Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Wise Need To Intervene | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Is it time for the wise to intervene after the demagogue succeeded in stirring emotions and distorting our image in response to the despicable cartoons? Many Muslim people sent a civilized message to the world to the effect that they reject the insult to the prophet. The European public felt the magnitude of the insult in the same way people can feel when their symbols and beliefs are disrespected. More than one European official was obliged to apologize. Many countries, including Britain, reached an understanding with their press to prevent the republication of the cartoons. The United States, Russia, and most European countries condemned those racist cartoons. This will make extremists in Europe think a thousand times before committing such acts.

A small group of Muslims abused this case, and used it to promote the culture of hatred and animosity between Muslims and others, going so far in their extremist behavior as to seriously harm our culture and reputation.

It is time for the wise in governments and civil society institutions to move and propose an international code that considers insulting the religious symbols of all religions as a racist act and hostility toward any religion or culture like anti-Semitism, for which the Jews managed to win international resolutions. The wise should hold a civilized cultural dialogue with the European nation, with which we are bound by great relations and which hosts millions of Arabs and Muslims, whom we do not want to see live in an environment of hatred and racism because of extremists on both sides.

It is not in our interest to sabotage our relations with Europe, for the European position toward the Arab-Israeli conflict, unlike the US position, is balanced. We do not want a hostile position toward Europe that would harm our causes. Besides, the Arab countries have relations of mutual interests with the Europeans, which we should enhance, not destroy. The price for the racist acts, which were committed by a small group of Europeans and a small group of our fellow citizens, should not be paid by the people of the region. We should neither sacrifice our interests with Europe nor push for frictions between Muslims living in Europe and their new communities, thus turning them into hated and persecuted minorities. What is needed is a serious dialogue between us and Europe, as well as a serious dialogue between the Muslim minorities in Europe and their societies.