Humanists disappointed with Imam's statement
The makers of an amateur video which has led to riots and several deaths in predominantly Muslim states managed to portray Muslims as uncivilised, uninformed and brutal, the Malta Humanist Association.
In a statement this evening, the association expressed its disappointment at the words of Imam Mohammed El Sadi, who blamed the producers of an amateur video for the deaths and violence.
“Blaming the makers of the video for the violence plays down the barbarity of the reaction. It's like blaming a woman wearing revealing attire if she gets molested,” it said.
The association noted that in the West there were books and films that, in the eyes of some people, insulted Jesus or Christianity. These included The Last Temptation, The Da Vinci Code and Life of Brian. But no embassy was stormed and nobody was killed over them.
The west valued the freedoms of expression and of religion.
Freedom of expression was to allow others to say things one disagreed with and found offensive, so as to be able to say things that person believed - even if others found this offensive.
Religious texts such as the Koran, the association said, often contained what was offensive to others and even the Islamic denial of Jesus’ divinity was blasphemous to Christians, while the Christian insistence that Jesus was a god was blasphemous to Muslims.
“Not only do we value freedom of expression, but we have also learned - especially in the internet age - that any attempt to ban or censor anything is not only futile but counter-productive.
“There were attempts by some to ban books like Harry Potter or the Da Vinci Code - and all they achieved was to give them enormous popularity.
“The same happened here. This amateur video was so puerile and poorly-made that no more than a handful would have bothered seeing it if it had not been for the extreme reaction it created,” the association said.
It said that the makers of that video wanted to portray Islam and Muslims as uncivilised, uninformed and brutal.
Because of the actions of violent Muslims, they succeeded.
Although many people insisted that these violent people did not represent Islam, and that Islam was a religion of peace, actions spoke louder than words.
“To most people, Islam is what Muslims do. If the rest of the world is to accept Islam as a religion of peace, then Muslims must act like it, and their religious leaders and other public figures must be exemplary in this regard. Some of them were, but others unfortunately were not.”
The association said one should not expect the West to throw away those freedoms and rights which took it centuries to achieve just to avoid hurting some people’s feelings.
“Saying that the Islamic culture did not accept insults of any prophet is the same as saying that Islamic culture does not belong in the west.
“This is the western way of life and we like it this way and will not move backwards.”
This, the association said, meant that there would be other material Muslims would find offensive.
“We suggest that you do what we do when we find things that are offensive - ignore them.”