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OnIslam.net

Attacking US Embassies for Prophet Film: Illegal?

Question and answer details
Hind
2012/09/12
As-salamu `alaykum. According to news reports, thousands of angry Egyptian protestors scaled the walls of the US embassy in Cairo yesterday in protest at a film being produced in the US that insults the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Protestors also tore down the American flag and burnt it outside the fortress-like embassy building in central Cairo. In Libya, deadly violent protests took place near the US Consulate in Benghazi. There are other reports about attacking the US embassy in Beirut. Are such attacks legal? How does Islam view attacking diplomatic missions and embassies?
Wael Shihab
Answer

Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Sister, thank you for your question and apparent interest in having a better understanding of Islam and its rulings.

In fact, the anti-Prophet film recently produced in the USA is a single incident in a series of measures within a systematic media campaign that aims at tarnishing the image of Islam and its Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). This media campaign is led by the people whose keen interest is to deteriorate the relations between Muslims and people of other religions.

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Though the offensive film is not justified, Muslims’ reactions should be legal and peaceful. Muslims should use all legal channels to stop this campaign of hatred against Islam and Muslims. For Muslims, every prophet is worthy of utmost respect, and the Prophet Muhammad, being the final one, is dearer to Muslims than their own parents, children, and all people. However, attacking diplomatic missions or embassies is not allowed under any pretext.

Responding to your question, Dr. Wael Shihab, PhD in Islamic Studies, Al-Azhar University, and the Head of the Shari`ah Dept. of Onislam.net website, stated,

Thank you for your question.

It is unfortunate that some biased anti-Islam individuals and movements are stirring up hatred against Islam and Muslims in every possible way. The recent anti-Prophet film is a single manifestation of a series of unfair and illegal attacks against Islam and Muslims. It aims at tarnishing the image of Islam and spoiling the relations between Muslims and peoples of the world.

In reaction to such biased and illegal attacks, Muslims must think deeply before acting emotionally and erratically. For overreacting to such campaigns will only make things worse. Overreacting includes using other than the lawful, peaceful means. Resorting to violence should never be an option.

Meanwhile, in keeping with the spirit of the Qur'anic teaching to {repel evil with what is better} (Fussilat 41:34), it is the duty of Muslims to prove to the world that Islam means peace. They could hold peaceful protests to show their valid objection to the biased film against Islam and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Muslim and Arab states should make use of all possible diplomatic means to stop offences against Islam and Muslims.

It goes without saying that Muslims are definitely NOT allowed to attack embassies or to react with violence. Attacking diplomatic missions or embassies is illegal in Shari`ah (Islamic Law) and all world conventions. Moreover, it is not Islamically justified to attack public or private properties for some individuals’ wrongdoings.

Given the above, I believe that the best course of action for Muslims in the current situation is-

1. to show their valid and legal objection to offending Islam, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and Muslims through peaceful means,

2. to introduce the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as a role model in the modern world,

3. to avoid hurling insults against the people of other religions as a result of producing such a provocative film against the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), as Allah Almighty says: {Revile not those unto whom they pray beside Allah lest they wrongfully revile Allah through ignorance. Thus unto every nation have We made their deed seem fair. Then unto their Lord is their return, and He will tell them what they used to do} (Al-An`am 6:108),

4. to make use of all legal and diplomatic channels to stop this campaign of hatred against Islam and Muslims, and

5. finally, not to react emotionally, but to follow the decisions of the responsible leading scholars in their communities. We must always be disciplined, peaceful, and organized in our approaches to such crucial issues.

May Allah accept your and our good deeds!

Allah Almighty knows best.

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