The recent re-publication of a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad by the Danish press and release of Dutch MP Geert Wilders' film "Fitna" have precipitated a wave of Muslim protest, some of it violent, throughout the world. Following these developments, several Arab columnists wrote to condemn the violent reactions, arguing that the Muslims themselves had committed iniquity against both their coreligionists and everyone else, thereby harming the name of Islam.
The following are excerpts from some of the articles:
Islam's Biggest Enemy is the Muslims Themselves
In an article in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, titled "Muslims Against Islam," Kuwaiti liberal Dr. Ahmad Al-Baghdadi wrote: "In most countries around the world, Muslims broke into Danish Embassies, setting fire to them, and called for a ban on Danish imports... They have also launched a satellite TV channel and organized various committees and institutions, with the sole purpose of defending the Prophet [Muhammad] and the Islamic religion... Have the Muslims ever taken account of the tremendous iniquities they themselves have committed and are still committing against Islam [within and outside] the Islamic countries?
"Let us examine the following problems, which I will briefly outline below:
"How many prisoners are locked up in Muslim prisons for their opinions, ideas, and cultural identity? Is it in the spirit of Islam that Muslims are fleeing their homeland for 'heretical' countries in order to attain security and live in dignity?... Is it in the spirit of Islam to be silent in the face of the tyranny of rulers? Is it in the spirit of Islam that one family should rule over an entire people? Is it in the spirit of Islam that some Muslim countries abound in magnificent palaces while 60% of their population is illiterate? Is it in the spirit of Islam to turn a blind eye to a billionaire's several profligate satellite channels, whose programs make a mockery of religion and morality, only because [this billionaire] has [also] launched a religious channel?... The truth is that the biggest enemy of Islam is the Muslims themselves, because they have relinquished all decency in dealing with others, as well as the courage to oppose oppression..."
Who Is Harming The Prophet?
In an article on the liberal website Aafaq.org, Egyptian writer Ahmad Al-Aswani set out the crimes committed by the Muslim world that he believed have harmed the Prophet Muhammad and discredited the spirit of Islam: "I do not think that cartoons, books, or films can harm a religion or affect the faith of those who adhere to it out of conviction.
"The ones who harm the Prophet are those who butcher and bomb innocents all over the world, from New York to Madrid, London, Bali, Riyadh and Cairo, Kabul and Baghdad – while invoking Allah and the Prophet under the banner of Islamic jihad...
"Among those who harm the Prophet are the likes of Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, who incites to the murder of Jewish children in their mothers' wombs (e.g. in a 1996 lecture to the Egyptian journalists association) and to suicide operations, as well as those who cause the death of innocent victims by declaring jihad in Iraq in the name of religion and the Prophet.
"The ones who harm the Prophet are those who call on the world to pass a resolution against disparaging religion, while they themselves denigrate other religions in each prayer in the mosques, as well as in their schools and on their satellite channels – and especially [the religion] of Christians and Jews, whom they curse in every prayer. When Muslim countries submitted a draft of this resolution to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Saudi Shura Council raised objections, since reviling other religions is one of Islam's central precepts.
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"The ones who harm the Prophet are the likes of those who issued the fatwa sanctioning the breastfeeding of adults, and asserting that [the drinking of] the Prophet's urine is a source of blessing – or those who allow such fairy tales to be studied in religious schools and colleges... The ones who harm the Prophet are those who teach children in schools, particularly so-called Islamic [schools], to hate Christians on the grounds that it is forbidden to love them...
"The ones who harm the Prophet are those who believe that external attributes such as a beard, a spot on the forehead [attesting to deep genuflections during prayer], a veil, or a cloak are prescribed by Islam, and also those who accuse others of heresy and kill [them] on account [of these external attributes].
"The ones who harm the Prophet are those who believe that woman is [lewd], and that she detracts from [the purity] of prayer just like a dog or a donkey... and those who believe that a woman lacks intelligence and religion, forgetting that [they are talking about] a mother, sister, beloved, daughter, or wife, who is equal to man in every respect.
"The ones who harm the Prophet are people like [Egyptian geologist and Ph.D] Zaghlul Al-Najjar, who claims to have knowledge yet at the same time regards natural disasters such as storms, volcanic eruptions, and floods as divine punishments [for] sinners, and who disparages the New and Old Testaments, believing them to be fabrications – and all this in the name of Islam and the Prophet...
"The ones who harm the Prophet are the rulers of Arab states who have made their countries the last bastions of tyranny and dictatorship in the world, and who demand submission to religious texts to justify their crimes.
"The ones who harm the Prophet do not live in the West – they are among us, the Muslims. [It is the Muslims] who have fashioned an Islamic model that is [inherently] terrorist, hypocritical, life-negating, and sustained by the murder of others in the name of jihad and by attacks on freedom of opinion under the pretext of [defending Islamic] national principles – which are actually nothing but retardation and fossilized prejudice... This is what we – and no one else – have produced."
Murderous Acts Have Destroyed the Image of Islam
Similar claims were made by Bahraini columnist Abdallah Al-Ayoubi in an article in the Bahraini daily Akhbar Al-Khaleej: "...The harm to the Muslim religion has not been caused only by the publication, in Danish papers, of cartoons disparaging the Prophet Muhammad or by the film... produced by the Dutch MP. There are many [other], graver, dangers that Muslim religion is exposed to. They come from those who use religion as a cover for their criminal conduct, which they attribute to the teachings of the Islamic faith...
"Humane and noble [religious] precepts have been destroyed by extremist 'Islamic' movements such as Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and others, that perpetrate hideous crimes against innocent [people] in their own countries as well as in other, non-Muslim, countries... When base, despicable acts are carried out by [Muslim] societies and nations, they cause tremendous harm to [Islamic] religious teachings.
"This is what happened, for example, as a result of the September 11th crimes against the U.S., and as a result of the attacks in London and Madrid that followed in their wake.
"The Muslim nations must first and foremost purge themselves of [elements] that use Islam and its teachings as a disguise [i.e.] in order to present their crimes against humanity as jihad in the name of Allah... It is inconceivable that the teachings [of Islam] should justify the murder of dozens, [even] thousands, of innocent people. It is such iniquities that have corrupted the image of Islam in the eyes of non-Muslims...
"[Muslim] nations must adopt the language of reason... in order to deal with the attacks on [Islam], and to wage war against 'Islamic' extremism, which has distorted Muslim religious teachings...
"Those who harm the Muslim religion must be confronted, using sound logic rather than emotion; up until now, responses to attacks [on Islam] have been based not rationality but on pathos. The exaggerated reactions to the Danish press's publication of the offensive cartoons were manifested in setting fire to Danish diplomatic representations – although the Danish government bears no responsibility for these cartoons.
"Such [responses] will not only fail to prevent harm to [Islam], but will actually magnify it..."
 Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), March 31, 2008.
 According to some interpretations of Muslim law, the presence, or mere passing, of a woman, a dog, or a donkey during prayer detract from the purity of the prayer.
 www.aafaq.org, April 5, 2008.
 Akhbar Al-Khaleej (Bahrain), March 31, 2008.