Islamic chain-letters: an oxymoron?

Yet again I’ve received what amounts to an “Islamic” chain letter, this time asking people to add their names onto a list of people objecting to a forthcoming offensive film about Nabi ‘Isa (‘alaihi as-salaam). While I obviously share the offence at the content of this movie, I don’t believe for a moment that anyone will take any notice of a mass complaint based on a chain letter. Here it is:

Assslaamulaikum wa rahmatullah my dear brothers and sisters, It has been brought to my attention that there will be an awful film appearing soon in America which depicts our Beloved Prophet Jesus (May the peace and blesings of Allah be upon him) as a homosexual, jus when we thought these people could not stoop any lower !! Our beloved prophet was one of the greatest men , and this is just a mockery of his life, we have a responsibility as muslims to do somethings about this… so act now, all you have to do is sign ur names below ,this email was sent to me by a Christian freind,what are muslim people doing about this horrendous thing?? remember Allah SWT is all knowing and all aware,this is our deen that is being attacked we have a responsibility to stop it!!! Please don’t just forward it!! Please copy this message and paste the text in a new e-mail, then add your name to the list and send it to all your friends. When the list you sign reaches 500 names, please send it to: - homasg@softhome.net

There was an URL underneath this, followed by a list of 157 names, and the first 142 of them are not Muslim names. So the Islamic message has been added on recently.

The thing is, I suspect that anyone who sees this list of names will simply ignore it. The main reason for this is that, assuming that all of the people on this list have forwarded this to their friends, and it’ll get sent to that email address when the number of names reaches 500, the names nearer the top of the list will appear on a massive number of emails. This means that whoever receives it, after seeing these names appear huge numbers of times, will dismiss the campaign.

By the way, the names appear without email addresses, and whoever receives the emails after the names hit 500 may well think the names are just made-up names. I’m sure someone, somewhere has put together a script or two to randomly generate lists of names (and the user can throw in a couple of unusual ones like Datonya, Rooveline and Zumaly).

On top of this, surely a better idea than sending chain letters around is to bring this up on a mailing list or blog, giving the exact details of the film (not general details or rumours!) with who to write to at the studio producing it. I think it’s indefensible to send out chain letters with a veiled threat that by not sending the chain letter on, you will be risking the wrath of Allah. (That’s the Islamic version of the “bad luck” threats in all chain letters.) If you want to defend the honour of Islam, hit delete on these chain letters, do a bit of research and organise a proper campaign.

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