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Muslims Respond to Cartoon Controversy

As we promised in our article “Cartoon Contests and Human Dignity,” on May 20, 2010, “Draw Muhammad Day,” we would publicly provide online the counter messages from Muslims emailed to us on the subjects of pluralism and human rights.  To those with additional input on this article, please send your comments to   We are providing these comments unedited, as promised, to promote dialogue on this issue and to provide their point of view.

Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) welcomes the opportunity for dialogue on this issue with those we agree and those we disagree,  and invite others to express their views on human rights and human dignity.   As R.E.A.L. has previously stated, we reject the views of those that would call for or that would rationalize violence as a recourse to affronts and insults, and we also recognize that this issue is a much more wide spread issue than only a few “extremists”  on either side.  We also recognize that our universal human rights of freedom of expression also entail rights and responsibility to promote human dignity, which we have seen from history to be an imperative to human co-existence.  We encourage respectful dialogue on both sides of this issue.

Below are the comments sent to Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) by individuals identifying themselves as Muslims on the “cartoon controversy.”


Shamira Kashmiri: Open Letter to Non-Muslims – Why We are Offended

“Molly Norris, in her statement apologizes to people of Muslim faith and asks that this ‘day’ be called off. She says this day has brought together a group of people who only want to draw obscene images,which are offensive to the Muslims, ‘who did nothing to endanger our right to expression in the first place.'”

“Despite being a predictable offense to Muslims and their repeated requests NOT to draw Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), cartoons have been drawn in defiance and published by Swedish Lars Vilks and by Danish political cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and now this…There have been numerous protests by Muslims over time, who have made it very clear to everyone that cartoons, paintings or depictions of Muhammad (pbuh) are disrespectful to our religious views. Now, to go a step further and draw ‘obscene’ cartoons is an obvious provocation even to the most mild mannered Muslim.”

“We want to make it very clear to everyone, that these objections are not limited to extremists or groups. I wish I could explain to you in so many words, the passion that an average Muslim feels about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). You would have to be a Muslim to understand that bond. The men/women who attacked the cartoonists were ordinary people…not criminals, terrorists or extremists. Call these crimes of passion, they were committed in a rage.”

“We don’t like it either when you draw obscene pictures of Jesus Christ (Hazrat Isa) or any of our other Prophets, peace be upon them all. We don’t like it when you use ‘Jesus Christ’ as an expletive or depict pictures with men urinating on the Bible (which you have now replaced with the Quran). Maybe that is freedom of expression for you, but WE find it extremely disrespectful. We love and respect all our Prophets, starting with Prophet Abraham (pbuh).”

“There is a shared responsibility in a shared society, which includes defending each other’s human dignity. We are endorsed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Offensive cartoons have appeared over time, especially about Black American and Jews, amongst others.”

“Mocking the human dignity of others in offensive cartoons depicting men and prophets seems to be the medium of those promoting disrespect and outright hatred. There are many things that we are free to do, but we do not do out of respect for others, so that we can co-exist peacefully.”

“What exactly do you think you will achieve by offending ALL Muslims across the globe? Superiority? Or do you think you will defame the Prophet and Islam? I assure you that this will not affect Islam or the character of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the least bit. Chronicles prove that he was a man of impeccable character, erudite, humble, soft spoken and very well mannered and a great leader. No amount of sketching is going to change that. However, we can pretty much predict the outcome of this provocation and offense to the Muslims… more hatred and animosity. Then there will be those who may retaliate, the extremists, the terrorists and those who, in a rage of passion decide to take the law in their own hands… and we, the rest of the Muslims have no control over that. What will you have achieved?”

“We want to publicly show you that we are larger than those who mock us and therefore:”

“‘We appeal to sensible, peace loving Americans and non-Muslims across the world, to stand with us and denounce this open provocation and disrespect. We hope for peace in the next generation, which is dependant on the history we write today. Let us choose Love, not Hate. Love always wins.'”

“Shamira Kashmiri”

[Note: we are publishing the comments of Shamira Kashmiri unedited to show the quoted comments.  Please note that we do not, however, agree with any assessment that would suggest that “rage of passion” attacks are anything less than criminal attacks when they involve violence or threats of violence.]


Mr. Elias on Human Rights


I am responding to your article (which I greatly appreciated). I am a Muslim who wants to share my view of human rights. The following is my answer to your article.”

“The Best Answer is From the Quran.”

“The Quran on Human Dignity and Equality:”

“‘O mankind, Indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.’ (49:13)”

“‘We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.’ (17:70)”

“The Quran on Religious Pluralism:”

“‘To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.’ (5:48)”

“‘Indeed, those who have believed and those who were Jews or Sabeans or Christians – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.’ (5:69)”

“The Quran on Freedom of Religion:”

“‘There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong.’ (2:256)”

“‘Had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed – all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers?’ (10:99)”

“‘The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills – let him believe; and whoever wills – let him disbelieve.’ (18:29)”

“The Quran on Peace and Forgiveness:”

“‘Abraham said, ‘Peace will be upon you. I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Indeed, He is ever gracious to me.” (19:47)”

“‘The servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] ‘peace!’ (25:63)”

“‘If they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah. Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Knowing.’ (8:61)”

“‘Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; and turn away from the ignorant.’ (7:199)”


Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) condemns hate and violence.  We support our unqualified, universal human rights, including our freedom of conscience and the pluralism to allow such freedoms.  We urge all those who promote hate and violence to unburden their hearts from hate and violence.

Choose Love, Not Hate.  Love Wins.