Shaikh Abdal Hakim Murad, Muslim Chaplain at the University of Cambridge 
Wednesday, 12 January, 2011, 08:58 AM - Be nice, Murad
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

The shootings in Tucson have opened up the debate on political rhetoric in the United States. Before I mention Sarah Palin, I'd just like to mention Barack Obama. There.

Palin has courted controversy by showing a map of Democrat seats highlighted by gun-sights, including Gabrielle Giffords, the Representative shot by Jared Lee Loughner. There are calls to use more restrained language between political opponents.

But it would be wrong to criticise Palin unduly. She is not the first politician to show a map targeting her opponents in gun-sights. Politicians from all parts of the political spectrum have been inviting weapon laden citizens to gun down their opponents for years. It's quite normal in the United States.

Even United States politicians are sometimes shocked by the level of discourtesy shown by British political commentators though, particularly in cartoons. I can't emphasise enough, how offensive cartoons can be when they satirise people. I'm not thinking of any particular person or people here, just people in general. Cruel, misrepresentative, cartoons really ought not to be allowed in any sort of civilised society.

The companions of The Prophet, whose name I'm not going to mention, decided right at the start that Islam was going to be a courteous and civilised religion, where rudeness would be totally unacceptable. They remained courteous and civilised all the time they were invading the Middle East, North Africa and Persia not at all rudely. So you see, fundamentalists who want to advance their religion through being rude aren't really proper Muslims like I am.

We need more of the kind of courtesy and respect shown by those early founders of Islam.

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