Thursday, October 4, 2012
Imam Muzammil Siddiqi Speaks on the Middle East Protests/Video
Imam Muzammil Siddiqi
Muzammil Siddiqi is the head imam of the Islamic Center of Orange County, California. He is arguably the most important imam in the United States. In addition, he has been featured (critically) on this site. On September 14, he spoke to his followers on the recent events in the Middle East beginning with the September 11 anti-American protests over the video, "The Innocence of Muslims". This video is posted on the ISOC website.
In this speech, which lasts about 20 minutes, Siddiqi counsels his listeners not to react with violence over insults and mockery of Islam and the Prophet. He condemns the violence that resulted and counsels patience. Listen to Siddiqi's words, and perhaps, we can have a discussion afterward.
I have no quarrel with what Siddiqi says in English. (I don't know Arabic.) Surely, there are passages in the Quran which Siddiqi (I believe) is quoting in Arabic that support his words. There are surely passages which have different messages, which were written later in time. I noted that Siddiqi briefly referred to protecting the rights of non-Muslims in Muslim countries. I wish he had gone into more detail on that point, but I concede it would have been a bit off-topic.
I do have one serious question, and I would invite my Muslim readers to comment here: Siddiqi uses the words, "mockery" and "ridicule" to refer to the video and other negative comments about Islam and the Prophet. My question is whether the word "blasphemy' is also pertinent to the video discussion since many (overseas) have called for death to the individuals who made the video. Does Imam Siddiqi believe that the video constitutes blasphemy against Islam and the Prophet, and if so, what is the necessary punishment?