JEDDAH, 20 February 2006 — The team of Yallah Shabab, a popular program on the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) satellite channel, is visiting Denmark to present the true character of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which was distorted by the recent cartoons.
Twelve cartoons first published by Denmark's largest newspaper, the Jyllands-Posten, last September and then reprinted in several Western newspapers triggered sometimes violent protests by Muslims worldwide.
The MBC team went to Copenhagen for five days where they will meet with Danish opinion makers.
Yallah Shabab, which targets Muslim youth, went on the air in 2002. It presents youth from different backgrounds discussing contemporary issues of interest to them. The team travels around the world seeking role models in a number of fields, including business, entertainment, sports, religion and politics.
The crew visiting Denmark includes presenters, the producer, the director, cameramen and researchers. They are accompanied by well-known Islamic scholar Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, who frequently appears on the program.
The purpose of the visit is to describe to the Danes the peaceful and merciful message, values, manners and appearance of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
"We want to ensure that they understand that the Prophet remains a role model for an ideal son, husband, father, diplomat, politician, general, imam and leader regardless of time and place," said Hani Khoja, one of the team members.
Another purpose of the visit is to ensure that the Danes understand that the Prophet is more precious to Muslims than their own lives and that is the reason for the highly emotional protests against the cartoons denigrating him.
At the same time, the team wants to convince the Muslim population that their protests should be through methods that the Prophet would approve and be proud of.
"There should be no more burning of embassies, stamping on flags and violence. We should use more sophisticated, legal and modern methods such as the European court system, educating the West about the Prophet and his message and launching a dialogue with them," said Khoja.
The team wants to have a frank dialogue with students at the University of Copenhagen, political analysts, ministers, parliament members, businessmen as well as the Danish queen and prime minister if possible, he added.
They also plan to speak with Danish Muslims and visit mosques, Islamic schools, the Copenhagen Library and appear on Danish television and radio.
The entire trip will be filmed and translated into special episodes for Yallah Shabab and will be aired on MBC early next month. International satellite channels, such as CNN and BBC, as well as Danish television have expressed interest in the film.