ACHRS condemns the attacks on foreign and international institutions

06/03/2006
Communiqué

The publication of the caricatures depicting the prophet Mohammad has triggered a controversy which has culminated in violent attacks against foreign and international institutions, diplomatic missions, civilians and religious places.

Amman Center for Human Rights Studies is aware of the insult caused to the faith and convictions of Moslems. Nevertheless, this does not justify the use of violence and therefore Amman Center for Human Rights Studies condemns all violent actions which took place in the last days.

Islam forbids the depiction of the Prophet to prevent idolatry. Furthermore, the content of the published caricatures can be perceived as ridiculing the Prophet and unjustly linking the Prophet to terrorism. Hence, it is no surprise that these caricatures come as strong provocation to the global Moslem society.

The Danish newspaper which first published the caricatures maintains that the drawings were an exercise of freedom of speech. While freedom of speech enables the newspaper to publish such caricatures, practicing this freedom must be accompanied by assuming the responsibility for thoughts and information disseminated and should not insult the beliefs and convictions of others.

However, it is crucial to recognize that publishing these caricatures was the decision of some individuals working for an independent newspaper which is not an elected political body representing the will and opinion of all Danish or other European citizens.

Furthermore, it is neither tolerable nor acceptable to extend the responsibility which should be assumed by individuals for their own actions on whole nations, peoples or followers of any belief or religion.

While Islam is a religion of peace and forgiveness, the violent reactions which were witnessed in many Moslem countries contradict the peaceful message of Islam. Even more, these actions cause harm to the image of Islam. Attacking civilians and institutions in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria or elsewhere is not acceptable and ACHRS strongly rejects this form of protest.

ACHRS appreciates all peaceful ways of protest. Nevertheless, boycotting Danish products and cutting off diplomatic relations will not yield a gain to either side.

ACHRS calls for adopting constructive means to express discontent or outrage, means which further understanding between different cultures, religions, convictions, and beliefs.

ACHRS calls for protesting within the framework of law, since anger and outrage do not justify stepping over the rule of law.

Finally, ACHRS calls upon publishers and protesters to use the right to freedom of speech in a constructive and nonviolent way to build bridges between cultures to increase intercultural understanding, mutual respect and tolerance for other cultures, religions and beliefs.

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