Fighting Arguments With Arguments, Not Violence
Usama Dakdok is no Pamela Geller but he creates an equally ravenous appetite for anti-Islamic hatred. His Islamophobic rants spare no comments to disrespect Prophet Muhammad and Islam in general. His opinion is heard by anyone who would like to perpetuate hatred towards Islam within their community.
Neither him nor his ilk, like Pamela Geller, are ever deserving of violence though. Their free speech is as much protected as is mine by writing this opinion editorial, regardless of their distasteful rhetoric and hatred. What happened in Garland is wrong beyond words. The law enforcement officers who stopped the two gunmen, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, are heroes in my book.
However, I want to go back to Usama Dakdok and how one small Muslim community living in the city of Oshkosh, WI dealt with his impassioned hatred towards Islam. Usama Dakdok was invited by a local Lutheran church in Oshkosh, WI on April 8 to present a lecture on what is the real Islam, according to his opinion.
His lecture was not an expose on Islam but rather a vitriolic demonization of it instead. The questions were inflammatory against Muslims: Is Muhammad a true prophet? What the Quran teaches about terrorism? The bottom line that he presented was that the Quran teaches terrorism towards non-Muslims.
In response the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Oshkosh immediately went to task to jot down all of Mr. Dakdok’s allegations against Islam and Prophet Muhammad. They understood his arguments. They wrote a rebuttal to each one of them and some were published in the Oshkosh Northwestern and others were presented in a separately held event by them in their mosque on April 15. The event had an open invitation to anyone and the bottom line for it was to rebut and address all of Mr. Dakdok’s allegations and answer any questions related to Islam.
The point of this story was not to distract you from the issue at hand which is violence in the name of religion or an attack on free speech. Rather it was to show that Islam only teaches us to fight arguments with arguments. It is even written in the Quran that it is the greater jihad: “So obey not the disbelievers and strive (jihad) against them by means of the Quran with a mighty striving (greater jihad) (25:53).” In essence, Muslims are directed to use the Quran, not violence, as a means of arguments to respond back to anyone against Islam.
Some of the people who came to the event held by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on April 15 were rude and obnoxious. They were questioning the patriotism of the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. They called Islam a purely violent faith and associated this violence to the Prophet Muhammad. But no member of the community lost their cool and every question and comment was addressed, for three straight hours.
If Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, the three culprits in the Charlie Hebdo massacre, or others like them thought of doing the same, Usama Dakdok’s and Pamela Geller’s Islamophobic industry would have no platform to stand on. If these Muslim gunmen would have exhibited the same compassion that Prophet Muhammad had given even towards his enemies then no one would have been drawing cartoons of him today.
Charlie Hebdo was a magazine that was struggling to make ends meet but it was only the vicious attacks by the Muslim gunmen who saved them. After the attacks they published a special issue of the cartoon caricature of Prophet Muhammad and it became their hottest sell, thus insulting the memory of Prophet Muhammad further still.
The Quran teaches Muslims that ignorance should be responded with a greeting of peace (Quran 25:64). Prophet Muhammad exhibited this in a single act during thevictory of Mecca when he forgave all of its inhabitants who had previously persecuted him and his followers for thirteen years, even the ones who had the worst part in it.
Given all this, I cannot imagine why some Muslim person would even think of honoring Prophet Muhammad through violence and disorder. Indeed he detested it. It would be the greatest dishonor to him if they did.
Muslims must remember that no Usama Dakdok or Pamela Gellar can ever take away anything from Islam, but violence in the name of Islam will certainly empower them to spread their hatred towards it.
We must only fight them with our words and pens.