These all happened after a Danish daily published an editorial cartoon that showed the prophet Muhammad with a bomb on his turban. Suddenly, freedom of the press is pitted against religious sensitivity. Many see it as…
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ded party and thereby end the outbursts, the burning of Danish embassies in Muslim-dominated countries and the threats to national security of Denmark. However, the press in Denmark and in Europe, in general, are not budging. And the reason for that is freedom of expression!
The cartoon may be offensive to the Islam faith, but the Muslims, while demanding respect for their faith, also need to understand press freedom, and more importantly, understand the meaning of the word “editorial.” The cartoon was printed as an editorial, and therefore, is solely the opinion of the artist, not necessarily the opinion of the entire publication or even the entire country of Denmark. The Danish government does not want to apologize on the part of the publication for respect freedom of expression in the country, despite the numerous protests and the boycott of Danish products that is affecting the businesses of some Danish companies. Muslims from the Middle East argue that the government is responsible because it could have stopped the publication of such offensive editorial or it could even punish the publication for doing so. In their mindset, this is most logical because in their countries, everything is controlled by the government – not excluding the press. Again, press freedom is something that Muslims need to understand. They need to understand that the press only becomes effective if it acts separate from governments, corporations, political parties, and religions. It is a separate entity that needs to be critical, non-partisan and unbiased. It is with this kind of press freedom that society can improve itself.
It should also be pointed out that the Muslim nations are not entirely innocent in terms of religious insensitivity. Many times have they published items that are considered offensive to Christians and Jews. It has also been a recurring scenario that every time that the Islam faith is offended, Muslims would go out on the streets in angry protests, with
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