Muhammad - the enemy of free World?

The draw Muhammad campaign (May 20th 2010) and burn Quran campaign (September 11th 2011) – which were propagated through internet and mainly through the social-networking sites like facebook, twitter, and youtube, essentially has the seeds in Jyllandn’s Post publication of satirical mockery of the Islam’s Messenger. It got carried over to the South-Park comedy series and now we have an all out support for the “Freedom of Expression” in this campaign, but are we ignoring something else?
To the fact it has been an article of faith in Islam, not to portray, draw, sculpt or paint any representation of the Messengers, including Jesus, Moses, Abraham or Muhammad. And the Persian artists found an interesting way to overcome the block; they veiled the Messengers’ face when they portrayed them.
The Moral dilemma of “Freedom of expression” and “Hurting sentiments of a selected group” is a difficult one to catch.
I understand there might be some partiality in this so called ‘Freedom of expression’, the Europe, America and Israel are somehow disturbed and heavily criticize when the same “Freedom of expression” is applied to the Holocaust, as it affects the sentiments of Jews.
But when there is a whole lot of mockery on Muslims and Muhammad, they simply ignore or in certain cases strongly support the cause of “Freedom of expression”.
But it would be interesting to know that it is only because of the violent threats and chaotic reaction from Muslim community to such provocations that fuels the cause for the world wide support for the “Right to Insult Islam” from the so called “Free Press”.
Therefore the Muslims are on the ones who wronged, not the provocative media or the cartoonists!
The Global-Media hides the truth on this issue to such an extent that people watching/reading news across the globe do not get the complete picture.
It would be good to know that it is not the first time that Muhammad had been under the hammer. Looking back into the history’s tunnel is likely to reveal more on this prejudice of European culture on Islam.

