Freedom To Hate

"We have to show our opposition to Islam and we have to, at times, run the risk of having unflattering labels placed on us because there are some things for which we should display no tolerance."

— Queen Margrethe II (Danish Queen), April 15, 2005 [1]

I don’t get it, I really don’t.

We are called fanatics, extremists, deviants and whatnots. We are hungry for war, fuel hatred and incite violence.

Yet, the caricature that deliberately insulted the teacher of the world’s second largest religion was not conceptualized by us.

It was Denmark that lit the fire, Norway that added fuel, Germany that fanned it and France that kept it going, all under the banner of freedom. Funny how a country that only some 50-odd years ago permitted female accession to the throne defends freedom of its citizens. Funny how a country that abolished the death penalty just over 25 years ago, stands for freedom. Funny how a country that took about 30 years to unite portrays freedom. Funny how a country that bans students from wearing religious scarves is so devoted to freedom.

Hey, every country has its faults, but to make mistakes and correct them, and to err and insist on your freedom to do that are two different things. This caricature depicting Prophet Muhammad has nothing to do with freedom of expression; it is a blatant insult to the world’s second largest religion.

In one Arab country, the French hypermarket giant Carrefour has hung large signs at its entrance, proclaiming –” No, no to Danish products; Yes, to a boycott. Wonder what its executives back home are thinking. What’s more, now with many in France aligning themselves with the Scandinavians, I wonder if Carrefour will post another sign –” we are not French, 100% owned by locals.

You got to admit, at least it’s better than what they said back when people actively boycotted American products, only to lose interest later: Pepsi is Arab. Or better yet, like in the US, only Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast will be served in restaurants.

Do not get me wrong. Hearing of Muslims actively boycotting Danish products made me feel we still have a beating heart somewhere in our midst and the unity shown by Muslims around the globe has kindled a flame of hope in our willingness, as individuals, to stand for what we believe in. If only we will continue with this, regardless of its impact on our luxurious lives or its seemingly futile effect on the Danes or any statements issued in opposition by some bureaucrats, we will have at least made an effort to bringing ourselves one step closer to the Ummah that we claim to be.

And, as the Norwegians, French and Germans express solidarity with their Danish counterparts, only time will tell if we will treat them all the same. How hard could it be to stop ourselves from consuming products of those who insult the very man who we yearn to emulate, peace be upon him, the best of all mankind?

Some Europeans can decry censorship for not letting caricatures of our blessed Prophet Muhammad be published. They can bring up our backwardness and following of a man who passed away 1400 years ago. Who cares? The boycott must continue. Let them make fun of us now; yet, surely, those who laugh last, laugh best.