There exists a cultural vagueness in the West. This vagueness results from the presence of two different concepts. The first is a great Western concept that we respect, appraise, and need. That concept is freedom of speech. This is a great humane and civilized concept. On the other hand, there is the great Islamic concept of dignifying Allah’s Messenger (SAWS). The problem arises due to the lack of understanding of the Islamic Civilization and the Western Civilization regarding these two concepts. The non-Muslims cannot value the rank of dignifying the Prophet (SAWS). On the other hand, due to the below-average quality of practical application of freedom of speech, Muslims have a vague understanding of the concept of respecting freedom of speech.
Accordingly, what is required now? We do not want to refuse the concept of freedom of speech, absolutely not. However, the West should alter the freedom of speech so that it does not collide with the very important Islamic value of dignifying the Prophet (SAWS). Here lies the vagueness and ambiguity. The West understands very well the freedom of speech (which we appreciate) but it does not understand Islamic values, such as dignifying the Prophet (SAWS) and other Islamic sanctities. This is where the Western cultural vagueness lies.
I clearly say to the West, you have a problem. You cannot comprehend how much the Muslims love Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). You are still unable to understand this point. If you had really encompassed its significance, you would never have accepted what happened. The West, in general, governments and people, does not apprehend that Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) is dearer to us than our parents, dearer to me than my father and dearer than my mother. I am sure that any Muslim woman listening to me now, be her religious or not, will swear on that fact. Just ask, what does Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) mean to you? It is not even necessary to do that because it is so evident, but you may conduct surveys for yourselves, and you will realize how true what I am saying is. Ask any youth, be he heedless or pious; ask any Muslim anywhere, in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Yemen or in Egypt. Ask any Muslim in any village regardless of how religious he is, be he an obedient Muslim or not, a drug user or not, successful in his life or a failure, old or young, ask them, what does Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) mean to you?
O West, I affirm that Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) is dearer to all Muslims than their own parents. O West, Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) is dearer to us, Muslims, than our children and grandchildren. O West, Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) is dearer to us than our money, dearer to us than our own selves. He is dearer to us than our own countries. O Egyptian, who is dearer to you, Egypt or Allah’s Prophet? O Saudi, who is dearer to you, Saudi Arabia or Allah’s Prophet? O Yemeni, O Moroccan, O Algerian, who is dearer to you, your country or Allah’s Messenger (SAWS)? O West, comprehend that meaning, Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) is dearer to Muslims than their children and their own selves.
We can never forget the hadith that I repeatedly mentioned during the episodes of “On the Path of the Beloved”. O West, listen to this hadith as it forms part of the sentimental make-up of the Islamic personality:
“We were with the Prophet and he was holding the hand of Omar Ibnul-Khattab. Omar said to him, ‘O Allah's Messenger! You are dearer to me than everything except my own self.’ The Prophet said, ‘No, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, (you will not have complete faith) till I am dearer to you than your own self.’ Then Omar said to him, ‘However, now, by Allah, you are dearer to me than my own self.’ The Prophet said, ‘Now, O Omar, (now you are a believer).’”
Being a true believer is conditioned with loving Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) more than our own selves.
O West, this is our notion and this is our love for Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).
I know that the West resists racism as they realize very well what it means. I also know that they stand up against any anti-Semitic assaults as they recognize the serious consequences of such acts. Yet, true contradiction lies in respecting Semitism and resisting racialism on the one hand, while humiliating the most valued figure for Muslims, the Prophet (SAWS), on the other.
Six months ago, a famous journalist of the BBC attacked Arabs describing them as a worthless nation. In spite of being a renowned figure with a daily program in Britain, his slandering was rejected by the British as racist and he was fired from the BBC. At that time, I was preparing a program on family matters, and knowing that he had articles and shows tackling this subject, I wanted to refer to them. To my surprise, none of his works were available due to his intolerant views against Arabs. There is no way to compare the Prophet (SAWS) to the Arabic nation, as slandering them is of a diminutive nature when compared to offending the Prophet (SAWS). My message to the West then is that freedom of speech, which we indeed respect, honor, and actually need, should be modified so that it does not clash with the highly revered Muslim value of dignifying the Prophet (SAWS). The West respects monarchies, Semitism, all races, and different ethnicities, and its respect to the Prophet (SAWS) and to sacred Muslim values should be no less.
Thus, my message to the Muslim ummah is that we should not forsake dignifying the Prophet (SAWS) under any circumstance. On the other hand, my message to the West is that the value of freedom of speech should be adapted to Muslim values.
My third message is to the whole world. This offense does not aim at the Prophet (SAWS) alone, but rather to one billion, two hundred thousand Muslims; or rather to all humanity. To explain this further to everyone, whether Muslim or not, I believe that Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) is the greatest personality that existed on earth. There is no doubt that his model of reform was most successful so far and whoever denies this fact is indeed most ungrateful. Slandering him is actually slandering humanity. Great men that existed throughout history were qualified as such due to a certain trait in their characters. Gandhi for example, was a great politician, Shakespeare a great dramatist, Voltaire a great writer, Napoleon a great military leader and so on. They were all great in one aspect or the other, while the Prophet (SAWS) was great in every aspect of his life. He was so great morally that he never hit or humiliated a soul, never beat a woman, never betrayed or lied, never went back on his word or avenged himself. He was always called 'the truthful and honest one' before bearing the message of Islam, and after becoming a prophet, the values and principles of the Qur’an were the model for his behavior. He was also great in his political insight. After the Battle of the Trench, for example, he knew that it was a turning point that would not be followed by a defeat. Moreover, he was great in his submissiveness to Allah as he bowed when praying, saying,
“O Allah, it is for Thee that I bowed. I affirm my faith in Thee and I submit to Thee, and submit humbly before Thee my hearing, my eyesight, my marrow, my bone, my sinew.”
