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Monday, February 20, 2006

Passion & Common Sense - How NOT to show the world what a great religion Islam is

I won't beat around the bush - this is not another treatise on the Jylland-Posten cartoons, or on the related matter of free speech, and whether or not these carricatures should have been published, blah, blah, blah. These points of contention have been written-to-death about (no pun intended), and I don't wish to add to the melee. And no, I won't post the cartoons on this blog (what do you think I am? Stupid?). However, I will tell you that they are posted at a number of sites on the Net. All one needs to do is to run this search on Google. And why have the two Malaysian dailies been punished punitively for publishing them? Go figure... selective justice, selective example-making.. who knows?

No, enough has been said about those darned cartoons. And too much has been done - the latest stupidity being this:

At Least 15 Die in Nigeria Cartoon Protest

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria - Nigerian Muslims protesting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad attacked Christians and burned churches on Saturday, killing at least 15 people in the deadliest confrontation yet in the whirlwind of Muslim anger over the drawings. (Read the rest of this news report here)

Fifteen dead. Is life that cheap? And for what?

How is this senseless tragedy of 15 people losing their lifes going to make the world a better place for Muslims? Is this, in addition to the many others who have lost their lives over the Jylland-Posten cartoons, going to undo the fact that the cartoons were published? Or the fact that this whole thing would have been a non-issue had it not been for the action of a few Muslims themselves?

In browsing the Internet reading up news on the senseless violence and mayhem that has erupted over the 12 carricatures (a more apt term compared to cartoons), I came across this picture, taken I believe in Hyderabad, Pakistan (picture is copyright of Associated Press).

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(click on the picture above takes you to a picture gallery of Islamic anger worldwide)

What on earth does McDonalds have to do with Denmark, and why the necessity of armed guards? Has this insanity now escallated to be a violent protest against anything and everything that is of Western origin?

Now, one of the characteristics that separates us humans from the other species is something called Passion. Something obviously abundant within the psyche of Muslims the world over; Muslims in general are very passionate about their religion, and in particular about the pivotal persona of Islam - the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Sometimes, as can be seen currently, a little too passionate.

Another human characteristic that seems missing in all the fracas, however, has been Common Sense. The ability to rationalize what's happening, instead of blindly following ones emotion. At least, that's what the vocal and visibile masses of Islam seem to exhibit. There are numerous rational, moderate and progressive Muslims around the globe that feel the violent response by their Muslim brethren has gotten totally out of hand.

One would think that Malaysia would be spared from such displays of anger, right? Think again.

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(image from - click on the picture to read the report, in Bahasa Malaysia)

The picture above was taken at a rally last Friday in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, during yet another PAS-organized Anti-Denmark rally. Burning of the Danish flag. Passion - the fuel of political agendas. While this public display of "Islam"-ness by PAS seems very contrived at trying to show the Malays how much more "Islamic" they are, how many would actually use their common sense and see through their tactics? For now, thank God, idiotic incidents such as these seem to be isolated. And apart from a few nit-wits, like this one, Malaysian Muslims are exercising their common sense to not go overboard in their protests and boycott calls. They may be pissed off, but at least they're not allowing their outrage to drive them to do idiotic things - the PAS thing above being an exception.

God gave us intelligence for a reason. It's time everyone, and in this case Muslims particularly, to use that God-given intelligence. Do we want more violence to tarnish the already black view the world in general has about Islam? And mark my words, the passion being exhibited by Muslims at large is being manipulated by those within the Muslim world for their own selfish agendas.

Common sense, if allowed to prevail, will make this self-evident. Don't let your unbridled passion lead you towards something from which there can be no turning back. Armageddon is indeed ours for the asking.

And sadly, the passionate masses seem to be asking for it in spades...