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The Silent Treatment: What to do About the Danish Cartoons (Again!)?


ignore.JPGIt 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.

Denmark stirs Mideast anger over Muhammad cartoons

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.

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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? Allah 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’A. That is the best weapon of the believer! Pray to Allah 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!


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Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of



  1. sincethestorm

    February 14, 2008 at 7:49 PM

    If only the masses would get this and react in a constructive way..all for the boycott.

  2. iMuslim

    February 14, 2008 at 9:30 PM

    I am wavering on the boycott of Danish goods… how does boycotting such companies punish the perpetrators of the crime? Is there a direct relation between these goods companies and the juvenile journalists who published the cartoons? Do they sponsor those papers via the ads?

    If not, it’s another form of collective punishment if you think about it.

  3. Ammar

    February 14, 2008 at 9:59 PM

    I completely agree.
    I don’t know why anyone would jump you!?

    Why don’t Muslims follow the example of our Prophet, the same person they are claiming to defend?

    The Prophet Muhammad was called a liar, a magician and a poet, yet he did nothing to his accuser. He just said “lakum deenukum wa liya deen.”
    “You have your beliefs and I have mine.”

    The Muslim riots all over the world 2 years only furthered those Writers’ points. They claimed Islam taught violence, and there you have it, Muslims acting like animals in the streets. They fell for the trap.
    Now some guys get arrested for wanting to kill one of the cartoonists.

    Muslims also have to realize that freedom of speech is a good thing. If there were no freedom of speech, the Prophet Muhammad would never have been able to preach. In fact, all through out Islam’s history, Islam’s enemies have been trying to silence the true message of Islam. We have to fight for the freedom of speech especially in Muslim countries. Even if that means that some people will insult us, our Prophet or our lord.

    Let Allah deal with them!

  4. Amad

    February 14, 2008 at 10:12 PM

    huh, who’s suggesting a boycott? I think our sister mouse dumped the double-negative on us, reflecting her desire not to leave those danish cookies. If there is a reason to boycott those sugar-laced cookies, then its to keep all that SUGAR out.

    Boycott those dang cookies for obesity, not for blasphemy.

    Couldn’t resist: A facebook group for this campaign

  5. Dawud Israel

    February 14, 2008 at 11:27 PM

    What if your name is ‘Danish”?

    I actually did a post a while back called “Reactive Dawah” in regards to ignoring these issues. Great to see others have caught on! :)

  6. MR

    February 15, 2008 at 1:43 AM

    MMMMMM Danish Butter Cookies!

  7. Hamdi

    February 15, 2008 at 2:00 AM

    One newspaper in Sweden published the cartoons the other day. The editor-in-chief wrote an explanation of why he felt it was right to publish them. He died of a heart attack the exact same day.

  8. Umar Hydari

    February 15, 2008 at 3:24 AM

    The best way to respond is to step up our Da’waa work, that’s how we need to fight back.

  9. mummyjaan

    February 15, 2008 at 6:22 AM

    Very well-said AnonyMouse. Agree with you totally.

    Now if only we could get those protesters in the Middle East to agree :(

  10. Malik

    February 15, 2008 at 6:49 AM

    Anonymouse gives a lot of good advice in this post. However she displays a lot of common, unquestioned ideas that are ingrained in the Muslim community which lead to a lot of of problems for Muslim/Non-Muslim relations.

    that He open the hearts of the ignorant to the truth of Islam

    Mouse, people who do not worship your god are not ignorant, they just hold different beliefs. Until the Muslim community at large realizes that Muslims will always have problems and be the source of the problem (even though they don’t realize it)

    I also find it funny that Amad deletes comments which are even slightly critical of Islam or Muslims but allows “me”‘s post to stand when it is a clear example of full-throated, bin Laden-style radicalism.

  11. Kashif

    February 15, 2008 at 6:51 AM

    I’m so disappointed with this post.

    Its obvious that crazy rioting and burning down properties is counter-productive, but AnonyMouse i’m wondering, are you suggesting that our approach to the Danes should be “business as usual”? That we should show no displeasure at all?

    The idea that we should leave these scoundrels to insult Rasulullah and that we abandon any idea of meeting this insult without a response, no, that we also encourage others to have no response is not right at all!

  12. Amad

    February 15, 2008 at 7:52 AM

    Malik: When you start making your comments in a respectful manner, I’ll leave them. And that means leaving out the nonsensical loaded words such “islasmofasicm” and others from the right-wing dictionary. Btw, “me”‘s comment is gone as soon as someone saw it (moderators actually sleep!).

    Kashif: these danish editors don’t represent the country. They are free to make asses out of themselves. The more we give them time and attention, the more we encourage them. You just have to let ’em bark, excuse me for the idiom. Although, I should ask you, what do you suggest we do?

  13. Abu Ilyas

    February 15, 2008 at 9:32 AM

    I cannot agree with this post. It is obligatory to defend the honor of the Prophet. You are under obligation to defend the Prophet (SAWS). In fact the Ulama of our past have written that if people from a particular land were to insult any of the Sahabah it is obligatory on the people of that land to defend those companions, may Allah be pleased with them. So what about the Prophet SAWS? We should be asking what is the hukm Shari on this issue first and foremost, and we know what the ulama have said.

    Besides, when does it ever work in life that an oppressor stops oppression because he is ignored? This is totally against human experience. This strategy of not giving them any attention is not right. Nobody respects weakness. It simply emboldens them.No hostile Kaafir will ever care if you ignore him, they are determined enemies. We know what will make them think twice.

    And let us be honest, if somebody had drawn derogatory cartoons of our mother or father suggesting they were pedophiles, terrorists or even less than that..we would not think twice about defending them, no matter how many times those cartoons were reprinted. But would we even think about silence as a strategy?

