In The Name of Allah, The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Peace be upon our Master and Prophet – the Seal of prophets – Abi Al Qassem Mohammad and on his chaste and pure Household, his chosen companions and on all prophets and messengers. Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.
My word today will primary tackle what we have witnessed during the past few days – namely publishing sections from the movie insulting the Prophet of Allah, Mohammad (Peace be upon him and his Household) and the protests which started taking place in the Arab and Islamic world. I want to pose before this great and serious incident – first in comprehending it, then in confronting its targets and third in the way which we must deal with it as we must all be responsible.
First we tackle what took place. It’s the few minutes which were published on the various websites and I believe were watched by millions of people around the world. We do not know if they are tens of millions or hundreds of millions as this is available for all. It’s also the insult to the Prophet of Islam, Mohammad (peace be upon him and his Household), to his own person, to his honor, to his wives, to the Holy Koran as a divine book, and to Islam as a religion. This is the truth. The few minutes which we watched manifest insults in all of these directions.
I believe that this extent of insult is very great and very dangerous. Perhaps I may also claim that it is unprecedented so far. Even if we wanted to compare that to the Book (Devilish Verses) for the apostate Salman Rushdi or the sketches insulting the Prophet of Allah, Mohammad (Peace be upon him and his Household) which were published in some European newspapers or the blazing of some copies of the Koran in the USA, we find that though all of these incidents are great and serious, our case today is even greater and more serious.
After all, as far as the (Devilish Verses) is concerned, it did not reach the hands of many. Whoever wants to know the content of the book must buy the book and read it or search for it if it is found on the internet. As for the sketches, they are insulting on a definite direction. As for burning the Koran, the motives are well known. However, in this case we are before scenes which are comprehended by the young and the old. Even you don’t need to know the language. It is also available through the internet which is accessible worldwide.
So, in content, form and accessibility, what took place and is taking place is very great and serious. What is even worse is the insistence of the websites on publishing these scenes and on carrying on broadcasting them and on not stopping doing so.
This is a very serious incident on the track of the war and insult against Islam and the Great Prophet (Peace be upon him and his Household). This requires a great stance from the great Islamic nation that stands the danger and aggression. That’s because our Great Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him and his Household) is the greatest, the holiest, the most honorable and dignified man we belong to after Allah Al Mighty. I even believe that what took place is more serious than burning Al Aqsa Mosque in 1969. In 1969, when a section of Al Aqsa Mosque was burnt, the Arab and Islamic states met and a summit on the level of presidents, kings, princes and rules was held and through this summit, the Organization of Islamic Conference (which is now known as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation) was founded. Silence on this extent and magnitude of insult to the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him and his Household) is more serious.
I will tell you what is even more serious. The nation which remains silent on this level, this extent and this magnitude of insult to its Prophet is conveying a wrong message to the Israelis to the effect that you can demolish Al Aqsa Mosque because you are before a dormant impotent nation which is unable to do anything.
Today, defending the Prophet (Peace be upon him and his Household) is defending all the sanctities, is defending Al Aqsa Mosque, is defending all prophets – Abrams, Moses, and Jesus Christ, and is defending all divine religions and all divine books. Thus comprehending the magnitude of the cause puts us before obligations. Thus we must not deal with the case as incidental which we may overcome or as the other casual incidents which take place around us in the world.
The second point is how to deal with this incident and how to confront it. On the level of sound reflection, in confronting any incident on a people or a nation – whether it was a military, political, intellectual, cultural or economic aggression – we must usually work on two levels:
The first level is knowing the targets of the aggressions and working at crippling them or frustrating them – meaning preventing the aggression from achieving its goals.
The second level is working at preventing the recurrence of this aggression in the future. That means shutting the door tight before such aggressions and letting the aggressor understand that he is not allowed to return to this aggression or sin or crime. People usually work on these two levels.
