He tells of need to show positive aspects of faith
The spiritual leader of one of Florida’s largest mosques on Friday condemned the violent demonstrations that continued to spread throughout parts of the Muslim world over cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad.
Maulana Shafayat Mohamed, of the Darul Uloom Institute in Pembroke Pines, called the drawings offensive and sacrilegious, but cautioned the 300 faithful who gathered at his mosque on Friday that the recent violence goes against their prophet’s teachings.
“If the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, was alive today, he would definitely never ever give such an instruction to practice that kind of violence,” he told the congregation. “He would’ve used something with wisdom.”
Instead of causing global scenes of violence, Mohamed said Muslims everywhere should be taking the opportunity to teach the rest of the world about their faith.
“We can’t sit around watching this on television and let the world make a mockery of us,” he said. “We need to use this opportunity to show the world the positive aspects of our life.”
The cartoons were first published in a Danish paper in September, and then reprinted in European papers in recent weeks. Muslims consider any portrayal of the prophet as blasphemy.
Mohamed took particular exception to one of the drawings portraying Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban. He said Friday he understood the importance of freedom of speech, but questioned the wisdom of creating such cartoons.
“Freedom of speech is a good thing, but we should also know when to use it wisely,” he said.
Mohamed gave his views during a sermon for jumah, or Friday prayer. He invited the media to the service to help spread his message, he said. The crowd of followers, who have a wide variety of backgrounds, spilled out into the lobby.
While Friday’s services ended in Pembroke Pines with a peaceful message, the scene was far different in Asia and Africa.
In Kenya, police shot and wounded one person among 200 demonstrators trying to march to the residence of Denmark’s ambassador.
About 60 protesters in the Iranian capital, Tehran, threw firebombs at the French embassy even after a cleric at a prominent Iranian mosque urged people not to attack diplomatic missions.
At the same time, Asia saw its biggest demonstrations yet on Friday. Like other mass protests across much of the world, they remained peaceful.
Muhammad Ramjohn, 23, of Pembroke Pines said after Friday’s service, “The cartoons really hurt, but we’ve learned that the strongest man is one that can control his anger,” said Ramjohn.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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