CAIRO - Rejecting media's furious coverage of Muslims worldwide, Muslims have criticized Newsweek magazine cover titled Muslim Rage, calling on Muslims to educate others about true Islam and the practices of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).
Islam teaches us to be peaceful if we want to protest we can protest all day long, peacefully, Bunder Shageer, a student at Florida's Flagler College, told The Gargoyle newspaper on Thursday, October 11.
It's not our right to suppress others, it's not our right to react violently, Shageer explained.
Media Misconceptions Haunt US Muslims
Raging over Muslim Rage
Last September, a Newsweek headline titled Muslim Rage stirred Muslim criticism as stigmatizing world Muslims.
The magazine was covering Muslim protests over an American-made film insulting Prophet Muhammad.
Titled innocence of Muslims', the film portrays the Prophet as a fool, philanderer and a religious fake.
The film triggered protests in several countries around the world, which left scores of people dead, including the US ambassador in Libya.
Adding insult into injury, a French magazine published cartoons mocking the prophet, further angering Muslims.
Shageer first heard of the film while at home watching ABC News, feeling disappointed by the violent reaction in Libya and some Muslim countries.
The problem overseas is that people are looking at them [the rioters] as all the Arab nation. That's not what Islam teaches us. God bless his soul the ambassador of Libya, Shageer said.
The fact that he is harmed is a breach in contract with the Islamic religion.
While condemning the provocative film, Muslim leaders around the world have denounced attacks on foreign diplomatic missions, calling for a measured response to the movie.
Saudi Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh said Saturday that attacks on foreign embassies over the film run counter to the peaceful teachings of Islam.
"Such acts damage the Muslim religion, are not permitted by God and are incompatible with the teachings of the Prophet, he said.
Facing media's furious faces, Shageer urged Muslims to respond through education.
Our goal is to stress the fact that it's not what Muslims do. It's a teaching period for us, he said.
Yeah, what's happening is a fact: riots, death, but it's not what Islam is about.
Dr. James Rowell, a professor of religion and Islamic politics at Flagler College, agrees.
It's very unfortunate you have this violent reaction, he said.
All of these extreme ideas really are fostered in positions of political and cultural repression and lack of freedom.
Shageer said the extremists' point of view is due to lack of knowledge of the true Islamic teachings.
It's a big picture kind of deal, he said.
Small groups of people cause problems and makes it look like the whole nation is problematic.
Outside of work and classes, Shageer spends a significant time each day reflecting on the practices of Muhammed.
For me, it's second nature. If it's time to pray, I pray. If it's time to fast, I fast. If people are in need of help, we must help them," he said.
"The thing about Islam, it's not just a religion. It's a way of life. [That's] the beauty if it. It's a way of life.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net