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memri
July 31, 2008 No.
1909

35 Pakistani Clerics Urge OIC to Declare Economic Boycott of Denmark

In late March 2008, Pakistan's 35 most prominent Islamic clerics wrote a joint letter to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) about the Danish newspapers' reprinting of the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and about the release of the short film "Fitna” by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders. The letter was addressed to OIC Secretary-General Dr. Ekmeledin Ihsanoglu.

The following is the text of the letter as posted on the website of the Pakistani daily Roznama Jang:[1]

Many Danish Newspapers "Published These Cartoons – And the Government of Denmark Took No Notice"

"Dear Ekmeledin Ihsanoglu

"Assalam-o-Alaikum

"This reality is not hidden from you – that antagonists of Islam and of the Muslim Ummah, mustering their dirty guts, have shaken up Muslims' sentiments by publishing blasphemous cartoons. The followers of Islam whose hearts beat with love for the Prophet consider, without doubt, this love as a deposit/debt for them, and consider sacrificing their lives for the honor of the Prophet to be their lives' biggest auspicious act.

"The fact is also known to you that when these cartoons were first published some time ago, the Muslims of the East and the West overwhelmingly protested against this foul act. At that time, you too took a courageous and effective stand in this regard. May Allah grant you good things! But instead of this low mentality taking mankind's virtuous path in the face of this widespread protest, it is a matter of regret that it grew stronger with times.

"And now 17 newspapers of Denmark have committed this shameful act by publishing these cartoons once again. This buttresses the point that even in future these people want to continue with their hate-filled activities. These are aimed at tormenting the hearts of Muslims and at blaspheming the universe's most respectful Prophet.

"It also must be noted that newspapers in such a large number published these cartoons and the government of Denmark took no notice. This shows that this did not happen accidentally or due to immaturity and innocence. Rather, situations are witness to the manner of its occurrence, which is part of a dangerous premeditated conspiracy against Islam and the Muslim Ummah.

"The Dutch Government Appears to be Powerless to Impose a Ban on the Film, As No Law Exists Against Such a Criminal Act"

"Additionally, it is also not accidental that a member of Dutch parliament, mustering profane audacity exactly at this time, made a film ['Fitna' by Geert Wilders] on the Koran, which is blasphemous of the revealed book and has harmed its greatness. This shameful way too is a symbol of mean mentality and open enmity against the Koran. Despite the Dutch government's half-hearted appeal against releasing this film, the filmmaker has announced that it will be screened in the near future. The Dutch government appears to be powerless to impose a ban on the film, as no law exists against such a criminal act.

"Muslims Have [Never] Committed Blasphemy… Against a Sacred Leader of Any Religion"

"This fact is not hidden from anyone with some knowledge of the glorious history of Muslims and Islam, that Muslims never transgressed from serious scholarly debate with non-Muslims. And no such incident can be cited in which Muslims have committed blasphemy and character assassination against a sacred leader of any religion. The Koran, despite serious opposition to shirk (polytheism), does not permit Muslims to abuse those gods whom the mushtarikin (polytheists) worship. The Koran says: 'Do not abuse those who these people worship despite Allah.'

"On the one hand, these people of the West claim to be torchbearers of respect for faiths and religions, moderation and peaceful coexistence; on the other, they have launched dirty and baseless mischief-mongering against the Prophet and the Koran; [they have launched] slander and open buffoonery against Islamic beliefs. [The Koran says that] without doubt, the hatred in their hearts is far greater than it appears on their lips.

"Now the Time Has Come to Take a Courageous And Honorable Stand Against This Disturbing Situation"

"Now the time has come to take a courageous and honorable stand against this disturbing situation, because just as this hostile way of things is hurting the feelings and sentiments of Muslims of the entire world, it also poses dangers to peace and security at the international level.

"Since we are aware of your [OIC Secretary-General's] anxiety and interest in this regard, we offer some proposals for this purpose:

"a) It is highly essential that the OIC does not remain content by merely recording verbal protest against these cartoons and the potential release of this film. Rather, all Islamic nations should take effective practical steps against this profane audacity, and collectively pressure the Western countries to make laws, declaring such actions punishable crimes; and these shameful acts be totally eliminated; and no justification be created for these absurd and unacceptable pretexts under the cover of freedom of expression... [This is because] the act of blaspheming revealed books and sacred figures is not related to freedom of expression. Isn't it an internationally accepted reality that hurting the credibility of an ordinary man is... [a punishable] crime for which there is a law in every country, and this is not considered as conflicting with the freedom of expression? In such situations, how can one consider it right to describe these hostile, blasphemous and shameful attacks on the prophets and revealed books? And isn't it a fact that many Western countries have declared it a criminal act to lie [i.e. conceal/misinterpret] about the Jews' Holocaust, despite the fact that talking about the Holocaust doesn't cause blasphemy to or make a joke of somebody?

"b) The Dutch government must be issued a formal demand to bring into effect effective laws and administrative steps to stop the release of this film ['Fitna'].

"c) If the Danish government does not declare the [publication of] shameful and blasphemous cartoons as a criminal act, the OIC [should] appeal to all Islamic nations for a trade boycott of that bigoted country.

"d) The OIC and its member-nations should immediately take effective steps for bringing in an international law at the level of the United Nations, as per which blasphemy of the prophets and revealed books will be declared a criminal act.

"We hope you will seriously consider these proposals and will take every effective and appropriate step for an effective ban on this shameful, hostile and blasphemous act against Muslims.

"Wassalam''

Signatories:

1: Maulana Muhammad Sarfraz Khan Safdar, 2: Maulana Salimuddin Khan, 3: Maulana Dr. Abdur Razzaq Askandar, 4: Maulana Mufti Muhammad Rafi Usmani, 5: Maulana Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, 6: Maulana Dr. Sher Ali Shah, 7: Pir Muhammad Aminul Hasnat, 8: Allama Syed Azmat Ali Shah Hamdani, 9: Maulana Abdur Rahman Salafi, 10: Maulana Hafiz Muhammad Salafi, 11: Maulana Mufti Muhammad Idrees Salafi, 12: Maulana Nayeemur Rahman, 13: Maulana Ubaidullah, 14: Maulana Abdur Rahman Ashrafi, 15: Maulana Qari Haneef Jalandhari, 16: Maulana Anwarul Haq, 17: Maulana Mehmood Ashraf, 18: Maulana Mufti Abdur Rauf, 19: Maulana Mufti Syed Abdul Quddus Tirmizi, 20: Maulana Mufti Muhammad, 21: Maulana Musharraf Ali Thanvi, 22: Maulana Mufti Azizur Rahman, 23: Maulana Fazlur Rahim, 24: Maulana Zahid-ur-Rashdi, 25: Maulana Ashraf Ali, 26: Maulana Qari Arshad Ubaid, 27: Maulana Qari Asad Ubaidul Azhari, 28: Maulana Muhammad Akram Kashmiri, 29: Maulana Muhammad Siddiq, 30: Maulana Mufti Abdullah, 31: Maulana Abdul Malik, 32: Maulana Qari Irshad, 33: Maulana Mufti Muhammad Tyeb, 34: Maulana Mufti Muhammad Zahid, 35: Maulana Ghulamur Rahman

[1] Jang.com.pk (Pakistan), March 29, 2008.