May 20th - Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Day!
On May 20th servers have been filled with the idea of "Draw Muhammad Day" in a futile attempt to demonize Islam, Muslims, and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), which is the faith of 1.5 billion people on earth. So, what is the best response to this vile hateful effort to attack Muslims? No, not like Pakistan who is banning facebook, that is not the answer. A more powerful protest would be to let Pakistanis use Facebook and Twitter to oppose "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day".
A better response would be to make May 20th "Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Day"! This would be the best response behind the campaign to attack Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Islam, and Muslims. Many Muslims, including myself have taken up the call to post the good news of "Prophet Muhammad Day" on Facebook, blogs, and other forms of communication. Rather than boycotting and ignoring the hateful Islamophobics, we will educate them showing the world a very small amount of characteristics of God's finest creations. One of the best men whom walked on this earth who was our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The servers of the world will be filled with the name of the man that was sent to the whole world to guide it to the right path of love of God.
Through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs, Forum, and Emails we can educate, mention and introduce the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his love will never depart from our hearts and we will always stand by "There is No God but God, and Muhammad is his Messenger" or in other words that unite all of humankind and the universe "There is only One God" (same message brought by Prophet Jesus, Moses, Muhammad and the rest of the 124,000 prophets sent to humankind).
Some raise the question that pictures and depictions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) have been made before by Muslims, which is true; it was common among both Sunni and Shia Muslims up until the fall of the Ottoman Empire to make such drawings and depictions. However, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the new brand of puritan Sunni Islam from the deserts of Arabia banned all imagery, including taking photographs. However, among traditional Sunni and Shia Muslims the idea of imagery has been deemed lawful, as long as it is respectful and not used for worship. If it is used for the purpose of daily matters or rememberance, there is no problem in that. The problem arises when the imagery is used as an object of worship, rather than an object of rememberance. Images in Islam should not be used like idols of worship. Overall, it is not common for Muslims to make such depictions out of fear of idolatry, however if done with the right intent and used for the right reasons it has been deemed "permissable". Obviously different schools of thought and different Shaykhs will argue on this permissibility, however there are many Shaykhs both Sunni and Shia that will advise that such imagery if used with the right intent and purpose is permissable.
This brings on the issue of the "Muhammad Cartoons" and other Islamophobic material...the difference between "respectable depictions" and "hateful cartoons" is obvious. One is for positive purposes, the other is for demonization of the faith of 1.5 billion on earth and 10 million American Muslims in particular. This kind of demonization against Muslims started during the Crusades, however it has found a new place in the heart of right wing fundamentalists and fascists the same way the demonization and hatred of Jews found a place in the heart of the same kind of fascists in Nazi Germany. In order to dehumanize and destroy a people, you have to take away their humanity and turn them into the "evil other"...maybe a "Scimitar Wielding Orc" perhaps? The iconic use of Islamophobic material that demonizes Islam and Muslims has been in Western literature and culture for a long time, however many people may have not noticed it. What this demonization does is lay the groundwork for conditional and automated responses to seeing and hearing things that resemble "the evil other".
The movie and book "The Lord of the Rings" which I loved reading as a youth is a perfect example of a Western centric demonization of all things Eastern and particularly Islamic. The use of "Green Orcs", "Corsairs", "Swarthy Southrons or Haradrim", and the "Swarthy Easterlings". All these characters resemble people from Africa, Asia, and The Middle East. So, you are a young American kid growing up reading "Lord of the Rings" and watching the movie with the turban wearing and masked faced "Haradrim" helping "Sauron and Saruman" from the "Twin Towers"...then you turn on CNN and see somebody that looks identical threating violent Qital...you get the picture.
People become conditioned and predisposed to such imagery to automatically generalize and demonize "the evil other". This is something that goes against the grain of the American way of life and the Constitution. This kind of demonization and hatred is something that America was created to fight against...in order to establish a land with equality and justice. Most Muslims come to this country for better opportunities and in fact better chances to practice Islam without being persecuted. Other than your occasional idiot who thinks they are doing the work of God by doing Un-Islamic things in the name of Islam, you have a majority of law abiding American Citizens of the Islamic faith who want nothing but the best for this country, that is why the live here!
If you want to see fanatics and fundamentalists go away, then help mainstream Muslims who are trying to deal with these crazies but instead are put into the same barrel of rotten apples. If anything, the best chance the west has in dealing with the fanatics is to get help from mainstream Muslims. The best way to approach it is not making insulting cartoons and depictions of their beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Respect begets respect...love begets love...this was taught by Prophet Jesus and Moses (pbuh) as well.
If we want this world to be a better place for our offspring, than what it is now, we must be vigilant in making peace and bringing understanding. With the Internet, this should not be to hard, however just like fire who some use to cook food, others use to burn the house down. We must always keep the balance in life. What do you do when things are imbalanced? As the Holy Quran says "set the balance straight". We (the human race) has been fighting for freedom and liberty from day one, but that freedom and liberty must be by law so that justice prevails!