As a Muslim, it pains me tremendously to see death and destruction all over the Muslim world as a result of violent protests against the recent anti-Islam film. I am saddened for two reasons: a) My faith is being attacked; and b) Muslims are being used as chess pieces in the larger geopolitical game of the imperial forces to control the world resources. While the response of Muslims is understandable, there is a need to dig deeper and ask questions to understand the motives behind this film in order to respond to it effectively and devise a strategic plan of action against the real threat, instead of responding to the symbols of threat and not be like boiling water, scattering our energy, getting consumed in the process, and having no lasting impact, not just hurting ourselves, but, in fact, helping the perpetrators. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of political, religious, intellectual and moral leadership among Muslims. No one seems to have the wisdom to see things clearly, the vision to predict the future, the skills to plan for it, or the moral courage to stand up and speak the truth and guide people in the right direction. The questions that come to my mind are: why was this film made? Who will benefit and who will be harmed by this? How do we make our point? To answer the first question: There are two possible reasons, I think, behind the production of this film: a) A deliberate frontal attack on Islamic faith; or b) A small part of a well-thought-out strategic long-term plan by the imperialist forces to further their agenda of monopolising the planet’s resources, which happen to be concentrated in the Muslim lands, and, that I believe is the true motive. Some will call this a conspiracy theory, but those who have studied history and keep a keen eye on the current geopolitical situation will tend to agree with this. To answer the second question: The creators of this film hoped that it will cause burning of Muslim property, loss of Muslim lives, and reinforcement of the Muslim image as violent people; there will be economic loss; and there will be chaos and instability. We have proven them right, damaging no one else but ourselves and all the moderate forces in the world. It is a victory for those who want to see the Muslim world in constant turmoil, want to promote the agenda of hate in the world, and want to move the world towards another major war leading to the hegemony of the elite. So, then the question is how do we make our point? Yes, we need to let them know that what they have done is not acceptable. We have the right to express our feeling that it was a cowardly attack on our faith, but this expression should be peaceful and more importantly, it should be morally just. By that I mean that if we want others to respect our faith, we have to extend the same respect to theirs. We have to fight not just for the sanctity of our religion, but for the religions and faiths of others. And then, the world will respect us and we will have allies who will stand by us. Somehow, someone has perpetuated this myth that all Christians, Jews and other non-Muslims are enemies of Islam. Living in the West, I know firsthand that it is not true. We can reach out to other religious leaders and seek their support for our cause. I am sure they will be sympathetic. We need to find allies and not create enemies. Adding insult to the injury is the fact that innocent citizens, regardless of which country they belong to, are further exploited in the name of religion by their own leaders and politicians. And so, an average American, British, French, German citizen is as much a victim of this exploitation as is a Pakistani, Indian, Egyptian, Libyan or Nigerian citizen. For example, in Pakistan, all political parties have tried to cash in on this and other anti-West sentiment; and in the USA and Europe, a small but powerful group is trying to portray Muslims as extremists and terrorists and is ridiculing Islam. We should never forget that while the elite of the world want to control world resources, the elite at home are trying to consolidate their hold on national resources and power. It is both these groups who benefit from these incidences. Please, think with cool mind, whether our actions will deter similar attempts in future. If the answer is in negative, then we have not achieved anything. And last but not the least, there needs to be a space for open discussion and tolerance for dissenting voices or we are nothing but sheep, just following the crowd. In the long run, it is not by being emotional that we will make our point, but by being strong through education, technology, economy, and intellectual power. Then we will be able to stand tall and protect what is sacred to us as well as to others. 

The writer has been practicing Family Medicine in Florida since 1983. She is one of the founding members of the Pakistani American Association of Tampa Bay; was on the board of PAKPAC, which is a lobbying organisation for Pakistani causes in the US; and former president of the Fatima Jinnah Medical College Alumni. Email: shahnazk@gmail.com