Tags: MidPoint | Nazir Hamze | Muhammad | Paris attack

Muslim Rights Activist: Muhammad Didn't Kill His Critics

By    |   Thursday, 08 January 2015 04:46 PM

The Prophet Muhammad abided the verbal slings and arrows that he encountered in his day, and likewise the vast majority of Muslims today respond non-violently — as they should — to religious insults, an American-Islamic relations advocate told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

Nazir Hamze, a self-described Muslim Republican and regional operations director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), joined "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner to discuss Wednesday's attack by suspected Islamist gunmen on a Paris publication that mocked Islam in cartoons.

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"As a man of faith and as a Muslim man, seeing any religious figure depicted — the Prophet Muhammad, Jesus, Moses — being insulted is something I don't want to see," said Hamze. "However, does that mean that I think it's okay for people to kill somebody? Absolutely not. Free speech works two ways.

"So the right response to that cartoon or those cartoons should have been the faith community coming out and educating, and using that same free speech to counter that and say, 'You know what? This is what the Prophet Muhammad did when people insulted him. He didn't kill them, he didn't blow them up or do anything. The Prophet Muhammad was very humble, he was very forgiving, and he welcomed them,' " said Hamze.

The problem, said Hamze, is that the media ignores this message unless there's been an act of violence like the massacre on Wednesday at the Paris headquarters of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Hamze previously appeared on Newsmax TV to debate the radical London cleric Anjem Choudary, but he said there's little media interest as a rule in the everyday, grass-roots work that CAIR Florida does to promote better relations and mutual understanding.

The organization regularly invites media outlets to cover its speeches, panels and seminars, but to no avail, he said.

Choudary, meanwhile, published an op-ed in USA Today justifying the Paris attack.

Hamze said that Choudary's views are "very extreme and absolutely do not represent mainstream Islam and the mainstream Muslim community."

But he's out there, being heard and seen and read, and "the only thing that can overcome him is more education and more moderation," said Hamze.

CAIR advocates what Hamze called "a holistic approach" to dealing with radical Islamists.

"We have to have our spiritual leaders combating and countering" those who commit, or agitate for, violence in defense of Islam, said Hamze.

He said that being holistic does not mean shunning aggrieved Muslims, but intervening and giving them a constructive way to express their grievances, and engaging radicalized individuals with a full range of services — social, legal, and mental-health.

"That's the only way," said Hamze, "a holistic approach to these individuals when they're identified, to get them back integrated into society and give them an outlet, give them a platform to voice what their problems are."

Hamze said that moderate, mainstream Muslims do recognize the radicals in their midst — and too often kick them to the curb and out of proper society. The result, he said, is a "gang mentality" among the outcasts, who then drift toward greater radicalization and violence.

Governments and communities of all persuasions need to join forces to counter that drift, he said.

"Everyone needs to be at the table together," said Hamze,"and they need to come up with a holistic approach to this program, together, that doesn't violate people's civil rights, that doesn't promote bigotry and intolerance, that is a true, holistic solution."

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The Prophet Muhammad abided the verbal slings and arrows that he encountered in his day, and likewise the vast majority of Muslims today respond non-violently — as they should — to religious insults, an American-Islamic relations advocate told Newsmax TV on Thursday.
Nazir Hamze, Muhammad, Paris attack
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2015-46-08
Thursday, 08 January 2015 04:46 PM
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