An Iraqi refugee named Salwan Momika publicly burned the Quran in front of the central mosque in Stockholm, Sweden, on the last Eid al-Adha. A few days ago, an anti-immigration and anti-Islam extremist organization called Stram Kurs burned the Quran in Malamo, Sweden. This heinous act was led by a fanatic named Rasmus Paludan. This hard right-wing organization has announced to burn the Quran in the future as well. We strongly condemn this reprehensible act in the name of freedom of expression. Demonstrators are protesting on the streets of Muslim countries in protest against this incident.
In January 2015, 17 people, including journalists, were shot dead by Islamist gunmen at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and other places in protest of drawing satirical cartoons about Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). Millions of people across the western world took to the streets to protest the killings with the conviction to uphold the freedom of media and speech’. Most unfortunate – after the brutal murder, the newspaper again drew satirical cartoons on Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). On February 10 of the same year, 3 Muslim members of the same family were shot dead in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Only being Muslim was their crime. But this tragic incident did not get any publicity in the western world.
This article is written in the context of the unpleasant and unwanted incident of Quran burning in Sweden. Westerners take great pride in Western media and freedom of speech. But the purpose of my writing is to highlight the misconceptions and blind beliefs that many of us have about Western media and freedom of speech.
Professor Annamarie Schimmel was born in Germany in 1922 and died in 2003. He was the world’s undisputed scholar on Islamic mysticism (the belief that knowledge and real truth about creation can be gained through meditation or spiritual insight without mind and senses, and Islamic teachings on the subject), or Islamic mysticism in short. He wrote book ‘The Mystical Dimension of Islam’. He was nominated for the ‘German Book Peace Award’ in 1995 in recognition of his 50 years of scholarship. Dr. After the announcement of Schimmel’s prestigious award, numerous intellectuals in Germany began to express anger and rage. Hundreds of writers, teachers, publishers and booksellers. A written request was made to the German Book Publishers Association not to award Schimmel this prestigious award. Even some members of parliament in Germany through strong protest. Called the award of the ‘German Book Peace Award’ to Schimmel a farce. The President of Germany usually presents the award to the recipient. The German president was put under intense pressure from various quarters to prevent him from awarding the award.
Why did so many people of such a high standard in Germany get mad at him after so many extraordinary achievements and achievements in education, literature and other matters? He said Salman Rushdie’s book ‘The Satanic Verses’ has hurt the religious sentiments of millions of Muslims. What Salman Rushdie wrote in his book is like hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims. Schimmel’s inexcusable and intolerable fallacies are thought by his opponents to be logically valid. These German intellectuals mentioned in their written letter, Dr. Schimmel criticizes Salman Rushdie’s book and gives moral support to reactionary and bigoted Muslims, which is unacceptable. Dr. Salman Rushdie’s death sentence announcement. Although Schimmel never supported him, the outrage and anger towards him did not abate. The good news is that the German president, despite all this. did not disapprove of awarding Schimmel but also announced a speech in his honor at the award ceremony. He termed the agitators as ‘believers in the theory of conflict between civilizations’. In his speech, the German President stressed the importance of understanding and dialogue with Muslim civilizations. Later Dr. Schimmel was asked, is it true that you claim to be 50 percent Muslim? To say that would certainly be an understatement, he replied. I love Muslim civilization and always speak for it, especially in the context of today’s world.
Dear reader, consider whether to speak for the feelings of Muslims or come forward in favor of them. Was Schimmel’s crime serious? Why would it be considered so unacceptable in today’s world if Muslims express anger and outrage over the desecration and burning of their holy scriptures and the insulting of their beloved Prophet’s wives? Intentional hatred against Islam and hurting religious sentiments has recently appeared as a form of inaction in many Western countries.
World renowned British journalist Robert Fisk made a documentary film titled ‘Roots of Muslim Anger’. In this film, it is shown that the reason behind the dissatisfaction of Muslims against the West is the unconditional support of the West towards Israel’s injustice, tyranny, oppression and torture. Robert Fisk was awarded the ‘British Press Award’ as an objective foreign correspondent. Noam Chomsky is a famous American intellectual. The New York Times called him a ‘living legendary intellectual’. But such a scholar is never invited by the US media for discussion. Because his views or opinions always upset and unsettle the American elite. So where is the freedom of speech of a famous intellectual like Noam Chomsky?
In 1991, an American expert speaker at a seminar organized by German National Democratic Party leader Guenter Descartes claimed that the gassing of Jews at Auschwitz never took place. Descartes was severely punished by being accused of organizing a seminar that incited racist hatred. Descartes was tried again in March 1994. At that trial, Descartes was sentenced to a year in prison, with his previous sentence reduced. Many judges strongly criticized the judge concerned for reducing the sentence. The Federal Court of Justice overturned the lighter sentence and ordered a retrial of Descartes. There is a lot of anger among the people because of such frequent proceedings. Then came the explanation in the law. In 1994, the Constitutional Court declared that freedom of speech to deny genocide or destruction was not protected. The German parliament later passed a five-year prison sentence for Holocaust denial. Many more examples can be given. But no more examples could be given as space was not available.
It would not be consistent to say that freedom of thought or speech does not exist in the Western world. To come to such a conclusion would be unfair and untrue. Citizens of Western countries enjoy more freedom of speech than any country or nation in the real sense. The right to protest, demonstration or agitation is constitutionally upheld in those countries, although these protests are not valued or taken seriously these days. At one time, the media of Western countries played or played an important role in exposing the scandals or corruption of powerful politicians and leaders to the public. Who doesn’t know about the Washington Post’s role in exposing President Nixon’s Watergate scandal. But that freedom is not unconditional or infinite. Many people question whether there should be freedom of speech. Must have. But absolute freedom of speech is not acceptable in many cases. Aggressive or hateful speech can in many cases have devastating consequences for individuals, groups or society. Such speech or behavior creates hatred, enmity and division in the society.
One more thing is worth noting. Nowadays Muslims are termed as terrorists or supporters of terrorism in one word. I said in one of my writings, terrorism in general is not a criminal act – terrorism is a political act, which is an adverse reaction to the imperialist, racist and hateful dualism of the West. Leaders and scholars of the western world should know or understand that.
I also wrote that as long as the Western countries do not abandon their imperialist, racist and hateful dualism, their distance with Islam and Muslims will not decrease but will continue to increase. But I strongly believe that it is time for Muslims to realize that before they can expect dignified and rational behavior from the West, they must reach their level in intellectual, educational, economic and technological development. Muslims must understand, learn, that besides the abuse of free speech, there is another concept rooted in the Western tradition. And that is ‘double standard’ or double policy. In today’s world, we Muslims are helpless victims of this abuse of freedom of speech and naked dualism of the West. Abuse of western freedom of speech and naked dualism towards Muslims must be stopped