Yet another horrific incident of violence occurred in Garland, Texas last Sunday when two gunmen opened fire outside an event hosted by an anti-Islamic group (“Texas gunman was known to FBI,” May 5). As a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, I strongly condemn these acts of terror conducted by these two gunmen. If they believe they did this to defend the honor of the Prophet Muhammad, then let it be clear that these acts of theirs have no place in Islam. Blasphemy of the Prophet Muhammad has been addressed several times in the Holy Quran but nowhere is violence permitted as a response. Prophet Muhammad’s own example confirms this view. Regarding a man who spread the cruel lie that Muhammad’s wife was an adulterer, Prophet Muhammad not only tolerated his actions but led his funeral prayer. Despite these clear teachings, people are still led to believe that Islam promotes violence over peace.
On the other hand, I would also like to condemn the acts of the hate group, American Freedom Defense Initiative, that hosted this event in which a prize of $10,000 was being offered to the person with the best cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. One is left puzzled as to how these actions of this group help protect and justify freedom of speech. Their actions demonize the millions of Muslims who have been peacefully living in America and have nothing to do with these acts of violence. Abusive cartoons of Prophet Muhammad should not be given the same respect just like racist, homophobic and many other acts of freedom of speech are not given the same respect as other generally permissible forms of free speech.
Zafir Ahmed, Columbia