    We must use all our media to defend our Prophet.

    May Allah reward the author for her good intentions, but I really think this post was wrong.

  14. Amad

    February 15, 2008 at 9:46 AM

    You have the right do disagree of course brother.

    But, to be honest, if people had drawn derogatory cartoons about my father or mother, and seeing what happened once when I protested… I would ignore them the second time. Sometimes the pill of silence is the hardest to swallow. Married couples know that the worst thing that your partner can do during a fight is to stay silent. I believe there is some application of the same psychology in this case. It will make them look like fools and turn peoples’ sympathies to Muslims. And so this may actually help prevent a repetition in the future. Ultimately, our goal is to turn the general masses against the editors, because as minorities, that is the best strategy. And protesting and fighting will not help.

    You have to remember how media makes its money. Its really in advertising products through their material. The more attention we give these idiots, the more money they will make. So, if you really want to hurt them where it counts, ignore them. Next time, it won’t be profitable to repeat!


    people who do not worship your god are not ignorant, they just hold different beliefs.

    Indeed some people are not ignorant, like the Archbishop Williams. But when they know, they respect, unlike Islamophobes who are indeed ignorant. I would say only a minority really truly “know” Muslims, and the majority of this minority respect Islam due to this knowledge. This is not my opinion, you can look at many surveys that say the same thing, that people know little about Islam.

  15. Ayesha

    February 15, 2008 at 10:15 AM

    I completely agree with your suggestion to not do anything.

    I remember when the first cartoons came out, our local MSA had a special meeting for how to handle the situation and what our unified reaction on campus should be. I was getting so frustrated because we spent 45 minutes talking about how to defend ourselves from American media, and how to present Muslims as people who aren’t terrorists, blah blah blah. It was turning into a PR meeting for Islam.

    At the end of the meeting, I finally got up and said I didn’t care what the Danish people thought about the Prophet (SAW) because nothing they could say or do would ever change who he (SAW) really was.

  16. Ammar

    February 15, 2008 at 10:48 AM

    Abu Ilyas,

    If you feel the need to do something, write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Talk about how great of a Man the Prophet (SAW) was.

    But don’t give the Danish cartoonists what they want. They want a crazy reaction, and we will not do that. (well, at least me)

  17. Tanveer

    February 15, 2008 at 11:21 AM

    A detailed article with more information for readers to understand this situation and how muslims should react was written by Abdul Sattar here

    I thought it would help people who are interested in more depth article with opinion and suggestion based on Quran & Sunnah.

  18. Kashif

    February 15, 2008 at 11:25 AM

    Amad, you said that these papers don’t represent the country.

    Who else then do they represent?

    Do the few hundred journalists and editors that work for the papers really represent just themselves? Surely not! The facts are that 5 major daily papers and 11 smaller papers all printed the cartoons; in a small country like Denmark if that is not a reflection of national sentiment then i don’t know what is.

    I absolutely agree with Abu Ilyas that staying silent will only embolden the oppressor. I’m just surprised that such an obvious fact had to be spelt out.

    If you want the masses to turn against the editors then the very least you can do is hit them where it hurts: the pocket. If Danish companies knew that the re-printing of these pictures would lead to another boycott of their products you can bet that they would be against these editors.

    Since when did inaction ever help anyone achieve their goal?!?!?

  19. Malik

    February 15, 2008 at 11:27 AM

    On the comparison between insulting Muhammed and an insult to one’s parents: the matter is completely different. If someone drew a cartoon against my mother I could write a letter (as Ammar suggests) or if the cartoon was false and damaging I could help her sue under libel laws. The difference is only a living person can be slandered or libeled. My mother still lives (thank G-D); but Muhammed is no more, he can’t BE slandered or libeled.

  20. ibnabeeomar

    February 15, 2008 at 11:28 AM

    tanveer – that link was great

  21. ExEx Blogger

    February 15, 2008 at 11:43 AM

    This post is only a publicity stunt and it in fact is giving publicity to that Danish garbage.

  22. Abu Alee

    February 15, 2008 at 11:48 AM

    Asallamu Alaykum,

    I agree with brother Abu Ilyas. If we were to do nothing the non muslims would insult us even more, as is the case with people making fun out of christians and their beliefs in the media because they know nothing will happen in return. But when they insult Muslims and we react by getting angry, protesting, boycotting and burning things etc they’ll think twice before doing it again.

    Here it what islam-qa says about those who insult the Prophet Salallhu Alaihi Wasallam:


  23. Amad

    February 15, 2008 at 12:16 PM

    Publicity stunt? Publicity for who? That is quite an accusation.

    We can disagree, but we don’t have to accuse.

    Personally, I believe that ignoring them is not inaction but a strategy. I think its a good strategy. What should we boycott? Did any of the previous boycotts work? Did it stop them from republishing these articles? Does anyone remember any decrease in Islamophobia due to our response?

    Its up to each to do what they feel. I think Ammar’s suggestion is a good one. Perhaps an alternate strategy, one that CAIR employed in the past, is to have a campaign of letters to Danish newspapers about the good that Muhammad (S) did, and not even mention the cartoons.


  24. Abu Ibrahim

    February 15, 2008 at 1:46 PM

    The least we should do is to boycott swedish products to show our remorse for the nation which is disrespectful towards the person we love the most.

  25. Musa Maguire

    February 15, 2008 at 1:54 PM

    I am not opposed to boycotting in principle, but the idea of boycotting everything Danish because of one, or a few, newspapers is unjust and tribalistic. I have never supported that. If you want to boycott, find out exactly how these papers are financed, and target the sources of money. If they use advertising, target the companies that buy ad space. If they are connected to some social or political groups, figure out how you can put pressure on them. There are also ways that you can defend the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, without directly responding to the cartoons and giving them undeserved attention. Unfortunately, many who are claiming to defend “honor” are only showing how tragically simple-minded Muslims can be.

