Who was Barnabas?
Barnabas in his gospel introduces himself to be one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. He claims to have been with Jesus from the beginning to the end and is an eye witness to the incidents of the prophet’s life and his teachings. He also says at the end of the book that at the time of his departure Jesus had given him the responsibility to clarify the misgiving and bring the truth about him before the world. The name of Barnabas, however does not find a mention in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. But in the Acts of the canonical Bible a man with the name is mentioned as a Levite of Cypriot origin who sold his land and presented the money to the Apostles. But it is not mentioned as to when he embraced the religion of Jesus Christ. Maulana Abul A’la Maudoodi therefore expresses doubt if the Barnabas of the Acts of the present Bible is the same as the author of this book. The names of the twelve Apostles mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark differ from the list given by Barnabas in respect of two names. Barnabas mentions the name of Judas son of James and his own name which find no mention in Matthew and Mark though Judas name figures in Luke. Because of this variation Maulana Maudoodi concludes’ It is possible that Barnabas’ name was deliberately omitted to get rid of his Bible.’
Gospel of Barnabas
The Gospel of Barnabas is about the same length as the four canonical gospels put together and it is this Bible, not the canonical four gospels, which is the authentic source of knowing the life and teachings of the Christ. In the introductory chapter to his Gospel Barnabas says: ‘Dearly beloved the great and wonderful God hath during these past days visited us by his prophet Jesus Christ in great mercy of teaching and miracles, by reason whereof many, being deceived of Satan, under presence of piety, are preaching most impious doctrine, calling Jesus son of God, repudiating the circumcision ordained of God for ever, and permitting every unclean meat: among whom also Paul hath been deceived, whereof I speak not without grief; for which cause I am writing that truth which I have seen and heard, in the intercourse that I have had with Jesus, in order that ye may be saved, and not be deceived of Satan and perish in the judgment of God. Therefore beware of every one that preacheth unto you new doctrine contrary to that which I write, that ye may be saved eternally. — Introduction to the Gospel of Barnabas (12)
The Gospel was accepted as a canonical gospel in the Churches of Alexandria till 325 C.E. Iranaeus (130-200) wrote in support of pure monotheism and opposed Paul for injecting into Christianity doctrines of pagan Roman religions and Palatonic philosophy. He had quoted extensively from Barnabas in support of his views. This shows that the Gospel of Barnabas was in circulation in the first and second centuries of Christianity. But later the Gospel was declared apocryphal and in 325 C.E. the Nicene Council accorded sanctity to Paulin beliefs and ordered that all original Gospels in Hebrew script be destroyed. An edict was issued that anybody found in possession of these Gospels will be put to death. Later in 367 C.E. a list of authoritative books was declared through a letter of Pope Athanasius and endorsed by the decree of Western Churches in 382C.E. Finally in 496 C.E. a Glasian decree declared a list of forbidden books that include Barnabas’ book ‘Evangelium Barnabe’. After this the Gospel of Barnabas disappeared for centuries. In the sixteenth century a copy of Italian translation this Gospel was in the private library of Pope Sixtus and nobody was allowed to read it. This Italian manuscript somehow came in the possession of Toland and after his death passing through various hands it reached Imperial library in Vienna in 1738. An English translation of the Italian manuscript was published by the Caleronden Press in 1907. But no sooner was it published than it disappeared perhaps because the Christendom realized that the book will damage the very foundation of the religion that is being associated with Jesus Christ. Another translation of this Italian manuscript was done in Spanish which George Cell mentions in the preface to his translation of Qura’n.
