Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti gets a lot right in his comments about the violence breaking out across the region, in part fed by an idiotic film. But he importantly gets something wrong. While he notes in this Arab News piece that the dignity of the Prophet or Islam is undamaged by attacks, he is wrong in calling for the criminalization of those attacks. If there is no harm, then why should there be punishment?

Grand Mufti denounces violence against embassies

What’s good:

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, yesterday denounced attacks on diplomats and embassies as un-Islamic after deadly protests against a US-made anti-Islam film swept the Middle East.

… The mufti said the hatred of Islam through such movies would not harm the great personality of the Prophet (pbuh) or any aspect of Islam but would only backfire on the people who spread venomous ideas.

“Such animosity only helps in spreading the glory of the Prophet (pbuh) with greater vigor,” he said.

The mufti also warned that the enemies of the Prophet (pbuh) and Muslims achieve their goals when Muslims resort to violence. “Muslim rage is playing into the hands of their enemies when Muslims attack innocent people and set fire to public or private institutions. Such acts, in fact, damage the image of Islam, a situation the enemies of Islam seeks to create. Such acts go against the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) and are deplorable,” the mufti said, while reminding the faithful that all Muslims are willing to sacrifice their lives and properties for the cause of their dear Prophet (pbuh)

What’s bad:

At the same time, he called on the international community to take steps to criminalize any act of abusing great prophets and messengers such as Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them).

September:16:2012 - 07:34 | Comments & Trackbacks (11) | Permalink
11 Responses to “Yes and No”
  1. 1
    Susanne Said:
    September:16:2012 - 14:58 

    Does he agree that the same should hold true for Muslims who dishonor other religious symbols or does this just apply to us?

  2. 2
    John Burgess Said:
    September:16:2012 - 17:20 

    @Susanne: “Shush now! You’re asking tricky questions meant to distract us.”

  3. 3
    Majed Said:
    September:17:2012 - 03:26 

    No, Mr John Burgess, that is very mean of you.

    You should have said to Susanne: dont ask the Mufti does it apply to all not,but that she can instead see What the All Mighty God of the Mafti says in:

    Surah Al-Anaam (6)
    Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own doings. In the end will they return to their Lord and We shall then tell them the truth of all that they did. (108)

    That means dont hurt other less you will get hurt in return.

    Oh my God I dont I love this religion,even if it meant to be the only muslim on earth. Alhamdulillah.

  4. 4
    Dakota Said:
    September:17:2012 - 06:02 

    By including Jesus in a list of “prophets and messengers” it seems pretty clear that only Moslem doctrine is meant to be protected.

    This is the same guy who said all the churches in the region should be destroyed.

  5. 5
    News-2012-09-17 | SUSRIS Pinged With:
    September:17:2012 - 11:10 

    [...] Yes and No [...]

  6. 6
    News-2012-09-17 | SBRIS Pinged With:
    September:17:2012 - 11:14 

    [...] Yes and No [...]

  7. 7
    News – 2012.09.17 | ArabiaLink Pinged With:
    September:17:2012 - 11:16 

    [...] Yes and No [...]

  8. 8
    Andrew Said:
    September:21:2012 - 08:05 

    I find nothing worrisome that a cleric calls for adherence to his values.

    What is worrisome is that too often governments heed such calls, and do not consider opposing calls for freedom of speech and debate.

    What our country lacks is an ability for public calls to be made that take a position in favour of freedom of speech, even in such circumstances.

    The liberty used by our clerical establishment should be available to all.

  9. 9
    John Burgess Said:
    September:21:2012 - 09:32 

    @Andrew: More than freedom of speech, it’s a freedom of religion issue. Governments should have almost no role in deciding what goes on within people’s heads. (I say ‘almost’ because yes, they should suppress religions that, for instance, call for human sacrifice or child abuse.)

  10. 10
    Andrew Said:
    September:21:2012 - 15:16 

    I agree that government should not mandate for adults their thoughts — indeed I do not believe it to be possible.

    Government should be free to regulate actions, although with constraints.

    However, I see this as largely a freedom of expression concern, rather than a religious freedom issue.

    The Mufti is free, and he is religious.

  11. 11
    John Burgess Said:
    September:21:2012 - 15:33 

    @Andrew: Yes, but will the mufti grant the same freedom to others? Will he if their religious views strongly differ from his own? Or is it a case of ‘freedom for me, not for thee’?

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