    There have been worse insults against the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, in recent years but they were not fed to the mob and have now faded into obscurity. Muslims did not publish these cartoons, but Muslims made them famous. I remember when the crisis broke and several brothers were actually forwarding them around (disseminating them free of charge) to show how offensive they are. What is the ruling on that?

  26. AnonyMouse

    February 15, 2008 at 2:28 PM

    But when they insult Muslims and we react by getting angry, protesting, boycotting and burning things etc they’ll think twice before doing it again.

    Ummmmm… have you been paying any attention to the news? Did you not see that when Muslims reacted in that way, then they DELIBERATELY went ahead and REPRINTED the cartoons?
    Our reactions didn’t stop them from doing that, it just encouraged them to do the same thing!
    And that’s exactly my point… it’s like when my brothers and I are fighting… if you keep squabbling over something, then the fight will drag on and escalate – but as soon as one of us remains silent, then there’s nothing to respond to. Sure, they may try provoking another reaction, but if you keep ignoring them, then they’ll get bored and go off and do their own thing after a while.

  27. AnonyMouse

    February 15, 2008 at 2:32 PM

    If Danish companies knew that the re-printing of these pictures would lead to another boycott of their products you can bet that they would be against these editors.

    When the cartoons were originally printed, then I was one of those who supported the boycotts. And subhanAllah, those boycotts were indeed successful – Danish companies lost TONS of money. But look at what happened after that, and what’s going on now… the cartoons are still being printed!

    So obviously, the boycotts didn’t work. And as iMuslim pointed out, it’s a form of collective punishment… the boycott didn’t affect those responsible for drawing or publishing the cartoons; instead, it affected independant companies, and in turn affected the innocent workers who had everything to do with producing delicious cookies and nothing to do with producing blasphemous cartoons.

  28. AnonyMouse

    February 15, 2008 at 2:42 PM

    Re: What if if your parents were the ones beign insulted?

    My reaction would be exactly the same. In fact, my parents HAVE been insulted before – publicly – and as angry as we may have been, the best course of action was silence.

    I do not in any way deny the obligation of the defending our beloved Rasul (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). What I am trying to do is find the best way to do so, that will not simply give more power or advantage to the ignorant ones who are responsible for this stupidity.

    Also note, that this post is in response to the latest reprinting of the cartoons… this, after all those riots, boycotts, petitions, letters to the editors, and more. Clearly, none of those things worked. So don’t YOU think it’s time for a change in tactics, for something more effective?

  29. Br. Daoud

    February 15, 2008 at 3:16 PM

    There ought to be laws aqainst insulting other faiths. Any nation that wants to have peaceful, cordial relations with others should enact such laws. Their lack of will to enact such laws speaks volumes. I think a sustained boycott is in order. All Muslim led countries should abide by it, otherwise their people will feel that nothing is being done in response and will want to take action themselves.

    As a Muslim, I’m tired of getting kicked around. If someone insults my mother, I’ll punch his mouth. I’m not going to write a letter. Unless he wants to be in perpetual conflict with me, he must find better ways to exercise his “freedom of expression.” And that’s my mother, mind you.

  30. Nasir Muzaffar

    February 15, 2008 at 5:35 PM

    Supporting the Messenger is by Practicing his Sunnah

    …So we should know with certainty that Allaah protects/supports[1] this Prophet , and we also call the people to support him, but it is imperative for people to firmly understand, especially during these days of great trials and tribulations, that supporting the Prophet is practiced firstly within our own selves.


    By loving him . That he becomes more beloved to us than our families, our children, our wealth and even our own souls, as has been related in an authentic Hadeeth, that ‘Umar said to the Messenger …. (you can continue reading the article here)

    Moderator Note: If referencing an existing article on the subject, it is easier to give the link than copy paste something lengthy here, jazakallahu khayr

  31. Abdul Sattar

    February 15, 2008 at 5:59 PM

    To everyone who is criticizing Anonymouse:

    You may be interested to know the reason that they decided to republish the cartoons:

    A Muslim made a death threat against one of the cartoonists and was arrested. In a show of solidarity and support for the cartoonist, they republished…..

  32. mcpagal

    February 15, 2008 at 6:37 PM

    *standing ovation*


    Let’s learn from our mistakes please… The whole reason the stupid cartoons were published in the first place was to get a reaction. They asked for it, ‘we’ gave them it, and Muslims in general came out looking reactive, violent, and irrational. Yes, the media twisted it, but there was some kind of basis there. The Prophet (saw) did not threaten to kill the people who insulted him and threw rubbish at him, and he is the best example.

    Anyway, why repeat past mistakes? Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses wouldn’t have sold so many copies if people didn’t want to see what all the fuss was about (that’s mhy I read it myself… I think he might have written it while high on something, it was dire).

    In future, let’s give attention-seekers the attention they deserve… none.

    (And let’s NOT make up stupid stories about how the cartoonists and publishers all DIED IN A HORRIBLE FIRE omg. It clogs up my inbox.)

  33. Naseer

    February 15, 2008 at 6:45 PM

    Amad wrote

    Ultimately, our goal is to turn the general masses against the editors, because as minorities, that is the best strategy.

    Yaa amad, and how exactly do you plan on doing that, by doing absolutely nothing and keeping silent even when the media mocks the prophet saw?

    But I understand where your coming from. Things look a lot better if you have your head in the sand like an ostrich. Just hoping for things to get better on their own.

  34. Amad

    February 15, 2008 at 7:00 PM

    Things look a lot better if you have your head in the sand like an ostrich.

    The view is pretty interesting from down there. You should try it sometime :)

  35. Pingback: Its those Danish toons again | Critical Thoughts

  36. Ammar

    February 16, 2008 at 12:20 AM

    Abu Alee:
    If you go around burning things and breaking things, you are proving the cartoonists point.
    They draw these cartoons to express their feelings that Muslims are Violent. Then you go around breaking things and burning flags, they say “see, look at Abu Alee, look how violent he is, that is exactly what we were saying in the cartoons.”
    I urge you to reconsider your position because it is not a viable one and one that works against Islam.

    and Daoud:

    I wrote a five page paper for my Communications Law class on why there should be NO laws against blasphemy. I have the right to disrespect anyones religion. My refusal to do so when I have the right, is what makes me a true Muslim.

    Heres a question:
    Not doing something haram when you can’t do it (ie its illegal) you may get a reward.

    However, Not doing something haram when you CAN do it (ex. drink alcohol in USA) you get double the reward.

    So to summarize.
    Would you rather have someone not insult you because they can’t?
    Would you rather have someone not insult you because they respect you or your point of view?

    I pick the Latter!


  37. Abu Ilyas

    February 16, 2008 at 12:31 AM

    It just gets worse!

    I would offer my humble advice to those brothers and sisters advocating the do nothing approach to fear Allah in all their statements. Think of the effect your statements will have on the morale and state of the Muslims, which is already in a pathetic cowardly state. It is all very well having your personal opinions published on a blog but we are all responsible before Allah for what we advocate using this medium, myself included

    So, bearing the above in mind let me reiterate my first question: What is the hukm in Sharia if someone insults the Prophet SAWS? Have any scholars ever advocated ‘do nothing’ as a response?Should this not be the first angle to consider in this article? Can I refer you to what Shaykh ul Islam Ibn Taiymiyahs work on this issue entitled As Shaatim ar Rasool…

    Many people are confusing the issues, namely that of defending the honour of the Prophet, upon whom be peace and that of stopping people insulting the Prophet. These 2 things are unrelated. Allah hasn’t made you people responsible for stopping Kufaar attacking the Messenger, but he has made it an obligation on all of us to defend the honour of our Prophet SAWS, whenever there is a need to do so, in whatever way is possible.

    Some people have commented that they would stay silent if people insulted their parents. I really don’t know what to reply to this!!

    And again this gullible approach! Unless you react they will step all over you. Ultimately by doing nothing you are making it easier for people to insult the Messenger of Allah in the long run, don’t fool yourselves just because they have reprinted the cartoons now due to this assassination attempt. In no way is their response sustainable if they fear a strong Muslim reaction.

    Somebody stated to me that If I feel the need to do something I could perhaps write a letter to my local newspaper editor. As If there is no need for anyone else to do anything about this! We should all do something, not just me, there is a need for all of us to defend the Prophet in whatever permissible way way we can.

  38. The DA

    February 16, 2008 at 1:07 AM

    Having observed the reactions of a wide array of Muslims – Western, Middle Eastern, rich, poor and so on – it seems almost obvious that as a generalization the people reacting loudest and most aggressively to the cartoons are people who otherwise seem unconcerned with their religion in their day to day lives. The cartoons are simply a way, it seems, to to some PR on an individual level, professing ‘profound’ love for the Prophet (SAW) for all to see. For example, in Saudi the boycott took effect, with stores removing Danish products – and of course many products claimed to be Danish – from the shelves. This being the case why do I still see cars commanding a boycott of Danish products if everyone is already doing so? Showing off? This answer seems rather obvious. Also, why such a pronounced response to cartoons? There are many other examples of our religion being openly derided which drew little or no response from the Muslim public. Case in point, the article that appeared in the Atlantic Monthly several years ago by Toby Lester about the ‘history of the Quran’ clearly stating that the Quran is not preserved and launching an attack from this angle using alleged evidences. This article drew only three responses – a lecture by Jamal Badawi at MIT, a small bookby JIMAS and an in depth book by ‘Athami – and I heard no mention of the issue other than that. To clarify my point, why did we hear of the cartoons months and we hear of almost no other attacks on our religion? It seems politics has a lot to do with it, along with a number marginal Muslims trying to appear as pious in the public eye. Also, why did we only hear of the cartoons months after they were initially published?

  39. straytpath

    February 16, 2008 at 1:11 AM

    Boycott the boycott . . .

    Resist the mob hysteria. . . .

  40. Mass

    February 16, 2008 at 2:03 AM

    actually I wont recommend such view

    it will leave one’s behind open (in boxing jargon that is easy to attack)

    thats a very defeatist thing to do..

    am sure there are better and more constructive ways to be thought of than to simply ignore!

  41. Abu Ilyas

    February 16, 2008 at 2:34 AM

    Why was my post censored?

    Was I being too simpleminded?

  42. AnonyMouse

    February 16, 2008 at 2:48 AM

    Abu Ilyas, which comment are you talking about?
    As far as I know, none of your comments have been moderated or ended up accidentally in the spam box… in fact, I see your long comment at 12:31 right here, a couple comments above!

  43. Abu Ilyas

    February 16, 2008 at 4:12 AM


    Yes, I am referring to my last long post which was not the full text of what I wrote, some of it has been cut. The comments which were cut were pertinent to the discussion and clarified some of the misconceptions espoused in some of the other comments.

    So again, why was this post censored?

  44. Amad

    February 16, 2008 at 12:56 PM

    First of all, everyone has a right to disagree with this post and EVERY other post. But we have certain perimeters, within which we would like to operate discussions here.