What Barnabas Bible says
The Gospel of Barnabas strike at the very root of the fundamental belief of the modern Christianity as it contradicts the New Testament biblical accounts of life and ministry of Jesus and has strong parallels with the Islamic faith. The Gospel not only mentions Mohammad (S.A.W.) by name but also considers Jesus as a prophet and not the son of God as the New Testament describes him. While calling Paul ‘the deceived’ the Gospel of Barnabas says that Judas Iscariot was crucified, not Jesus as he was raised to heaven and escaped. According to the Gospel of Barnabas, Jesus foresaw and rejected his own deification: And having said this, Jesus smote his face with both his hands, and then smote the ground with his head. And having raised his head, he said: “Cursed be every one who shall insert into my sayings that I am the son of God.”—53:6 (5)
On another occasion Jesus said again: “I confess before heaven, and call to witness everything that dwells upon the earth, that I am a stranger to all that men have said of me, to wit, that I am more than man. For I am a man, born of a woman, subject to the judgment of God; that live here like as other men, subject to the common miseries. “— 94:1(8)
And when the priest assured Jesus that he would write to Roman Senate for a decree that ‘none shall anymore call you God or son of God’ then Jesus said: “With your words I am not consoled, because where you hope for light darkness shall come; but my consolation is in the coming of the Messenger, who shall destroy every false opinion of me, and his faith shall spread and shall take hold of the whole world, for so has God promised to Abraham our father.”—97:1 (9)
About the crucification Jesus foretold Barnabas
“Know, O Barnabas, that for this I must have great persecution, and shall be sold by one of my disciples for thirty pieces of money. Whereupon I am sure that he who shall sell me shall be slain in my name, for that God shall take me up from the earth, and shall change the appearance of the traitor so that every one shall believe him to be me; nevertheless, when he dies an evil death, I shall abide in that dishonour for a long time in the world. But when Muhammad shall come, the sacred Messenger of God, that infamy shall be taken away. And this shall God do because I have confessed the truth of the Messiah who shall give me this reward, that I shall be known to be alive and to be a stranger to that death of infamy.”
Prediction of Muhammad (S.A.W.)
The Gospel of Barnabas claims that Jesus predicted the advent of Muhammad, thus conforming to the Qur’an which mentions: And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: O Children of Israel! I am the apostle of God (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad. But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, this is evident sorcery!(-Sura61:6)
And in the Bible of Barnabas Jesus predicts the coming of Muhammad ( S.A.W.) in these words: “The name of the Messiah is admirable, for God himself gave him the name when he had created his soul, and placed it in a celestial splendour. God said: ‘Wait Mohammed; for thy sake I will to create paradise, the world, and a great multitude of creatures, whereof I make thee a present, insomuch that whoso bless thee shall be blessed, and whoso shall curse thee shall be accursed. When I shall send thee into the world I shall send thee as my messenger of salvation, and thy word shall be true, insomuch that heaven and earth shall fail, but thy faith shall never fail.’ Mohammed is his blessed name.” Then the crowd lifted up their voices, saying: “O God, send us thy messenger: O Admirable One, come quickly for the salvation of the world!”—Barnabas 97:9-10
Ahmad is another name of Muhammad (S.A.W.)
In this passage Jesus Calls Muhammad the Messiah which contradicts Qura’n which says that Messiah will be named Isa. Qura’n says: (Remember) when the angels said: “O Maryam (Mary)! Verily, Allah gives you the glad tidings of a Word [“Be!” – and he was! i.e. ‘Îsa the son of Maryam, daughter of Imran(Eng. Amran)] from Him, his name will be the Messiah ‘Îsa, the son of Maryam, held in honour in this world and in the Hereafter, and will be one of those who are near to Allah.” – Surah 3:45.
But scholars are of the opinion that this contradiction may have occurred due mainly to two reasons. First Messiah can be the formal name of Isa, Jesus Christ as the Christians call him, but scholars agree that the term in the meaning of anointed can be used for others, such as King David, anointed to kingship, and his son Solomon. Secondly scholars say that since the Gospel of Barnabas is available in translations it has been modified and in such cases such inconsistencies are bound to occur.
