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?
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)
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).