Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Some Opinions on Danish freedom

Publication of cartoons mocking Islam's holiest figure; Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in newspapers all across Europe, Danish government's refusal to a public apology and Europe's defending it on account of "Freedom of Expression" has resulted in boycott of Danish products across half of the world, protests in front of Danish embassies in many countries and damaging Danish image & erosion of Denmark's diplomatic relations with the Muslim World.

Most of the Muslims already take America's War on Terror as a war by West against Islam,and this incident was too important to be ignored. It has strenghten this perception and provided some other groups a basic reason to go the extremist way for their own purposes.

Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus, Syria, Danish embassy in Beirut and Austrian embassy in Tehran, Iran have been attacked & ransacked by angry protestors. These protest and police's reaction has resulted in 4 deaths so far.

Of many people who voiced their opinions, bloggers among them, here, I quote a few of them:

"We strongly denounce and condemn this horrific action"
Iraqi Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

"Western culture had to know its limits."
Vatican cardinal Achille Silvestrini

"Inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner is not acceptable"
"We call for tolerance and respect for all communities and for their religious beliefs and practices."

U.S. State Department press officer Janelle Hironimus

"I share the distress of the Muslim friends who feel that the cartoon offends their religion"."I also respect the right of freedom of speech. But of course freedom of speech is never absolute. It entails responsibility and judgment."
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

"So now what are we going to do? … Replace the anti-Semitic prejudice with anti-Islamic prejudice?"
Bill Clinton

"The row over the Danish cartoons would probably have remained a local dispute between some Muslims and a Danish newspaper had it not been for three factors:

- the rise of violent political Islam
- America's war on terror
- modern transnational media.

America's war on terror is still largely perceived in the Arab world as a war on Islam - a perception reinforced by the fact that it is happening exclusively in Muslim countries, namely Iraq and Afghanistan. Issues such as the Iraq war are seen as catalysts in the row.

For them, the row over the Danish cartoons is yet another confirmation of this perception."
Magdi Abdelhadi, BBC Arab Affairs analyst

It's "a vicious, outrageous and provocative campaign" that has "hurt the faith and feelings of Muslims all over the world."
Pakistan's Parliment

"I believe that the republication of these cartoons has been unnecessary, it has been insensitive, it has been disrespectful and it has been wrong"
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw

Some BlogOpinions:


"The publication of the Danish illustrations of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and their republication in Norway offers not one but two separate offenses to the Muslim world. The most obvious is that not only was the Prophet depicted in ten of the twelve cartoons, but also that one of the illustrations portrayed him as a terrorist. The second offense is that people in Denmark and Norway and no doubt in most of Europe and North America seem blissfully unaware of precisely how outrageous these images are to Islamic sensibilities."

"A cartoonist in Denmark believed he could raise a smirk among his readers by perpetuating this distortion by depicting the Prophet in a scabrous manner."

"What Muslims are saying that with every freedom comes a responsibility. Hopefully out of ignorance rather than malevolence, something deeply painful to the entire Muslim world was published in a Danish newspaper. That in itself was an irresponsible use of the freedom of the press, which in no country anywhere is an unlimited freedom allowing journalists to vilify, libel or lie."


"Just because some religious groups have allowed their Prophets (peace be a pone them all) to be subjected to “satire” doesn’t mean that we all should. Why should we have a sense of humour about a man who we believe is the leader of our whole existence? Why should we allow other people to disrespect our beliefs? Fine don’t believe too, don’t accept what we believe, but at least don’t be rude about something that over 3 billion people around the world dedicate their lives too."


"It's ironic that the media in Europe that heaped scorn on Prince Harry for wearing a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party and demanded he apologize for the offence caused now prints cartoons making fun of Prophet Muhammad, in the name of defending freedom of expression. Apparently, this freedom of expression is only useful when making fun of Muslims."

black feline

"It's prostitution of journalism!" Strong words from the leader of more than 200,000 strong Muslims community in Denmark.
"Freedom of expression..gives one the license to slander, to ridicule..etc and fret not..the law is on your side! What baloney!

To me, the whole episode is cheap, deliberate provocation!
I think if you want to play with fire..be prepared to pay the heavy price of backlash...for a start, boycott of danish dairy products already in action..and worst..their action endangers the lives of their fellow brothers/sisters in the country and working overseas! If you need to draw...please use your brain too!"
Chai Anyone?

