Thursday, April 10, 2008

Don't Go Dutch

Amr Adib, the presenter of AlQahira Alyoum, & the Islamic intellectual Salim al-Awa are leading a campaign calling for a two-week boycott of all Dutch products (10th - 25th April) as a protest at MP Geert Wilders' anti-Qur'an film, Fitna.

The limited period boycott, that is expected to make a small dent in the Dutch economy, is meant to achieve a couple of goals:
  • Urge the Dutch government to ban the movie
  • Urge the Dutch government to pass a legislation criminalizing the desecration of all religions including Islam (in place of or alongside the current law which only criminalizes - the ambiguous and stretchable - antisemitism)
  • Take the Dutch industrials and business owners up on their word to sue Wilders for damages in case their sales are negatively affected by the publication of the movie
  • Discourage other wackos from doing a similar acts
  • Give zealous Muslims (especially young men who usually take matters in their own hands with grave results) a legitimate and civilized way to express their outrage without resorting to violence (I added this gaol since I thought it was important)
Some Muslims disagree with this call saying that campaigns against small countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands are hypocritical, as the worst abuses comes from the United States government which has allowed (and might have ordered) the desecration of the Qur'an in Guantánamo. Moreover, the US is occupying an Arab country, but nobody dares to call for sanctions against the US.

Others say, that the true insults against Islam and the prophet are committed by the Muslims themselves, who have limited their religious obligation to the mechanical acts of worship . without understanding the values they promote. “And we did not send you except as a Mercy for all Creation.” If we truly love Mohammad, then I ask his followers, where is the evidence of the mercy mentioned in the holy verse in Muslim individuals, families, streets, schools, hospitals, factories, governments, ......... ??????

Although I was a supporter of the call to ignore all similar attacks on Islam since Islam is too great a religion to be defeated by such petty attempts, but for the sake of unity, I am now in support of the boycott.

Come on, you did not really think I would end this post without putting in my two sense. Since I am a believer in leading by example, I suggest that the Egyptian legislators would take the initiative and pass a law to criminalize any desecration of any religion. I know, some would say that we don't need such a law in Egypt since Muslims believe in all religions and are required to respect all prophets, so a counter reply is out of the questions. To those wise guys I say:
  • The option of desecrating "their" religion as a response to the desecration of "ours" and as I mentioned earlier, is out of the questions for religious reasons, so we are not giving up a viable option that we could have otherwise used as a negotiation card.
  • If you are so sure that no Muslim will ever attack Christianity or Judaism, then you should still embrace this law since it protects Islam against any attacks by a crazed Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, a follower of any other religion, or a non-believer.
  • You cannot deny the presence of some ignorant so called imams who may end a sermon by showering Christians and Jews with hostile prayers (to say the least). Offensive language could also be found on TV, or in printed media. This crime must stop. Any yes I do call it a crime because it is totally against the tolerance of Islam and because it threatens the unity of the Egyptian fabric which is weaved from Muslims & Copts.
  • Such law will force all Egyptians to start being "politically correct". For example, some imams might be furious about the crimes committed against the Palestinians. yet, they should learn to call the criminals Zionists and not Jews. This should also spread to the movies, TV series, newspapers, and so on.
  • This "political correctness" must also be observed with regard to color, race, physical disabilities, hight, weight, marital status, nationality, political beliefs, ........... you name it.
  • Once we have such a law at home, we would have more leverage and credibility in asking for a similar UN resolution to be passed by the security council.
Wow, this was meant to be a short post. I have no idea what happened!!!


Anonymous said...

Excellent, very honest and fair.
That is going to be my only comment, and I truly enjoyed reading it.

Anonymous said...

i missed your blog, first thing i did after my long trip, was to check your blog. but it was worth it. i wish one day we turn into a producing country so we can pressure Holland, Denmark or even the USA by threatening to stop our exports to them instead of boycotting their products. as long as we don't have this option, no one will ever respect us. other countries will continue to say khaleehom yetkelemo.


Anonymous said...

When I heard that Wilders' film had already become available on the internet, I didn't even bother watching it. Usually I watch these sorts of things when they come up so that I can have an intellectual response to something about the video if it comes up in conversation, but I feel like I already know exactly the kind of things the video will show from similar things that I've seen in the past.
Anyway, like you, my first reaction was: what is the proper response? I remember after the Danish cartoons, all I saw on the news were angry Muslims on the street burning the Danish flag and promising "vengeance" and so on. And all I could think was, wow, this is exactly the kind of reaction that the cartoonist probably expected, and the cartoons themselves were just a self-fulfilling prophecy that sparked more anger and hatred (the exact thing that we were being stereotyped for in the first place). Clearly this kind of public outrage is not the response we need.
As for your recommendation of a boycott, let's be honest: a) the Arab world makes up a minuscule fraction of Holland's overall exports (and to add to that, a full-out boycott is nearly impossible in just two weeks), b) even if this urges the Dutch govt to ban the movie, once something is online, banning it is a hopeless cause, c) the govt will also have trouble passing legislation against desecration of religions because it is being pressured at the same time to not interfere with one's freedom of speech, d) rather than discouraging other "wackos" from doing similar acts, the publicity of a boycott might do just the opposite and provoke more nonsense, and finally, e) the people who will be harmed by the boycott are, for the most part, innocent by standards who are most likely not even anti-Islam.
in my opinion, the only proper response is for moderate muslims to rise up and try to educate people on our religion. i'm not sure if this is feasible on a mass scale, but its worth a try. if someone makes a movie criticizing islam, why not counter with a movie showing the true aspects of the religion?