Barnabas also quotes Jesus as saying that the son of Abraham whom he was willing to sacrifice was Ismael not Issac. When the high priest asks Jesus as to who was the son whom Abraham was willing to slay in obedience to God Jesus answered: “Truly I say, the son of Abraham was Ishmael, from whom must be descended the Messiah promised to Abraham, that in him should all the tribes of the earth be blessed.” Then was the high priest wroth, hearing this, and cried out: “Let us stone this impious fellow, for he is an Ishmaelite, and has spoken blasphemy against Moses and against the Law of God.” — Barnabas 208:1-2 (4)
Here, one version of the Gospel of Barnabas also quotes Jesus as saying that the sacrificed son of Abraham was Ishmael not Isaac, conforming to Islamic belief but disagreeing with Jewish and Christian belief. A connection might also be drawn between the last paragraph’s statement that “in him should all the tribes of the earth be blessed”, and the meaning of the name “Muhammad”, the “Praised (or Blessed) One”. (Cf.Life of Prophet Muhammad)
The Bible of Barnabas is full of such passages that predict the advent of Muhammad (S.A.W.) and conform to the teachings of Islam and decry the beliefs of the Canonical Bible. There are passages that give details account of Jesus’ prayers and fasts, circumcision which he never forbade and other teachings.But it is not possible to account them all in a short article like this. Maulana Maudoodi rightly says that Bible of Barnabas was a great gift of God which would have saved the Christianity from false dogmas and beliefs but they lost it due to their jealous and stubborn attitude. Now if the Syric manuscript recovered in Turkey is the Bible of Barnabas as claimed it may shed more light on the life and teachings of Jesus.
America never treated Muslims respectfully. US media and Hollywood play lead roles. Jack Shaheen’s book “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People” documented how American filmmakers slander them.
For decades, they’ve been fair game. From silent to more recent films, prejudicial attitudes were fostered. They still are regularly. They disparage Islam in contrast to manufactured notions of Western values, high-mindedness, and moral superiority.
Islamic tenets are ignored. The Koran teaches love, not hate; peace, not violence; charity, not selfishness; and tolerance, not terrorism.
Its five pillars include profession of faith, prayer five times daily, fasting during Ramadan, charity, and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime for those able to afford it.
Nonetheless, Muslims are stereotypically portrayed as dangerous gun-toting terrorists. Hate messages repeat regularly. Fear is stoked. Imperial wars of aggression are called justifiable ones.
At home, Muslims are vilified and persecuted for their faith, ethnicity, and at times prominence, activism and charity.
They’re lawlessly targeted. They’re hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence, convicted on bogus charges, and given long sentences.
For extra harsh treatment, they incarcerated as political prisoners. They’re segregated in Communication Management Units (CMUs).
Doing so violates US Prison Bureau regulations. They strictly prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or political beliefs.
In February 2005, the Supreme Court’s Johnson v. California decision affirmed 14th Amendment protection against racial discrimination. It “rejected the notion that separate can ever be equal or neutral.”
Bush administration officials violated rule of law provisions regularly. So do Obama’s. Innocent victims suffer grievously. It happens abroad and at home.
Guantanamo and other torture prisons exist globally. Muslims fill them. Post-9/11, they became public enemy number one.
Many in America are consigned to CMU prison hell. Treatment is ruthless and demeaning. Extra punishment may be ordered for any reason or none at all.
They get fewer rights than other prisoners. Their dietary requirements are compromised or denied. So is proper medical care when needed. Emergency treatment takes days to get. It’s not delivered properly when gotten.
Rotten, inedible food quality is commonplace. Tap water is inferior. Privacy is denied. The entire CMU is monitored round the clock with cameras and listening devices. Policy assures mistreatment and disrespect. Prisoner complaints go unanswered.
Virtually every imprisoned Muslim is innocent. They’re war on terror victims. They’re locked up for praying to the wrong God. They’re alive, but for those getting inordinately long sentences, they’re among the living dead.
Their families suffer with them. It’s the wrong time to be Muslim in America and in nations abroad Washington targets.
Major media scoundrels back the worst of US crimes. When Bush administration officials declared war on Islam, they marched in lockstep. They still do. They’re reliable imperial cheerleaders.
