Don’t hurt Muslim sentiments


WESTERN countries never get tired of lecturing the Muslim world on tolerance and protection of human rights yet what is happening in their society in the form of rising Islamophobia and xenophobia poses a serious threat to world peace and security. Instead of being in state of denial, western governments must acknowledge this grave danger and take steps towards averting such incidents that cannot be justified under the guise of freedom of movement, otherwise their continuation will have disastrous consequences.
The sentiments of about 1.3 billion Muslims were once again hurt when, in an anti-Islam rally in a Norwegian city, the holy Quran was desecrated. Norway is generally portrayed as a haven of peace, prosperity and equality yet recent hate incidents against Muslim which also saw attack on a mosque negates this impression and speaks volume of how rising xenophobia is affecting the lives of people there. Western countries must realise religious sensitivities of Muslims who never indulge in such disgracing acts of defiling sacred places and personalities of other religions and similarly they expect followers of other religions to respect their religion. Muslims believe in religious and interfaith harmony according to the teachings of their religion Islam, however when it comes to sanctity of their holy places and personalities they can also go to any extent. The same was seen during anti-Muslim rally in Norway where a Muslim man tried to stop the blasphemous act. We will urge Norwegian government to release the Muslim man and also initiate action against elements behind the rally and bring them to justice, if it really stands for equality and human rights.
It is also for the Muslim countries to go beyond mere lip service of condemning such acts. It is duty of Muslim countries to collectively raise the issue at global level and get blasphemy criminalized and the OIC must lead efforts towards that end. If holocaust deniers can be prosecuted then Muslims are also right in questioning as to why blasphemy cannot be criminalised.

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