“Armed anti-Islamist protest outside mosque.” This is the headline that I am reading as I rise out of bed. I also see another headline: “Marine hosts ‘Draw Muhammad’ protest outside mosque.” Aside from these protests and events being offensive and downright degrading towards Muslims, they are also highly ironic.
If he were with us today, Prophet Muhammad would call on Muslims and non-Muslims to avoid defamatory remarks towards neighbors as well as strangers. He would warn his followers and peers of how dangerous it is to fall into the trap of inciting anger of those who do not agree or share the same opinions as others.
In 7th century Arabia, Prophet Muhammad was attacked and insulted by those closest to him as well as his enemies. One particular woman used to throw trash on Muhammad as he walked down the street. Instead of reacting aggressively towards her or striving for revenge, he showed her compassion and forgiveness. The Prophet never responded to her in an evil way.
That is not all. After a victorious battle in Mecca, Muhammad released his enemies and told them that they were free to leave unharmed. The release of his prisoners shows the Prophet’s mercy and compassion because he could have easily taken revenge by killing these defenseless enemies. Muhammad forgave his opponents because he understood that God is not harsh or revengeful, but rather mild and gentle.
The Prophet was much like Jesus in the sense that he abided by the “Golden Rule.” Both of these great men taught their followers to “treat others as you wish to be treated.” One of Muhammad’s favorite sayings was: “Forgive him who wrongs you, join him who cuts you off, do good to him who does evil to you.” The Prophet believed that peace and keeping good relations between people was important, because “quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.” Muhammad’s narrative of goodwill has the power to unite Christians and Muslims, if only they heeded his call.
Rather than being an “evil” man with “barbarian” characteristics, as some in the “Draw Muhammad” campaign believe, the Prophet fostered mutual respect and religious freedom. He was a champion of universal peace and harmony between Christians and Muslims, as he outlined in his “Constitution of Medina.” Muhammad was also adamant about protecting Christian communities and ensuring that their judges and churches were respecting and preserved “until the End of Time.”
The people planning the anti-Islam event in Phoenix and the on-going “Draw Muhammad” contests are troubled because they do not promote brotherhood between Christians and Muslims. In Philippians (2:1-2), Jesus Christ said that all human beings should be of “one accord, of one mind.” The Prophet Muhammad reiterated Jesus’s call in stating: “All God’s creations are His family.” Sounds like messages of love and peace and not hatred and division.
Islamophobes who deliberately attempt to antagonize Muslims have not only forgotten about Jesus’s message of love and peace, but they have also ignored the example of Prophet Muhammad, Christ’s brother and kindred spirit.