First, I will talk about the first level. There are goals for this repetitive insult to Islam, the Prophet of Allah, and the Holy Book of Allah. We must set a group of supposed goals. We do not have enough time to tackle them all. However, I would like to pose before one of these serious targets which is causing sedition between Muslims and Christians, and dragging Muslims and Christians to a religious, sectarian, bloody struggle worldwide. This is one of the fixed targets for this form of aggression which is practiced from time to time. What stresses this concept is the groups that stand behind this kind of aggressions. We may talk about the Zionism. We may talk about some Jewish groups. We may talk about Israel. However who must be in the front? It must be a Muslim apostate such as Salman Rushdi or a Christian. In the incident of burning copies of the Holy Koran, a Christian Clergyman –Jones – is hurled to the front to do that before the eyes and in the hearing of the whole world.
This insulting movie is referred to a Copt clergyman called so and so. I don’t want to mention his name because we must verify these media data. However the case is referred to a Copt clergyman and to a Copt Christian society in the USA. Why clergymen, priests and Christian societies are hurled to the front so that under their name insulting Islam, the Prophet of Islam and the Islamic nation is perpetrated?
This is intentional and deliberate. The same applies to the European newspapers and the artists who drew sketches insulting the Prophet (Peace be upon him and his Household). They suppose that when Muslims watch these movies or see these sketches they will grow angry for their Prophet, Koran and religion. And as the mind of revenge, reprisal, anger and agitation would act first, Christian sides would be accused and Christians would be aggressed against as well as Christian churches and Christian sanctities and Christian religious symbols. Thus we – as Muslims and Christians – would get involved in a sectarian, religious, bloody war. Consequently, Israel, the Jewish-Zionist movement and Zionist Christianity would mount the ivory tower to see mosques and churches being set to fire and the disjointed limbs of men, women and children whether Muslims or Christians scattered here and there. Thus their far-fetched aspirations would be achieved.
Praise be to Allah, spiritual and political leaders whether Muslims or Christians, scored high in the way they dealt with such incidents in the past.
Facing this new incident, the wrath of the Arab and Islamic peoples was directed towards the policies of the USA and Israel instead of towards Christians. This is an excellent and a positive indicator because it manifests a great extent of awareness among Muslims and Christians alike. All were worried on Egypt above all because the insulting movie was referred to Egyptian Copts as was reported in the media. It is clear that some are pushing things towards fighting between Muslims and Copts in Egypt.
Anyway, today also Christian religious and political leaders on top of whom are the senior patriarchs of the Christian sects in the East made haste and condemned the insulting movie. This also had a decisive effect in crippling this goal as it is expected that this aggression carries on in various forms in the future as it is not over yet because the scenes are still broadcasted on the internet. Even more the producers and the concerned in this movie are still threatening of publishing the whole movie. They talk about a two-hour-movie. If twelve minutes were not bore by human heart and tolerated by a human being, how can man bear two hours?
Before the continuing aggression which is expected to be renewed in other forms, this awareness among Muslims and Christians must be asserted as well as not allowing moving towards ordeal in any country or square or place in this world. The persons who are directly concerned in this film and those who back them, support them and protect them – on top of whom is the USA – must be held responsible, tried, punished and boycotted. By the way, the same applies to the cases in which aggressions are staged against Christian churches, Christian civilians, or Christian sanctities by groups referred to Islam in some countries. Christians also are supposed to limit the conflict to the aggressors and their supporters and protectors so as to evade any form of sedition. That’s because we decisively say that some of these groups which are referred to Islam are manipulated by foreign intelligence apparatuses which work for the same goal I tackled a while ago.
This is as far as the first level is concerned – i.e. working at frustrating the goals of this insult and this aggression on the dignity of the Prophet of Islam and the Islamic Nation. Indeed there are other goals which we may tackle in other occasions such as insulting Islam, deforming the Islamic intellect, deforming the Islamic line of conduct and the events of the first era in Islam. This also must be confronted in addition to other goals.
I will talk about the second level which is preventing such an aggression in a while in the framework of the following point.
Third, this movie was produced in the USA. Let’s specify things in a realistic way. The movie was produced in the USA. There are persons concerned in producing this movie, achieving it as well as promoting it.
Good! Muslims are telling the American government: The movie was produced in the USA. You are saying – as they tried in the past few days to say – that you are not concerned in the production of the movie. Even some in the Arab and Islamic world tried to defend the US administration in this framework saying the US administration is not concerned. I do not want to argue this point and who stands behind the movie and who funds it…. We will leave this to time.
