Publishing cartoons which mock the Prophet Muhammed in a Danish newspaper – knowing they may offend – was unwise and irresponsible. But ultimately, within the European tradition, they have the right to do so.
In the ‘west’ we value the right to free expression highly. This right was won during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe in the 18th century and aimed to lead the world out of a long period of doubtful tradition, irrationality, superstition and tyranny. Having this right, which was so hard won, means using it responsibly.
|Just like Christianity, tolerance and forgiveness are preached by Islam. So why aren’t we seeing any of this? Do not the very few extreme Muslims perpetrating the hate see that burning embassies, waving threatening placards demanding beheadings is not only illegal and counter-productive but ironically, contradicts the teachings of the leader they claim to defend. The violent, gross over-reaction we see is inexcusable. There are plenty of things that offend me deeply (organised religion being one of them) but I don’t go waving placards inciting hatred and murder about it.|
The Islamic press is hardly fault-free. The regularity with which they publish anti-Semitic cartoons in disturbing.
The stench of double standards makes me gag.
I worry that for many of our tolerant, peace-loving British Muslim brothers and sisters the whole affair has shamed their good name and contorted their beliefs.
I worry about the reaction of small-minded bigoted people for who this will add fuel to their fires of intolerance and prejudice against anything that isn’t white and Christian.