16 Ways You Can Fight
Cartoons & Islamophobia
By Abdul Malik Mujahid
"[I'm] okay with
discrimination against young Arab males from terrorist-producing
-Illinois Congressman Mark Kirk, November 2005
In Nashville, Tennessee, a homemade bomb caused a fire at
the Al-Mahdi Islamic Center on February 3, 2006; on January
30, 2006, a woman who has now been arrested after she allegedly
threw a copy of the Qur’an on the floor and sprayed
a fire extinguisher which caused a smoky haze in a Sacramento
mosque; also last month, KFI-AM 640 radio host Bill Handel
mocked the death of over 300 pilgrims during Hajj on January
12, 2006. Twice Sound Vision's front glass wall has been
broken down with gunfire.
All of the above, including Congressman Mark Kirk's statement,
are examples of the growing Islamophobia in America. The
Danish cartoon controversy reflects the level of fear and
hatred for all things Islamic worldwide by the fact that
newspapers in other European countries, and now, Australia,
have decided to reprint the offensive caricatures of Prophet
Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.
Well, it's time we took a strong stand against Islamophobia.
Here are some ideas of what you can do:
1. Remember the Prophet. The Prophet was subject to horrible
insults and hate crimes in his lifetime. He remained steadfast,
patient and tolerant in the face of this Islamophobia. We
must model this same behavior.
Good and Evil deeds are not alike. Requite evil with good,
and he who is your enemy will become your dearest friend.
But none will attain this save those who endure with fortitude
and are greatly favored by God. (Qur’an 41: 34-35)
Pray that God guides these people who mock His messenger.
1. Keep sending Salam and Durood to the Prophet, which is
how we demonstrate our love for the Prophet.
2. Make protest more honorable since it is for the love
of the Prophet. Perhaps a public recitation of the Quran
either voiced or silent will be more powerful and worthy
of the Prophet.
3. Do not engage in forms of protest that are condemned
in Islam. This includes burning flags or other symbols that
people hold in esteem or insulting other religious groups.
Unfortunately, an Iranian newspaper has commissioned the
drawing of anti-Semitic cartoons in protest of the offensive
Danish ones. This form of retaliation contradicts Islamic
rules of respect for others; it will neither help fight
Islamophobia, nor elicit any understanding about why Muslims
are upset about the Danish cartoons.
4. Note that incidents of Islamophobia are not isolated.
Whether it's depicting the Prophet as a terrorist, disrespecting
the Qur’an, torturing prisoners, bombing civilians
or occupying Muslim lands, these are all signs of Islamophobia.
5. Also note that not all media or all non-Muslims support
this type of insulting behavior. Many have been at the forefront
of condemning torture, bombing and occupation.
6. Equate racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. They all
are fruits of the same tree of hate.
7. Start using the word Islamophobia to describe any kind
of hate crime or speech against Islam and Muslims. Doing
this will make the term uniform and eventually, an accepted
part of the English language, the way the term "anti-Semitism"
8. If you are involved in interfaith work, bring up the
topic of Islamophobia at your meetings. Stress the urgency
and need for people of all faiths to help address and condemn
it and all other forms of intolerance publicly. If possible,
get the organization to issue a public statement condemning
Islamophobia in general, as well as in response to specific
incidents like those mentioned above.
9. Sponsor reports on Islamophobia. Unless more documentation
and yearly opinion surveys are conducted, people will continue
to dismiss Islamophobia as a reality. So far, the UK is
the only country which has officially commissioned a report
on Islamophobia. The word has yet to become a part of American
10. Report any and every incident of Islamophobia you, your
family or friends encounter. The FBI collects hate crime
statistics. Report Islamophobia to them at your local FBI
office http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm. File a report
with the Council on American-Islamic Relations at http://www.cair-net.org/ireport/.
They issue an annual report on Muslim civil rights in the
US. Also report the crime to your local police office.
11. It's an election year. Make sure your local Congressman
or Congresswoman who relies on your vote is aware of Islamophobia.
Organize a delegation of Muslims in your constituency if
you can and arrange to make a presentation on the topic,
as well as a list of clear things you would like your Congressman
or Congresswoman to do about Islamophobia if they want your
12. For every incident of Islamophobia, write a letter to
the editor and your local civil rights organization about
13. Organize a program at your local mosque or community
center about the problem of Islamophobia today. Hold a brainstorming
session as part of the program as well to discuss how to
solve this problem.
14. Thank those who speak out or act against Islamophobia.
For instance, we should thank the US State Department for
condemning the publishing of the offensive cartoons in Denmark.
15. Make Dua that Allah guides those who hold Islamophobic
views and practice Islamophobia. The Prophet made Dua for
the Quraysh, asking for them to be guided because they were
ignorant of what they were doing by committing Islamophobic
acts and saying wrong things against Islam and the Prophet.
Muslims are raised to love our Prophet more than we love
our parents. We are deeply hurt when our Prophet is insulted.
Although a few persons have resorted to violence, Alhamdu
lillah, no one has insulted Jesus, Moses or the Bible in
reaction. The Qur’an has asked us to honor the symbols
that others hold dear. Flags and idols deserve that consideration.
The Prophet never responded violently or angrily to the
woman who used to throw garbage and thorny bushes in his
house and on his path.
Allah's peace and blessings be upon Muhammad and all of
His prophets. Allahumma salle ala syyedena Muhammad.