IAR denounces caricatures of Prophet Muhammad and urges restraint to violent protests

(RALEIGH, NC, 2/7/06) - The Islamic Association of Raleigh (IAR), along with numerous Muslim organizations across the United States, disapproves both Prophet Muhammad's caricatures published in various European media outlets and violent Muslims reaction to them.

Prophet Muhammad is highly revered in Islam and depicting him as a terrorist is a provocation akin to anti-Semitic or anti-Christian images.

In a statement, Ekram Haque, IAR Chairman, said:

"The real issue is not freedom of expression. There are laws in the West that ban certain kinds of speech, including those that incite anti-Semitism, racism and violence. There are also laws in some countries against blasphemy and defamation. To Muslims, banning blasphemy against God and Prophet Muhammad has a higher priority than proscribing anything else. However, Muslims should not forget that Prophet Muhammad promoted freedom of expression and would not approve of violence in the name of defending his honor."

Actions taken by certain European newspapers are a detriment to building bridges with the Muslim world and only harm the already weakened relations. While the IAR supports freedom of expression, it also urges European and other nations to strengthen laws to protect religious freedom and religious figures from the irresponsible use of free speech.

CONTACT:
IAR Media Group
Phone: 919.834.9572 x340

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