“Any depictions of the prophet are considered blasphemous by Muslims,” wrote Agencies, as reported readily by Aljazeera.net English. The above statement is meant to fully summarize the reason behind the outrage that arises in Pakistan and other parts of the Muslim world whenever some provocative ‘artist’ decides to express his freedom of expression and ‘expose’ Muslims as anti-democratic.
Such a simplistic interpretation of such an intricate issue.
There is no denial – and no shame – in the fact that most Muslims hold their Prophet in the highest regard. Despite the continued decrease in the number of faithful in increasingly secularized Western societies, Muslims are clinching even tighter to their faith. However, while the outrage over the latest transgression by some Facebook user and his “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” may appear as a straightforward news story – that of Western values vs Muslim narrow-mindedness – the true underpinnings of the outrage is suspiciously missing.
The naïve depiction by Western media makes it easy for ‘freedom of expression’ enthusiasts to condemn Muslims for yet again failing the democracy test.
The latest Facebook episode is a remake of the same old story. Some ill-intended ‘artist’, under the guise of freedom of speech, takes on a confrontational mission, knowing fully the response such an act would generate, and perhaps the lives that would be lost. Muslim masses, predictably, respond through angry protests, burning flags, denouncing America, Israel, Zionism, Facebook, Youtube and so on. Strangely, the very governments that are considered US allies tend to be on the forefront of condemning the ‘blasphemous’ provocations. Muslim masses are thus exploited on all fronts - by the media, by anti-Muslims, by rightwing forces in the West, and their own governments.