JEDDAH — As angry demonstrators stormed US and European embassies in many countries in protest at a movie denigrating the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), a large number of young Saudis began raising awareness about the Prophet through various campaigns on social networking sites.
Recently social media has been abuzz with Muslims speaking out against the violence and they took the initiative to portray the correct image of the Prophet.
Twenty-three-year-old student Maher Naji said: “The way we shall respond is not by violence, threats, or insults. No, we shall respond with wisdom and social media is our tool to spread the message.”
Maher and his friends here in Jeddah started to think of a civilized way to respond to those who had the wrong impression of the Prophet. He said: “The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself stated the strong Muslim was the one who could control his anger and control his emotions. Therefore all Muslims should follow this example.
“That’s what we are doing right now. We have a very informative site that shows who the Prophet was, so other Westerners can find out everything about him.”
Abdulaziz Al-Jihani, a 24-year-old student, said: “Setting places on fire and killing innocent people does not do anything to defend the Prophet, but increases the hate toward Muslims.”
Al-Jihani said he and his friends launched a site that features the greatest examples and actions of the Prophet. “We showed examples of his kindness, mercy, generosity and sincerity. We are also showing what a great man Muhammad (pbuh) was; he should be respected and praised.”
Huda Attar, 26, said she has been sending many e-mails about who the Prophet (pbuh) really was. “My messages about our Prophet have been forwarded to my Western friends who do not speak Arabic. “It is a brief introduction to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).”
The messages include explanations in English about the Prophet and also links to videos with more information.
“Our aim now is to send these types of messages to whoever watched the controversial movie so they can find out the truth about our beloved Prophet.”
She said she has seen more than 1,000 young boys and girls from Jeddah taking part in such campaigns.
Muneer Al-Ghamdi, a government employee, said such campaigns helps to spread the truth and is the right way to respond to the anti-Islam film.
He added: “I am not with those who went out and held violent protests in the streets because violence and killings are not what Islam is all about.”
Al-Ghamdi urged young children who are frequent users of Facebook, Twitter and other social channels to start their own campaigns to show the real character of the Prophet.
Muhammad Ghazali and his friends decided to make videos covering the life of the Prophet.
Ghazali told Saudi Gazette they were offended by the movie. He said: “Of course we were angry and we wanted to show our anger in a peaceful manner.
“Therefore we started to use the Net to show our anger but in a way that can reach those who have no respect for our beloved Prophet.”
Right away, Ghazali and his schoolmates began using Facebook as their gateway to spread the message. He said they created a video on the biography of the Prophet.
Many Saudi scholars, writers, journalists and celebrities have been using social media to urge young men and women to use their creativity and respond to the video in a peaceful way and educate those do not know the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).