    So, any comments that quote historical incidents, but do not share proper references, proper historic contextual discussion, and the views of scholars regarding those statements, then we have to err on the side of not expressing the views, esp. if they feed the anti-Muslim hysteria. So, the Prophet (S) may have done certain things to prevent treason, rebellion or have certain other historical reasons that do not perhaps apply anymore. And that is why the scholars need to tell us what these incidents mean for us.

    Please remember three things with respect to a comment:

    (1) What do you feel the benefit will be, tangibly? And conversely, what could be the significant harm if the statement is taken literally?
    (2) If one’s comment was to appear in these wicked Danish newspapers or in the NYTimes, would that help the cause of Muslims or hurt it? In the short-run and the long-run?
    (3) Would those statements help or hurt the propagation of Islamophobia?

    If anyone disagrees with this, that too is one’s prerogative. But we are not going to argue about it here. Feel free to email us if you would like to discuss.

  45. sameer

    February 16, 2008 at 2:01 PM

    boycotts and the supposed talk of using them don’t work simply because Muslim countries are so backward and corrupt that their purchasing power (especially as it comes to foreign trade) practically amounts to zero. What WOULD have been more effective is *embargoes* if supposed “Islamic” countries stopped supplying oil and natural gas to the EU (the same way Russia turned off the gas to Eastern Europe and Germany when they were angry about enlarging NATO and prodcuced a swift turnaround in their view on that issue that was more favorable). This won’t happen for the simple reason that these countries are run by slaves to America and the EU, hence encouraging meaningless protests and acts of violence with no useful outcome.

  46. sameer

    February 16, 2008 at 2:04 PM

    This is how the Danish were “punished” last time around when talks of boycotts was en vogue:
    Danish goods back on Saudi shelves

    Arla products were back on the shelves of Saudi supermarkets after an Islamic group called for end to the boycott of the Danish dairy producer.

    The boycott was sparked by Denmark’s publication of drawings of the Prophet Muhammad.

    Finn Hansen, executive manager of Arla Foods, said: “We’re delighted that our largest Saudi customers have decided to lift the boycott.”

    The company said its products were now selling in 3,000 shops and supermarkets in the Middle East, and that 31 of its largest retailers in Saudi Arabia had promised to resume sales of Arla goods on Saturday.

    However, Arla products were not available on Thursday in two big Jordanian supermarkets nor on the shelves of Kuwaiti state co-operatives.

    Saudi stores began restocking Arla products after the International Committee for the Support of the Prophet gave the company the green light and praised the measures it had taken to distance itself from the Prophet Muhammad caricatures that provoked demonstrations and riots in January and February.

    Arla had published newspaper advertisements condemning the publication of the cartoons and pledged to fund projects helping disabled children and cancer patients in the Middle East.

    Common understanding

    Soliman Albuthi, spokesman for the International Committee for the Support of the Prophet, which is based in Washington, said: “We must differentiate between those who insulted us and those who stood by us.”

    The group said its recommendation to end the boycott on Arla would help Danish Muslims who had suffered discrimination in a backlash because of the boycott campaign.

    It also referred to the conference of Muslim scholars in Bahrain last month that expressed appreciation for Arla’s “bold stance”, saying “it was a good start for opening a dialogue with this organisation to establish a common ground to reach a common understanding”.

    In Bahrain on Thursday, a local spokesman for the group, Adel Al-Maawdah, said the end of the boycott was “a clear message that we had no intention to harm Western interests, and that our concern and anger were directed against the offensive cartoons”.

    Boycott still on

    Al-Maawdah, who is also a cleric and member of parliament, said that the boycott had been lifted only against Arla. “This company apologised to Muslims and sponsored humanitarian projects for the needy,” he said.

    Albuthi suggested that the group would consider lifting the boycott against other Danish companies if they made the right moves.

    Arla estimates that it has lost as much as $65 million because of the boycott, which began in January. The company produces milk, powdered milk, cheese and butter.

  47. dario

    February 16, 2008 at 2:45 PM

    “There ought to be laws aqainst insulting other faiths. Any nation that wants to have peaceful, cordial relations with others should enact such laws. Their lack of will to enact such laws speaks volumes”

    Wow Br Daoud, you’re a smart one aren’t you? If you want blasphemy laws so badly move to Sudan. As long as you make sure you’re children don’t name their stuffed animals after any prophets I think you’ll be alright

    No personal attacks in the future or they will be deleted -MM

  48. dario

    February 16, 2008 at 3:11 PM

    My apologies to all I hurt

    All though I do wonder how antiblasphemy laws encourage peaceful, cordial relations with one another. The majority of muslim countries in the middle east and southeast asia have antiblasphemy laws on the books. I would say that their relations with members of religious minorities in their countries are anything but “cordial”

    The only way to have peaceful, cordial relations is for everyone to be able to speak their mind and state how they feel. If that means being petty enough to insult another’s religion publicly than so be it. We are not 2 year olds who need to throw temper tantrums every time we have been insulted. We are adults and God gave almost all of us functioning brains. Maybe we should try using them sometime. Wow, what a revolutionary thought.

  49. Ayesha

    February 16, 2008 at 5:42 PM

    Send durood on prophet Muhammad PBUH 100+ times a day. Pick up a sunnah that you have neglected and start implementing it. This is the least we should do. I am not sure, but if I were the cartoonist pr publisher (God forbid), this would hurt me as I would see more and more people loving and following the same person that I tried to mock.

  50. KashifN

    February 16, 2008 at 9:23 PM

    “any comments that quote historical incidents, but do not share proper references, proper historic contextual discussion, and the views of scholars regarding those statements, then we have to err on the side of not expressing the views”

    … especially so when the editor of this blog is on the other side of the argument?????

