Q: You seem to advocate a non-polemic approach to those who seek to insult Islam. Certainly, you will agree with the reports that some organizations, among which are Christian and Jewish ones, are hostile and virulent. Should we not respond in kind?

A: One of the most difficult aspects of being a Muslim is to follow the Qur’an, which is why the Qur’an has the strange verse indicating that on the Day of Judgment, the Prophet (s) will claim that the Muslims abandoned the Qur’an (25:30). The Qur’an tells us: “The most honored of you with God is he who is the most God-conscious…” -- the word used is atqaakum -- the one who exercises conscience, thereby protecting himself / herself from falling into sin. The Qur’an also says: “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good exhortation.” These verses force us to cast aside our desire to reciprocate in like manner when confronted by acerbic polemic. When we sink to using harsh language, our opponents have scored a victory, for they realize that they have influenced us to the point where we forget our values. Let us do what the Qur’an tells us to do, and explain to others why we cannot insult the prophets, and why we, in the worst of circumstances, will only say: “To you your religion, and to me mine.”

Posted May 8, 2002