The Muslim community of San Luis Obispo County is very saddened by the tragic loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the senseless violence in the Arab and Muslim world that violates all norms of decency and humanity.
The Quran encourages us to stand up for justice, even if it be against our own selves. The destruction and moblike behavior we are witnessing in response to a foolish video completely contradicts the tenets of Islam and betrays the teachings of mercy, compassion and loving kindness. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, Gentleness is not in anything except that it adorns it, and it is not stripped from anything except that it tarnishes it.
We encourage those who wish to provoke Muslims and defame Islam to consider deeply the repercussions of their actions. We uphold the value of free speech, but also believe that freedom comes with a moral responsibility to build and not destruct, to heal and not inflame, to promote peaceful relations among faith groups, societies and countries and not divisiveness, animosity and hostility.
To those who seek to defend the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), we implore you to redirect your protest toward Bashar Assad in Syria, who is killing innocent women and children by the hundreds. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was insulted, mocked and physically assaulted many times, yet he did not seek vengeance and instead prayed for his people. However, what he firmly stood against was oppression, injustice and murder especially of children. If we truly honor Prophet Muhammad, we need to embody his character and follow his example. May God, the most merciful, bless us and our communities with peace, patience, security and justice for all.
Naiyerah Kolkailah is president of the Islamic Society of San Luis Obispo County.