    “or have certain other historical reasons that do not perhaps apply anymore…” and are you in a position to say categorically that they don’t apply anymore?

    Ammar you said “I wrote a five page paper for my Communications Law class on why there should be NO laws against blasphemy” which made me wonder what you have to say about the ayah: “Revile not those unto whom they pray beside Allah lest they wrongfully revile Allah through ignorance” [6:108] which is a stark prohibition of blasphemy.

  51. Abd ur-Rahman

    February 16, 2008 at 10:14 PM

    Abu Alee,

    As-salamu alaykum Dear Brother,

    Surely you know as well as I do that Islamic penal codes, and thus the Islamic capital punishment, are not applied outside of the Islamic state (a caliphate according to the classical view)? The link you provided does not seem to point out this very important fact? Even if the slander of the Prophet took place within an Islamic state, there would, naturally, have to be a trial and other related legal procedures initiated by the correct authorities, not your average Muslim Joe. Islam is NOT anarchy and chaos, it never was and it never will be.

    There is to be NO murdering, burning or violence perpetrated by Muslims–towards non-Muslims or Muslims–when in non-Muslim countries (nor in “Islamic” states, for that matter). We are to follow THEIR laws in THEIR countries, period. This is the way of the traditional, Sunni Islam we (?) claim to follow, in the footsteps of the four Imams, may God bless them and their efforts. Verbal and/or written responses–that is what we have to be about.

    Take care – salam,


  52. Abu Ilyas

    February 16, 2008 at 10:30 PM

    What an absolute joke.

    So in fact my comments WERE censored. Why not be straight with me?

    I despair.

    The historical incidents Amad was talking about are well known hadeeth and statements of Abu Bakr found in the authentic ahadeeth.

    I would love to quote them above with references but of course they will also be censored.

    The brother implied that I quoted them out of context which is a lie as I was simply quoting them to establish the Asl of this issue, which no sunni scholar would disagree with.

    Furthermore, you claim that my comment was censored by you due to not providing references and context from a scholar. I doubt it as even in this very thread you have allowed someone to misquote a hadeeth which from memory is weak but you allow it on here, with no context ..why?

    Why? Firstly, because you seem to make rules up as you go along.

    Secondly, because you seem to have no problems with uncontextualized and unreferenced hadeeth which support what you or another poster are trying to say.

    If you are going to discuss an issue allow the people you are discussing with make points, especially when they are trying to establish things from Quran and Sunnah, something which was lacking in the post itself and in most of the comments. If you cannot do that, then don’t write anything.

    Quit telling us we have a right to disagree, you did not give us that right brother.

    Personally, I don’t think these “historical incidents” were deleted for any of the reasons stated by Amad. If I had uncontextually quoted hadeeth there was nothing stopping him clarifying the proper context from scholars.

    Its really defeatism and cowardice which explains a lot of what is going on here….

  53. Umme

    February 16, 2008 at 10:48 PM

    ^ …and we talk about defending the honor of the Prophet, sallallahu alihi wasalam…

    when we can’t even give our Muslim bro/sister a simple ‘benefit of doubt’!

    when we can’t even disagree with a Muslim brother with proper etiquettes…

    so sad is the state of our ummah…

    Perhaps, if it wasn’t for this state, no one would have dared raise their finger at our beloved, most respected, Prophet sallallahu alihi wasalam!

  54. BrotherD

    February 16, 2008 at 11:03 PM

    Respect for other cultures and faiths is basic. Those people frame this as an issue of freedom of expression–I wonder that they teach their children. Do they actually tell them that it’s okay to insult other people’s religion? Would they hold a sign outside their home with a a sign isulting others’ faith? Not if they want peaceful relations with their neighbors. Such behavior would not be tolerated at a school, for example. Why? Because it is important to maintain respect and comraderie, so that sudents can focus on learning, etc. It should be no different than in the rest of society.

    Why do we always insist of blaming and judging the agrieved parties on how they react? We blame the rioters and not police brutality, the slave revolt and not the plantation owner, the resistance and not the occupation.

  55. BrotherD

    February 16, 2008 at 11:25 PM

    “any comments that quote historical incidents, but do not share proper references, proper historic contextual discussion, and the views of scholars regarding those statements, then we have to err on the side of not expressing the views”

    with all due respect, this is going overboard. We’re not on here writing essays. You have to allow people to express their opinion using what Allah has given them in terms of knowledge and insight. You cannot micromanage posts in this manner. If you are going to do that, then why even allow comments? Or just make them up yourselves so they are referenced and footnoted to your satifsfaction. Seriously, I like this blog a lot, and I don’t want to see you take such a stringent approach. If someone states something out of context, provided it’s not a blatant attempt to disresect the Prophet (for example), you or others can simply post a correction to set the record straight.

    *Dear brother, please quote the entire sentence: “then we have to err on the side of not expressing the views, esp. if they feed the anti-Muslim hysteria“. Quelling the tide of Islamophobia is an important objective of this side. We cannot feed it*

  56. ExEx Blogger

    February 16, 2008 at 11:29 PM

    Wallahi NO ONE really knew much of the cartoons being reprinted until PEOPLE like you guys say IGNORE cartoons.

    If you are to ignore then ignore! Stop fanning the smoke saying…we don’t care about the smoke.