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Cordova (Islamic Spain)
Perfectus, a Christian, abused Islam and Muhammad. The Qadi/Judge pardoned first time on conditions of being drunk, but had no option than to sentence him to death the second time .
Cordova (Islamic Spain)
This Martyr cult found two champions: Eulogio and Paul Alvaro, who immediately hailed Perfectus to be a cultural hero and ‘soldier of God’. Thereby initiating the complex moral assault against Islam and Muhammad.
Cordova (Islamic Spain)
Eulogio and Alvaro had in their possession a brief life of Muhammad, which taught them he died in 666 AD (which is false), thereby tying him to the Anti-Christ. They sat down to frame an evil image of Muhammad whose religion threatened Christianity. The image suggested:
  • Muhammad was an impostor and a charlatan.
  • He was a lecher and wallowed in debauchery.
  • Forced people to convert on sword-point.
  • Islam was a violent religion glorifying war and slaughter.
  • Muslims were Idol worshippers, bowing down to Trinitarian Gods of Apollo, Tervagant and Mahomet.
    This image circulated in Europe for the next 250 years with a name ‘Mahound’ ( inspirational name for Rushdie’s book Satanic Verses )
    Pope Urban II, summoned the knights of Europe to liberate the ‘Tomb of Christ’ in Jerusalem thereby starting the First Crusade, it was on request of Christian kings in eastern Europe, who felt threatened by the Turks domination in the region.
    The Crusaders conquered Jerusalem and slaughtered the inhabitants Muslims, Jews and even Arab-Christians. The official word for them ‘filth’.
    The returning crusaders carried a myth with them, the myth of Mahound. Like well loved characters of fiction, he was expected to display certain characteristics, and the Christian authors faithfully reproduced them for the next hundred years.
    The myth claimed that:
    • Muhammad was a magician who had concocted ‘false miracles’ and thereby taking Arabs into his fold.
    • He carried Quran in his hands floating miraculously between the horns of a white-bull.
    • He trained a dove to peck peas from his ears to deceive the masses that Holy-spirit was whispering to him.
    • He was an epileptic and was possessed by demons.
    • His sexual life was credited with every perversion known to man.
    • A Heretical monk by name Sergius had met Muhammad in Arabia and coached him distorted Christianity.
    • Finally he died with a demonic convulsion and was eaten by a herd of pigs.
      This was the myth of ‘Mahound’ post Crusade circulating in Europe like a wild-fire. The phobia of Islam had begun.
      Spain, Southern Italy and Sicily
      Pope Gregory IX announced “Muslims and Jews must appear in distinctive clothing in public, must not appear on streets during Christian festivals and forbidden to summon prayers in traditional way (Adhaan).
      Pope Clement V declared Muslim and Jewish presence in Spain to be an insult to God.
      Charles of Anjou – King of France exterminated Muslims in Sicily and Southern Italy, describing them as ‘nest of pestilence … lurid in pollution … stubborn plague and filthy infection of Apulia’.
      The last Muslim stronghold in Spain was conquered by Ferdinand and Isabella.
      The conquered Muslims were given a choice to deport or convert and the ones who converted to Christianity, their descendents were persecuted for next 300 years in the name of Inquisition and were viewed down as hidden-enemies of the society.
      15th Century
      The Muslim philosophers ‘Ibn Sina’ and ‘Ibn Rushd’ were glorified as intellectual luminaries, whose works were one of the prime sources for renaissance in Europe, but they were duped as virtuous pagans, not Muslims and were popularly known as ‘Avicenna’ and ‘Averroes’ respectively.
      This is explicitly recorded in Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”, where Avicenna and Averroes are in Limbo but their Messenger in Faith, Muhammad himself was in the Eight Circle of Hell, suffering disgusting punishment.
      This image was necessary for Europe to justify their conquest of Jerusalem and the Crusades.
      The Christian faith was divided in supporting Pope and against him. This framed a new twist to the plot by those who were against Pope. Riccoldo Monte’s ‘Disputito’, presented Pope to be head of ‘Anti-Christ’ and ‘Islam’ to be its body. Hence making Islam an absolute evil. Europe saw Islam as a failed version of Christianity.
      Barthelmy d’Herbelot wrote down the first European version of ‘Encyclopedia on Islam’ referring Turkish, Arabic and Persian sources. But sadly the entry was still based on prejudice and misunderstanding:
      He called Muhammad an impostor and Islam would be better being named “Mohammedan Religion” rather than the Arabic meaning for it which means ‘Peace/Submit’.
      Simon Ockley described Muhammad to be a war-general with no good and possessing ‘Ambition for Power’ and ‘Lust for Women’.
      Voltaire in his drama ‘Mahomet or Fanaticism’ described him to be a great leader and political genius, but still the deceiver by his means of trickery and lies.
      The once ‘Islamic Threat’ had now become an amusement and entertainment.
      Napolean landed in Cairo and addressed the crowd by carefully praised Muhammad (based on Voltaire’s work). He addressed the Muslims to be their liberator from oppressive Turks. But was ultimately defeated by combined English and Ottoman armies and sent back to Europe.
      Late 18th Century
      Francois Rene blamed Islam as an exact opposite to Christianity. He argued that Islam and Muhammad gave too much independence and power to women and slaves. (But now in 20th century the stereotype is reversed, blaming Islam encourages slavery and subjugates women – though it might be true in some remote parts – but was definitely not so under the Turks and Mughals)
      Early 19th Century
      France and British were looking covetously towards the declining Ottoman and spread the news in their local media hate for Ottoman, calling them homosexuals (adapted so in the film Lawrence of Arabia), characterless civilization, and a savage state.
      1839 - 1912
      Africa and Middle-East
      There were no Muslims left behind in Europe, every single of them exterminated. Now Europe began invading the Muslim territories of Algiers, Aden, Tunisia, Sudan, Libya and Morocco.
      Today the Muslim world associates European Imperialism as combination of Christian-Missionaries and Crusades.
      General Allenby conquered Jerusalem and quoted “Now the Crusades are over”, and marched straight to Saladin’s tomb and cried “Nous revenons, Saladin!”
      20th Century
      Middle-East and Indian sub-continent
      The Muslim world was brought to its knees, with the abolishing of Caliphate and creation of State of Israel, The loss of Jerusalem were the catalysts for anti-western feelings to creep into Islam.
      The Salman Rushdie incident and Taslima Nasrin painted the demonized Islamic picture to be a threat to Free-Society; this view was supported by west, further straining the relations.
      This Led to building up of a new-type of Muslim culture in Egypt, Palestine and Afganistan against western oppression – The Jihad Phenomenon.
      21st Century
      USA, Denmark, Afganistan and Iraq
      9/11 attack, The war on terror were ideal elements to vilify a society, and call it deprived of morals – the easy gateway to capture opium fields of Afganistan and Oil in Iraq.
      The Danish cartoon affair and European attitude towards Muslim sentiments are still rooted in the 10th century prejudices and misunderstandings.
      The cultural denigration and insult of Islam was the new trend in Arts and Entertainment, which met with violent and sometimes deadly protests. But any opposition to the provocative images was met with remarks such as ‘Fundamentalists’, ‘Villain of Free-Speech’.

      The building of stereotypes is an easy business, but breaking it requires a lot of effort and time to heal. The stereotype of Muslims, Islam and Muhammad to be a menace and evil had not dropped out of sky yesterday, but has it roots in the very beginning of Islamic Civilization.

      Over time the other stereotypes of Indians, Afro-americans, Mexicans and Japs had faded away into histroy and the one that still remains is of Muslims.
      This has to be understood by both the Secular-West and the Muslim-World; we share a common ground, one planet, sentiments, love, affection, anger and pain in the same way. Mutual-respect is the only ideal solution to the prejudices.

      Thanks to Karen Armstrong.