THE HAGUE, January 27 (IslamOnline) - Making her “debut” at the parliamentary scene in the Netherlands, a Somali refugee, who arrived in the Netherlands ten years ago, chose to start her parliamentary life with a showdown with the Muslim community in the country by lashing out at Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
In an interview with the Dutch daily Trouw on Saturday, January 25, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 32, shocked as many as one million Muslims living in the Netherlands by branding Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with some abhorrent, repugnant descriptions, stirring up feelings of anger and antagonism towards her.
Having no inkling about Islam or Sharia (Islamic law) as it appears in her curriculum vitae, Ayaan said the Prophet (peace be upon him) was a “despotic, narrow-minded and violent” man, who killed whoever stood in his way.
She further alleged that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was against the freedom of women, since, she claimed, he ordered them not to leave their houses, wear the veil and denied them the right to work and inheritance, not to mention a number of other calumnies mouthed frequently by some venomous orientalists.
Ayaan was catapulted into the limelight for her incessant verbal assault against Islam, making use of the anti-Muslim seismic waves stirred by the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.
Provoking Fierce Backlash
The Dutch paper, however, designated on its Monday, January 27, issue space to publish Muslims’ angry reactions against Ayaan’s provocative statements.
The daily said Muslim organizations in the Netherlands are considering filing lawsuits against the Dutch MP, who has not yet been sworn in, on the charge of blaspheming against Islam and for slandering Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
For his part, Mohammed Sini, head of the liaison body between Muslims and the Dutch government, that the would-be Dutch MP should be held accountable for such insults, pointing out that it was not proper for an MP to use such derogatory remarks about the prophet of Islam (peace be upon him).
Sini further said her press statements would only throw a spinner in the pains-taking efforts exerted by Muslims and Dutch officials, who have no doubt at all that dialogue, not trading insults, is the one and only way to absorb the Muslim minority in the Netherlands.
Muslim organizations, as well as the Dutch Liberal Party (VVD), which came third in the January 22 elections with 28 seats in the parliament, to strip Ayaan of her parliamentary membership and to pressure her into backtracking on her degrading remarks against Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), noting that Dutch political parties were not supposed to incite hatred or instigate others against minorities.
A VVD spokesman said Ayaan spoke for herself, asserting that she by no means expressed the party’s viewpoint. But he, however, said her statements did not conflict with the party’s platform best known for its anti-Islam stances.
Speaking on a Dutch TV channel, for his part, head of the Belgium-based Arab-European League (AEL) Dyab Abu Jahjah said MPs should be up to their duties and not degenerate into insulting people or communities.
“She (Ayaan) would better have shut her mouth about Islam, because she has become a politician,” Jahjah said.
Meanwhile, a large number of researchers specialized in Islamic studies in the Netherlands assert that Ayaan has a superficial knowledge about Islam, pointing out that she depended on stereotypes and old clichés, which were not based on any scientific or epistemological evidence.
Amr Riyad, an Egyptian researcher at Leiden University, said Ayaan is ignorant about the fact that there is a whole sura (chapter) in the Glorious Qur’an entitled Al-Nissa (women), which spelled out women’s rights enshrined by Islam some 14 centuries ago, when the West was viewing women as a devil and animal incarnate.
“Before Islam, women were buried alive,” Riyad said. “But with the advent of Islam, women had been saved by prohibiting the custom of killing baby girls.”
Riyad also said that Ayaan wanted to be famous by following the footsteps of the notorious Soleiman Rushdi and Taslima Nisreen.
However, Riyad asked the Muslim community not to be dragged into uncalculated reactions, advising them to react pragmatically via Dutch media.
Dr. Ali Juma‘ah, professor of Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, states that such insults against the Prophet stress his high status and noble character.
In Islam, it is well known that the punishment for the one who insults the Prophet is to be killed because it constitutes an attack against the Seal of the Prophets and the symbol of Monotheism. However, we Muslims are ordered to be forgiving and pardoning, Dr. Juma’ah said.
The uniqueness of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is that he was not only a great person in his own time, but he is great for all times, for all people of any race, color, nationality or geographical location.
His example was good for the 7th century Arabs and it is good also for the humanity living now at the beginning of this 21st century.
The enemies of Islam, in effect, hurl insults and attacks not only on the Prophet but also on their own Prophets and Messengers. For example, the Prophet Moses was insulted in a film directed by one of those avowed enemies, and so was Prophet Jesus (peace and blessings be upon them all).