  57. dario

    February 16, 2008 at 11:45 PM

    Brother D, don’t you think you’re being a bit overly dramatic. In what way do the printing of a few cartoons compare at all to police brutality, slavery, or opression. Using that logic, maybe I should go around killing people, looting, and destroying property when someone draws an insulting picture of my mother. I shouldn’t be blamed because I am being oppressed and enslaved and I clearly have no control over my own actions. Its like I am a puppet on a string, controlled by my cruel oppressor. So Sad

    Personally, I think ExExBlogger’s suggestion is the best. I didn’t even know they had been reprinted until this article mentioned it
    And even with the first printing of the cartoons, apparently it really wasn’t that big of a deal to most people because know one made a big fuss about it until 4 months after the fact. Talk about a delayed reaction

  58. Abu Ilyas

    February 17, 2008 at 12:07 AM


    Nowhere have I stated we should riot, nowhere have I stated we should demolish buildings, nowhere have I said create havoc. Why are you misrepresenting me in such a way? Why are you trying to create an impression in peoples minds that my censored comments were somehow related to any of the above?

    Why do you dodge all my questions and comments and try to create an impression of my comments and views which simply have no basis in reality?

    So whatever you maintain is irrelevant as either you have totally and inexplicably misunderstood my censored comments or you have understood them but choose to make out that I am calling for a misapplication of them.

    For the benefit of those brothers and sisters who were not able to read my comments which were censored , I can assure you that despite Amads best efforts to portray me as a violent reactionary, espousing violent views without understanding the context of the hadeeth, that none of this is true, walhumdulillah.

    As I made very clear when i quoted those ahadeeth, i was doing it to establish the asl. I quoted those ahadeeth to reply to another comment which stated that the Prophet SAWS did not approve of violence to those who insult him, and my point was that this was not true and here are the ahadeeth to prove it. End of story.

    So how does time and place have anything do do with it? Who is calling for anyone killing anyone? How on Earth can you make that out from my reply to the sister?

    As to my plan of action. Oh brother, I commented on a post which was saying to the Muslims ” Be silent”. And I commented thats not the way to go. That does not mean I have a violent plan of action, just because I disagree.

    Your plan does indeed “Suck”. You have a bit of a nerve asking me what my plan is now, after you have portrayed me so wrongly.

    Frankly, I don’t trust you to leave my comments the way I wrote them, and I’m very sorry to say that.

    And I have no interest in attacking anyone. Certainly not MM. I am just defending myself from your misrepresentation. If I feel you or something is wrong I will say so, why so defensive?

    Khair, Insha’allah, I intend to write about it on soon. If anyone is really interested on an alternative POA.

  59. BrotherD

    February 17, 2008 at 12:08 AM

    “In what way do the printing of a few cartoons compare at all to police brutality, slavery, or opression.”

    That’s where we differ. Muslims generally do not take their faith lightly. These “few cartoons” are extremely offensive. I don’t expect you to understand this, but it is what it is.

    My point was that perpetrators are the ones that ought to be judged rather than those at the receiving end.

  60. BrotherD

    February 17, 2008 at 12:14 AM

    “Dear brother, please quote the entire sentence: “then we have to err on the side of not expressing the views, esp. if they feed the anti-Muslim hysteria“. Quelling the tide of Islamophobia is an important objective of this side. We cannot feed it”

    My apologies, I did not intentionally quote you partially. I copied that quote from another post. Even still, I think that you have to allow people to speak in their own voices. If they mislead, then correct them. Who knows, it might be you that is in error, but we won’t even get a chance to find out if you censor them. Maybe their mistake is a common misconception and by responsing to them toehrs can learn from it.

    Anyway, may Allah reward your good intentions.

  61. Amad

    February 17, 2008 at 12:38 AM

    Jazakallah khair br.D, I’ll keep your advice in mind.

  62. Amad

    February 17, 2008 at 11:19 AM

    Sorry for taking this post offline while MM’s staff and shayookh could discuss the issues related to what transpired here. So the gist:

    (1) As for Br. Abu Ilyas’s comment, a small part of which was removed (none of his other comments were modified or touched), it was my mistake that I did not inform him of the change, which was also unknown to other staffers. Almost always, we leave a note on the website or email the author when we change something, unless he/she is a troll. So, that is what readers can continue to expect of us. This was a small breakdown in communications for which I take responsibility, and apologize to those affected.

    (2) We have updated our “Modus Operandi” page, which reflects our right to edit any comments that may encourage or commend violence, even if that was not the intention (expressed or known) of the author. So, I appreciate that Br. Abu Ilyas’s intention was not to be a “violent reactionary” or to encourage it, and I fully believe him. And to be honest, my comment was of a hyperbolic nature, intended to challenge the brother to suggest an alternative. But I can see how it could be misunderstood, so that is my mistake again, for which I am sorry.

    (3) As far as this policy, it is not a question of cowardice or defeatism (of which we have been accused and this and all other accusations were not censored), but rather a question of wisdom and awareness of current affairs. Intentions and context do not necessarily transfer over when statements are misquoted by islamophobes and those who hate Islam. So, it is better that we do not have written sound-bytes readily available for misquotation. We do not expect that everyone will agree with this, but this rule comes with the approval and understanding of those with knowledge. And we intend to fully apply it.

    jazakumAllahkhair for your patience. Let’s move on :)

  63. dario

    February 17, 2008 at 12:40 PM

    “That’s where we differ. Muslims generally do not take their faith lightly. These “few cartoons” are extremely offensive. I don’t expect you to understand this, but it is what it is.”

