Islam, often not understood by many

Prophet Muhammad condemned violence against civilians and teached of virtue.

The recent violence over the offensive cartoons shows that Islam is truly the most misunderstood religion in the world, even among some Muslims. A little knowledge of the life and sayings of Prophet Muhammad would have saved the world a great deal of trouble.

 It would have been helpful for the editorial boards of Danish and European newspapers to understand that Prophet Muhammad condemned violence against civilians. It also would have been helpful for them to understand that Muslims love Prophet Muhammad more than any other person in the world and that he taught people to be considerate, kind and generous. 

Likewise, it would be helpful for Muslims to be reminded that when Prophet Muhammad was insulted in his life, he did not resort to violence. When he was beaten until he bled, he forgave the perpetrators and prayed to God to ìforgive them for they do not know.” It would be helpful to be reminded that when people asked him to curse and invoke the wrath of God on the people who wanted to kill him, he said, ìI was not sent as a curse, but as a Mercy to the universe.” Book after book shows he was a man who never took revenge for the injustices done to him.

As a first generation Muslim-American who has lived under oppressive regimes, I value my freedom of speech much more than many of my fellow citizens. But, it should be clear to all of us that freedom of speech is not absolute. I think all the prophets, including Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, would agree that just because one has the right to say an offensive word, it does not make it right to say it. As a people living in a global village, we cannot allow bigotry and hate mongering to be disguised as freedom of speech. Under this veil we cannot allow racism, anti-Semitism or homophobia to be replaced by Islamophobia.

If Prophet Muhammad was here today, he would have taught us forgiveness with his prayer to God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus, to ìguide them and forgive them for they do not know.” This is a profound prayer for us to ponder.

 Tam Saidi is a Minneapolis resident. Please send comments to [email protected].