Norwegian Muslims to demonstrate in support of Westergaard
Heartening news from Norway, where a group of liberal Muslims is calling on the Islamic Council of Norway to demonstrate in support of the Motoon artist Kurt Westergaard.
Shakil Rehman of the liberal Muslim network LIM (Equality, integration, multiculturalism) told the Klassekampen newspaper:
It wasn’t a mistake that the caricatures of Muhammed were printed, and in any case it doesn’t justify violence. Muslims have just a great interest in protecting freedom of expression as all others. Therefore Muslims should also support Kurt Westergaard.
Rehman has called on the Islamic Council to support the demo, but will organise the event himself if they do not.
I’m afraid they won’t rise to the challenge, because they don’t want to lose face in the Muslim world. But if they support freedom of speech, they should also be able to show that they mean it in practice.
Muhammed didn’t want to be depicted because he didn’t want to be worshipped like an idol. When Muslism think the prophet is insulted by being depicted, then they make him into precisely such an idol. Therefore there shouldn’t be any problem to make a caricature of him. I will go so far to say that Muslim leaders are unqualified
He is joined by Norweigan-Somali SV politician Hamsa Mohamed who was originally against the Motoons:
For me it’s completely fine now. I don’t respond as vigorously as before. Afterward I saw that people responded unnecessarily vigorously from the Muslim side. Caricatures are drawn all over the world.
Many say that the Prophet himself had a lot of tolerance, but that it was his followers who did the opposite of what the Prophet stood for. I agree with the interpretations. Many Somalis I speak to are discussing this now, and think that the reaction to the caricatures was an over-reaction.
Good luck to them. Moderate Muslim voices such as these are woefully under-reported.