There is a debate among scholars and intellectuals on the essence of what we understand of God. Is the God that we worship a stern, omnipotent and merciless power or is God the omnipotent, merciful and compassionate Being ? Was the Prophet of God , Muhammad, a messenger of peace and love or hatred and war? While the Holy Quran clearly indicates that God's compassion exceeds his wrath and that his forgiveness overrides his punishment, but evidently a certain radical interpretation has surfaced occasionally ; mostly in response to attacks from the outer, implying a more radical and violent impression of Islam. A deliberate and well orchestrated effort to display a negative image of Islam by Western media has also been underway for long.
While the insulting films posted recently on YouTube and the offensive caricatures attempting to mock the beloved Prophet of Islam were indicative of a new wave of Islamo-phobia, Muslims worldwide responded in varying tones and forms. Where American embassies were available, thousands poured into the streets to protest and this led to violence and bloodshed. Among them the most evident cases were in Libya , Pakistan and Egypt while peaceful marches in other cities still continue.
In an attempt to respond to the accusations and offensive efforts to smear the image of Islam and Muslims, many have resorted to intercultural and intellectual debates. In a recent interview I referred to the Dialogue Among Civilizations as a resort and resolution in face of the current attacks and threats against Muslims worldwide. Some radical sites responded harshly to my comments by claiming that the idea is "shipwrecked" and finished now. The idea which was put forward by President Khatami during his term and welcomed by the UN has stark enemies among radical anti reformist groups in power today in Iran.