Imam in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
(A graduate of al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt)
[The translator's note: This self-critical and introspective short essay, authored by a Bosnian Imam who graduated from al-Azhar University, caught my attention by its unique combination of self-reflection and a call to (in)action. This type of essay is common in Bosnian Islamic discourse. The essay was published in "Preporod" (Renewal), a Bosnian Islamic biweekly newspaper. It has recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and is currently edited by Senada Tahirović, the newspapers' first female editor. Preporod publishes news articles about the Muslim community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, essays and reflections by Bosnian scholars and Imams, translations of essays from various world languages, and many other interesting pieces. It's in the Bosnian language so its reach is limited to the former Yugoslavia. It's truly a remarkable publication, a testament to the vitality of Islam in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Southeastern Europe. - ES]
In the last several years, we are witnessing how the European media, from time to time, publish cartoons that instigate anger among the Muslim population. Very often, the timing of those cartoons coincides with the time when Muslims are preparing for welcoming the Islamic month of Rabi' al-Awwal, the month of the Prophet's SAW birth. The very timing of these publications, during the period when the Muslims remember their Prophet even more intensely and when they are trying to make his teachings and beauty closer to the people, give us the right to suspect that they are targeting the Muslim reaction, as if to say: "Look, such are the Muslims! This is their violent religion. This is what their prophet taught them."