By Naim Naqvi
The bold writer was preparing to enter the courthouse when the lone gunman shot him at close range. He was charged with inciting sectarian strife and insulting Islam before being released on bail in early September.
It is interesting to learn that he had removed the cartoon saying “it mocks terrorists and their concept of God and heaven. It does not infringe God’s divinity in any way”. It is also not known who produced the cartoon.
That blasphemy is a subject of intellectual discussion and no human being is supposed to impose or thrust his/her religious views upon other human being in a just society.
“There shall be no compulsion in (acceptance of) the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So, whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” — Surat Al-Baqarah 2 – 256. (The Holy Quran)
God had sent His prophets to every town and every community around the globe. The Islamic history bears witness that several of them have been mocked and disparaged by their contemporaries and those who didn’t believe in their messages or even in God as well. They were called “a liar”, “possessed”, “a fabricator” and “a foolish man.”
However, any student or reader of ‘The Holy Quran’ would fail to discover where it is prescribed that the offender is to be punishment of lashes, or death, or any other severe form of violence. There is no corporal punishment for one who uses the derogatory language against an established entity. The one who dares to adopt a negative attitude towards the Prophets or God will be judged by God Himself on the Day of Judgment.
According to the Holy Quran:
“But do not revile those (beings) whom they invoke instead of God, lest they, in their hostility, revile God and out of ignorance” Surat Al-Anam (6:108). Islam never approves the VIGILANTE strategies or the so-called Media Watch of the modern day. The Holy Quran enjoins believers to sedulously refrain from indulging in such acts as may provoke people to retaliate by abusing Islam and the Prophet.
No one should hurt the religious sentiments but there is always a space of honorable debate, dialogue and discussion. It is God who has given man total freedom of expression and ideology to every human being as long as he/she does not inflict physical harm upon others.
The supporters of Hattar said they held the government responsible for the shooting. They are accusing Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki of creating a hostile atmosphere that encouraged violence against the writer.
“The prime minister was the first one who incited against Nahed when he ordered his arrest and put him on trial for sharing the cartoon, and that ignited the public against him and led to his killing,” said Saad Hattar, a cousin of the writer.
Hattar had earlier said in his defense that he did not intend to cause offence to Muslims and wanted the cartoon to “expose” the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group and the Muslim Brotherhood. In another explanation, Hattar said “as a non-believer” he respected “the believers who did not understand the satire behind the cartoon”.