"As a non-muslim, anti organized religion kinda person I find myself to be a bit objective on the matter and was still apalled at the ridicule reflected in these cartoons. I can understand people's apprehension and angst at the political situation caused by some of these folks but, they do not speak for a religion in all its entirety. Yes, freedom of speech is a right but, there is a certain level of individual moral responsibility to stay within certain ethical limits. It is okay to express angst in a cartoon depicting a man wearing a turban - but the Prophet Muhammed himself??

When is it considered going too far?"

On how the Muslims should respond to this situation:


"I believe this is a fantastic opportunity for the Arab world. Cancel the boycott. Announce that any European visiting an Arab country will get a free tourist visa, and can live with an Arab family. Start with the Danes. The Arabs are famous for their hospitality, and many locals will line up to have an European family stay with them. Dubai and other places are already hot tourist spots, this will be a perfect chance for people to people contact, for Europeans to see that Arabs and Muslims are not so different or scary after all."

Ahmad Humeid:

In the spirit of the life of the Prophet, here are 5 ways how
the Muslim world could have responded the the Danish cartoons:

1. Apply to the Ministry of Culture in Denmark to organize a big exhibition about the Life of Prophet Mohammad and Islamic History. The Saudi and other Arab governments would finance this event and promote it in a big way in the Danish media.

2. Invite 100 Danish children to come and live with Arab and Muslim families to learn about life in today’s Arab and Muslim world.

3. Invite the editors of the Danish newspaper to a well publicized cultural debate in Doha, Qatar or Copenhagen.

4. The embassies of Arab and Muslim nations could commission a website in Danish about Islam, contemporary muslim thinkers and life in today’s Islamic world. A dedicated staff would respond to incoming questions and request for information.

5. Subtitle the movie ‘The Message’ in Danish and try to get many movie theaters and cultural centers in Denmark to show it.


Anonymous said...

Did you know that the royalties from the drawings goes to a fund for multi cultural understanding?

Anyway i like your initiatives.

I hope the the two cultures find a way to reunite after this conflict settles down.

I think a lot of the reasons for this conflict is based on cultural misunderstanding and misinfomation.

Denmark is a country where every religion is respected.

But in Denmark the Government has nothing to with the media. The Prime Minister have already personally taken a stand from the drawings.

In Denmark it is hard to understand how some drawings can cause these feelings for people.

The paper have issued an apology. So lets move on, and find a way for mutual understanding.

Jacob, Denmark

Jawwad S said...

i did check out about Danish Lawz
The Danish constitution says:

The law prohibits publicly disseminated statements, which threaten, insult, or degrade persons based on their religion.

More Details u will find here


Abrar said...

Just wanted to say that you have an amazing blog and thanks for putting all this informaiton at one plae!

Its very resoureful!!

Anonymous said...

I think we all need to respect each other's religions and cultures but they are overacting to an absurd level.

RaY-ZoR said...

Things really have slipped out of control in certain nations. Although religion is extremely important to us Muslims (perhaps more than any other religion in the world), people should not have reacted in such a violent manner as they have in certain nations.

Such violent behavior only supports the point of the blasphemous cartoon comics. Islam is a religion of peace and it preaches peace and inter-faith harmony. It is the people who ruin its name by committing stupid acts. Also, to show to the Danish people that it has disappointed Muslims, Islamic countries should pursue a diplomatic and economical channel to persuade their citizens that it is indeed a matter of significance to the Islamic world.

Unfortunately in the West, people seem to exploit freedom to an extreme, so much so that it ends up creating problems for others.

Fahd Mirza said...

I read almost all of the links provided by you and they are very touching,
really thanks a lot.

Hasan Mubarak said...

Jacob: It's so kind of you to visit and appreciate this initiative.

Such funds to support multi-cultural understanding ought to be there for the cause. However, in this case, how can they establish inter-cultural harmony by ridiculing beliefs & respects of others?

