An eye for an...cartoon?

Filed under:Opinion, Religion — posted by Tyler on February 19, 2006 @ 10:42 pm

I’m shocked by the longevity of the violent protests (the latest one [cnn.com] happening in Nigeria on Saturday that killed 16 people) that continue to occur because of a cartoon of Islamic Prophet Muhammad [wikipedia.org] published in a Danish newspaper. I can only believe that this is the cause of a few extremists and that not all Muslims believe that they should burn Christian churches and kill people.

Luckily I know a Muslim and I’m able to ask him these questions so that I don’t fall into the trap of passing judgment on an entire group of people based on the actions of a few. It would be easy to group the entire faith as nut-cases, but I have to remind myself that there are people in every religion (including my own) that take things way too far.

The problem with the Islamic faith [wikipedia.org] (when speaking of a “few” extremists) is the shear amount of people in the world that adhere to it. The numbers are huge! If only less than one percent of the Islamic population follow a radical belief, you still have millions of followers. One quarter of the world population share Islam as an ethical tradition. Muslims are the majority in 52 nations. They speak about 60 languages and come from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Our conversation was interesting and I’m glad that he’s always been willing to discuss these things with me without thinking that I’m judging him or his religion. Here is our conversation:

9:47 PM me: How\’s it goin\’ Yalin?
I have a question for you.
9:49 PM Yalin: k, I was just talking to Nate on Chat LOL
me: Take a look at this article (you may already be well aware of it) and tell me what you and others think about it. Is this another example of taking things too far? More extremism?
http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/africa/02/18/cartoon.roundup/index.html
Yalin: looking…
9:50 PM me: Or maybe I just don\’t understand the gravity of depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
Yalin: you\’re almost right on the money…
the issue is two fold…
9:51 PM 1 - Muslims do not even draw Muhammed (pbuh) due to the fact that it would be considered symbolism. He is extermemly highly respected such as other great prophets such as Jesus, Moses and many others
9:52 PM 2 - People that are commiting such acts have the strong Faith of Islam (very strong faith if y ask me) and are seeing this as a direct attack, but they are not educated enough to know how to handle it properly
9:53 PM me: Do Muslims adhere to the law of Moses (an eye for an eye) and maybe that\’s why they feel it is justified?
Yalin: only thing they know how to do is violence (Note: islam is the calmest, and anti-violence religion in my opinion) it\’s simply lack of education
9:55 PM not neccesarily, the Torah and the Zabuur and the Injil (Bible) came for the people of their own, but Qur\’an came as a final proof, it is not justified to kill anyone, only defense (which actually is Jihad) would be justified
meSo it\’s more a cultural thing as to why they are burning churches and stuff? It just seems so ridiculous as a Westerner that a cartoon would be causing such mayhem.
Yalin: Defending and attackingare very different
9:56 PM well, in my opinion the education of the poeple in those countries are controlled by politicions and militiant with wicked goals
thus, using this strong and pure faith of a beautiful religion as a deadly weapon
9:57 PM tangling it in people\’s minds
me: Are there people with your opinion that live there? Would you be pretty unpopular for having that opinion if you expressed it?
9:58 PM Yalin: I wouldn\’t know, I am sure there are people that read the qur\’an and understand it the way I do, but it\’s impossible to change the opinions of a brain washed bunch
9:59 PM me: Well, it happens in every religion. Thanks for giving me a direct viewpoint on these matters.
Yalin: anytime, thanks for asking

One thing I found interesting was the “(pbuh)” that he wrote after writing Muhammed’s name. I looked up the abbreviation and found out that it means “Peace Be Upon Him” and that it’s a form of respect and reverence when talking/writing about him. I also learned that it’s better to write (s.a.w.) because the former doesn’t carry as much meaning; something gets lost in translation. S.A.W means “Salla Allahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam” which as much as I can understand means “Peace Be Upon Him” but not exactly since something is lost in translation. :) But then again, the site I found this clarification at [usc.edu] might just be more extremists which my friend is obviously not. I’ll ask him about that the next time we chat.

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