"The war of light and darkness sounds well, but within this post Freudian world men realise that the darkness ascribed to ones enemies is a projection of the darkness of ones self that is not fully admitted, so in this way the distorted image of Islam is to be regarded as a projection of the shadow side of European man."
This passage was part of a lecture given by one of the Western world's most esteemed Orientalist scholar's: William Montgomery Watt. Watt was talking specifically about the insecurities of his civilisation as it dealt with what it saw as its mortal enemy in the form of Islam. His words however are equally applicable to those he was attempting to reach out to.
In particular, I am thinking of those who have suddenly found in their own anger a self-righteous zeal in defending the honour of the Prophet. Whilst all Muslims will be angered with the film that continues a recent trend of instigation on part of libertine fringe groups, some have fallen prey to its aims.
Insults and mockery of the Prophet is not a new phenomenon in the West and can be found across the ages from artistic expression to political rhetoric; an unsavoury aspect from the legacy of Latin Christendom.
But as with imitating so much else in the ways of its Western counterpart some in the Muslim world have been guilty of the same. For many Muslims it seems a slightly confusing state of affairs that those in the process of a violent uprising against the latest unflattering portrayal of the Prophet adhere to a growing movement that seek to target anyone who attempts to form any attachment to him or his family.
Whilst most within this camp are cheerleaders of deviant beliefs absorbed in ignorance from petrol-dollar induced scholarship and literature, others have been active agents of destruction: destruction that has involved the denigration and obliteration of holy sites, priceless in both historical and religious terms.
The latest examples of this have been seen in Libya where the destruction of Sufi shrines continues a hard-liners project in purging Islam of its visual and spiritual history. Whilst the destruction of Sufi shrines will be a further dagger in the hearts of many a Muslim, it must be considered a minor indiscretion considering events of the recent past. Events and acts that have not even spared those places frequented by the footsteps of the Prophet and Islam's most cherished personalities.
As Jerome Taylor reported in the Independent only last year such a project remains ongoing, with Islam's holiest cities turning into Las Vegas style habitats devoid of any of their past glories.
Even the destruction of holy sites is but a symbolism of a greater crusade which is seeking to rid from the Muslim psyche any veneration of its great personalities including the Prophet.
The adherents of this school believe that any outward expression of love for the Prophet in the form of supplication and poetry are tantamount to blasphemy and have placed the majority of the Muslim world into a state of disbelief. Any attempt to keep one attached to important occasions in Muslim history like the Prophet's birthday is met with disapproval and labels as defamatory as "kuffar", (non-believer).
I, like many others, have been no stranger to being on the receiving end of such rants on several occasions. Any attempt at discussing religious belief or practice descends into a diatribe of insults where even the most venerated figures of the past are not spared.
No consideration is given for the fact that such veneration is part of Qur'anic commandment as well as a way in which Muslims and non-Muslims alike have fused inner worship with outward expression. A legacy that has given the world monuments of incomparable beauty and magnificence and produced writings and poetry celebrated across cultural, geographical and religious boundaries. One only has look at the great mausoleums of the Sufi Saints across the Indian Sub-Continent where Hindus, Sikhs and Christians join Muslims in finding solace and breaking bread.
But even such occurrences are subject to a revisionism that is the hallmark of such a sectarian mindset. A recent example from my own experience was being told that Sufism is a load of nonsense as it is only, "what two or three hundred years old."
Such falsified rhetoric is common-place among a growing number of Muslims whose link to their traditions is being eroded. The externalities of this trend are to form people whose states of being are as flammable as the substance that has funded the means for such a process to occur. It takes the smallest of sparks to produce the raging fire inside.
The makers of the recent film are not ignorant of such a fact. That fire has led to the death of a diplomat and threatens a new uprising across the Middle East. The damage it continues to do to the Prophetic legacy will far outlast any film.
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