Experts: Situation with Islamophobia worsens in Europe

Experts: Situation with Islamophobia worsens in Europe

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 5 /Trend, U.Sadikhova/

Reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in Denmark does not reflect the freedom of speech, but only deepens the rift between the Muslims and Europeans and will contribute to a greater spread of Islamophobia in Europe, experts say.

A book containing reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, which some years ago caused widespread protests across the world, appeared on the shelves of bookstores in Denmark.

The edition of the "Tyranny of Silence" book by editor of Jyllands-Posten newspaper, which first published the cartoons, Flemming Ross is timed to the fifth anniversary of the cartoon scandal.

Then the Danish government had categorically refused to apologize for insulting the feelings of Muslims, calling the publication of cartoons titled "Faces of Mohammed" a manifestation of freedom of speech in the country.

"12 cartoons published in a Danish newspaper, it is not freedom of expression of the painter, but disrespect for the rights of believers," Jewish newspaper quoted Chairman of the European Rabbinical Council Pinchas Goldschmidt.

Rabbi Goldschmidt said that the disrespect and disregard for feelings of believers can lead to such incidents, how cartoon scandal in 2005 covered whole Europe.
Following the Danish newspaper, the cartoons were reprinted by Norwegian, Swedish and several other European publications, stating that the media in Europe enjoys absolute freedom.
After reprinting the cartoons in several European newspapers, the embassy of Denmark were attacked. The conflicts connected with the publication of cartoons killed at least 50 people.

"Flemming Rose's book doesn't do anything to improve the necessary religious tolerance between nations and cultures; on the contrary it increases the existing gap," Rune Engelbreth Larsen, writer and columnist at the Danish newspaper Politiken, wrote in an e-mail to Trend.

According to Larsen, Jyllands-Postens original Muhammad-cartoons was a provocation that escalated a political trend to demonize Muslims, which the nationalistic party Danish People's Party had already been doing for more than a decade in Denmark.

"However, there is a difference between showing the cartoons as a part of the newspapers journalistic approach to the affair and the original provocation itself," said Larsen.

The representatives of Muslim communities in Europe have not yet commented on the reissue of cartoons of the Prophet. Shortly before the book was published, the Foreign Minister of Denmark Lene Espersen said at a meeting with 17 ambassadors of Muslim countries accredited in the Kingdom that despite the freedom of speech in Denmark, the cartoon incident was regrettable.

Rose's book, published in English, reprinted 12 cartoons, and was presented on the first page of Jyllands Postens on Sept. 30, 2001, several days after the September 11 attacks on New York.
The author does not repent his actions, which he argues as an attempt to strengthen the integration of Muslims into the Danish society, but experts believe the opposite.

The problem is not only with Denmark and its childish self importance but anti-Islam hate has spread all over the west, said Bashy Quraishy, Chair-Advisory at Council-ENAR.

"I personally think that the situation will get much worst before, it can get better, as it happened during the Nazi times. When it comes to minorities, the West operates with double standards and private definition of ethics. The rule seems to be; I can do what, I like, but others should not complain," Quraishy told Trend in an e-mail.

Quraishy believes that the protection of minority rights and moral responsibility has been drowned in populism, vote considerations and cultural mud slinging.

President of the Turkish-Islamic Union of Europe Musa Serdar Chelebi, who considers the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad as a political campaign against the Muslims, also agrees with him.

"Such actions are disrespect for the feelings of people and human rights and take a political nature, so it is not necessary to cover this with the freedom of the press," Chelebi told Trend.

He believes that the publication of cartoons brings no benefit in integrating Muslims into European society and the spread of Islam in the West.

"As a result, Islamophobia more spreads across Europe, and the gap between cultures will only increase, he said. - There is no reason to believe that the problem is the insufficient acquaintance of Europeans with Islam, because this should not be in open and developed Europe".  

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