DR MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM on the latest Danish outrage against Islam and Muslims

ON OCTOBER 6 the Danish state TV showed video clips of fresh cartoons of the holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The cartoons were drawn by members of the youth wing of Danish People’s Party that tried (foolishly enough) to "humiliate" the prophet.

That such foolishness committed in 2006 CE cannot humiliate a noble man who lived in 6th-7th century CE is quite obvious. Also, it cannot change the devotion and love of 1200 million Muslims worldwide for their great prophet whose teachings continue to guide them today as they did Muslims in the 7th century CE.

If it does not change anything a wee bit, what is the point of indulging in such dangerous tomfoolery? They can’t humiliate someone whom God himself honoured, whose name is announced from mosques’ minarets from one end of the globe to the other five times a day. All that they will manage to do is provoke some Muslims to commit some desperate act. In any case, you can’t expect people to keep their cool if you try to humiliate their father. That’s where the dangerousness of such acts comes from.

These people know that they are playing with fire because another video clip of such cartoons on TV was partly masked. The faces of the hooligans drinking, singing and making these cartoons were blurred for obvious reasons. These people were supposedly protesting against immigrants. From the scant media reports it was quite obvious that this display of viciousness coming after a little more than a year of similar mischief was being orchestrated by elements inimical to Islam and Muslims.

The Danish government has always been hiding behind a deviously constructed version of "freedom of expression". Their argument is that people are free to express their feelings and ideas through all kinds of medium and on all kinds of subjects. When last year’s cartoon makers tried to draw caricatures of Jesus Christ (PBUH) they were prohibited from doing so. However, they were perfectly free to make cartoons of the holy prophet (PBUH). Such is the Danish duplicity that the government promptly booked a person on a criminal charge for publicly doubting the extent of the Holocaust (without bothering about freedom of expression), but it keeps on insisting on the right to caricature the holy prophet (PBUH).

The Danish state is not blameless. It is playing a highly dangerous game. We are told that sections of the society in some European states are being manipulated by some cynical groups to provoke and enrage Muslims enough to create a backlash against them. Something like the backlash in the United States after 9/11. These groups want to stage another Holocaust in Europe, this time against Muslims.

The Danish state’s culpability in this game is quite clear from the Queen of Denmark’s vicious public attacks against Islam and Muslims. We have to understand that howsoever reprehensible these acts of provocation could be, if we react mindlessly, blinded by rage, we will be playing in the hands of the anti-Muslim elements who are masterminding the attacks from behind the scene. We must think before we react.

We have to remember that we can stop such activities only by being reasonable and interacting with common Danes who are not interested in creating trouble for others. There are a lot of such people in the country as is evident from reports that say youth wing leaders of other parties don’t think it is fun to attack others’ religion. Muslims should interact with such fair-minded people. Muslim heads of states should also tell the Danish queen to observe restraint while referring to other people’s faith.g

(The author is Chairman of Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi)

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