Human Rights: The Right to Be

Article 1 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Last night I deactivated my Facebook account to protest against the Facebook page entitled Everybody Draw Muhammad Day!. For those who argue that it's their right, I will have to humbly disagree because freedom of speech isn't about having the right to disrespect others by expressing derogatory remarks which you know will have a negative impact.

I believe this shouldn't only be applied exclusively to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) but also Jesus (a.k.a. Prophet Isa) and all other prophets (peace be upon them). Why are Muslims sensitive about this issue? Because we believe in honouring them and the last thing we'd want is to show our disrespect by trying to depict or mock them. Have you heard of a Muslim who makes fun of Jesus? I doubt it.

I know deactivating my Facebook page temporarily seems like an insignificant act but it shows that I give a damn.

Know your rights. Take a stand and make human rights a reality. Start with yourself. Start today.

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."

Eleanor Roosevelt


Aisha said…
this post took me back to international human rights class =D

i know how u feel, i de-activated mine just a while ago. i wrote quite a big note in the 'please explain further' section. just before i de-activated i checked to see iof anything had been done by FB, apparantly the original group had been deleted, but another had been made straight after =(
Have you heard of a cartoon show called "South Park"?
It's quite a hit in the USA. Anywhooo, I used to watch when I didn't know any better.
Basically, in the show they have been depicting Jesus PBUH for a very long time in cartoon form, as well as other deities from various religions. Recently though they depicted the Prophet Muhammad PBUH in the form of a bear.
There was of course, an uproar in the Muslim community...I agree it was wrong but it's quite hypocritical a bit because the Muslim community never showed such disapproval before with the depictions of Jesus PBUH on the show....that's why I agree with you.
Anonymous said…
Hate speech certainly hurts a lot, but believing in freedom of speech means not intervening in either side, unfortunately. I tried getting a group called "fuck Islam" removed from facebook but another would pop up soon after, in one variation or another. There will always be racist, prejudice people, but we can't silence them any more than they want to silence us. Freedom goes both ways.
Anonymous said…
I was just watching BBC news and this topic has hit international airwaves. People are protesting Facebook in Pakistan. Here is why I disagree:

Not because I am on the side of hate speech, no, it disgusts me and makes me sick. Those idiots are ignorant and uncivilized and filled with hate.

I disagree with the protests because now the gov't in Pakistan is censoring the entire internet and has completely removed Facebook and You Tube. Is that fair? Do ALL the people deserve to have their choices taken from them because of a bunch of racist jerks?

I think there is no excuse for racists or hate-filled people, and the fact that people make these groups is shameful, but I also think it is wise to be able to ignore the insults, and not take these jabs so personally. If you want to leave facebook in protest of course that is completely your right, but getting pissed off every time someone is prejudice will make you a bitter person, and then who really wins? I guess I would rather choose my fights, and ignore idiots.

If I got pissed off every time I felt someone was sexist towards me, or towards women, I would have to seclude myself in my apartment and never watch t.v. again.

I hate how the media is depicting Muslims protesting against Facebook. It makes us all look childish and superficial, as if we are focused on small issues instead of our own plights.. Why do they show Muslims protesting Facebook but they don't show us gathered together protesting against the Taliban, or oppression in Palestine, or women's rights?

We need to choose the battles that matter and stop looking like school children who got our feelings hurt by the school yard bully. I am tired of us always looking so emotional and unfocused and pissed off about small things but then never showing up for the big issues...

I apologize, I am watching BBC as I type this and disgusted by how we are looking. It is like the death threats against Comedy Central and against that Dutch guy who made that anti-Islam movie, all over again, except now it is Facebook. We have to stop taking everything so damn personal and focus on the real life issues that are affecting our communities on a daily basis... Do we not have a tough skin?

How is it we can come out in droves to protest against some group that wants to draw pictures of the prophet, but we can't gather as a community to get rid of rigid, intolerant, hate filled scholars who preach to our own children?

The Muslim community is like a puppet for the anti-Islamic groups.. They know all they have to do is insult the prophet to pull our strings.
alya said…
Salam Sha.

Have you heard of

It is e Muslim's world answer to Facebook. Now we can get on it without compromising our values.
Shahirah Elaiza said…
Ashi: I didn't think International Human Rights would be interesting! I mean, I thought it would be too nitty gritty but I'm starting to have more interest lol. I'm back on the Facebook bandwagon now... but life was actually good when I deactivated it!

Hispanic Muslimah: Thank you for the background on the issue! Yes I did read about it... and I just hated how the media grabbed any irrational response from Muslims on the Internet and turned it into a big deal... making us all not look like the peace lovers that we are.

Sarah Elizabeth: I agree with you on many of the things you brought up. Yes we should focus on social issues that need more attention but as humans and as Muslims we're responding because we care. Yes some people take it to another level and that's actually wrong because even Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised Muslims to avoid feeling anger.

We have the right to feel uneasy with what some non Muslims have done.. and if we don't care at all, then there's something very wrong there.

I think your reaction to watching the BBC news is amazing. That is exactly the power of the media and a lot of the times they abuse it. They know they can provoke thoughts and feelings. The media will always frame an issue by taking the most exaggerated action and emphasise on it. Not only that, they repeat words and images to help them with the framing.

Like many issues, this one will just die down. There is only one Earth and we all need to learn how to live together with respect and tolerance.. if not now, eventually.

Alya: Walaykummusalam Alya =) I checked out the link. That is an awesome initiative! I hope it doesn't turn out to be like a matchmaking website though lol...
Anonymous said…
See, that's why we should hang out and watch the news together, imagine the discussions and debates it would open us up to with each other :P

lol, yes, I would consider that a fun night with friends.. hehehe