CAIR Voices Concerns About Cartoons to Norwegian Ambassador
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/2/2006) – Representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) met today with the Norwegian ambassador to the United States to discuss the controversy surrounding publication of cartoons that mocked the Prophet Muhammad.
The cartoons, one of which depicts Islam’s prophet as a “terrorist” with a bomb in his turban, have caused protests, diplomatic actions and threats of boycotts across the Muslim world. They were originally published in a Danish newspaper.
SEE: Offending Cartoons Reprinted
In the meeting at the Norwegian embassy in Washington, D.C., CAIR officials stressed the need for interfaith and intercultural dialogue and mutual respect. Ambassador Knut Vollebaek reiterated his government’s statement in support of religious tolerance.
“All people have the right to respect for their religion and the right to presume that neither their religion nor their religious affiliation will be subject to contempt,” said Ambassador Vollebaek. “This incident in a Norwegian magazine is unfortunate and deplorable.”
“Intentionally provocative attacks on Islam should be rejected in the same way that credible media outlets quite rightly decline to publish anti-Semitic materials,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad, who took part in today’s meeting. “People of all faiths in the West and in the Muslim world should look for ways to turn this troubling episode into a positive learning experience.”
CAIR urged the Norwegian government to stand by that nation’s Muslim community and offered to share its experience with past issues of interfaith understanding.
Awad said CAIR is calling on mosques in America and worldwide to offer sermons this Friday highlighting how the Prophet Muhammad responded to personal attacks. (Friday is the day of congregational prayer in Islam.) He also asked mosques and Islamic institutions to hold public activities focusing on the life of the Prophet Muhammad.
Following allegations that military personnel at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay desecrated the Quran, CAIR launched its “Explore the Quran” project offering free copies of Islam’s revealed text to Americans of all faiths.
SEE: Explore the Quran
Representatives of the Washington-based group recently took part in a conference in Belgium that brought together American, Belgian and European Muslim leaders in the wake of rioting by immigrant youth in France.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
To read CAIR’s Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About
CONTACT: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: email@example.com