Following are excerpts from an interview with Saudi cleric Sheik Muhsen Al-'Awaji, aired on Ein TV on February 26, 2006.
Sheik Muhsen Al-'Awaji: Before Islam, the Arabs fought for 40 years to defend the honor of a female camel. This was in the Busous War. A female camel was humiliated, and a 40-year war ensued to defend its honor. So what about the honor of the Prophet?
Interviewer: Are you proud of this?!
Sheik Muhsen Al-'Awaji: I am proud that honor and nobility always characterized the Arabs, and then came Islam to reinforce these traits. I'm not saying I'm proud of a war over a female camel's honor, or that I would call to wage a war to defend the honor of a female camel... But since this was done for the honor of a female camel, do not rebuke someone who would do anything to defend our beloved Prophet Muhammad.
Interviewer: Let us agree that we Muslims, in general, are remiss in conveying our message...
Sheik Muhsen Al-'Awaji: But what happened was not because we were remiss.
Interviewer: No, but it was one of the causes. In Denmark, in Europe, or anywhere in the world, they know full well that they cannot offend the Holocaust, because the Jews managed to convey their message powerfully to the entire world, whereas we...
Sheik Muhsen Al-'Awaji: When all this began, the people of Denmark insisted, in a premeditated and unprecedented way, on humiliating our Prophet.
Imagine that someone is beheaded, and then he is told: "Put it back on, while the blood is still flowing." But he behaves arrogantly and stubbornly, until the head decomposes - and only then does he want to put it back on. Similarly, an apology today - if it is even offered - is unacceptable, because the whole issue has begun to rot.
Incidently, the Americans did worse things than the Danish, but they were smarter. The British were also smarter. The Americans degraded the Holy Koran, the word of God.
Interviewer: In Guantanamo.
Sheik Muhsen Al-'Awaji: Yes, but their official spokesman came out immediately, and even if he used diplomatic language, he said: "We will investigate, and we will take action."