Muhammad, the Man and the Message in Sacramento
By Ras H. Siddiqui
CAIR President and a guest at the exhibition
Life of Muhammad exhibit at SALAM

There have been many reactions to the Danish cartoons that have dominated headlines around the world recently. Protests and even violence have been reported in countries such as Nigeria and Pakistan. But that has not been all. What has conveniently escaped the news media is “the other reaction.”


Impressive specimens of Islamic art

 


Prophet’s prayer of forgiveness

Islamic calligraphy at its best

Educated Muslims in the United States and in a few countries in the western world have sought a different path. Their aim is not just to react to what many consider an affront to the Islamic faith, but to fight back with facts about the religion and its Prophet that the mainstream non-Muslim community may not be aware of.

For example the Sacramento Muslim community decided to respond by educating others through an Art Exhibit and Open House. This event held at the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims (SALAM) Community Center on February 25 generated a great deal of curiosity amongst the non-Muslim locals.
The cartoons have already generated much violence. But how much do westerners really know about Islam and its Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)? The effort in Sacramento titled “Muhammad, The Man and the Message” made an attempt to change perceptions that have been established by the death and destruction that protesters have left behind on camera and in the headlines.


The glorious Quran displayed at the exhibition

This California effort was one that millions of Muslims who live in the United States and in Europe could emulate instead of leaving things to ignorant mobs in Muslim countries.

What happens under the “Freedom of Speech” banner can be considered insulting to people of any faith. But what should not be forgotten is that a wise reaction to the insult is also covered under the same freedoms that we cherish. It is time for the Muslim community to respond with what they already have. That being a rich religion, a deeply spiritual faith and a Prophet whose compassion cannot be forgotten. As one banner at this outreach effort displayed, let us leave forgiveness to Allah and show others that we are a model community that any culture would love to have in its midst.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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