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Muslims, We Must Not Take the Bait When Controversy Comes

There is much conversation lately about the Muhammad cartoon controversy, especially with the latest “draw Muhammad” page on Facebook. The reaction from Muslims has been so varied that it is no wonder that most Americans cannot determine what Islam teaches to its followers on how to deal with insults. This is a matter of human decency and patience.

First, one must question why someone would intentionally want to hurt the feelings of even a single living creature. Where is the humanity in that? There seems to be more care and consideration for a helpless animal stuck in a tree or a pipe than for the feelings of another person. Knowing that the Queen of England occupies a position of endearment in the hearts of millions of people, why would someone jokingly announce her death while playing the British national anthem? Human decency would dictate that one condemn this action and admonish the person responsible.

Similarly, when people know that Muslims hold the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, in the highest of esteem, why would they intentionally indulge in things that hurt their feelings? Claiming it to be an expression of free speech is a complete fabrication. If that were the case, other indecent people would be allowed to have pages on Facebook mocking the holocaust and many other such actions designed solely to cause pain and suffering to people. This is not the free speech that our Founding Fathers established.

With that said, even such indecency does not justify threats of violence as retaliation. It is a shame that so many misguided Muslim leaders and ignorant Muslim masses almost invariably take the bait and rise up with threats of violence, completely disregarding the teachings of the Holy Quran and the example of the very man they so dearly love. The Holy Quran clearly says that when people indulge in such actions, Muslims should ignore them with dignity and go on with their life wishing the perpetrators of such deeds peace.

Islamic guidance does not stop there. On multiple occasions, God tells us in the Holy Quran that Muslims must not create disorder in the earth and that God does not love those who create disorder. We see these teachings put into practice by Muhammad himself. He was insulted many times in his life -- not just by disbelievers or idol-worshippers, but also by so-called Muslims themselves. One such man was Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, whose insult was so glaring and extreme that his own son became infuriated, but the Prophet Muhammad never allowed anyone to lift a finger against that man's right to opine as he wished. Even when Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul died, the Prophet himself led his funeral prayers, despite the objections by many of his followers.

This is the level of tolerance and patience that Muhammad showed and taught by his example. This is why he won the love and undying admiration of anyone he came in touch with.

So I say to the Muslims across the world: Follow the example of Muhammad, whom you love. Show patience and follow the teachings of the Holy Quran. Do not be provoked by such people and do not give them undue importance. Respond by telling the world of the lofty qualities of Muhammad. Above all, certainly avoid any thoughts of violence and creating disorder.

The true intention of people who do such pointless things as to draw cartoons of Muhammad is to bait Muslims and hurt their feelings. To respond by banning Facebook or threatening people with violence plays into the hands of provocateurs and does a disservice to Islam and to Muhammad.

May God's peace and blessings be upon Muhammad! Amen!

Naseem Mahdi is the National Vice President and Missionary Incharge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, USA - the oldest Muslim Organization in the US. Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are Muslims who believe in the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani. The official website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is www.alislam.org.

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