    You didn’t really answer my question. As I said you are not being oppressed or enslaved. Unlike muslim countries (where oppression of religious minorities really does occur on a regular basis), you as a member of a religious minority in Europe/US, have the right to respond in a peaceful manner of your choosing to religious bigotry . But obviously that did not occur
    As I said before we are not puppets that are forced to react the way our master wants us to react. We were created to be able to exercise rational thought and therefore can act in a rational manner irrespective of whether or not you feel “oppressed”. And please stop with your melodramatics. A few cartoons is not a reason to go around rioting for days and trying to kill people. I can’t belive you’re even trying to justify it with such a BS excuse

  64. AnonyMouse

    February 17, 2008 at 3:53 PM

    As-salaamu ‘alaikum,

    JazakumAllahu khairan for readers’ and commenters’ patience with us (however straind that paitence may have gotten! :) )… and though I realize that this may have irritated some (many? :S), I pray that you’ll forgive us and continue to visit from MM and benefit from what we have to offer, insha’Allah.


  65. AnonyMouse

    February 17, 2008 at 3:58 PM

    BTW, to quickly summarize my basic feelings to all the disagreeing comments, esp. about defending the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), then I’d like to point out what I already mentioned in my post:

    I do not in any way, shape, or form deny the responsibility and obligation of standing up for our Deen and our Rasool, rather I’m trying to point out that we already did what we could the first time around, and this reprinting of the cartoons is clearly just a pathetic attempt on their part to annoy us further. This is where wisdom and knowing our priorities comes in, and we should be intelligent enough to ignore the bait and focus on things which are far more important to ourselves and the Ummah at large.

    To ExExBlogger:
    This post wasn’t to draw attention to the cartoons again; in fact, I’d recieved quite a few emails and whatnot about the cartoon reprinting for a while before I wrote this – and I’d ignored it. Others were making a big deal of it again and I figured I may as well express my own thoughts on the topic before we ended up with a situation like the original one.

  66. ExEx Blogger

    February 17, 2008 at 4:14 PM

    No one said your post was to draw attention. It inadvertently draws attention to BLOG by skimming over something so insignificant as the reprinting of the cartoons that no one knew about.

    And yes, I gotta give it to MM. We hear you day in day out regarding your Wala & Bara from so called extreme activities and don’t we all declare our innocence from it.

    Bring the zing back to MM where stimulating topics such as masturbation or doritos are brought forth!

  67. ExEx Blogger

    February 17, 2008 at 4:15 PM

    draws attention to YOUR blog*

  68. AnonyMouse

    February 17, 2008 at 4:37 PM

    Think as you like, then.
    As I said, I recieved several emails about the cartoon reprinting before I wrote this post, so I don’t think you can really say that “no one knew about” it.
    But hey, whatever. Everyone sees things differently.

    As for new posts, insha’Allah we’ll be bringing up some more hot topics soon!

  69. Qas

    February 17, 2008 at 5:37 PM


    I knew about the reprints a while before this article. I read about it first on islam-online. I thought it was common knowledge actually.

  70. Ammar

    February 18, 2008 at 10:23 AM

    to Kashif:

    Maybe I should have clarified my comment: I wrote a five page paper on why there should be no law against Blashphemy IN THE USA.
    The reasons are many, but mainly, it would be very difficult to police, and who would be defining blasphemy laws.

    To Dario:
    I think you are generalizing quite a bit when you talk about Muslim countries oppressing religious minorities. I know of many Muslim countries where minorities live in peace and are respected and represented.


  71. dario

    February 18, 2008 at 11:04 AM

    “I think you are generalizing quite a bit when you talk about Muslim countries oppressing religious minorities.”

    NOtice I did not say ‘All’ muslim countries. That would be generalizing

    Blasphemy laws have proven to be quite unsuccessful imho and nearly impossible to define in any country anywhere. They are entirely subjective and up to an individuals own point of view. What is blasphemous to one is not at all blasphemous to another. Not to mention that they can cause incredible amounts of damage. LOok at KSA for example. IN the 21st century they want to actually behead a woman for “sorcery”, which probably falls somewhere under their antiblasphemy laws. (what kind of country still chops peoples heads of btw?) Or Egypt, who sentenced a blogger to several years in prison for blasphemy. To people who actually want these laws implemented, where exactly do you draw the line and is this the kind of environment you wnat to create. Where you are unable to speak your mind for fear of offending the other party and being deemed blasphemous

  72. Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    February 18, 2008 at 1:38 PM

    “NOtice I did not say ‘All’ muslim countries. That would be generalizing”

    Condemning “muslim countries” without qualification IS generalizing.

  73. dario

    February 18, 2008 at 2:23 PM

    I didn’t really think I needed a qualifier for something that is fairly obvious. But I will qualify: KSA, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Iran, from the top of my head. And of course all the muslim countries that ban religious minorities from becoming prime minister/president and so on clearly qualify as well (that would be the majority of them I believe, but I”m too lazy to look them up)

  74. amina

    February 18, 2008 at 4:20 PM

    very good post, i totally agree with need to let someone manipulate or provoke you. keep your faith in heart and leave things to Allah

  75. Miss Muslimah

    February 18, 2008 at 8:01 PM

    Great post sis!

    Have you ever seen the pictures of muslims out rioting and acting crazy,all the while they have these ‘islam is peace’ signs?!

    Its honorable to defend our prophet but to act violently and foolishly is not the way.Its an embarrasement to the muslims!!And we should be outraged at THAT!

  76. DrM

    February 20, 2008 at 4:13 AM

    I’m all for a nice and quiet boycott. I’m fed up of hearing about Denmark and Europe’s Nazi scum.

  77. keshto

    February 21, 2008 at 3:23 AM

    Why such a big fuss for nothing? prophet’s fotos aint a big deal. what you people did when saudi government razed his house?

    More, we have shopping plazas coming up behind kabah selling underwears! what r we going to do?

    Just think brood or tinker.

  78. Abu Alee

    May 28, 2008 at 8:40 PM

    Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki gave a good talk about those who defame the Prophet Salallhu alaihi wasallam here:

  79. Abu Alee

    May 28, 2008 at 8:41 PM

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