However, the Islamic world whose Great Prophet and his dignity, honor and Koran were insulted demands the following from the US government:
First, stop publishing the scenes referred to the insulting movie. However, the US government does not do anything. They said that they contacted the concerned site and the latter said they will not stop broadcasting the scenes. Here the story ends.
The Islamic world calls on the US government to prevent publishing the entire movie later on.
The Islamic world calls on the USA to try and punish those who aggressed against the dignity, religion and the honor of a billion and 400 million people in this world. It is an entire nation. In fact, it is one of the greatest nations in the Globe. However, the US administration does not take any action. On the contrary, it is saying that it will not do anything whether now or in the future. The pretext is well known. It is the very symphony of freedoms, freedom of expression and the US principles and the like.
Brothers and sisters! The USA is offering new additional evidence on its hypocrisy, delusion and double standards in dealing with causes which have to do with entire nations at times. We heard as you did – and I do not want to reiterate much of the information – in the past few days on satellite TV channels, many dialogues and statements which tackled this case and evidences were mentioned that the case is not as such whether in the USA or Europe. They gave many evidences on trying and punishing intellectual, political and media personalities, societies, institutions, satellite channels, websites and employees in the public and private sectors as well as states and conferences because of their intellectual track and because of what they express their viewpoints in only. They gave examples that such sides would be sanctioned because they do not take a stance from the Zionist cause or because they talk about Israel’s massacres in Occupied Palestine or are skeptic about the Holocaust or the like. They named some personalities starting by Roger Garaudy to journalists, intellectuals and states. They even said that the USA links much of its aids to many of the states in the world not only to the level of their official performance, but also to the performance of the private sector in that state with respect to Anti-Semitism. Doesn’t this come under the freedom of expression?
On 16/10/2004, President George Bush endorsed an act pursuing Anti-Semitism worldwide. Some sides said that this act targets any conduct, statement, or allusion in word, action, images, caricature, sketches or writing that harms Jews, Zionists or Israel in a direct or in an indirect way as a discrimination against Jews – and it noticeably equates between Jews, Israel and Zionism. Even more, they set procedural mechanisms. They formed a special chamber in the State Department concerned in implementing this act on the level of the USA and the world as well as on the level of the performance of governments around the world besides the private and nongovernmental organizations in the world. The US State Department presents its report yearly to the US Administration and the Senate. On light of this report, measures and sanctions are taken against governments, states, institutions and persons. Isn’t that so? This is not on the level of the USA only but also on the level of the world as a whole.
This has been put to action and is still taking place since 2004 up till today. TV channels were sanctions. For example because Al Manar TV Channel broadcasted (The Exodus) series, it was tried and fought in France and in the world. The same applies to other TV channels.
Don’t Muslims – the nation of a billion and 400 million Muslims and the followers of a great divine religion and the followers of a Great Prophet and who have this status and presence in the world – deserve that a similar act be issued, or is it rather that here freedom of expression must be confronted while in that case it must be open wide?
So as far as this point is concerned, I will only say: We are anew before deception and hypocrisy. This is new evidence on the deception, hypocrisy and double standards of the USA in dealing with causes which do not have to do with politics or economy or security or wars only but also with dignities, sanctities and what harms nations as a whole.
This must be deep-rooted in the awareness of the Arab and Islamic peoples as well as in the awareness of all peace, coexistence and tolerance loving peoples in the world whether they are Christians or followers of other religions, ideas or ideologies.
Fourth comes working on preventing the renewal of such an aggression in the future. This is what is most important. That means that we do not become satisfied in protesting, demonstrating and expressing our anger today and then go back home. Well, such protests took place in the past and they did not prevent the repetition of the aggression on our Prophet, sanctities and Koran. They will not prevent that now or in the future.
In the past and in confronting (Devilish Verses), protests took place and they were more massive than the current protests. Imam Khomeini (May Allah glorify his secret) issued his well-known fatwa, and he was backed by senior Muslim religious men in the world. This had a very effective influence and such an aggression was prevented for years. In fact, the book and the author were besieged as well as the concerned bookshops, publication houses…. That led to excellent results in this domain. However, lately, we came back to the same old story: insulting sketches in European newspapers, burning copies of the Koran and now the case is even more dangerous and greater as I said at the beginning of my word.
