I don’t know anything about you, and you don’t know anything about me. Right now, I’m just an ordinary Pakistani citizen and for a few moments I’d like you to please forget what you’ve been listening and seeing on the news about the violent protests against the anti-Islam film and listen to what I have to say.
I am a Muslim, a Pakistani Muslim, and I denounce and distance myself from all forms of recent violence you’ve seen in the name of ‘protecting the honor of the Prophet (PBUH)’, because what these rioters are doing is anything but protecting his honor. The religion that these self-proclaimed ‘saviors of Islam’ are forcing on the world is anything but Islam. Because Islam in its purest form, and the Islam that I know and practice teaches me nothing but peace. It teaches me to remain calm in all conflicts. It teaches me to address the people of the scripture in the nicest manner. I’d like you to know that these misguided individuals don’t represent the majority of us Muslims. I’d like you to know that they’ve hijacked my religion. I want you to know that taking someone’s life, hurting them in any way or destroying public and private property is strictly forbidden in my religion. I want you to know and believe that what you’re seeing on screens is not a show of Islam.
But I’d also like you to know that our feelings have indeed been hurt by ‘Innocence of Muslims’. They have been hurt because Prophet Muhammad means the same to us as Jesus and Mary mean to you. We hold him in the same level of high regard as you hold them. We’re hurt because what he preached is nothing like what that creation of an ignorant mind portrays. My Prophet preached peace and mercy. Muhammad (PBUH) preached forgiveness and patience. He taught me to act sensibly in all situations, which is why I’m writing to you this very moment. I’ll understand if you’re having a hard time believing what I’m saying, so here’s something that might manage to convince you. “And the people of the Rehman (Allah) are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they respond ‘peace!'” (Quran, 25/63), “Repel evil with good, and he who is your enemy will become your dearest friend” (Quran, 41/34), and “And do not argue with the people of scripture except in the nicest manner” (Quran, 29/46), are all verses from our holy book, Quran. I know you might not have the resources to check these in the book for yourself, but you can always search them on the web and I guarantee you’ll find plenty of links confirming that these phrases are indeed what Islam is all about: peace, mercy, love, patience.
I want you to know that I completely reject the concept of blaming all of America for the work of one evil mind. I want you to know that my religion is much, much bigger than what certain images of violence lead you to believe. Not as a Muslim, but as a human being I request you to please condemn the film in whatever means you can, because it isn’t freedom of expression, it’s downright hate speech. I want you to help me protect the name and teachings of a person who preached nothing but love. I want you to not let it define my religion for you.
If none of the above convinced you, I hope the fact that I approached a citizen of America, a common man, to get my point across instead of going out in the streets and burning your flag, will.
An ordinary Muslim.