Friday, February 03, 2006

Freedom of opinion

Read this brilliant editorial on the cartoons by the New Zealand Dominion.

Mufti Abdul Barkatullah, a member of the British Muslim Council, calls it a no-go area at any cost, adding "the Prophet is held above everything in the universe, over one's own person, family, parents, the whole world. It is less offensive to condemn and vilify God".

That is certainly true – for Muslims.

However Denmark, and the other countries where the cartoons have been reproduced, including in Britain by the BBC and in newspapers in France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and Germany, are not Muslim countries.

They are democratic, secular countries which are not ruled by religious dogma, whether it be Muslim or Christian.

They have the same values as New Zealand, which includes the right to free speech in its Bill of Rights. There is an acceptance that people can write and say what they wish – except in tightly defined circumstances – even if others are offended by it, and that being shocked can be part of the price for being informed.

Read the whole thing.

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