I am reminded after today’s terrible events of an incident from the very early days of the Prophet’s message. It is a story every Muslim child knows. The Prophet would walk through the streets of Mecca, and on a particular street a lady would throw garbage at him. He did not change his route, and every day the lady would demonstrate her disdain.
One day the lady did not appear, and when the Prophet learned she was ill he went to visit her. She feared he would gloat, or insult her in return, but he merely prayed for her wellbeing and wished her a speedy recovery.
That’s it. That is the example we are given to follow. That is the lesson from the earliest story children learn. It doesn’t matter what abuse or opprobrium we face, the answer is to rise above it, and still show compassion and human sympathy for our abuser.
In that spirit my thoughts are will those who have suffered a terrible loss today. I condemn and reject utterly and without reservation the actions of those violent monsters who have suborned my religion and claimed the justification of insult to the Prophet for their hideous actions.
I am a Muslim. The Quran is for me the revealed word of God, and tells us that there was no word or deed of the Prophet that was not divinely inspired. That makes his character above reproach and impervious to insults and ridicule. Although the humour of Charlie Hebdo was intended to be offensive, it has no bearing on the true character of the Prophet and therefore it is ridiculous to take offence on his behalf.
And that is why we need satire. Being satirised and ridiculed is a test of faith, one that we should meet with open hearts and minds, to prove our own trust in the word of God is stronger than anything the haters and the humorists can concoct. To rise above it, to open our arms in friendship in spite of the insult is in the traditions of the Prophet. The gunmen have nothing to do with Islam, they do not represent me, or my brethren in faith.
To the cartoonists and the comedians: keep it coming, I will smile, and open my arms and hopefully in time you will find something to admire.