Outside of coronavirus news, a particular story was headlined in recent days. The projection of derogatory caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) on a government building in Paris. Part of a tribute to a history teacher who was murdered by an “Islamist terrorist”. This act naturally caused a lot of hurt amongst Muslims worldwide. Hence why you may see the “We Love Muhammed “ trend lately.
What is saddening is not the projection of disrespectful images. That will happen again in one form or another. Be it images, be it burning of the Quran or the usual xenophobic media headlines. Personally, this “tribute” has no real impact to me and in my view, should not bother other Muslims. The Prophet himself faced disrespect far worse directly to his face than a mere depiction of him in a cartoon. This in comparison is a literal joke.
What does bother me though is the response from President Macron, a so called leader of “democracy”. Rather than address the core issue of the need to bring people together when an atrocity happens, he instead promoted a divide ultimately condemning almost 2 billion people, including his own French nationals. Suggesting we (as in Muslims) want their future and democracy destroyed. Dude, seriously? That’s the best you can do? A leader of a forward thinking country, and this is what falls out of your mouth, really? Oh and spoiler alert … we don’t.
The second issue I have is the response from Muslims. More specifically the anger from leaders and individuals. Rather than condemn, … this… this is the perfect opportunity to build a bridge that is sorely needed. Clearly there is a misunderstanding, clearly there is hurt, clearly there are heightened emotions. In any other scenario a normal person in response to a misunderstanding would reach out to explain and say “hey let me explain why this is hurtful… and also that we are not secretly wanting to behead everyone.” We do this on a daily basis with friends, colleagues, loved ones, even strangers. Albeit not beheading specifically but I think you get the point.
So why not now, when 2 billion people at the very least are impacted. Why can a bridge not be built by leaders, by the scholars, even as individuals ourselves. The actual cartoon is not the issue here, not even the concept of free speech (which this is categorically not by the way), no, the issue here is ignorance.
Ignorance must be reciprocated with a patient exchange of reasoning, education and love. One of our beliefs is that when we are faced with ignorance, we should respond with Peace. Our leaders need to get this. We need to forget the toxic, chest pumping, puritanical diahorrea that we respond with all the time and follow the simple guide that is written in front of us…. Peace&Love 🖤
“And when the ignorant speak with them, they say Peace”Quran 25:63
Having over 15 years’ experience in freight forwarding and supply chain management, Ali has led numerous multi-disciplined projects and operations globally. A change management specialist having worked within multiple industry verticals. He is also a coffee-obsessed, solo-travelling introvert.
Ali is also a published author with his latest book; Building Your Bridge: An Introvert’s Art of Success. A personal journey to help guide professional introverts to realising that as an introvert, the skills and traits for success are already within their grasp. Available now here.