By: Matilda Battersby
Comedian Bill Maher recently made some comments about Islamic countries that characterized them as more prone to violence, misogyny and bigotry, and now religious scholar Reza Aslan has called Maher out on his own “bigotry.” Aslan, who became famous when he skewered Fox News, appeared on CNN to pick apart Maher’s “not very sophisticated” and “facile arguments” that characterize Muslim nations as all the same. As is evident from the CNN bit, these arguments are not unique to Maher, making Aslan’s nuanced argument an essential one to keep in mind as we increase military action in the Middle East.
Question: What is the ruling for participating in protests, and if they are permissible, what is the proof?
Answer: Protests are a means by which the Muslim community makes its voice heard regarding a specific issue, to those in authority so they can act accordingly or respond to their concerns. In the modern age, this has become the main objective behind protests: informing governments about the concerns of the governed.
Islam as a faith welcomes protests according to the definition provided above, because they serve the Muslim community to make its positions known on issues. Especially if that issues pertains to a general benefit that affects Muslims or Muslim countries such as Palestine, in general, and Gaza, in particular.