Letters to the Editor

Free speech and Islam

Free speech and Islam

It’s hard to imagine how stupid and irresponsible some people can be.

Pamela Geller and her hate group, American Freedom Defense Initiative, hosted an art contest in Garland, offering a prize for comical and degrading cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to provoke those of the Muslim faith.

It worked for at least two gunmen. Maybe there will be more. Now she says, “This is a war and the war is here” and that she is pleased with the outcome of the event.

Geller brought her war to North Texas. She got the publicity she wanted and then went home to New York.

Let’s hope she never returns.

— James Withaeger, Arlington

As an Ahmadi Muslim youth, I wholeheartedly condemn the attack in Garland, for violence has no place in Islam. At the same time, I condemn the disrespectful cartoon drawings of the Prophet Muhammad showed at this event, for hate has no place in civilized society.

Islam has never permitted violence in response to blasphemy. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, noted:

“Religion is worth the name only so long as it is in consonance with reason. If it fails to satisfy that requisite, if it has to make up for its discomfiture in argument by handling the sword, it needs no other argument for its falsification. The sword it wields cuts its own throat before reaching others.”

— Yahya Tariq, Dallas

The Sons of Abraham is a group in Tarrant County that promotes dialogue and learning among men from the Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths. Our purpose is to learn more about each other, seek commonalities and promote peace.

When we see events such as occurred in Garland, it brings us sadness that people respond in violent ways. It is important to have free speech and religious freedom, yet it is not helpful to promote events that engender hate, nor is it ethical in any faith to instigate hate, killing or violence.

It is easy to blame others and live in fear of others we know less about. Our organization offers to all of us the opportunity to learn of others before promoting hate and blame.

— Chris Wilson, Arlington

The best way to incite violence is to insult the Prophet Muhammad. Pamela Geller, of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, should certainly be awarded the dumb and dumber award for that.

I assume she was aware of the consequences for insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Yet she went ahead with her lame-brain idea to depict Muhammad in a cartoon contest and offering $10,000 to the winner.

I would have thought Garland would have had better sense than to allow such an invitation to violence!

— Jim Sanderson, Fort Worth

The actions of Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, killed by police in the attack in Garland, were not only despicable, but go against the basic fundamentals of Islam, the religion in whose name they claimed to act.

As a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, I combat hurtful cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad through letters like this.

In 2015, the only type of jihad, other than a internal, spiritual jihad, that should be committed is through the pen. I understand the hurt sentiments involved, but in no way is it appropriate to attack innocent people exercising their freedom of speech.

Simpson and Soofi should have instead exercised their own freedom of speech, to get the point across that an event such as the cartoon drawing contest is offensive. We should engage in fruitful dialogue as civilized human beings and faithful Muslims.

— Ahmed Malik, Denton

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