A call for interfaith harmony


The ongoing protests and demonstrations all over the Muslim world triggered by the sacrilegious US-made online video that degraded Islam and Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), demands re-visiting our interfaith relations with the western democracies. Ever since 9/11 terrorist attacks at WTC New York, this sort of ‘inkling’ has become a regular feature e.g., publication of a dozen of cartoons of the holy prophet (pbuh) by Danish newspaper Jllands-Posten in 2005, followed by a threat to burn the holy Quran by US Pastor Terry Jones. This systematic prodding frustrated all the sincere efforts of United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Group of Friends (UNACGF) directed to resolve religious chasms causing irreparable damage to interfaith harmony.
If we look at the problem introspectively, the genesis of the stand-off runs much deeper than it appears. At its nucleus, we have civilizational differences between two fundamental value systems in the world. The first fundamental value system is being practiced by the western democracies characterized by its enlightenment doctrine. The core values include the freedom of speech – that is, the freedom to say whatever one desires. The core dynamic is that many people in different civilization areas interpret the same events differently. The online film strikes most people in Christian cultures as a trivial piece of bad film making that is deplorable in every way but is inevitably protected by the right to free expression. The second set of fundamental value system is practiced by 1.5 billion of world’s Muslim community spread all over the world.
The western democratization of institutions has been taken from the Muslim concept of governance during the period of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). The core value of society is Islam itself – as a system and way of life. Although, Islam gives respect to other religions, but free speech do not include the freedom to question religious dogma. From this perspective, the current violence triggered by the video film represents a vast gulf of divergence between the two civilizational viewpoints. It is also an established fact that Islamic value system is not considered as an equally valid ordering of reality to Western rationalism. Therefore, Muslims perceive the film as a direct act of blasphemy coupled with a concerted effort to humiliate, weaken and destroy Islam. The defense of the ‘right to free expression’ comes across as hypocritical and self serving.
The reaction in the Muslim world to the blasphemous video filming should serve as an eye-opener for the West to introspect their attitude towards Islam, especially to understand and accommodate its value system. There is a need to develop interfaith harmony and the notion of “clash of civilization” has to be rejected. We are not living in an era of crusades but entered in the era of geo-economics. Let us not take the world back to the crusade.


  1. Mr. Nawaz says "The reaction in the Muslim world to the blasphemous video filming should serve as an eye-opener for the West to introspect their attitude to wards Islam…." What does he mean by such a statement? Is he saying that such conduct is not only condoned, but taught and encouraged as a part of the Islamic religion.

    If this is a study of good and evil, is it evil to destroy property and kill peope who had nothing to do with the film? Taking a step further, would it be good or evil to kill the person who made the film? Does killing people in the name of Mohommed make him more or less holy?

    Some Muslim have said that it is evil to kill people to protect the reputation of a religion/ Prophet who needs no protection. Doesn't violence, which we have seen, besmirch his name? It is clear the Islam does not speak with one voice. If what we see is representive of the majority of Muslims, they are in trouble. Violence will only beget violence.

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