They headline inflammatory accounts of innocent Muslims charged domestically. They play the same blame game. Targeted victims are considered guilty by accusation. Before indictment and prosecution, they’re convicted in the court of public opinion.
Their coverage of anti-Muslim hate film violence is appalling. They ignore what’s really going on. On the one hand, it reflects rage over imperial wars on Islamic countries. People don’t burn buildings or harm others over blasphemous materials alone.
The film sparked what followed. It ignited violence. Promoting it on social media spread it. Something else could have done it as easily. People take abuse only so long before reacting. Once begun, it replicates elsewhere.
In the 1960s, racial segregation, related police violence, other denied civil rights, and economic depravation ignited violence across America. Neighborhoods in northern US cities were set ablaze. It can happen again and likely will. Provocative incidents spark it. It can happen anywhere.
Other factors also lie behind the anti-Muslim film. Dark forces produced it. Killing a US ambassador reinforced it. Israeli fingerprints are all over it. Jewish donors funded it. They got what they wanted.
Justifiable rage across the Middle East, North Africa, Central and South Asia, as well as elsewhere lets them portray Muslims as violent terrorist threats. US and other Western headlines reflect it. More on that below.
Also at issue is America’s November election. Netanyahu and Obama dislike each other. It’s no secret that the Israeli leader favors Romney. He thinks he’ll be quicker to attack Iran.
He’s angry about Obama’s reluctance to show rock solid support. He wants him Carterized. He picked a very public fight to get his way.
Perhaps he’s directly responsible for the blasphemous film. If not, very likely extremists around him. It has all the earmarks of a Mossad false flag. At issue is weakening him politically and fomenting war.
San Francisco anti-Muslim bus ads stoke it. They’re planned for New York and perhaps elsewhere. They read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.” Concluding words say “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
Pam Geller’s running them. She’s a notorious hatemonger. US media scoundrels publish her writing. She’s interviewed on television. CBS’ 60 Minutes ran a full feature profile.
She and Robert Spencer co-founded the Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America. It’s legal to be bigoted in America. It’s appalling that media scoundrels support what they should condemn.
The French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo fanned its own flames. It ran blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed. Some showed him naked in pornographic poses.
Editor in chief Gerard Biard claimed he did it to satirize the anti-Muslim video. He called its violent reaction absurd. Editorial director Stephane Charbonnier said “We have the right to express ourselves.”
Biard added the Charlie Hebdo is “a newspaper against religions as soon as they enter into the political and public realm.” He claims Muslim religious leaders manipulate French followers for political reasons. “You’re not meant to identify yourself through a religion, in any case not in a secular state,” he claims.
Christians and Jews do it freely in France, America, and other Western countries without incident. Only Muslims are targeted for their faith unfairly.
Who speaks for their rights? No one in high places or with media influence able to reach large audiences in America and across Europe daily.
White House spokesman Jay Carney stopped short of denouncing Charlie Hebdo editors, saying:
“We don’t question the right of something like this to be published. We just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it.”
Call it a back door endorsement. French officials also backed their hate speech rights.
Try denouncing the holocaust in France and see what happens. Try wearing a hijab, other head covering, or head to toe burqah and find out.
Try denouncing Israeli crimes on US television or in mainstream publications, and see how long you keep your job. Try supporting right over wrong and fair no better.
Major media in America and other Western countries suppress truth and full disclosure. Imperial wars are cheerled. Friendly dictators are supported. Independent governments are called terrorist ones. News, information, and analysis get turned on their head.
On September 19, a New York Times editorial was typical. It headlined “The United States and the Muslim world.”
It invoked “Arab Spring” terminology. It’s a Western, not Middle East, term. Since regional protests erupted in winter 2011, nothing changed. In countries like Egypt, things are worse.
The Times inverts reality. It calls regional states run by despots “liberated” ones. They’ve “become battlegrounds for Islamic extremists, moderates and secularists, all contending for power and influence over the direction of democratic change.”
Except for confessional-style Lebanese democracy, no Arab state tolerates it. Neither does Israel, America and hardcore NATO allies.
