In the wake of the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris, much has been made of the sometimes violent responses of extremists to the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Radical Islamic cleric Anjem Choudary didn’t help alleviate the stigma against the hundreds of millions of Muslims that devote to their faith peacefully.
In an op-ed in USA Today on Thursday, Choudary seemed to try to justify the attacks. “[T]he potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike,” Choudary said. “The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State,” he continued.
Choudary, radical extremists, and anti-Islam polemicists alike often resort to quoting scripture out of context, or taking advantage of transliteration, as a way to distort the messages of Islam. Sharia law varies upon interpretations of scripture—and like any religion, some interpretations are more radical than others…
The Quran doesn’t explicitly ban depictions of Mohammed, and it certainly does not call for violence against those who display such images, even in a mocking or offensive way. The Hadith does ban images of Mohammed, the relatives of Mohammed, Allah, and all the major prophets.
You can ready Choudary’s musings here. Sample:
Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people’s desires.
Although Muslims may not agree about the idea of freedom of expression, even non-Muslims who espouse it say it comes with responsibilities. In an increasingly unstable and insecure world, the potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, “Whoever insults a Prophet kill him.”
Sarah Harvard, the author of the Slate piece, by the way, is an intern at the on-line magazine. According to USA Today, “Anjem Choudary is a radical Muslim cleric in London and a lecturer in sharia.” So who you gonna believe?