What does that mean? We must move towards closing this door decisively tight. Now this is the historic responsibility which is shouldered by the entire Islamic Nation as well as every honorable Christian who cares and believes in coexistence and religious tolerance. This is the occasion to put a decisive end to this cause and to close the door tight forever.
Is that possible? Yes, that is possible through several things. Let’s give some examples. I am not bringing anything new. I am rather organizing the idea.
First: Working on issuing an international act in various senior international institutions which criminalizes insulting divine religions at least or at least the great prophets especially Abrams, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad (Peace be on them all). This is possible and within reach when an international act or resolution is issued on condition of being bound in all nations and governments around the world and even applicable over national laws in any state around the world. This closes the door tight because everyone would know that whoever writes or draws or produces a movie or publishes…would be punished in any place around the world and will not find any defender or protector.
This is possible and within reach and later we will talk about its mechanism.
Second: This is possible not only on the international level but also in the USA and Europe themselves.
Well, in the United States, didn’t the Congress issue an act which criminalizes Anti-Semitism?
The Congress may issue a similar act which criminalizes insulting the great prophets of Allah. What does forbid that? The legal reasons are similar. The same legal reasons in Anti-Semitism exist here. Why do they criminalize here and they don’t criminalize there?
In this perspective, the Islamic communities in the USA assume a great historic religious responsibility. Are they able to press to this effect? Zionists or Jews or the Jewish societies are not more in number. They may be more influential. Still the Islamic societies and communities in the USA may practice pressure in this perspective.
The case here is not linked to one of the Muslim sects or one of the Muslim personalities. It is linked to the Prophet of Muslims and the Koran of Muslims. Now as the US presidential elections are approaching, Islamic communities in the United States can play a forceful pressing role to the effect of issuing such acts or gaining commitments from this or that competing parties to the effect of issuing such an act.
The so called friends of America in the Islamic and Arab world can also practice pressure in this direction. I will tackle the mechanism for this step in a while. The entire free world must pressure in this direction.
The case is not anymore that of aggressing on the dignity of a person. The case started harming and will in the future harm regional, national and international peace and security. We do not know how things may move, and we do not know if the wrath of hundreds of millions among the followers of this prophet or that prophet who are insulted may be reigned.
The same applies to the European parliaments and the European Parliament. Well, now in the European parliaments similar acts are being issued. Whoever denies the so and so massacre would be criminalized. Whoever denies the Holocaust would be criminalized. Didn’t Garaudy face this calamity? So let them issue acts to this effect: whoever insults the divine religions will be criminalized. As such, this door will be shut close forever.
As for follow up mechanisms, the issue requires a call for an emergency summit for the Organization of Islamic Conference. Well an attempt to burn or burning a section of Al Aqsa Mosque led to the establishment of the Organization of Islamic Conference. Few weeks ago, an Islamic Summit was held in Holy Mecca even under the pretext of what is taking place in Burma or in Syria or in Palestine. However, what is taking place today is greater and more serious.
This is your Prophet! O rulers, kings, princes and presidents! This is your Prophet. This is your Koran! This is your Islam! This is your religion! This is your nation which dignity is being insulted today. It is weird that many among you are not taking any action. I swear that if this movie tackled one of the Arab and Muslims’ kings, princes, or presidents as it tackled Mohammad, the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him and his Household), you would have noticed the wrath of this king, prince or president and his family, party, government and country in a way different from what we are witnessing now. This is really sorrowful.
So as for the follow up mechanism, an emergency summit for the Organization of Islamic Conference must be held. If we are very feeble in the Arab and Islamic world, at least an emergency session for the Foreign Ministers in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation may be held, and a draft resolution or a draft law would be set. Thus all Arab and Islamic states may head to the UN, the USA, and Europe and call for this law to become an international law, an American law and a European law. We are a nation which owns marvelous capabilities on the political, economic, materialistic, media, cultural and intellectual levels. Are we to this extent unable to defend our prophet, Koran and sanctities?
