That’s how our reaction to the sacrilegious film should be
The film “Innocence of Muslims” which is based on sheer hatred for Islam has understandably led to protests among the Muslim community from Srinagar to Sidney. Any act that intentionally injures religious feelings of the people, irrespective of the faith they believe in, falls within the realm of violence. Allowing the free circulation of hate material including pamphlets, CDs, cartoons or films has to be disallowed to maintain peace inside the countries and in the world at large. One expects from the states which have enacted laws against the denial of Holocaust or strongly resent anti-Semitic statements that they would show similar consideration to the feelings of the Muslims.
The immediate reaction to the film came from the Middle East. There were two approaches to the violent form the protests took; one responsible, the other imprudent and harmful. The spokesman of President Mohamed Morsi strongly condemned the film but denounced the forced entry of the mob into the US embassy in Cairo as “unjustified.”Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia denounced attacks on diplomats and embassies as un-Islamic. “It is forbidden to punish the innocent for the wicked crimes of the guilty, or to attack those who have been granted protection of their lives and property, or to expose public buildings to fire or destruction,” he told the official news agency. The head of Al-Azhar backed peaceful protests but said Muslims should counter the movie by reviving Islam’s moderate ideas. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), however, praised the action by gunmen in Libya who had attacked the US consulate and a safe house to kill US ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other Americans. It called on the Muslims to kill US ambassadors and close down US embassies.
There is a need in Pakistan to foil the attempts to create chaos. Pakistan government, President Zardari and the National Assembly have condemned the defamatory film. All political and religious leaders have also denounced it. The Supreme Court has ordered the blocking of its sacrilegious content on the internet. Protests starting all over the country on Saturday were initially peaceful but are gradually assuming a violent trend. This has to be discouraged. People have to be made to realize that setting on fire the private or government vehicles, buses and petrol pumps as happened in Karachi doesn’t hurt those who made the film. The government must ensure that protestors do not damage property or attack foreign embassies. The political and religious parties must not say or do anything that helps the extremists who want to use the protests to promote their global agenda of violence and destruction.