“Verily, those who annoy Allah and His Messenger -Allah has caused in this world and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them an abasing punishment “ Al-Quran

Atrocities on Muslims and Islam are increasing day by day in the whole world. Enemies of Islam are insulting the signs of Islam everywhere. Recently, Netherland government announced a competition of blasphemous caricatures. Deep concern was conveyed at this deliberate and malicious attempt to defame Islam. “Pakistan’s ambassador in the Hague has been instructed to forcefully raise the issue with the Dutch government along with ambassador of OIC member states,” the foreign office said. As a result the whole Islamic world lodged a strong protest with the Dutch politician Greet Wilder. This is similar to an American Hollywood film “Innocence of Muslims” insulting Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Islam which is a clear proof of enmity of America and it's allies to Islam. Unfortunately, sad aspect is that this heinous act causing mental anguish to Muslims for defaming their beloved Holy Prophet (PBUH) are brushed aside by West under the Freedom of Speech. The blasphemous film caused overwhelming protest across the world.

Freedom of expression is protected by all major human rights instruments. In 1976 European court of human rights has declared “Freedom of expression as the essential foundation of a diplomatic society and is applicable not only to information and ideas that favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or matter of indifference but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of population.”

Freedom of expression is not without limits. These limits may vary from state to state but usually include defamation, incitement to hatred, violence and discrimination against a person or a group or community.

The sacrilegious film “Innocence of Muslims” that mocked the Holy Prophet(PBUH) and Islam has profoundly hurt the sensitivities of Muslims and  sparked violent protests all over the world. What is freedom of expression? Does it allow humiliation of any divine religion and it’s prophet and it’s faith and values that are perceived sacred by his followers. If it does then why freedom of expression has always been used against prophet (PBUH)?

After 9/11 new terminologies are being associated with Islam and western societies consider Islam as a threat to their civilisation. Islamophobia, terrorism, extremism, fundamentalism these are the terms associated with Islam. People like Sam Bacile representing Islamophobia deliberately focussed on permitting violence.

Muslims have been protesting against the movie. At some places the protests were peaceful while others went violent. On the 11 September 2012 in Cairo a protester scaled the walls of American embassy and pulled down the American flag and called for expulsion of embassy staff. In Libya,  the US ambassador Christopher Steven and the three American staff were killed as the protesters entered the embassy. Americans called it as pre-planned attack as jihadist militia wanted to kill Americans on the anniversary of 9/11. Even in Pakistan protests became violent and many lives were lost and many public and private properties were burnt. In Lebanon hundreds of flags were raised in the capital city of Beirut. The protesters chanted “America hear us - don't insult our Prophet.”

There are many methods of control and restrictions of freedom of speech both crude and subtle. According to Noam Chomsky “the anti democratic societies are really ferocious and for good reason. Because the freer the society gets, the more dangerous the great beast becomes and the more you have to be careful to cage it somehow.” The Great Beast is of course us – the 99 percent.

In international law, acting as a guide and aid to clarity of thinking, there are limits to free speech. But the acts such as writing books to defame Holy Prophet (PBUH), caricatures drawn in European magazines and to produce a sacrilegious film are purely acts of blasphemy.

To promote the interfaith harmony it is the duty of western governments to take this issue seriously and to come up with some proposals that could differentiate between freedom of speech and blasphemy.

Unfortunately, West displays double standards in its dealing. Terry Jones, who burnt copies of Holy Quran, even though his despicable act was condemned but no legal action was taken against him. With regard to Danish caricatures no legal action was taken against the person who did it.   It caused mental torture to Muslims across the globe.

It is indeed double standard as punishment for denial of holocaust ranges to imprisonment of one up to 10 years in a number of western countries.

On the other hand Muslims and especially Pakistanis need to rein in our anger. The people got so wild some attacked and burnt a church and cinema houses. They looted ATM’s, torched cars and burnt petrol pumps. No wonder, an Indian student has taunted that India does not need to build Pakistan specific Agni and Prithvi missiles “just produce  a blasphemous movie  post it on YouTube and in retaliation, Pakistanis will destroy their own country.”

Now in this Dutch caricatures matter, an ideal opportunity to display to the world that the Muslims sentiments have been hurt is to show the resentment peacefully. The answer to the blasphemous contents is not violence but a wisdom based response. Turning violent in reaction to such attempts will be  success of the hard-core fanatics against Islam who want to draw us into their dirty game.