I have been reading Stratfor for around 15 year. I began reading Stratfor after September 11, 2001. Stratfor has been extremely cogent throughout. I mentioned about Stratfor to a friend of mine who is doing a PhD in political science in a Pakistani university. I also handed over to him more than two dozen geopolitical articles that I had stored with me in soft form. As my friend read them he commented very highly about Stratfor. To quote this in his own words, if there was one entity doing a valuable service to humanity after God, it was Stratfor. My friend is, of course, a Muslim. And this is a great complement. I have read plenty of articles by Stratfor and I particularly hold George Friedman in very high esteem. George Friedman is Maimonides of our times. All the world should value his opinion.
In this article, titled Paris Attack Underscores a Deeper Malaise, George Friedman explicitly shifts the onus of responsibility on the Muslim societies to grow out of an ideological battle. Although, implicitly, there is some burden on the Western civilization as well. I my message I simply want to reassert that there is indeed some onus of responsibility on the western civilization, society, the states and the people as well. Although it is not too much, but whatever it is, it is important that it be addressed.
In as much as the intent of the Muslim militants was to draw moderate Muslims living in France (or Europe, for that matter) in conflict with their host countries, the truth is that the truth of the cartoonists was no less draconian. If we try to understand the motives of the cartoonists who have caricatured Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the past, one can fairly infer that a part of their intent was to infuriate the Muslims living in their countries and abroad. One might argue that they were turned off by the behavior of the general Muslim community living in their countries for one reason or the other. However, even if this was the case, they should not have tried to annoy the whole world’s Muslim community by depicting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). There are things that are too personal and laws regarding freedom of expression, speech and media should be evolved to take these factors into account. This is important for the world peace. Whoever values a peaceful world should take such things into consideration.
Depicting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) pictorially, or otherwise, is prohibited in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) prohibited this himself. The main reason why he prohibited this was because he did not want the humanity to indulge in pagan worship. By the same reasoning it is also prohibited in Islam to depict other religious figures that Muslims hold in high esteem. These figures specially include prophets of Islam. Jesus Christ (PBUH) and Moses (PBUH) are considered prophets in Islam. As portraying prophets according to Islam is prohibited even with the most respectful intentions, caricaturing them in humiliating painting is obviously infuriating. This should be easy to understand.
We live in a globalized world now. Western states and Muslim countries should learn to coexist with each other in reasonable harmony. There is a considerable scope for that too. A large majority of Muslims realizes the values of western countries. Praising the values of western countries is a chore in our day to day discussions in Pakistan. There should be no reason why western countries should start developing unnecessary tensions with the Muslim countries. Needling Muslims where it hurts the most would definitely aggravate the affairs. Such events would erode any chances of developing a peaceful globalized society. If the western states want to have decent relationships with the Muslim countries, one thing they should learn to do is not to annoy Muslims when it is not required. And when something is required, there should be civilized procedures to convey the disgust. As a matter of fact, all the societies should learn to do that. Muslims should learn to respect other societies. This is the only way how humanity can be brought together to live in a peaceful manner.
Depicting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is bad behavior. Such behavior should be discouraged.
George Friedman concludes this entry to his geopolitical diary by saying that:
“The end of jihadism will come only when Muslims defeat their own deviants on the ideological battleground”
This is very well said. However, this is only partly true. In my opinion, the end of jihadism will come when the whole humanity will defeat their own deviants on the ideological battleground collectively, and where they cannot resolve an ideological conflict, they should learn to revert to a policy of “live and let live” and value this policy.
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