As far as the reaction of the Muslims is concerned; it's not the perfect thing to burn down buildings & get voilent. That is wrong too.

jawwad s: That makes it very clear. We can see how it is against Denmark's own law, and, thus, the Danish government should take action against those responsible.

abrar: Thank you so much! Keep visiting for more...

ruben: We all know that 'every action has an equal but opposite reaction.' Here, for many people, the action 'was' that offensive. And, ofcourse, we have a lot of those who are to exploit this situation for their own purposes.

ray-zor: That's exactly what another friend explained; How the Prophet himself would have responded to the situation. It's of great concern how violent protests are becoming with the passage of each day.

fahd mirza: You are always welcome. It's great you checked them all...

samrina said...

Yeah agree with Ruben we all need to respect each others religion coz religion is something for which we all r sensitive n emotional plus its also against humanity too.


bart said...

the basis of each religion is tolerance, respect and freedom... these are the most basic qualities people need in daily functioning...

we are all free, but are bound by social and economic constrictions which suffocate us in the end... the path to freedom is clear, but almost un-navigable right now...

keep well... and dream the real dreams of the righteous...

kathi said...

I am not in any way political, I honestly feel like I'm out of place in this comment section. But, I wish I could express what's in my heart as well as others here. It just makes me so very sad that people are careless with their words and actions to where it hurts and offends others without any consideration.
I not only pray for those who are being hurt, but for those who do the hurting because I honestly believe they're lost and in desperate need of God's love.

Abrar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Abrar said...

Thats true Hassan!!
Do read my latest blog about the recent announcment by Iranian newspaper about holding the cartoon contests for Holocaust.

You may agree with some of my predictions!!

black feline said...

sad..u just need a tiny spark to start a potential world war III..it's dreadful! share a quotation with u:

"The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic."
Oliver Wendell Holmes - the famed United States jurist

Trailady said...

Thank you for this intelligent post about the current situation!! Feel free to visit my blog and add your comments on my 2 articles about this same issue. In order to have peace, there must be mutual respect between Muslims and others around the world. Nobody should be provoking or ridiculing the faith of another. That is the utmost cruelty. I do wish to say that Americans DO NOT hate Islam. We greatly respect it. However, we will NOT stand idly by while extreme terrorist attack our homeland. People tend to forget that we were provoked by the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children at the hands of Jihadists. So it's not like the US just woke up one day and said, "We hate all Muslims and we will go attack them". It is NOT Islam we fight- it is those with a lack of respect for life and human dignity. Nobody should ever blow themselves & everyone around them up or behead women & murder their own people in the street. Completely unethical! There are many Muslims in our country- we treat them with respect and in return, they act respectful. This is what freedom should be- not poking fun at beliefs.

Raheel said...

a wonderful post for sure.. I like the views. I think its time I should also write something about it my blog. I thought everyone was just treating it insanely but yes these opinions are very much logical :)

RaY-ZoR said...

This whole issue has exploded in to an international controversy and it's messing up the global economics.

Deb S. said...

Hasan, you're AMAZING. You've put a lot of effort into this post, and it shows. Excellent!

Hasan Mubarak said...

samrina: Exactly; freedom comes with a responsibilty to respect people & their beliefs.

bart: In my opinion, a man's nature does not let him live with freedom. You have freedom with your limbs, mouth & eyes, but you are not free to control your heart. See there, resrictions on freedom are naturally imposed by nature. And we should self-impose similar restrictions that are required to maintain balance & peace in a society.

kathi: You are always welcome to comment; please feel free to express yourself. In fact, your views are similar to many of us.

abrar: I'm desperately waiting for my friends to give their views about the Iranian newspaper's initiative.

black feline: Oh dear, you are scaring me with WWIII...

Mr. Oliver's quote's quite significant in such a global situation of unrest.

trailady: We know about most of the Americans not hating Islam for extremist actions of some radicals. However, one consideration should be taken seriously; what thousands of innocent people dead in Iraq & Afghanistan were responsible for...

Yes, indeed, one wrong cannot prove another one right, but, we should not forget that anti-human policies of 'powers' of the time have always produced hatred among rest of the people.

raheel: I'm waiting to read your views about the current situation...

ray-zor: Oh yes, it definitely is messing up Denmark's relations with half of the world; including its diplomacy & trade. Recently, Pakistan banned import of medicines from all those countries which published the cntroversial cartoons.

dcs: You are so AMAZING, for you liked it. Just joking, thank you so much and keep visiting for more.

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