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Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi,and Sheikh Tariq Ramadan on the Recent Events Surrounding the Flim on our Prophet (pbuh)

Islamic scholar and chairman of the International Union of Ulema, Dr Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi, strongly criticised the


film in his Friday sermon at the Omar bin Khattab mosque.

"The movie seeks to destroy the image of the Prophet of Islam in a very mean way," he said. "It reflects racialism and ignorance. It cannot be described as a work of art permissible under the pretext freedom of expression," he added. "We have been used to such acts of maligning from the West oft and on. Some people in America and Europe are bent on hurting the sentiments of 1.6bn Muslims all over the world."

He, however, stressed that protests should be peaceful. "Our manner of protesting should reflect sense and reason. We cannot throw the blame on the United States as a whole. Nor should we physically attack the US embassies in our region. People in high positions in the West realise the stupidity of such attempts to destroy to the image of Islam." He reminded that the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, had already described the film as "disgusting and reprehensible".

"We need to counter such work by producing a movie presenting the Islam in a true frame."



Silence Will Be the Best Response: Regarding a Dutch Movie-Provocation

by Tariq Ramadan

Mr. Geert Wilders will launch very soon a short movie, about which nobody knows anything, where it is said that he is going to unveil the true negative essence of Islam, the unhealthy character of the Prophet, or maybe the Qur'an's insanities.  Whatever is the content, one understands it is a pure provocation!  Silence would be our best response!

The noise surrounding this movie's launch and the public statements of Mr. Geert Wilders are always so extreme that anyone can understand his objective is to provoke a reaction and to get media coverage and attention.  For the time being, he seems to be succeeding beyond hope: everybody is speaking about a movie nobody has watched, being afraid of (or hoping for) a scandal.  M. Geert Wilders is a populist: having no serious real social policy, he is trying to get voters by feeding and using their fears!  This is so clear that the Muslims must pass over: Mr. Geert Wilders is now revealing his true nature and the best response is to ignore him.  The worst case scenario he can expect is indeed not reaction . . . silence!

Yet we know that, in these times of tensions, anything could happen.  Governments in the Muslim-majority countries, organizations, and politicians can use it for the sake of other political stakes.  As it happened with the Danish cartoon crisis, some governments and/or religious organizations (radical or not) instrumentalized the whole story to mobilize the people either to divert them from the true problems in their own countries or to get popular support by attacking "the West" represented as "the enemy."  An uncontrolled over-emotional reaction is always possible, and some can shape it through some inflammatory statements or "protest orchestration" (by some governments or organizations).  Thus no one can predict where it is going to end.

People have learned from the cartoon crisis and many will try to calm down the atmosphere, but some other presidents or leaders have other agendas and this kind of crisis is very much an opportunity.  Actually it is exactly what Mr. Geert Wilders himself is looking for!  One may hope that the fact that Mr. Geert Wilders is known (and that it is clearly a provocation) would help the people to understand it is a trap and they must refuse to be driven into it.  This would be the best case scenario.

The Dutch government needs to have a preemptive policy built on a clear discourse that the government is not supporting (or even rejecting or condemning) the film and its content but it does not want to interfere in the name of freedom of expression.  If any ambassador or politician from a Muslim-majority country is asking for an audience, she or he should be received and this positioning should be clearly stated.  Wilders should not be prevented from speaking or be put in jail (as some have suggested): one should only respond to his argument when there is an argument and simply ignore him when he is acting out of an orchestrated provocation.

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