Islamic group calls for ban on offending prophet

According to an article by Associated Press, the “head of a leading Islamic organization Saturday called for a global ban on offending the character of the Prophet Muhammad, saying that it should be equated with hate speech.”

“Ihsanoglu said …said such a ban would show a global sensitivity to the veneration which 1.5 billion Muslims have for the Prophet Muhammad. He said he was not calling for a ban on criticizing Islam, but specifically, on denigrating its founding prophet.”

According to the Manichaean view, it is perfectly understandable that the Muslim world would desire that non-Muslims show the proper respect to their prophet and their faith. This is very reasonable.

What is of great concern, however, is how such a ban would be implemented. What this is doing is instituting a religious law over people irrespective of their religious beliefs. If you lived in a Muslim country and such a ban were in place, this would contextually make sense. In a non-Muslim country this would not contextually make sense.

Also, if not clarified and monitored, then such a ban could result in not only hate speech but violence against anyone who does not hold their religious views.

It is one thing not to say disparaging things against a religious figure, but what happens when someone says they do not believe in that religion or that religious founder? Will that be construed as an offense?

There is no cause for anyone to attack the religious beliefs of another, and it makes sense to not incite people by doing so. But in the name of religious freedom, there is no reason to attack anyone because they do not hold your same beliefs.

A number of countries fear that Shariah law could be introduced into their respective countries, instituting such a ban, while not shariah, is enforcing a religious edict on a people who are not Muslim.

There must be a happy medium that discourages hate speech on the one end and condemns religious oppression on the other.

If such a ban were imposed then a similar ban should be instituted so no one offends the names of:

Shiva

Vishnu

Rama

Krishna

Buddha

Mahavira

Zoroaster

Abraham

Isaac

Ishmael

Jacob

Moses

Jesus

Guru Nanak

Lao Tzu

Confucius etc.

Is the United Nations going to enforce a ban against slander of every religious leader our founder? Or only one?

It is greatly desired that society encourages great respect for all religions. The instituting of bans for one faith does establish a dangerous precedent, however.

To make the matter more clear: Would such a ban be seriously considered if those in charge were not afraid of violence?

Maybe the better approach is education and fostering a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect among all people.

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