Praise is due to Allāh, Lord of the worlds, may the blessings and peace be upon our master Muḥammad, the last of prophets, on his family, and all his companions.
Towards the end of last year and beginning of this new year, some fanatical Danish and Norwegian newspapers have provoked Muslims by violating the basic principles of journalistic practice under the guise of freedom of expression, by carrying out an campaign against Islam and its Prophet based on insults, contempt and mockery, one wonders, with astonishment, why such odious behaviour and such despicable aggression against the Islamic religion and against the Muslims who number more than one billion.
Such a reality has led to reactions and multiple challenges, led by the resolutions taken at the Third Extraordinary Islamic Summit held in Mecca at the end of December 2005, pf which final declaration states that all governments are responsible for guaranteeing full respect for all religions and religious symbols, and for prohibiting the use of freedom of expression as a pretext for offending religions. Several organizations and foundations have taken similar resolutions, such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Muslim World League, and Al-Azhar al-Sharif.
A leading Danish author-journalist did not condemn such an offence and justified his position by saying: “this is a new form of literature that Western societies tolerate. Critical cartoons, caricatures and satirical statements that touch on different themes and ideas are only a positive and subtle critical and parodic expressions. The whole world accepts and validates this, except for Islam”; And he pretends being surprised at this special sacredness that surrounds Islam and relates it to the existence of a group that hijacks the right to criticize and interpret the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Facing such claims that deviate from the truth, where both seriousness and frivolity, and truth and the falsehood are mixed, we point out first of all that the new literary colour towards which many writers call does not have to touch all the purposes, because it does not conform to all the theses. Satire does not have as its object of analysis religions and creeds, but rather it is poured into the life of men and their behaviours, they are engulfed in it, they innovate new methods of research and currents of thought which are uncertain and not free from doubts and probabilities. For this reason, it is obligatory to remember that authentic religions and beliefs should not be subjected to this new form of literature in the world, for if satire and caricature touch the religion, it will lose its authenticity and its creed will be corrupted. Allah taught us that the mocking hypocrites saying, [And if you were to question them, they would most certainly say, “Really, we were only chatting and playing.” Say: “Is it Allah and His verses (the Qur’an) and His Messenger that you were mocking?”]
In the Qur’an, there is an answer to those who mock Prophets, Allah says:
« And already were messengers ridiculed before you, but those who mocked them were enveloped by that which they used to ridicule. » Al-An’am -10
Allah has warned the believers of the effects of such behavior by showing the end of those who indulge in it: « Then the end of those who did evil was the worst [consequence] because they denied the signs of Allah and used to ridicule them. » Ar-Rum -10
Although this and other verses are a safeguard against the actions of the mockers, which consist of scorn and mockery, it is the nature of this religion that Allah calls it « This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. » Al-Ma’ida -3
Islam is mainly based on learning the authentic creed and explaining Allah’s Shariah, on education by preaching good behavior; Islam is the religion that refines all other religions; it calls for believing in all messages, all prophets and books revealed upon. This is explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an and to which the believers are called saying: [The Messenger believed in what was sent down to him from his Lord, and so did the believers: all of them believed in Allah, His angels, His books and His messengers; (saying): “We make no distinction between His messengers”. And they said: “We have heard and obeyed. Our Lord, we ask for Your forgiveness. To Thee shall be the return.”] and He said, [Whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His Books, His messengers and the Last Day, goes astray, far astray].
To believe in, acknowledge and respect other religions, prophets and books is one of the conditions of Islamic faith and belief. To go beyond this limit is a transgression of the true faith, and it is a huge distance from it. That is why we are surprised to see a misguided group that wants to terrorize Muslims with all means to keep them away from their belief and to mix them with the good and the evil.
Such practices are not only condemned by religions; they are also condemned by reason and wisdom, which recommends that people should help each other and get to know each other in a spirit of coexistence. The United Nations confirmed this dissertation on many occasions. In the fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly held on 11/11/2004, a resolution was taken to encourage dialogue between religions and combat all forms of alteration of religions. The General Assembly confirms that sharing the Council and the dialogue of religions are two important axes for the dialogue of civilizations and the culture of peace.
In the Human Rights Commission (for session 61), mention was made of the rights of minorities and groups of Muslim faith in some non-Islamic countries; of the negative presentation of Islam in the mass media; of the enactment and enforcement of discriminatory laws against Muslims by specifically targeting them.
It has been established that resolutions on combating the distortion of the image of religions should be adopted.
The committee called on states to take strict measures to prohibit the publication and dissemination of ideas and themes based on racism, xenophobia, or are directed against any religion or its followers and constitute an incitement to discrimination, enmity and violence. This resolution has also emphasized in an essential way that the distortion against religions is one of the causes of social repulsion and leads to the violation of fundamental human rights.
Under the previous points, we commend the efforts made to prevent these violations and aggressions against religions. We draw the attention of the leaders of the Danish and Norwegian governments to the need to catch up with the situation to help each other and ally with Arab and Muslim countries in order to spread understanding and forgiveness among all to ensure the sanctity of religion and the defence of human rights and dignity.
Dr. Mohamed Habibi Belkhoja
SG of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy.