Following are excerpts from an interview with Saudi poet Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shimri, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on December 26, 2010.
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/2743.
Interviewer: "You appeared on a radio show, and said that you refused to defend the Prophet Muhammad, during the crisis of the offensive cartoons in Denmark."
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shimri: "That is correct."
Interviewer: "You support rapprochement, yet you refuse to defend the Prophet Muhammad?"
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shimri: "When talking about the defense, we need to talk about how the attack began."
Interviewer: "Where did it begin?"
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shimri: "The attack began from our side, not from Denmark."
Interviewer: "In what way?"
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shimri: "Did Denmark launch a war against the Muslims, and destroy the mosques of the Islamic communities there, or was it an individual who drew the cartoons? It was a single person. Is it reasonable to expect a country – or all the Muslim countries – to sever diplomatic ties with Denmark, because one person drew cartoons?! [...]
"What Denmark did – was it the action or the reaction?"
Interviewer: "You may think it was the reaction, but it was the action."
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shimri: "How many times have we heard, since we were children, Friday sermons – and you know how vehement our religious discourse is, including at school – in which all other denominations and religions are accused of heresy? They pray day and night: 'Oh Allah, annihilate them, oh Allah, turn their sons into orphans and their women into widows,' and so on. This vehement rhetoric is not in keeping with the Koran, which says: 'Do not revile their gods, lest they revile your God;' 'Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion.' We are constantly provoking people, but when we ourselves are harmed, we say: They did this, that, and the other to us. This is wrong. We need to examine ourselves. Who affronts the Prophet Muhammad on a daily basis? We do."
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shimri: "With all our interpretations to hadiths, and the use we make of false hadiths and myths. You see the results." [...]