(Washington, DC – Sept 12, 2012) The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is deeply disturbed to learn about an online video being circulated by anti-Muslim hate groups that depicts the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a very profane manner. The making of this video presents an extremely false narrative of American society and of American values. It does not represent the views of the American public as a whole, nor does it represent Jews, Christians, or people of any other faith. We condemn the creation of such a hateful video, and we also call for an end to support for such mechanisms of hatred and bigotry. It is inexcusable to propagate such hateful media, and to lend a helping hand to those who would do this, knowing full well that it may incite some to violence.
ISNA continues to work with communities of all faiths to respond to bigotry and hatred against Muslims. When issues of anti-Muslim bigotry arise, many people of goodwill stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us to condemn them and to work for a better society for all people. Prominent Jewish and Christian leaders across America are among the first to support our community, with the perspective that to attack one religion is, in effect, to attack all religions. We work with them day in and day out, united in a common purpose of peace and mutual respect, and we know that the messages in this video stand in stark contrast with their moral and religious values. We are confident that they will continue to stand with us in condemnation of this video and in support of Muslim communities as we face the many challenges ahead. We urge all religious communities to publicly condemn this act and help make clear that we are united against hatred, regardless of circumstance.
As horrific and offensive as the video might be, nothing justifies the sort of violent acts we have heard reported in Egypt and Libya. Already four innocent people have lost their lives in Libya, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was a great friend and ally of the Libyan people. As we mourn the loss of these individuals, we call on Muslims across the world not to pay any attention to the voices of extremists such as the ones that created this video. These individuals do not represent our American government — in fact, many of them crudely insult our President more regularly than they insult Muslims — and they do not represent the vast majority of Americans. Our great country guarantees all of its citizens the right to freedom of speech, and unfortunately some use this simply to perpetrate bigotry and hatred. The words of these individuals are intended only to create tension and to solicit violent reactions from Muslims and people of other faiths around the world. It is critical that no one aid them in this task. As American Muslims, we can state with confidence that these individuals hold views which remain on the fringes of our society. The vast majority of Americans and American news outlets completely disregard them, and we urge all people around the world to do the same.
As ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid stated, “As Muslims, we love our Prophet (peace be upon him) dearly. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (may He be glorified and exalted) has praised the Prophet (peace be upon him). No video could impact his status in our hearts.”
We call upon our fellow citizens to treat each other with compassion and honesty, and to foster an ethical commitment to bedrock American values such as pluralism and religious freedom, mutuality and respect—values also at the core of our religious traditions.