Along with 200 other delegates of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, I went to Capitol Hill to gain Congress’ support for the “Protecting Religious Minorities Persecuted by ISIS Act of 2015” (H.R.1568) on Friday. Today, I find myself again advocating against the unjustifiable and un-islamic actions carried out by extremists at a “free speech” event in Texas.
Yes, I do mean un-islamic. Islam has never permitted violence in response to blasphemy. In fact, the Quran has addressed blasphemy on five separate occasions (4:141, 4:157; 6:69, 6:109; 9:74; 63:9), but nowhere does it permit violence as a response. Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad repeatedly tolerated abuse and avoided violence; for instance, the Prophet Muhammad not only tolerated the actions of Abdullah Ubay bin Salul – the very man who spread the cruel lie that the Prophet Muhammad’s wife was an adulterer – but he also led his funeral prayer.
The group hosting the event, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. On the other hand, Muslim Americans have lived in America since the time of George Washington; despite this, free speech remains protected. Yet, I am still left wondering what speech is being protected in this case.
Usama Ahmed, Bothell