Free Expression in Pakistan: "God Bless Hitler"
More confirmation that "Freedom of Expression is Western Terrorism"? Why are Muslims in Pakistan protesting for Hitler? The photo and caption appeared in n-tv.de last week:
Mittwoch, 15. Februar 2006: Karikaturen-Irrsinn, Der Führer in PakistanTranslated, that says:
Frauen demonstrieren am Mittwoch in der pakistanischen Hauptstadt Islamabad gegen die Mohammed-Karikaturen. Was genau sie mit dem Plakat sagen wollen, bleibt unklar. (Foto: T. Mughal/dpa)
Wednesday, February 15, 2006: Caricature Insanity, The Fuhrer in PakistanI suppose that determining exactly what someone wants to say would involve us in the hermeneutic equivalent of Zeno's Paradox, but I'll take a stab at an approximate interpretation.
Women in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, demonstrating on Wednesday against the Mohammad caricatures. What, exactly, they are trying to say with the sign remains unclear. (Photo: T. Mughal/dpa)
The person who wrote the words "God Bless Hitler" in reaction to the Muhammad caricatures probably assumes that any slur against the Prophet of Islam is inspired by the Jews, and since Hitler tried to exterminate the Jews, then God ought to bless him for that.
The sign above expresses, if obliquely, the anti-Jewish prejudices pervading the Muslim world today. These views are often linked to Islamist views about the end of the world, and such Islamist Muslims cite a hadith from the 9th-century-text Sahi Bukhari on "Fighting for the Cause of Allah (Jihaad)":
Since the word "Hour" is capitalized here, the meaning "end of the world" is implied in this translation (whatever Bukhari may have thought that it meant).
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177: Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. "O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him."
I suspect that behind that sign in Pakistan conveying a blessing upon Hitler lies this sort of endtime thinking. And such views present a grave danger because those holding them not only stare deeply into the abyss of apocalyptic war, they are prepared to leap headlong in.
Such people don't calculate in terms of survival but in terms of eternity. Thanks in part to freedom of expression, we can become aware of their views, begin to perceive patterns in the protests, and reflect on how to respond.