We observe with great sorrow the recent events concerning the publication of the cartoons insulting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which were originally printed in a Danish newspaper first and then reprinted in some other European newspapers. It seems that the cartoon issue is still number one agenda in the world public opinion causing some demonstrations in either Muslim countries and some western countries where considerable amount of Muslims live.
The cartoons that insult the Prophet of Islam who brought the message of We make no distinction between messengers from Allah the Almighty as a gift of Miraj (ascension to heaven) deeply upset not only Muslims, but also non-Muslims who pay respect to faith, and worry about peace in the world.
Societies with different religious and cultural backgrounds are supposed to pay respect to human rights and freedom of religion, an integral part of human rights, in order to live in a peaceful world. Respect for all faiths and religious values is a prerequisite for freedom of faith. However, freedom of expression which is an integral part of human rights never gives one the right to insult members of another faith. To pay respect to other faiths is, in fact, an innate outcome of ones respect to his/her own faith.
We express our gratitude to all non-Muslim community leaders and institutions for showing their sensibility condemning such an outrageous attack on Muslims in the name of freedom of expression. On the other hand, we regrettably observe that some states, societies, and individuals favor the publication of such libelous cartoons in the name of freedom of press and expression.
It is worrisome to favor such misuses in the name of freedom of expression and press, and to expect Muslims to be tolerant in view of such respectfulness, and, moreover, to declare that the Muslim world is now having a test of tolerance. The responsibility of Western politicians, statesmen and press members at this stage is not to tolerate consecutive misuses, but to take necessary steps to reduce tension and to strengthen common peace.
We also invite all Muslims, who have reacted duly in this matter, to act and think calmly as they are supposed to represent the moral legacy of Prophet Muhammad. Any kind of violence as a reaction for such misuses is not approvable. In order not to give opportunity to those who aim to increase tension and separation between societies it is crucial to react in a reasonable way using legal mechanisms.
Presidency of Religious Affairs