insensitive film-makers.


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Comments (12) Closed




Rafia Mirza
Sep 15, 2012 10:43pm
if only muslims could have the maturity to ignore any sick comments on islam , creating an uproar only makes a mountain out of a mole-hill.
Bobby Srinivas
Sep 15, 2012 01:26pm
Sensible, prudent and well thought out editorial.
bendintheriver
Sep 15, 2012 12:59pm
The movie was not only repulsive but was full of mischief, intended to create a havoc that it eventually did. America must try the ugly brains behind this movie as abettors to the deaths of Americans that have happened worldwide. That should act as a deterrence for others who might want to create such hurtful things in future.
Cautious
Sep 15, 2012 02:17pm
May I ask what the Editor proposes when he states "The way to tackle this increased complexity is for America to honour sensitivities in the Muslim world"? The Editor knows that the USA govt has no ability to censor this film & that the USA has condemned the bigoted content of the film. What else does the Editor propose - or does the Editor think that the USA is should amend it's Constitution to give Muslims special rights? I will point out that not a single Muslim leader has stood before it's people and explained that the USA govt has nothing to do with the production of this film and the protest against the USA are not warranted - it's called lack of leadership and kowtowing to the religious conservatives. What we see are long speeches denouncing the film - calls for the USA to do something about it (even though the leaders know the USA can't do anything) - and occasionally 20 seconds dedicated to commenting that the killing of the Ambassador wasn't warranted.
LALA RUKH
Sep 15, 2012 09:16am
This is a very candid analysis of the situation , but why do people think they need to malign other religions? If this dubious character had chosen his own religion to question (Jewish) there would have been no violence , but it seems to be a deliberate act to provoke Muslims. Does it not? Are they afraid of our growing power?
Zahid Iqbal
Sep 15, 2012 04:47am
The dubious action by the brazen and unscrupulous Americans cannot be tolerated by any true Muslim. The aggressive protest against it, is a spontaneous act by the Muslim Ummah .Actually, they want to assess the the love and dedication of Muslims to their beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and they knew it very clearly.
M. Asghar
Sep 15, 2012 07:44am
The Editorial's analysis of the 'delicate moment' is too narrow to comprehend the nature of tthe things going around. It not just a few incendiary elements that are trying to create the mayhem, but the well-connected, hostile lobbies in the USA, who are orchestraiting these things for clear geopolitical interests, where the other side are the Muslims. The Mulims countries have to be very vigilent and must not bog down into vociferous manifestations that will do nothing but harm. They have to create a dynamic united front against these activities on a global basis.
farmerdr
Sep 15, 2012 06:28pm
Sane and pious advice
Concerned Muslim
Sep 15, 2012 08:40am
"The best way to respond to such actions is to ignore them or to protest peacefully".
jalaluddin S. Hussain
Sep 15, 2012 06:11pm
It is a balanced and mature approach. I fully agree with the editorial. We need to be tolerant and understanding in this globalized world.
Hamid Abbasi
Sep 15, 2012 04:44pm
But for the option of " peaceful protestation" I would like to thank Dawn for such a cool,well poised and praiseworthy editorial. There are negative elements and forces vigorously acting behind leaving no stone unturned to disrupt peace and tranquilty in Muslim World particularly,Suggesting a peaceful protest is very risky no one knows how,when and who changed the peaceful tempo into violence of highest order ending into killing of emissaries and innocent people.Islam forbids killing of emissaries and provides full support & protection. One may differ from American global policies,we muslims around the globe should realise that we in America enjoy more religious freedom than in any muslim country yet we do not spare America . The alleged film maker has been apprehended for investigation if found guilty will be treated accordingly.In the meanwhile we should run a campaign individually and or collectively to lodge our feelings in writing with concerned diplomatic mission.Our muslim cleric in Pakistan has been a cause of re-birth of Joan Of ArK by victimising an innocent christian young girl on account of blasphemy and see the agitation around rhe christian world.Can we learn a lesson? Hamid Abbasi
Taaruf
Sep 15, 2012 08:01am
The blasphemous movie is a direct attack on the muslim ummah. This shows crystal clear a hegemony and consipracy done by the US. Religion is a personal matter of the muslim community and neither community has right to blasphemize any of religious community of any creed. We condemn this act and register our protest in the International court of justice to take sou motou action.