Monday, February 06, 2006

Media Release by Anti-Defamationa Commission, BB, Melb.

[No religion is above the law of the country. Islamic theocracies are a danger to world peace. "Peace be upon Mohammed" and upon his followers! MM]

Statement on Danish Cartoons Depicting Mohammed
For immediate release 6 February 2006

The B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) issued the following statement in response to the controversy stemming from the twelve cartoons depicting Mohammed featured in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and reprinted in otherEuropean newspapers:ADC is opposed to religious, racial and ethnic stereotyping in the media. Some of the cartoons in Jyllands-Posten are of concern, particularly those that imply a direct connection of the prophet Mohammed with violence. At the same time, we are deeply concerned by the extreme reaction that these cartoons have generated in Muslim communities in Europe and the Middle East. It is certainly the right of individuals and governments to express their strong criticism of the content of these cartoons. However, the use of violence,threats, boycotts and other extreme reactions are unacceptable and detrimental to future debates involving Islam, democracy and free speech. The burning of embassies and the carrying of placards calling for the slaying or beheading of those who insult Islam are criminal acts without any justification. It also needs to be said that despicable anti-Jewish caricatures appear almost daily in government-controlled newspapers across the Arab and Muslim world.While invoking the supposed "freedom of the press" in their countries, Arab and Muslim leaders have refused to take any action to stem the flow of vitriolic antisemitism in widely circulated newspapers. Indeed, leaders of regimes such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia have virtually ignored appeals to put an end to incitement in their media, excusing it in the name of "freedom of the press."One would hope that leaders of Arab and Muslim countries would turn all of the anger being aimed at the European press into a larger lesson for their own people about the power of images. It is hypocritical to demand respect for the religious sensitivities of one's own faith if one is unwilling to accord the same right to others.
ADC is strongly committed to freedom of the press, which we consider fundamental to democracy. In a democratic society, newspapers should be free to publish controversial content without fear of censorship or intimidation of their writers and editors. At the same time, newspapers and all media outlets should consider the sensitivities of racial, ethnic and religious groups.

For further information, contact ADC Chairman, Dr Paul Gardner on
The B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission is a national human rights agency.

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