When I was in school, my Islam teacher often used to tell the class a story about Prophet Muhammad's kindness and compassion.
According to the story, during the early days of the Prophet's mission, a woman placed faeces at his door to show her hatred towards Islam. The Prophet, however, endured the humiliation peacefully, neither choosing to retaliate in anger or violence.
"Nothing in Islam says hate must be fought with more hate," she said.
However, it is not what we are witnessing today. Muslims are burning down American embassies and killing US diplomats over a video made by an American citizen who is originally from Egypt. US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and his colleagues, who were killed in Benghazi by a few Islamic militants, were not related to the video in any way. How can we justify the killing of innocent lives?
We live in a time where it is practically impossible to control or restrict the spread of information. Our personal lives alone are no longer personal. The 'Innocence of Muslims' video is not an isolated incident, but it is among the many articles, cartoons and videos produced against the Prophet and Islam. Do we really think that we can control the release of anti-Islam content on the internet?
The video deserves no attention whatsoever. However, it has gone viral over the past couple of weeks because of the insensitive actions of angry Muslims around the world, especially in newfound democracies in the Arab world. Had Muslims acted in a more civilised manner, no one would have even heard of the video. Yet, Muslims chose the path of violence and everyone has probably seen the video.
The violent protests being held by Muslims are more damaging to Islam's reputation than the video itself. Muslims can instead use this excellent opportunity to show the world that Islam is indeed a religion of peace. Distribute copies of holy Qur'an, hold public sermons, educate the youth about religious matters and most importantly, follow the Prophet's example.
"Prophet Muhammad and his companions had endured the worst insults from the non-believers of his time. Not only was his message routinely rejected, but he was often chased out of town, cursed and physically assaulted on numerous occasions," Egypt's Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said on Thursday.
"But his example was always to endure all personal insults and attacks without retaliation of any sort. There is no doubt that, since the Prophet is our greatest example in this life, this should also be the reaction of all Muslims."
However, let me be clear; Muslims should have the right to practice their religion just as followers of Christianity or any other religion. Mocking Islam or any other faith should not be condoned. Muslims should also be able to voice their opinion and organise peaceful protests. However, propagating violence and blaming a particular country or the UN for something a single citizen of that country did is not the civilised manner to act at a time like this. And it certainly is not the Islamic way.