International Progress Organization condemns anti-Muslim hate propaganda and calls upon European Union to take a firm stand in defense of the rights of all religious communities 10th of February 2006
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  • In a statement issued today, the President of the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.), Dr. Hans Koechler, condemned the publication of blasphemous caricatures by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and their republication by newspapers in France, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Spain, New Zealand, and other Western countries.

    The 12 cartoons originally printed in the Danish newspaper reveal utter contempt for the Muslim religion and are a clear incitement to religious hatred and fanaticism against the worldwide community of Muslims. In their design, the caricatures very much resemble racist depictions of an earlier European era. Caricatures that insult and ridicule Islam cannot be considered as artistic expressions.

    Such kind of hate propaganda against Prophet Mohammad, the founder of Islam, one of the great monotheistic religions, cannot be condoned in any way. Freedom of the press does not entitle to engage in racism and blasphemy, the President of the I.P.O. said. The right to free expression is complemented by the duty to respect the values and dignity of other religions and civilizations.

    The re-publication of the defamatory cartoons outside of Denmark unmasks the anti-Muslim agenda of leading circles in the West. Apart from being deeply amoral, this campaign against Islam violates the basic human right of all Muslims to religious freedom, including their right to be treated with respect. Furthermore, the West has no right whatsoever to impose its own secular worldview upon the community of Muslims.

    The President of the I.P.O. criticized the leaders of European states for not reacting vigorously enough against an anti-Islamic campaign that poisons the relations between the Muslim world and the West and seriously threatens the peaceful co-existence between religious communities in Europe's increasingly multicultural societies. The publication and continued re-publication of the anti-Muslim cartoons are acts of provocation and constitute a grave violation of the fundamental European values as enshrined in Art. 6 of the Treaty on European Union (Treaty of Amsterdam) and in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Dr. Koechler called upon the Presidency of the European Union not to be silent any longer on a matter that is of crucial importance for the future of Europe and to issue an unambiguous and outright condemnation of Jyllands-Posten and the media in those EU member states that have joined the Danish newspaper in printing the defamatory caricatures, thus inciting anti-Muslim hatred. What is required is a clear and unambiguous statement by the European Union that the publication of cartoons defaming an entire religion is a violation of the very values on which the European Union is founded.

    Those in the West who try to hide their deep-seated hatred towards Islam behind the freedom of the press or of artistic expression should know that they keep all those Europeans hostage of their fanatic agenda who believe in peaceful co-existence with Islam on the basis of mutual respect. The insistence of anti-Muslim circles in Europe on republishing the blasphemous cartoons may actually bring about the "clash of civilizations" which the Western establishment has been talking about since the end of the Cold War and which will threaten not only the security, but the future stability of Europe, the President of the I.P.O. concluded.