Imam who fled to Des Moines before terror arrest of congregant says : "Muhammed is more valuable to us then our own lives "
Ibrahim Dremali says cartoonists must apologise
Cartoons Upset Central Iowa Muslims
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Protests over a series of controversial cartoons have turned fatal overseas.
A Danish caricature portraying the prophet Mohammed as a Muslim extremist has prompted protests and riots in several countries. The Muslim American Society along with the White House Monday called for responsibility and respect. For many Muslims, depicting the Prophet Muhammad in any fashion is forbidden. Muslims in central Iowa said they are upset about those cartoons, too. Imam Ibrahim Dremali, who heads the Islamic Center in Des Moines, said he does not support the violence that's happening in Europe and the Middle East. "I am against the violence because the violence is not Islamic," he said. The Islamic Center tries to teach people about their faith through open houses. Dremali said that to understand Islam is to know that Mohammed is sacred. Muslims believe he was God's chosen messenger. He said Islam bans any drawings or images of him because they want to prevent idolatry. One of the caricatures of Mohammed shows him wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse. "Prophet Mohammed, praise be unto him, to us, he's more valuable than even our own lives, own kids. God is No. 1 and then Mohammed. When they attack him, they attack the whole of Muslim -- 1.9 billion Muslims," Dremali said. Dremali said while he does not agree with the violence he does support a boycott. He also said he will boycott Danish products. He said an apology is needed from those who published the cartoons to resolve the conflict.
MIM: Dremali got together with other local Imams who disingenuously compared the Danish cartoons which had been meant to make a point about free speech to a deliberately offensive government funded artwork which had placed Christ on the cross in urine. What they also neglected to add was that Christians did not go on a bloody rampage leaving death and destruction in their wake and threatening non Christians with death as a result.Iowa Muslims encourage exercise of rights with empathy
By STEPHEN AIGNER, IBRAHEEM DREMALI and MOHAMAD KAHN
Newspapers in Europe have published provocative, extremely offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Their spokespersons and governments have acknowledged the offense without apology, claiming that "the freedom of speech is absolute."
Muslims in Iowa unanimously support the freedom of speech and expression. However, we also urge everyone to reflect on the effects of their free choices with compassion and empathy. Mere acknowledgment is not enough; an apology is very appropriate.
Like Christians a few years ago, American Muslims were outraged and offended by a government-funded display of art in which the crucified Jesus was in some body waste. We shared the justifiable anguish of Christians then, and Muslims would share the feelings of Jews if Moses were so offensively treated. All Prophets deserve our veneration and profound respect as God's messengers. We would like people of other religions to reciprocate our respect and veneration for all Prophets.
While it is true that freedom of the press is essential in democracies, those who represent the dominant religion and the government have the responsibility to examine the impact of their free speech on those whose faiths and beliefs place them in the minority. Mutual, reciprocal respect for the faith and scriptures of other traditions is as essential as free speech in societies that aim to promote true democracy in Europe, North America and the Middle East.
Across the globe people must learn to differentiate between entities that distort the message of a religion in order to justify reprehensible acts of violence. Government-supported, simple-minded expressions of free speech without regard to reciprocal, mutual respect for others do not promote the sense of belonging necessary for a citizen's allegiance.