It would be naïve to miss the significance of the successive attacks on Islam and its sacred symbols: last year there were revelations about the desecration of the Qur'an at GuantanamoBay; then came the insulting caricatures of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace. While the cartoon controversy still rages, we witness the deliberate destruction of the ImamAskari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, taking the country even closer to sectarian warfare.
As we at Crescent and the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought prepare for the Kalim Siddiqui Memorial Conference to be held in London on April 23, it is remarkable how many echoes of his work we find in events unfolding around us.
The controversy surrounding Denmark’s offensive cartoons refuses to die down. Demonstrations and protest rallies continue in various parts of the world, including Europe and North America, where Muslims reside as minorities. Some of the largest rallies took place in Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Pakistan.
Religious conflict between Nigerian Muslims and Christians is traditional, and the clashes between members of the two faiths which took place in late February are not a new phenomenon. What is new is that the clashes were set off by the cartoons recently published by Danish and other European newspapers that depicted the Prophet Muhammad (saw) in an extremely offensive manner.
All is not well in the "land of the pure": the "stans"—Baluchistan and Waziristan (both North and South)—are on fire; the dams' controversy has subsided somewhat, but has been replacedby the fury surrounding Europe's cartoons. The anger of the protests is also fuelled by the exorbitant prices of essential commodities, and Pakistan's opposition parties, sensing blood, are going for the jugular.