In the Name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful
An Open Letter to President Benigno S. Aquino III
Dear Mr. President,
Greetings of peace.
The repeated pronouncements coming from your office stating that you cannot block the US-produced film, “Innocence of Muslims”, from YouTube all in the name of freedom of expression despite the appeals of the Bangsamoro and Filipino Muslims in this country is, indeed, very disheartening. We find your office very callous, indifferent, insensitive, uncaring and heartless to us, Muslims, who have been deeply offended and infuriated by this vicious and malicious assault on our religious sensitivities.
We are extremely disappointed by your apathy.
The Philippines claims Islam as her National Heritage because of its role in, and contributions to, the history of this country. Yet we do not understand why your government would tolerate a very nasty assault on this National Heritage that could even have dire implications on the current efforts of your government and the Muslims to resolve the conflict in Mindanao and Sulu. We cannot understand why the ‘freedom of expression’ of that sick mind that created the film would take precedence over national reconciliation and peace between Muslims and Christians, and between the Bangsamoro and Filipinos in the South.
Allow us to ask you, Mr. President: will you tolerate an insane person to make a film bloated with lies regarding your family and show it on YouTube for everyone to see? Will you, for example, just take it sitting down if a despicable film is shown depicting Ninoy, your much-respected father, as a sex-maniac and pedophile; your mother, President Cory, as an adulterer; or your sisters as prostitutes and swindlers so that the people could mock and make fun of your family? What will you feel and what will you do in such an oppressive situation? Will you allow that film to stay on YouTube for everyone to see – young and old alike who would not be able to discern if this film is true or false? We do not think that you would not rise to the defense of your loved ones, Mr. President. It would be unnatural or abnormal not to do so.
Mr. President, any Juan dela Cruz in our country who has decency and honor left in him and could afford the services of a lawyer would certainly file a case of libel or moral defamation if someone hurls lies regarding his person or family in print or broadcast media. It is his right to protect himself and his family from character assassination or vilification. He would do all his best to stop the spread of these calumnies and would move heaven and earth to put the perpetrator(s) of this crime behind bars.
The despicable film cannot be compared to a lousy fiction novel or a pornographic magazine that has limited circulation. It has been posted on YouTube with the sinister intent to reach the most number of audiences worldwide to denigrate Islam, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and the Muslims. This is why we cannot just ignore this blatantly malevolent travesty of the truth vis-a-vis the life of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).
Mr. President, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is very much dear to us Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the Messenger that brought us to Allah, Most High. We, Muslims, are one nation (ummah) because of him. We have been guided to Tawhid (monotheism) through the divine revelation that Allah had coursed through him. He is the ‘Great Exemplar’, the ‘Mercy to Mankind’, that taught and inculcated in all of us the meaning of compassion and the lofty ethos based on the Islamic principle of universal brotherhood that precludes and abhors racism and the exploitation of man by man and the oppression of man by man. It is because of him that we have learned tolerance and are, therefore, obligated to respect all religions and to revere all the Prophets of Allah (peace be upon all of them) from Adam to Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
And Muhammad (pbuh) is the Seal of Prophethood.
It is in this context that anybody who insults Muhammad (pbuh) insults all the Prophets and, therefore, insults us Muslims as well as all the followers of the Abrahamic faiths. Anyone who assassinates his character humiliates us. To reiterate and put it succinctly, Mr. President, we, Muslims, deem any attack on the person of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as an attack on all of us. This explains why individually and collectively, we are protesting against all those who denigrate or malign his person. We vehemently condemn the showing of that obscene film in this part of the globe which you, Mr. President, are capable of blocking on YouTube if you were to order stopping this assault on Islam and your Muslim constituents, unless of course you no longer consider us part of your constituency. We are deprived of our right against moral defamation and so we demand retribution.
Nay, we demand justice.
Freedom of expression for a liar and an evil man when tolerated by any state or government to bring ‘unpeace’ to 2 billion Muslims and cause mayhem around the world is freedom of assassination.
This, in a very true sense, is terrorism. And those who tolerate it abet it, and, in effect, are driving the world into the precipice of irreversible conflict, violence and war on a global scale.
Mr. President, we are now calling for justice for the insult that has been hurled on the Prophet (pbuh). It is our paramount obligation as Muslims to defend him. And we will not stop protesting and demanding that the film be blocked from YouTube in this country because for as long as you allow its showing, you allow the perpetuation of the injustice committed on Islam and on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and, therefore, on all of us Muslim citizens of this Republic.
Mr. President, we are asking you to enjoin what is right and prohibit what is wrong.
Please block the film on YouTube as soon as possible. This is all we ask.
In fine, may you be guided and protected by the Almighty Lord of the worlds so that you can chart this country to the TUWID NA DAAN that you have made the guiding philosophy of your administration.
In peace and justice,
For the Muslim Women Center for Change:
Rowena Awliya Javier-Alonto
September 22, 2012