He (SAWS) also used to stand (in prayer) until both his feet swelled. When asked why (he offered such an unbearable prayer) he said,
“Should I not be a thankful slave?” 
He was great in the way he believed in freedom of opinion. In the Battle of Badr, he changed the location of the battlefield upon the advice of a soldier. He also agreed to dig the trench around Madinah according to Salman al-Faresy’s suggestion, and changed the fighting plan of the Battle of Uhud to respect the opinion of some of his companions. This is how he respected freedom of speech 1400 years ago!
He was great at forgiving others. On the day of the Conquest of Makkah, his companions were rejoicing saying, “Today is the day of a great battle and today Quraysh will be humiliated by Allah”. Conversely, the prophet's (SAWS) response was that today is the day of mercy in which Allah will bestow honor on Quraysh.
He was great in his voluntary renunciation of worldly luxuries when he could have been the richest man on earth had he wished to be. He was also great in the way he dealt with young people motivating them to exercise. For example, he once passed by some of the young companions of the tribe of Aslam practicing archery and he said to them,
“O offspring of Ishmael! Practice archery as your father was a great archer. I am with (on the side of) the son of so-and-so-.” Hearing that, one of the two teams stopped throwing. The Prophet (SAWS) asked them, “Why are you not throwing?” They replied, “O Allah's Apostle! How shall we throw when you are with the opposite team?” He said, “Throw, for I am with you all.”
His enemies were never able to slander him due to any bad trait. He lived with them for 40 years before the divine message and another 13 years after it, and never were they able to smear him with a single bad trait that marred his character, or doubt his outstanding abilities. They even testified that he had never lied in his life. That is how great he was and that is how humiliating him smears every American, Indian, Pakistani etc.; everyone, whether Muslim or not. It is an insult to all humankind when such a great man is insulted.
He was great in his mercy. When he was persecuted by the people of At-Ta’ef and stoned until his feet kept bleeding, the angel of the mountains asked for his permission to destroy them. Yet his response was to supplicate Allah to guide them and to save them. Furthermore, in the Battle of Uhud, he was injured, overcome by his enemies, had his front teeth broken, and fell into a pit with blood gushing from his wounds. Nevertheless, when his companions asked him to curse them and to invoke Allah to punish them, he declined stressing the fact that he was sent as a mercy to all of humankind. He even invoked Allah to guide them to the right path and to excuse them for their ignorance.
He was merciful even with animals narrating that,
“A man saw a dog eating mud from (the severity of) thirst. So, that man took a shoe (and filled it) with water and kept on pouring the water for the dog till it quenched its thirst. So Allah approved of his deed and made him enter Paradise.”
Similarly, he (SAWS) said,
“A woman was tortured and was put in Hell because of a cat which she had kept locked till it died of hunger.”
This is our Prophet and this is how great he was. Unlike that of other great human figures in history, the Prophet’s greatness is lasting throughout the generations.
He believed in co-existence. He trusted the Jews and gave them all the rights of citizenship in Madinah, guaranteeing that no one would harm them, take any of their money, force them to convert, or intercede with their freedom to worship. He was also great in co-existence when he was against using the Muslims loyal to him in Makkah to create tension among the people of Quraysh, even during the war between Makkah and Madinah. At the time of the Hudaybeya treaty, he could have waged war against Quraysh but resorted to peace instead. He could have turned it into a bloodbath, but he chose peace and forced it on his enemies.
The human race should be proud that Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) existed one day, whether they were Muslims, Hindu, Jews, Christians, believers of any kind, or even non-believers. He is a turning point in the course of humanity. This is Muhammad (SAWS) and this is how humanity was humiliated the day he was. People around the world are demanding an international law that protects the dignity of this great Prophet.
That was my message to Muslims, to the West, and to the whole world.
One final question remains here, which is, what is it that we want? We do not need speeches. It took me some time to deliver this speech, as I believe that speeches alone cannot solve this problem. We do not even want superficial apologies that are not as deep as our wounds. We do need effective actions that denote Western respect for the Prophet (SAWS). We will not stop our protests until our Prophet regains the dignity he duly deserves as our great leader. Thus empty words and shallow apologies are not enough, actions must be taken. Until then, I need everyone to convey this message to their families and friends. I want it to be translated by Dar al-Tarjama to all languages and to be distributed everywhere to reach the West. This speech will be broadcast on Iqraa’ channel soon and I want as many people as possible to watch it. Meanwhile we should do our best to let the people know about our Prophet (SAWS). ‘On the Path of the Beloved’ for example, a program about the Prophet’s life, is being replayed now on Iqraa’ every Tuesday and Friday. Dr Tarek Suweidan, A’aed al-Qarny, Al-Habib Aly al-Jifry and Dr. Al-Buty are all renowned modern Muslims scholars who have speeches and articles about the life of the Prophet. Please do your best to make good use of their works as well as the tapes of ‘On the Path of the Beloved’ to enlighten the whole world about the Prophet (SAWS), until this predicament is unraveled and until Muslim requests are answered with real actions. Thus, what I am asking everyone to do is to distribute this message everywhere and to let everyone know about who the Prophet (SAWS) is. Our duty is double fold, we need to distribute this speech and make it available everywhere, and we need to introduce the Prophet (SAWS) and tell his story to everyone, among Muslims and non-Muslims. This speech is to be continued and I am indeed not done yet with this issue. Thank you. May peace and Allah’s blessing and mercy be upon you all, and let us get to work.