The responsibility of the Islamic peoples today is to demand that from its rulers and governments. This is the least we may do as Islamic peoples to this effect. It is not enough to express our wrath towards the US Embassy here and there. We must tell our rulers in the Arab and Islamic world that this is your responsibility above all. As you represent officially the Arab and Islamic governments and states, you are able to impose on the USA and Europe and on the whole world to respect our Prophet, Koran, sanctities and the honor of our Prophet.
This is the public stance, and this is the sound conduct. If we want to confront the aggression, and if we want to prevent an aggression on the Prophet (Peace be upon him and his Household), the Koran, the wives of the Prophet (Peace be upon him and his Household), the honor of the Prophet (Peace be upon him and his Household), Islam, and religion in the future, we must move in this direction and we must let the whole world understand that this cause has a sequel and that the nation can’t remain silent on continual harm and insult in this appalling and serious way.
As for Lebanon, indeed and praise be to Allah in the past three days – today and the past couple of days – Lebanon expressed a high level of immunity in confronting the target of the aggression I tackled in the previous point – the religious struggle between Muslims and Christians. On the contrary, Lebanon presented a new model and evidence on coexistence between Muslims and Christians and on their living in unity and mutual respect for each others’ religious symbols, sanctities, and personalities. This is what we have witnessed in the past three days through the visit of the Head of the Catholic Church in the world to Lebanon, and the meetings that comprised Muslim and Christian religious leaderships, Muslim and Christian political leaderships and symbols, and Muslim and Christian people and youths. The visit was wrapped up peacefully and to the national and public interest God willing.
Lebanon, the country of coexistence, can play a special and distinctive role because it is a country of Islamic-Christian coexistence and because what took place and what is taking place now is targeting the Prophet of Islam and the sanctities of Muslims by persons who are referred to Christianity. Lebanon has a special post in this confrontation. Hereof, I address His Eminence the President of the Republic, the Speaker, the Parliament, the Premier, the Lebanese Government, religious leaderships, Muslims and Christians in Lebanon, and the various political movements (March 8 and March 14 Blocs) because this issue is above political divisions and internal conflicts. I address them saying: In this stage, Lebanon may play the role of a message on the international level. How is that so? Lebanon now is a member in the Arab League. It chairs the Arab Foreign Ministers Council. It is a member in the OIC. It is a member in the UN General Assembly. In the coming few weeks, the UN General Assembly will convene. Lebanon may call for an emergency session for the Arab League at the level of foreign ministers at least. Still Lebanon may call on Iraq – and I call on the Iraqi government to take such a step. Official Lebanon may make a call upon a national, popular, official and political consensus, for an Islamic summit for the OIC to adopt such ideas: criminalizing insulting the great prophets of Allah, the divine religions and the divine books.
Lebanon may do that. Religious leaders through their meetings and through their relations with the Arab and Islamic world and the world, especially Europe, may also play a distinctive role in this perspective.
The Lebanese government must take a decisive stance. The Lebanese parliament must take a decisive stance. Speaker brethren Nabih Berri has a long and vast experience in dealing with Arab, Islamic and international parliaments. He also can play a role in the Lebanese Parliament, and can as well have a distinctive role on the parliamentary level worldwide to the effect of endorsing acts of this kind in world parliaments.
Yes! Lebanon can play a role much larger than its size as Lebanon has always been larger than its size in causes that have to do with culture, values, civilization, intellect, living in unity, and divine religions. Today Lebanon is called on to play a great role of this kind.
On the popular level, popular demands must carry on. As concerning the first level, first people must call for stopping publishing these scenes on the internet. Second, they must call for preventing publishing the whole movie later on. Third, they must call for trying and punishing those concerned in the insulting movie so that they be taken as an example for anyone who might think of aggressing against our prophet and Koran. This is possible through popular movements on the level of the Islamic world and the whole world. Demonstration is one form of popular movements as well as protests, sit-ins, statements, meetings, articles…. The media plays a very great role here besides political forces, elite movements, and popular movements. Cadres may be formed in every country – a committee or a pursuing chamber – to pursue such persons and to follow up the primary cause and to work for introducing laws that criminalize insulting divine religions in law institutions in the world. So, all of these actions must carry on.
