Indian Muslim Council-USA, a group dedicated to the promotion of pluralism, unequivocally condemned the announcement of a reward on the head of the Danish "cartoonist" who drew the demonizing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, by Yaqoob Qureishi an Indian politician.
Dr. Shaik Ubaid, the president of IMC-USA said that the minister Qureishi should be sacked. Dr. Ubaid also denounced the alleged support given to the minster by a few Muslim leaders and welcomed the statement from Syed Qasim Rasool Ilyas, the official spokesman for All India Muslim personal Law Board who had stated that the Board does not support Qureishi’s views.
Dr. Ubaid, who was instrumental in organizing a successful and peaceful protest rally in New York, said that while it is understandable as to why the Muslims feel so much hurt and anger at the insulting cartoons, the answer is to respond to this despicable and demonizing insult in a way that is consistent with the teachings of the Prophet who was sent as a mercy to all of humanity. "The Prophet not only forgave those who stoned him but prayed for them," .
Dr. Ubaid said "Muslims must respond to this demonizing attack that was designed to portray Muslims as terrorists and to provoke them into violent reaction by protesting peacefully and by launching a campaign to educate others about the life and mission of our beloved Prophet, the most noble and successful man in history."
Dr. Ubaid appealed to religious leaders to work towards developing understanding and religious tolerance and to jointly demand from their governments and the UN to devise laws that would make demonization of communities illegal.
Dr. Ubaid appealed to the media not to sensationalize the issue and fan the flames of hatred and mistrust by highlighting just the violent protests and irresponsible statements. The issue is not about free speech versus blasphemy but about demonization. As we have seen in the case of the persecution of Dalits and the anti-Muslim pogroms in Gujarat or the genocide against Native Americans and Jews, demonization especially through the abuse of mass-media has disastrous consequences for the demonized community.
The cartoons were published by Flemming Rose, the culture editor of a right wing Danish newspaper. The Danish government led by a right wing party which has refused to repeal discriminatory laws against Muslims initially reacted with arrogance to requests for meetings by Danish Muslims and Muslim ambassadors in Denmark.
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