"What Westerners also don't know, is that many of the figures of the Enlightenment had a very favorable view of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), such as Goethe who considered the Quran to be a true revelation from God and Leibniz, but also the Founding Fathers of the United States, including Jefferson, Adams and Madison, whose non-Trinitarian view of God was closer to Islam than to any other religion," said Moufid Jaber in an interview with Fars News Agency.
Moufid Jaber is a researcher in Islamic and Middle-Eastern affairs, and head of geopolitical research at the Middle-East Center for Studies in Beirut.
Jaber took part in an interview with Fars News Agency to answer some questions regarding the release of the anti-Islam movie "Innocence of Muslims" which has blasphemed and insulted Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in a pejorative way, drawing international anger and condemnation by the Muslims across the globe.
What follows is the text of our interview with Mr. Jaber, expert on Islamic history and theology from Beirut.
Q: The anti-Islam movie "Innocence of Muslims" has attributed very disgraceful and outrageous traits to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), seemingly trying to misrepresent the image of Islam's holy prophet in the eyes of the American public. Similar attacks were launched against the Holy Prophet by other Western media in recent years. What's your idea about such attacks on the Muslims' holiest figure?
A: In the West, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has been vilified since the Middle-Ages, as vilifying him and denigrating him is a way to drum up support for aggression against Muslim countries and to stem the tide of people converting to Islam or coming to favor Islam. Since 9/11 and the beginning of the "War on Terror," attacks against Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) have increased drastically, most probably, initially, at the instigation of neo-cons in the US government who set up a comprehensive plan to use the media as a tool to influence the public opinion and set up an atmosphere that would be favorable to any future war on Islamic countries.
Not all Westerners have a negative perception of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), they are rather divided on this issue. What many are unaware of, however, is that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) did not set out to create a different religion or to worship a different god, rather the revelation he received he considered as a continuation of other revelations in Abrahamic religions. Muslims consider the Quran to have been revealed to correct certain misguided concepts found in Christianity and Judaism such as the Trinity in the former, and the primacy of Talmudic Oral Law in the latter.
What Westerners also don't know, is that many of the figures of the Enlightenment had a very favorable view of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), such as Goethe who considered the Quran to be a true revelation from God and Leibniz, but also the Founding Fathers of the United States, including Jefferson, Adams and Madison, whose non-Trinitarian view of God was closer to Islam than to any other religion.
Q: Unquestionably, the aim of those who insult the sanctities of divine religions is to create a rift and gap between the Muslims, and Christians and Jews to pit them against each other. How is it possible to counter such plots and help with the empowerment of the interfaith dialogue?
A: The best way to counter these plots is for awareness about Islam to spread in the West, through cultural centers and multimedia that would make Islam and Islamic history more accessible to average non-Muslims, who would normally not learn about Islam through books and complex sources.
Muslim nations have the financial resources to bring about this change, but unfortunately the bulk of these resources, located primarily in the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, are directed towards spreading extremism within Muslim countries.
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