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Sarah Taryam: Flames can’t touch faith
September 18, 2012
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When you have faith, you do not insult faith. When you love your faith, you do not incite hatred towards another faith. When you value your beliefs, you do not demean another’s beliefs.

It’s ironic that a group of alleged Egyptian Coptic Christian expatriates living in California and calling themselves the Media of Christ should produce a 14-minute anti-Islamic film called Innocence of Muslims. Masked in their cloak of faith, they have added fuel to a fire that has been burning for far too long. With 14 minutes of sheer malice, these individuals have taken the progress made by several Middle Eastern countries many steps back.

The film, which shows the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in a bad light, was put on YouTube last week and violent protests began. First in Libya where the US Embassy in Benghazi was attacked and the US ambassador Christopher Stevens killed, along with three others. Stevens was described as a brilliant scholar who had spent most of his working career in the Middle East and North Africa.

Yemen, Tunisia, Sudan, Pakistan, Indonesia and Afghanistan followed and now the US along with some other western embassies have begun to withdraw their staff. There has also been trouble in Australia where a demonstration with several hundred people turned violent in Sydney.

The rage is understandable, but the innocent deaths unpardonable. The video has been condemned around the world with YouTube banning it in several countries in an attempt to calm the situation.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard called the film “repulsive”. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the film as “disgusting and reprehensible” and clearly stated that the United States rejects its content and its message. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned it as “hateful”.

The Pope on a three-day visit to Lebanon earlier this week said, “I would like to turn the attention of public opinion to the fact that those who are behind this movie aim to whip up strife and divert the anger of the Muslims toward rioting and the killing of innocents. They also aim to weaken the new democratic beginnings in the Arab world.”

Do not allow the actions of one sick individual to derail the hard work of the brave individuals who have risked their lives to bring democracy and justice to their countries. And do not dishonour the memories of those who have died fighting. And do not allow any more lives to be lost. You have fought bigger demons than this group of cowards who have no idea about the essence of faith.

The fire of hatred may destroy the tangible, but it is the intangible which is stronger than any wood, steel or the most precious metal. Faith cannot be put out by any flame, no matter how high the fire burns.
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