Harris Zafar of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, USA is an excellent writer and a Jihadist in the true sense of the word. His Jihad is to spread the true and peaceful teachings of Islam to his homeland and to the wider world through his writings.
In this struggle, he has invited many critics. Some from within the Muslim community who consider his Ahmadi faith as heretical, but the most vocal and hateful criticism comes from the American Ultra-Conservative Islamophobes. One of them, Andrew E. Harrod writes that in his latest article, that Harris fails to make any sense. To Harod, Islam is a unique case of a false faith which invaded, forcibly converted and occupied almost half of the world for a whole millennium. Harris Zafar's attempts to explain the misdeeds of despots and extremist clerics as unislamic are futile.
The tragedy with this type of Islamophobia is that it does not recognize reform within Islam as a genuine phenomenon. Their hateful propaganda has unfortunately been supported by the actions of the medievalist Islamists. For people like Harris and me, and all the other moderate Muslims the cult of Robert Spencer and the cult of Suicide bomber share the same view of history. Both of them see stories of violence in some history books as true and both of them reject reform and tolerance.
Harrod repeats the same distorted historic 'evidence' of killing of blasphemers and apostates during the time of the Prophet which is so common in Islamophobe literature. He also cites the same injustices being carried out in countries where despotic regimes are in control.
We cannot deny that some history books do mention events where alleged blasphemers and apostate were killed. At least this is how the orthodox Muslims understand them. As is the case with any scripture or historic narrative, readers can super-impose their own whims on the text to interpret it as they wish. So if OBL or Robert Spencer want to read the story of Kaab ibn Ashraf as an example of killing of a blasphemer, they will make every effort to ignore the fact that Ibn Ashraf was in direct contact with the leaders of Quraish and was posing a direct threat to the lives of the inhabitants of Medina. Similarly, Mr. Harrod, Spencer et al., will be happy to accept the story of Asma bint Marwan several others as true whereas Islamic scholars of Hadith have declared those narrations as fabricated or weak.
Fabricated events cannot become real just because Saudi Arabia is beheading and Iranian regime is condemning people for apostasy and blasphemy. There were hoardes of crucaders killing innocent women and children in the name of Christ. There are Jews killing unarmed civilians in the name of David and Moses. Can I start being disrespectful of these Prophets of God? Should a cartoonist be asked to portray these evil acts with Jesus, Moses and David as the subjects of these images? I am sure someone, somewhere is capable of doing this. But as a decent human being, I will abhor such 'art' as disrespectful, unfair and slanderous.
As human beings, we need laws and rules to regulate how society should behave. A line needs to be drawn where freedom of speech can turn into a license to cause offence, to stir up hatred and eventually violence in a society.
There is no confusion in Islam about freedom of conscience and expression. The real confusion is in the minds of Islamophobes who feel that their only weapon will be taken away if a law was enforced to curb their bigotry and naked hate.
I wish Harris all the best in his struggle against Islamophobia in the USA. It is the struggle for the triumph of real Islam, which will put an end to all persecution, war and bloodshed InshaAllah.