The Times blames regional violence on extremist elements beyond US control. They’re “eager to exploit unrest for their own purposes.”
Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah is a powerful force against Western and Israeli imperialism. The Times calls him a “particularly destructive force.” It denounced his ability to get tens of thousands of anti-US/Israeli protesters onto Beirut streets and elsewhere across Lebanon.
It pilloried his support for Assad. It condemned Anti-American regional protesters. It claimed they “reinforced the worst fears of those who see Muslims” as violent extremists.
“In 2009, (Obama) wisely sought rapprochement with Muslims.” His Cairo speech “endorsed an approach of mutual respect and promised, that….America never would be at war with Islam.”
From day one, Obama waged multiple direct and proxy wars against Muslim countries. Iraq remains occupied. Tens of thousands of US combat troops never left. Daily violence harms innocent civilians.
Afghan war rages. It’s America’s longest conflict. No end in sight looks near. Obama destroyed Libya. He killed tens of thousands of civilians. Violence continues daily across the country. No one’s sure who’ll live or die.
He supports the worst of Bahraini despotism, its war on people wanting democratic freedoms, and its persecution of activists supporting it.
He’s waging proxy wars against Somalia, Yemen, and indirectly against Palestine with billions of dollars of Israeli aid and strong support for occupation harshness.
He bears direct responsibility for ravaging Syria. He plans eventual war on Iran. Since January 1991, America killed millions of Middle East, North African, and Central Asians Muslims. Most were non-combatant civilians. Many were children.
How many more millions will die before The New York Times and other media scoundrels acknowledge decades of US mass murder?
Instead, The Times praised Obama’s commitment to Middle East democracy. It urged America “to stay engaged in whatever ways it can.”
Millions across the region feel otherwise. They want Washington out for good reason. It’s a scourge. It menaces people wanting peace and freedom, not war, occupation, genocide and destruction. Don’t expect The Times or other media scoundrels to explain.
The barrage of cartoons, films, books, bloggers and events in many western countries, mortifying Prophet Muhammad, is nothing but a sign of West’s moral and intellectual defeat vis-à-vis Islam. Recently, the western society is not only seen getting bankrupt economically but morally as well. It is gradually losing its sheen and sobriety as a claimant of superior culture.
The West known for tolerance, liberalism, religious liberty and dialogue-oriented bridging among people is being steadily replaced by a West, infested with intolerance, conservatism, monoculturalism and racial frenzies.
The bizarre acts in the West remind of a failing debater who, exhausted of arguments and logical consistency, jumps to invectives and diatribes. There has been a time when a section of literature and media carried repeated assertions regarding certain ‘faults’ in Islam such as polygamy, triple divorce, barbaric punishments, and the like. Then, there appears the recent phenomenon of terrorism. However, in the concerning debates the ultimate winner has been Islam. The faith has been condemned for all these alleged faults but the objective judgment in the West could never endorse the allegations. The consistent disputation on various aspects of Islam has only assured of its appeal as a viable religion. Today, the European churches and synagogues are giving a deserted look whereas mosques are thriving there with young worshippers. The Hijab has a special attraction for those western women who do not subscribe to the prevailing culture’s impropriety. The more it has been written against the Quran the newer western readers joined its circle of admirers in a great number. The plank of terrorism has also failed with reducing takers to believe that it has something to be associated especially with Islam and Muslim society. And, the West is back to square again on the front of vilifying the Prophet of Islam in a frustrated manner.
