In reaction to the offensive Prophet Film, al-Azhar has issued the following statement calling for the UN to enact international laws that protect beliefs and religious figures:
For successive days, feelings of anger, shock and offense have swept the entire Muslim world, without any exception, and waves of angry masses have filled the streets and squares in our countries. Also, protest and condemnation demonstrations in front of the offices of local and international authorities and institutions have been held as a result of the audacious insult hurled by some fools at Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), who is revered, respected and venerated by more than 1500 million Muslims who believe in his message in contemporary world.
Therefore, al-Azhar ash-Sharif – the institution representing the conscience of the Muslim Ummah and responsible for the protection of its venerable symbols and sanctuaries – addresses world public opinion and judicious devout persons, whatever their faiths may be, and all honest persons endowed with sound mind and intellect all over the world, regardless of their countries, to condemn such an irresponsible act, which threatens world peace and positive relations among peoples and nations.
This is due to the fact that this comes at a time in which wise persons are seeking to bridge the rift in these international relations and heal the wounds caused by policies of aggression and material selfishness that have affected many peoples in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Palestine and others. Those peoples have been shocked by the deviant group, which had been dismissed by the church and disavowed by their own people, quite brazenly disparage and scorn the religion of Islam and insult Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in person.
This is a dangerous Western frivolity that threatens relations between safe citizens in the peaceful East, and a glaring offense to one of the major Monotheistic Abrahamic religions, on the basis of which one of the most inventive, productive and influential civilizations in the world, past and present, was founded.
|Al-Azhar calls all parties to maintain wisdom and restraint; condemns attacks and offers condolences to the families of affected people.|
Indeed, al-Azhar calls on all parties – at these hard times – to maintain wisdom and restraint; it also condemns attacks against innocent persons, offers condolences to the families of casualties and feels for all those injured. It also affirms the necessity of protecting diplomatic missions and headquarters of international bodies.
In the meantime, however, it announces that international legal procedures must be taken to guarantee the non-recurrence of such impudent insults perpetrated before in some Nordic countries and has happened again this week in the United States of America . Laws in the USA, however, criminalize defamation of religions and discrimination between their followers.
So, an international resolution, dictating that Islamic symbols and sanctuaries must not be attacked, should be passed. For, such symbols and sanctuaries are now audaciously attacked by some foolish and aberrant persons, who do not know the value of social peace among nations and legalize fueling discord among them. In addition, those reckless persons who dared to commit such heinous acts should be punished.
|It is now high time for a resolution criminalizing defamation of Islamic figures.|
This is meant to guarantee non-recurrence of such dangerous acts in future and to have the foolish and reckless perpetrators thereof punished for what they have done. In light of this serious situation, silence would be of no avail, since it does not befit honorable persons or officials. We, at al-Azhar and in the Muslim world, are waiting!
Allah says the truth, and He guides to the [right] way, and indeed those who have wronged are going to know to what [kind of] return they will be returned.
Written in Luxor on Shawwal 28th, 1433 A.H./September 15th, 2012 A.H.
Professor Dr. Ahmad at-Tayyib
Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar