Question for Muslims

Currently, protests are taking place around the world by Muslims regarding a film that they believe mocks their faith.

What I would like to know from Muslims is why they behave like this? Is this a knee jerk reaction? Are then any teachings in Islam that say Muslims should respond in this way? Why do these protesters attack US diplomatic missions? It’s not the US government that made this film.

To be clear on the matter I am not someone who supports attacks on Islam or any other faith. I am a Christian but I respect other faiths. I am a Catholic but I respect other Christian communities.

It is far from uncommon for Christians and their institutions to come under attack in Muslim countries. I wondered why some Muslims have double standards: they feel it is acceptable to attack other faiths but no one must say anything contrary regarding Islam.

As I stated above, I don’t agree with attacks on Islam but should Muslims stage violent protests in which precious lives have been lost in response to a film?

If you don’t understand my post - please ask questions to clarify anything. I hope my questions generate honest and thoughtful answers. There’s enough anger and bitterness out there for this post to begin a slanging match.

I m not Muslim, but I will answer.

What you see from the Middle East are not true Muslims. These are radicals. The Koran does not teach this kind of conduct any more than the Bible taught the inquisition (Catholics) or the KKK (Protestants).

I know many Muslims. They are horrified by the conduct of those radicals.

Please do not paint with too wide a brush

I am not painting all Muslims. You will, I think, find that the protests to which I was referring have not been confined to the Middle East.

The questions were posed because I’m trying to understand why Islam reacts this way. I’m not sure Christianity responds in this manner to attacks.

Nor do most Muslims. Again, these are radicals. Who can explain why Muslim radicals do what they do…or my radical protestants were part of KKK, or why radical Catholics were part of the Inquisition, etc etc.

There was a comment on a Yahoo story posted earlier today about the violence. It was a Muslim (I can’t find it anymore because it received too many negative votes and got buried in the onslaught of other comments) who said “You will never understand if you are a Christian, because you don’t respect your religion. We respect ours.”

Understand that. Divisions of “radical” or “peaceful” Muslims aside, the majority of Muslims feel it is within their right to react this way whenever their religion is “disrespected” (whether or not the majority do is, frankly, immaterial; the majority never saw the “film” that started this, either…it was posted months in advance of this debacle). And the film in question is most definitely disrespectful to the person of Muhammad and the idea of Islam that Muslims are basically demanding that we kowtow to, as they have been for 1400 years and counting.

It’s about respect, and what they’ll do to establish a state of normalcy in the world where because nobody in Islam will tolerate a bad word about Muhammad, nobody outside of it is allowed one, either. They may not be able to force you to join their religion (“there is no compulsion in religion”, as their book says…hardee-har-har), but if they can force you to live according to their rules, which is what they already do to the Christians in the Middle East and much of Africa where they are a majority, and increasingly in Europe where they aren’t, then it’s just as good. As long as Islam’s mania for “respect” is satisfied, then we can live in an uneasy peace. Just watch what you say or do, just like our brothers and sisters who have lived under their yolk for centuries in many places have had to.

Have you seen the crowds of Muslims participating in violence and hatred toward our country? They are suppose to have a “million man march”. This goes far beyond a few radicals.

This might give some insight:

While I won’t paint Muslims with a wide brush, I would dare paint Islam. The religion itself has violence at heart and this makes Muslims prone to violent outbursts. Regardless of what political leaders, American or otherwise would say, the world would be better to at least not entertain the delusion that Islam is a peaceful religion. It is not, even though individual Muslims can be, and indeed are.

No, it doesn’t. You don;t think there can be a million radicals in the whole of the middle east?

I work with muslims. I have friends who are muslim. I read the Koran so we could have discussions. The guys you see on the news are radicals. It is not indicative of what true Muslims are all about.

In part because Islam became a state religion shortly after its birth, Muslims tend to associate governments with religions: they thus see the US as a specifically Christian country, and the US government as responsible for what US citizens do (and sometimes as responsible for what other Western states do). They also tend to identify with other Muslims, which can make them hostile to the US because of situations like Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

It is far from uncommon for Christians and their institutions to come under attack in Muslim countries. I wondered why some Muslims have double standards: they feel it is acceptable to attack other faiths but no one must say anything contrary regarding Islam.

Having double standards is a feature of humanity, and to that you can add a long Muslim discourse of the persecution of Islam. The Crusades, for example, are frequently represented as having been a series of Western war crimes, while the Arabs and Turks were pure and innocent. People tend to be much more conscious of the failings of their opponents than the failings of their allies.

As an obvious parallel to this, have a look at threads in these forums which deal with Protestantism: it is frequently totalised, ignoring its many varieties; its allegedly-inevitable doom is gleefully prophesied; it is ridiculed in a way which does make one wonder exactly how people interpret “Love your neighbour as yourself”. While I have no doubt that there are Protestant websites out there which act the same way towards Catholics, how others do unto us is hardly a justification.

Sorry, but this is all just a result of how people do behave.

Does it even matter if it’s a “true” Muslim or a “fake” Muslim who does such terribly violent things? The Copts, Syriacs, Armenians, Greeks, etc. just want to be left alone. But one guy in California does something stupid and distasteful (aided by some fools who approve of it) and people entirely unconnected with that guy have to suffer? Isn’t that the kind of profiling, hatred, and systematic discrimination that Muslims are always complaining about? “Oh, they say all Muslims are terrorists! It’s so unfair! Blahblahblah”? Yeah, well…you don’t think we feel even greater pain every time a Muslim bombs one of our churches, destroys one of our monasteries, kidnaps our women and forces them to convert to Islam, or gets hundreds of families immediately cleansed from their traditional villages based on an idiotic and false rumor? 52 people were murdered without a second thought at Sayidat al-Najat Syriac Catholic Church in Iraq in the mistaken belief that Copts are keeping converts to Islam in torture cells and solitary confinement in their monasteries, and we regularly deal with threats based on the mistaken belief that Copts hide weapons in our churches. Who should we really be worried about the stereotyping and scapegoating of in all this? Why is it that when I go to church, literally thousands of miles away from Libya, I see people panicked for their families in Egypt who have never even heard of this movie and wouldn’t know where to find it?

The Western world’s priorities are entirely screwed up when it comes to the Middle East. You help the people who will turn around and stab you in the back at the first opportunity (or has the fact that all of this erupted in post-Qaddhafi Libya escaped the notice of some?), while the people who are supposed to be your coreligionists pay for all your stupidity with their lives and livelyhoods. Lord have mercy.

True enough. But there are a LOT of radical Muslims.

Anyone have a plan to reduce their numbers and replace them with peaceful, loving Muslims? I’d love to hear it.

There are an awful lot of Muslims, more than a billion, and a merely average ratio of radicals thus means a LOT of radicals. Further, it is the radicals who make the best TV footage, and so the Wahhabi militants become the media face of Islam, while Westboro Baptist become the media face of Christianity.

I have some Shi’ite friends who rather idealistically say that the radicals just need more education, but I expect that fundamentalism is always going to be popular because it is cognitively easier.

I personally feel that Islam, all in all, has done far more spiritual damage to our already broken world than good. I have familiarized myself with a variety of faiths, both Western and Eastern, and I have read various passages from the Qu’ran myself.

However, what has ever made me uncomfortable with Islam is that it on the whole does indeed seem to preach vengeance and hatred more than mercy, forgiveness and love. I wish to offend no adherent of Islam here, but honestly, the religion to me seems unusually primitive and especially inclusive, particularly in comparison with the New Testament’s teachings, about how all men belong to God, both Jew and Gentile, if they only learned to accept Christ. Even if Muhammad was a true prophet of God, his teachings and truths have been so distorted and twisted that much of what he may or may not have actually taught has been forever lost.

Perhaps no organized religion is truly perfect, and I myself have many Muslim friends, but one does not see too many Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or Hindu extremist killing civilians in the name of God these days. Muslims are to be loved and respected, like all other human beings, but Islam itself…I truly do not know.

Actually the Koran does teach this kind of conduct. Surah 9 is all about killing your neighbor.

Are Joshua, Judges, and the books of Kings and Chronicles not about killing one’s neighbours?

Is that what we’re talking about? Have Christians been burning down the embassies of Muslim countries on their soil, and killing the workers at those embassies, because of the many, many, many anti-Christian videos post by Muslims on Youtube? Why have we not heard about this rash of deplorable violence?

Actually, it is not. If you believe it is…quote verses to prove it

I am sure many people asked the same question about Catholics during the Inquisition…


I have tried so often to try to overcome the ignorance to no avail but I admire your efforts. There are just a few thousand radicals in the streets across the world what about the more than 1 Billion who are not?! Ignorance is a hard thing to overcome, just like the lure of the Devil - it’s simple and easy to embrace.

What you are talking about is terrible, and it is inexcusable, and the public in the West certainly do need to hear more about it so as to push their governments to do more about it. There is nothing that I can or should say to contradict this, but it is not all of the evil that is going on.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit