Muhammad cartoons and domino effect
The protests by imams and their Muslim organizations for the publication of 12 Muhammad cartoons, in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten last September, instead of getting newspaper and government censorship, they contributed unfortunately to a domino effect, being the cartoons published now all over Europe newspapers.
“We want respect for Muhammad restored and we want him to be described as the man he really was in history, and that he gets the respect he deserves,” stressed some Muslim organizations that were deeply opposed to the publication of the cartoons.
The conflict is also exposing different interpretations of freedom of expression, not only between the Islamic world and the West, but between the United States and Europe
"Islam forbids any representation of the Prophet," the France Soir editorial says today. "The question is, are all those who are not Muslims obliged to honour that prohibition? Can you imagine a society that added up all the prohibitions of the different religions? What would remain of the freedom to think, to speak, or even to come and go freely?"
A government official in the United Arab Emirates offered a very different definition of freedom of expression to the Khaleej Times. "Freedom of expression means freedom to express one's views in ways that will not affect social harmony," he said. "Otherwise, you face consequences. That applies to Al Jazeera, or American journals, and even to the Danish media."
"We do value the freedom of expression in Europe, but it shouldn't be abused to provoke hatred and division between communities. Freedom of expression is not a licence to attack a culture or religion". "We believe the governments that allowed these freedoms to be abused should apologise to the Muslim communities" said Dr Yunes Teinaz the spokesman for the London Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre.
With all this, will the twelve cartoons mark the beginning of the clash of civilizations? I hope not... but who knows?