JEDDAH, 4 February 2006 — Lawyers in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have decided to forge an alliance in defense of Islam following the publication of cartoons denigrating the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in some European newspapers.
The lawyers wanted to take legal action against those who insult and demean the Prophet. “I have contacted our colleagues in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. They have all supported the idea,” Al-Madinah daily quoted lawyer Sulaiman Al-Sanie, who spearheaded the campaign.
“We also need the support of businessmen and media persons to enact laws that would incriminate abuse of religions and prophets in all countries,” Al-Sanie said.
The lawyers plan to set up a website in major foreign languages to explain the teachings of Islam and answer questions. Some 500 lawyers in Jeddah have supported the project, Al-Sanie said.
“We have discussed a number of options on how to deal with the issue,” said Nidhal Atta, another lawyer. He emphasized the need for explaining the fundamental principles of Islam to secularists in countries such as Denmark, where people even do not know about their own religion — Christianity.
Atta said the alliance would ask businessmen to stop dealing in Danish products in order to harm its economy. He urged all Saudis and Muslims to boycott the products of countries that insult the Prophet. “An economic boycott will help influence policies and decisions of countries,” he added.
Muhammad Abdu Yamani, a former information minister, emphasized the need for taking decisive actions against those individuals and countries that insulted the Prophet.
“We’ll not accept abusing our Prophet in any form,” he said. He stressed the need for educating the world on the greatness of the Prophet.
Yamani urged non-Muslim governments to instruct their peoples and institutions to respect other faiths. Boycott of products alone would not be enough to correct the wrong committed by European dailies. However, he said it would give a signal to people in such countries that their interests would be in danger if they harm friendly people without any reason. Yamani urged more efforts to spread awareness of Islam and its Prophet.
Abdul Aziz Turkistani, a member of the Saudi Media and Outreach Society, said the Danish cartoons were an attack on Islam. He referred to the coordinated Western media campaign against Islam and Muslims over the years. He called for a comprehensive cultural and media project as an answer to these smear campaigns.
“Thanks to my long association with non-Muslims, especially in Japan and South Korea, I can tell that there is a lack of Islamic information. More than 50 percent of information they receive about the Islamic world comes from non-Islamic sources,” he pointed out.
Turkistani, a known media figure, emphasized the need for promoting academic exchange. Seminars with the participation of European media persons can be organized to remove misconceptions about the Prophet.
“Holding of exhibitions on the Prophet in major European capitals is another way to offset the damage caused by the cartoons,” he said.
Establishment of academic chairs at Western universities with the financial support of Muslim businessmen and countries is another proposal. Muslim minorities in Western countries should be given necessary support to play a role in this awareness campaign, he added.
Islam does NOT mean "peace." It means "submission to Allah!"