It seems that the Hollywood writer's strike is affecting not just Hollywood, but the news too! Because when I look at the latest headlines, they result in the same groan of disappointment and flip of the page/ channel that reruns elicit.
This time, however, I'd like our – Muslims' – reactions to not be so predictable. I've personally seen enough of riots and rallies, and even of petitions, TV appearances, boycotts, and featured op-eds in newspapers condemning this abuse of freedom of speech.
So what do we do now? It's simple: Nothing!
Seriously, what has any of the above done for us? No matter what we say and do, the enemies of Islam will continue to try and provoke our anger and – more importantly – try to push us to do something that will harm us far more than it will harm them. It's also imperative to note that their pathetic attempts at mocking and insulting the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) are absolutely useless: like throwing dust in the direction of the moon. The dust will be swept away, and the moon's beauty and guiding light will not be affected in the least.
Before anyone jumps me, I'd like to say that YES, loving and protecting the honour and reputation of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) is something we should do even before loving and protecting our ownselves… but there's a limit to everything.
When we know that they're going to repeat the same lies over and over again, then once we've answered back once or twice, there's no need for us to waste our time and breath repeating ourselves constantly. After all, don't people today say the same things that the Quraish accused our beloved Messenger of? Don't they say that he was a madman, a magician, a manipulator? Allāh responded to and refuted them in the Qur'an, and that was sufficient. Despite the fact that they brought out these lies and claims several times, a single response was enough. So too is it now… we need to move on.
In a way, it was our reaction in the beginning – the riots, death threats, and the rest of it – that propelled the images into infamy. Any publicity is good publicity for them, but it doesn't work for us. We need to use reverse psychology on them: they expect us to behave violently, so we shouldn't behave violently! Having exposed their nefarious plot, we should be clever enough to beat them at their own game.
To that end, as I said above, the best response is no response. Drop the petitions. Halt the rallies. Extinguish those burning flags.
And remember, we always have something even better to answer them with… not fiery speeches or eloquent analyses, but du‘ā’. That is the best weapon of the believer! Pray to Allāh that He grant this Ummah the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to handle difficult situations in the correct manner; that He open the hearts of the ignorant to the truth of Islam; that He weakens them in their plots against Islam and the Ummah and makes us successful against them.
P.S. The only boycott I support is a boycott on boycotting Danish goods… I'm suffering Danish butter cookie withdrawal!
- You can also join a facebook dedicated to spreading awareness of the “Ignore” Campaign:
Campaign to IGNORE Danish Cartoon Campaign to IGNORE Danish Cartoon Reprints
- See Suhaib Webb's advice on this
- There is a good article on this topic at AbdulSattar's blog as well: Notes on the Cartoon Controversy.