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ICC Note

Religious freedom as we know it in the United States does not exist in the Muslim world. As the cartoon protests demonstrated, violence can often be linked with Islam, and while some Muslim governments claim to promote “freedom of worship”, this is often violated, and Christians are often targeted because of their faith.

Long time needed for reciprocity with Islam, but process must start

AsiaNews.it (03/09/06)

To read the full story, click here: Long time needed for reciprocity with Islam, but process must start

Rome (AsiaNews) – The cultural clash between Islam and the west that emerged in the Muslim world’s violent reactions to the publication of the Muhammad cartoons, was the focus of questions put by AsiaNews to Fr Andrea Pacini, a lecturer in dogmatic theology and theology of religions at the Theology Faculty of northern Italy – Torino section – and in the ISSR of Piedmont’s regional council, head of the Federico Peirone centre for Islamic-Christian relations of the archdiocese of Torino and consultant of the “Commission for religious relations with Muslims” of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

Below are extracts from the interview, which will be published in full in the April edition of the monthly AsiaNews.

The cartoon crisis brought to the light a “cultural conflict” between the enlightened west and the Islamic world. It’s probable that the Danes were rash; it is also true that the revolts over the cartoons were exaggerated (and even manipulated). How can coexistence with Islam be contemplated in the west? Don’t we risk repudiating our freedom?

I think the case of the satirical cartoons offers an opportunity to look at some important considerations. In the first place, we must ask ourselves if satire of religion is truly an exercise of the freedom of expression, as maintained by those who defend this initiative. Obviously no one denies that this right is fundamental in societies considering themselves to be democratic and pluralistic. However, it is also true that freedom of expression should coincide with other fundamental human rights (including freedom of worship) and it is limited by respect for matters which are central to the people’s moral and religious sentiments.

And it is also true, naturally, that the various revolts undertaken by Muslims because of the cartoons were exaggerated and manipulated by more integralist factions and even by some governments, for political reasons, international or regional: these were given the opportunity to ride on the case. The satirical cartoons thus had the twofold effect of shaking the consciences of normal, moderate Muslims, who live their faith in a peaceful way, and on the other hand, of reinforcing the position of fundamentalist and radical Muslims who now have new reasons to call for jihad against the west.

To continue reading, click here: Long time needed for reciprocity with Islam, but process must start