There is another reason for abrupt events in the West which polarizes local societies into Christian and Muslim classes; the Zionism. Peace and religious tolerance between these two religious communities do not suit to the Jews as the third influential factor in the West. In normalcy, the majority of Christians resume thinking that Jews are their actual masters, they control all their affairs. It becomes evident to them that politics, economy, culture, media and international relations prevailing in the West are actually subservient to the Zionist cause. In a tense and conflicting situation, like the one presently obtained there, the Christian majority finds Muslims responsible for all their problems. Their immigration to the European countries is seen as a threat to native employment, the increasing Muslim population is found as a gradual takeover of Europe by an ‘alien’ culture. Identities related to Hijab, mosques and minarets, Arabic names, the Quran and the inspiring life of Prophet Muhammad are depicted as threats to the Western society. In order to put Christian and Muslim communities against each other in Europe and elsewhere, funds are being provided by the Zionist agencies to the rightist leaders and organizations and the sponsored media is systematically giving coverage to events which could aggravate religious polarization there. Even Zionist organizations such as Middle East Forum as been alleged to financially support election campaign of anti-Islam leaders such as the Dutch politician Geert Wilders. The ethnic tension also suits many European rulers since it distracts public attention from their failures on economic and other fronts.
As a reverend personality, the Prophet of Islam is not the first target of the Western sacrilege.
The Judo-Christian culture yokes a history fraught with shameless denigration of prophets andreligious personalities. The present day Jews are cherishing to build Temple of David on the site of Aqsa mosque of Jerusalem but their predecessors threw a lot of profanity on Prophet David for proving him amorous. His alleged adultery with Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite is a well known story of the Bible. How even sympathetic Western scholars write about him, can be understood from this passage: “David was probably the greatest lover in the Old Testament.
As a man after God’s own heart, he was the greatest responder to the Love of God. He was very handsome. He had beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. The Hebrew word for David is from the root which means delight from love, or lover. The first letter of his name is the pictorial for the point of a female breast.” The Jewish tribes killed many prophets like Prophet Zechariah and John the Baptist. The innocence of Mary in giving a miraculous birth to a fatherless Jesus was largely doubted in the Judo-Christian history. More recently the mockery of Jesus and other religious personalities by various western writers and artists has led to enactment of anti-blasphemy laws in most Christian countries. Since it is difficult to target Jesusand his family anymore due to rigorous criminal codes, some western intellectuals take liberty in making the Prophet of Islam as the pursuit of their inveterate addiction.
France remains one of the European countries where anti-blasphemy law does not exist and some ultra-liberal sections there take the liberty to print sacrilegious materials from time to time; both against Christianity and Islam. In 2005, the French newspaper Liberation brought out a cartoon of a naked Jesus wearing nothing but a condom and the organization General Alliance against Racism & for the Respect of French & Christian Identity unsuccessfully sought a legal order against it while arguing that it had offended all Christians and “injured their right to practice their religion”. The court characterized the portrayal as “crude” but said it did not contravene any laws. In a legal suit against the Charlie Hebdo, the magazine which reproduced its 2007 cartoon of Prophet of Islam recently, the court commented that “the drawing, taken on its own, could be interpreted as shocking for followers of this religion [Islam]” but had to be seen in the wider context of the magazine examining the issue of religious fundamentalism.
Therefore, even if the cartoon was “shocking or hurtful to Muslims, there was no deliberate intention to offend them”. Contrarily, in the case of nude pictures of Duchess of Cambridge Middleton Kate that recently appeared in a French magazine Closer, the French judiciary seems more reasonable when the magazine’s further publication was banned and the police raided the magazine’s offices and seized its copies. In the French justice, disparagement of holy prophets and grief of billions of Christians and Muslims does not call forth any legal action but an inconvenience to princess of a western country carries much more gravity for it.
Although European courts generally do not favor aggrieved religious sections, as exemplified from the fate of the above sited two cases, there are some voices in the West which speak for decency in public life. On the murder of Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh in 2004, for his anti-Islam sacrilege, Fred Halliday, an Irish expert of international relations, commented, “Any decent society, whatever its supposed discursive exceptionalism, should have prohibited [van Gogh’s vilification] and, were it made, to punish the perpetrator. Theo van Gogh should not have been murdered. He should, however, have been arrested and compelled to issue an apology. Had this occurred, Dutch society would have demonstrated its ability, cultural traumas or not, to meet its moral obligations towards immigrants. And, probably, Theo van Gogh would still be alive today”. Unfortunately, the western leaders and media generally condemn reactions and not the provocations which are aplenty nowadays. Inducement to crime is also a crime. The one who incites someone to commit suicide is also considered offender in the eyes of law. A public address which leads to violence is also punishable under law. However, provocative material is regularly being published in the West without any deterrent but the entailing violent reaction that takes out somewhere becomes the target of censure.
