Mockery: Behavior or speech that makes fun of someone or something in a hurtful way.
Mockery of entire groups has effectively been criminalized in Western societies. One would think thrice before publicly mocking Jews, African Americans, homosexuals or many other groups. Yet when it comes to Muslims, all bets, and societal protections are off. To quote Yeats, “we traffic in mockery.” From his moving poem, “Nineteen Hundred Nineteen”:
“Come let us mock at the great
That had such burdens on the mind
And toiled so hard and late
To leave some monument behind,
Nor thought of the levelling wind.
“Come let us mock at the wise;
With all those calendars whereon
They fixed old aching eyes,
They never saw how seasons run,
And now but gape at the sun.
“Come let us mock at the good
That fancied goodness might be gay,
And sick of solitude
Might proclaim a holiday:
Wind shrieked—and where are they?
“Mock mockers after that
That would not lift a hand maybe
To help good, wise or great
To bar that foul storm out, for we
Traffic in mockery.”
Yes, when it comes to Islam, we traffic in mockery. Yet, who can blame the mockers, when business is so good, and it is so easy to advertise the product.
Who cares that Muhammad (peace upon him) was the founder of a great world religion that has fostered spiritual, intellectual and cultural beauty. Mock the great. Who cares to even search for the historical relevance of Al-Ghazali, Razi, Ibn Rushd or Ibn Sina. Mock the wise. Who cares that Islam provides millions of people the internal fortitude to bury their murdered children, rebuild their bombed neighborhoods, plow their parched fields and still smile and greet a stranger with warmth and kindness. Mock the good. Go on and mock the Muslims, have a good go at it.
Yet, you should know, the fruit of mockery is bitter and the seeds it carries only give birth to evil, an evil that oozes from the stinking corpse of dead heroism, rotten culture and brutish insensitivity to the pain and hardship one afflicts on others. This is the message Yeats is sending to us. It is a lesson we ignore at our peril. In the last section of the poem he reminds us:
“Violence upon the roads: violence of horses;
Some few have handsome riders, are garlanded
On delicate sensitive ear or tossing mane,
But wearied running round and round in their courses
All break and vanish, and evil gathers head: ...”