—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
JAMAICA, New York (February 3, 2009) – The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) unequivocally condemns the depiction of any of the prophets from Adam to Moses to Jesus to Muhammad (May peace be upon all of them). ICNA joins all Muslims worldwide in stating and calling for the demonstration of our displeasure with the printing and reprinting of such horrible blasphemous images published by Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten paper and later reprinted in newspapers in France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands and Spain.
All of these newspapers claim that they were exercising their right to free speech. But where can we draw the line between free speech and hate speech? These papers may be exercising their right of free speech but to the 1.5 billion Muslims of the world it seems like it is Islamophobia which is really being propagated under the cover of free speech. To denigrate a religion and a historical figure is an act of blasphemy, not democratic freedom.
In Islam, any depiction of not only Prophet Muhammad, but any prophet of God Almighty, including Jesus, Moses, and Abraham, is strictly forbidden. Muslims in the United States demonstrated when the movie “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988) was released, because of what the movie depicted. These great religious personalities who are revered by billions shouldn’t be ridiculed and blasphemed in the name of free speech.
Muslims don’t disrespect spiritual leaders, scriptures, and places of worship of other faiths, and they expect, rightly so, from their neighbors and fellow human beings to do the same. We also urge Muslims not to fall into the traps of these evil designs. Let us resolve that we shall continue loving Prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, by following him in our lives. Let us try to do the following:
1. Talk to neighbors and colleagues about Prophet Muhammad. Let them know how he was a mercy unto mankind.
2. Get brochures from www.whyislam.org and distribute in your neighborhoods.
3. Write letters to the editors of various publications.
We demand an immediate and unconditional apology by those countries where these cartoons were published. The smearing campaign against any prophet, not just Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him) should be condemned by people of all faiths.
Just like the law prohibits a citizen from acts which are considered contempt of court, the law should also prohibit disrespect and contempt of religious values, whether they are values of Islam, Christianity, Judaism or any other religion of the world.