Leaders of five Muslim organizations met with Danish Ambassador Friis Arne Petersen last night about the controversial publishing in Europe of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad and said that U.S. Muslims could offer Europeans guidance about dealing with integration.
Speaking outside the ambassador's residence after the meeting, which lasted more than 90 minutes, the leaders said they had offered help and suggestions, including "removing the hysterical stereotypes" of Muslims in the Danish media and training the Danish Muslim community to deal with the media. "Above all, the education about the religion of Islam is missing severely -- in the West in general," said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the U.S. Islamic community has had experience dealing with being stereotyped, the leaders said. Through interfaith dialogue, "we have managed to have civilized debate and isolate" those who stereotype, Awad said. Among the other groups represented at the meeting were the Muslim American Society and the Islamic Society of North America.