Sunday, March 02, 2008

Letter to Jyllands-Posten

I asked an anonymous friend of mine to write an email to Jyllands-Posten; the magazine that posted cartoon depictions of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. Here it is:

I’m a Muslim, Egyptian female who’s offended by the deplorable portraying of God’s prophet Mohamed. As a matter of fact, I’m neither aware of the ideology of your magazine, nor interested in advocating for the idea of conspiracy theory against Islam.

Actually, I’m writing this because I’m shocked of the general attitude of people; and I have some questions that need to be answered. These questions are for you and for everyone who reads this letter –if it was published in the first place-

These questions are related to the definition of some words like justice, freedom of speech, liberty, and tolerance. These words represent generic values accepted and appreciated by humankind regardless of their race, sex, or religion. Yet, for me, and for many others, their true meaning is starting to blur day after day…

Question # 1:
Does justice mean blaming someone for the deeds of somebody else?

If the answer for this question is “no”, then why you blame prophet Mohamed for the behavior of Bin Laden or any other Muslim who committed a crime or a terroristic
act?

If the answer is “yes”, then why don’t you blame Jesus for Bush’s practices against prisoners of war in Iraq (Abu Ghraib prison incidents and others)? Or blame Moses for the barbarian acts of Israelis against Palestinian women and children?

Question # 2:
Does liberty and freedom of speech mean having the right to be biased and publicly harass whoever or whatever a person disagrees with?

Before you answer this question, let’s assume that there was a bombing in a subway in USA or any European city. The way the news will be reported is totally depended on the suspect.

If the suspect happened to be a Muslim, the news will be reported as follows: “A Muslim terrorist bombed the subway in X city. X city police also suspects that he is
one of binladen’s gang and….. ”. Then for the next couple of weeks, all bombing news will be published saying that “another bombing in….it is suspected to be the same binladen group who bombed X city 2 weeks ago… ”.

On the other hand, if the suspect turns out to be a non Muslim, the news would simply be reported as follows: “A fanatic or psychopath bombed the subway in X
city”. End of the story!

Unfortunately, this is the way most of similar news is handled by media. The incident itself is the same; an act of violence. Why is it reported differently?

Moreover, in any dictionary, the definition of a “Terrorist” or “Terrorism” has nothing to do with religion. For example; the definition of “Terrorism” in Webster’s
Dictionary (America’s best-selling dictionary) is: “Systematic use of terror.
Terror: 4: Violence committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or
government into granting their demands”.

A terrorist should be punished anyways regardless of his religion, origin, or sex. Now, please read the question once more. Does it make any sense?

Question # 3:
This is a classical type of question found in the “logic” section of any IQ test. It states a sentence and then you decide whether the statement is true or false. Here we go:

If some fulus are dulos and some dulos are zulos. Then, all fulus are zulos.
Is this statement true or false? The correct answer is “false”. Logic says so.

In the above statement, if the word “fulus” was replaced by “Muslims” and the word
“zulos” was replaced by “Terrorists”. By using the same logic, would this make all fulus (Muslims) zulos (terrorists)? Would the correct answer change from “false” to “true”?

Last, but not the least. You respect people for going out for strikes or demonstrations defending animal rights, or homosexual rights, or whatever rights they believe in. Why are you furious because Muslims went out in demonstrations and boycotted Danish products when you insulted their Prophet? Don’t they have the right to stand up for what they believe in? Putting into consideration that boycott only took place after you refused to apologize.

Is “double standards” the tool used for applying justice? Is discrimination the synonym of liberty? Is freedom of speech the antonym of respect?

If the answer to these questions is a “yes”, then there will be no wonder when the next release of dictionaries includes the word “prejudice” as the synonym of “tolerance”…

2 comments:

Earlene said...

People should read this.

Hind said...

I agree with Earlene, another good post Mamlouk.

I personally don't think the Danish cartoons were done in the spirit of "freedom of speech" as the editors of Jyllands Posten claim, I remember reading a hypothesis that it was about showing Muslims in a bad light, showing us as barbaric savages, we were baited, plain and simple.

But on the flip side, I don't think we should necessarily turn the other cheek. We do have red lines that mustn't be crossed. Try criticising the Holocaust or expressing an opinion that differs from mainstream historic accounts of it and let's see how far you get with freedom of speech.