Here also I must call the attention of the Arab and Islamic peoples and of Muslims in general to the fact that America’s friends in the world and in the Arab and Islamic world specially will work at cooling things down so that people forget. Events and causes will be fabricated, and the media and Arab satellites will be made to focus on them upon the call of the US Administration so that this cause would faint. Thus we must be cautious. Today the Muslims living in this age and generation assume a very great historic, moral, religious, and faithful responsibility. If we do not fully assume the responsibility, they will again insult our Prophet as well as all the former prophets and our Holy Book as well as all holy books and all religions and the dignity of the entire nation.
Also on the Lebanese level, indeed we must have taken the initiative to call for demonstrations earlier. However, as I have said, in the past few days, we had a special situation and we feared any popular movement may be exploited in any of the Lebanese regions for wrong ends which may serve the goal of the enemy. Thus we chose Monday to be the beginning of the movement though we were among the first to issue statements and to announce their condemnation for the insult and their willingness to confront.
Our call for demonstration tomorrow in Dahiyeh at five pm is part of a movement which must carry on and integrate in Lebanon as well as in the Arab and Islamic world. I tell the peoples in the Arab and Islamic world and in every country and state: We must not be content that in the so and so capital they demonstrated saying that is enough. No! In every city – I am not saying in every village – Muslims must hit the street and express their wrath and anger.
The entire world, world governments and world parliaments must see this as it is very influential. All of these governments and parliaments must understand that their interests with our Arab and Islamic world are linked to their respect to the sanctities of the Arab and Islamic world.
In Lebanon, tomorrow, Inshallah we will have a rally in Dahiyeh. I am not telling people to bother themselves and come from the various regions. This rally is for Great Beirut – meaning Beirut and its suburbs and its southern suburb (Dahiyeh) as movements in the other regions will take place as well. I am calling for demonstration in the city of Tyr on Wednesday afternoon, in the city of Baalbeck on Friday after prayers, in the city of Bint Jbeil on Saturday afternoon and in the city of Hermel on Sunday afternoon. We may work at least at the level of these dates. We call on the residents of the neighboring towns and districts to participate in the rallies in these cities. Thus let the district be the center for these movements all through the coming days to express this stance.
Wrapping up my word, I would like also to make a call for those whom I am calling to assume the responsibility and to demonstrate. I tell them all those we are calling on to demonstrate in the coming few days and especially those whom we expect and wait for their attendance tomorrow Monday at five in the afternoon in front of Sayyed Ashuhada (Peace be upon him) Compound in Dahiyeh:
O honorable people! You were always present in the squares of defense of dignity, honor, pride, sovereignty, the nation and sanctities. When blood was supposed to be shed, you offered your blood. When souls were to be offered, you offered your souls. When offering the dear one was demanded, you offered your dear ones as sacrifices. When money was to be offered, you were not reluctant to give your money and homes. You bore great risks and pains. You never failed to partake in the procession of obligation fulfillment.
O honorable ones! Every year on the tenth of Muharam you flood squares and fields whether men, women, young, or elderly for long hours to answer the call of Al Hussein (Peace be upon him) – the grandson of the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him): Who is there to offer me support? On every tenth of Muharram of every year, you tell him with your hearts, voices and upraised fists: At your service, O Hussein!
O honorable people! He who is calling on you today is the grandfather of Al Hussein (Peace be upon him). He is Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him and his Household) who was insulted as well as his dignity and morals though he is the greatest moral man in existence and in history. His Koran, honor, wives, religion, Islam, history and biography were insulted. So answer the call of your Great Prophet and Messenger.
O Honorable people! The whole world must see you tomorrow and in the coming few days in Dahiyeh, Tyr, Baalbeck, Bint Jbeil, Hermel and in every city you are responsible in as well as in every place you are present in the Arab and Islamic world and in the world as Lebanese communities. The whole world must see the wrath in your faces, fists and shouts. The whole world must know that this Great Prophet has followers who will not remain silent on insult or humiliation no matter how precious sacrifices were. Let the shouts be strong, resonant and reverberating tomorrow with the call: At your service, O Prophet of Allah! Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.
It seems the Sayyed hit the nail on the head: the creators of this film were seeking mainly to ignite Muslim aggression against Coptics (and other Christians) as well as hatred for Muslims by Christians in general–I suspect primarily American Christians–in order to gain support for the War on Terror–excuse me, The War on God-Fearing Religion.