According to International Terrorism Monitor, when Iraqi Christians became targets of some Muslim militants, the most hated terrorist in the West Osama Bin Laden called it ‘pollution of Jihad’. At least that much morality could be shown by an unexpected one. But, how many westerners have instantly come out to condemn sacrilegious films, cartoons or blogs which take a toll of many innocent lives every now and then? No eminent person either in Europe or the U.S. and none of the hundreds of Nobel Laureates there, no one from the papal family and the globally dispersed Christian clergy have disapproved such acts. The silent majority of the West is really silent. Whatever reactions on record are against the agitators; why they make so much fuss on trivial matters? The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has said “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” Perhaps this is truer of the present western society than any other one. This is nothing but a sheer madness that blasphemous movies, cartoons, blogs and books are being produced in the West without any aggravation or need. The courts are not taking unbecoming provocations seriously and the public opinion is also not strong enough to deter miscreants.
Tragically the western political system has also become equally insensitive to such a sacrilege.
Say for example, the French government has banned demonstrations against publication of some provocative cartoons in a satirical weekly but not the magazine itself which triggered the protests, although either both deserved interdiction for ‘breach of public safety’ or acquiescence under ‘freedom of expression’. In the U.S., the Obama administration has taken no action against the irreverent film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ but it spent about $70,000 in TV ads in Pakistan announcing that the government respects religion and it had nothing to do with the movie. These ads were displayed only in Pakistan, even not back home in the U.S. itself, obviously not to share the grief of local people but to ‘manage’ its possible ramification on the war front in the Af-Pak region. What a crude joke from a leading western country which shows reverence to religion only when it becomes a military exigency!
Muslims are in a dilemma since their traditions do not allow making mockery of religious personalities, respected by Jews and Christians or any other denomination; firstly this is considered as an obnoxious act in itself and secondly they equally revere Biblical prophets.
This holds back Muslims to react by making similar movies and cartoons of David, Solomon, Moses, Marry or Jesus. These are two distinct traditions; one is unmindful of blatant contempt to all reverend personalities and the other is cautious in paying reverence even to the religious and cultural heroes of opponents. In such a situation moderate Muslim leaders have no choice but to release appeals of restrain. As Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Muslim Council, has done by describing both the film and the cartoons as “acts of aggression” but at the same time he urged French Muslims not to protest in the streets since it would be “counterproductive”. Perhaps, there is one more way to face the challenge. That is by reminding the western elite of the religious tenets of their own. Muslims can either follow this advice of the Gospel Luke wherein Jesus is recorded to have said: “But I tell you who hear me:
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. ….”. Or, they can join Pope Benedict XVI in his Christmas 2010 prayer “Lord, make your promise come finally true! Break the rods of the oppressors! Burn the tramping boots! Let the time of the garments rolled in blood come to an end!”
In any case, the frantic events in a number of western countries ranging from Wisconsin Gurudwara killings in the U.S. to genocidal firing on immigrants in Netherland and from the anti-Quran movement of Father Terry Jones to Swiss government’s referendum on construction of minaret of the Geneva-based mosque in the precincts of Turkish embassy, all comprise signs of a new West in making, an intellectually and morally defeated West.
The Christian activist C. Wright Mills wrote a few months back in The Nation on the silence of Christian majority regarding the prevailing violence and ethnic tension and termed it a Christian society’s moral defeat. He says, “By sitting down and by keeping quiet, by all too often echoing the claptrap of the higher immorality that now passes for political leadership – you are helping to enfeeblefurther in this time of cruel troubles the ideals of your Founder (Jesus). Christianity is part of the moral defeat of man today…”