- Much has already been said about Muslims all over the world condemning the caricatures that were published in Jyllands-Posten, a newspaper in Denmark. In countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan, and even in Denmark, protests have become violent. But the good news is, just last week, Filipino Muslims have also raised their voices against Jyllands-Posten, but in a relatively very peaceful manner.
After friday prayers at the Golden Mosque in Quiapo, Manila, Anak ng Mindanao Party-list Rep. Mujiv Hataman and former Tawi-Tawi governor Al Tillah took turns in publicly condemning the cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist. There were loud chants of "We are not afraid of Europe, we are ready to die." But fortunately despite the scathing words, no one was physically hurt.
I hope I'm not offending Muslim sensibilities if I describe one of the cartoons - it was the face of Islam's much revered prophet with a lit grenade on top of his head. It was like Jesus Christ holding two bombs while nailed on the cross - very offensive for Christians.
By the way, if our Muslim brothers wonder if my network showed the offending cartoons in full -we decided not to. Even if Tillah showed photocopies of the cartoons at the Golden Mosque, only blurred images were shown at our news program Insider. Even in the picture above, I have practially erased the cartoon. But this is not to blame Tillah for publicly showing the cartoons. I believe he was just overcome by his emotions at that time.
What is bothering though is the statement of Rep. Hataman. He said "kung darating ang panahon na gaganituhin pa rin nila ang ating relihiyon, obligasyon natin ang magpakamatay".
I have covered Rep. Hataman several times and I know him as a fighter for Muslims. Maybe there’s nothing wrong about fighting for one's rights even if it means death. But I just hope this Danish cartoons controversy will be resolved peacefully.
Maybe the government should consider airing the concerns of Filipino Muslims to Jyllands-Posten through our Department of Foreign Affairs. I understand why the Danish government refuses to apologize since the Prime Minister has no control of the press in his country. But what I cannot understand is why the paper stood by its decision to publish the cartoons after publicly apologizing.
Of course there’s freedom of the press in some countries, but certain freedoms do have limitations. I think Jyllands-Posten could have just apologized, period. But then maybe, Danes are like Filipinos, who may easily utter the words "I am sorry" but would refuse to pay an act of contrition.