Monday, February 06, 2006


McDowell praises Irish Muslim's response

McDowell has praised Irish MuslimsI see the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has today praised the Irish Muslim community for their peaceful reaction to the publication of satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

The cartoons have led to riots in the Gaza strip, the burning of the Danish embassy in Beirut and the deaths of two protesters in Afghanistan, but there have been no disturbances in Ireland.

Mr McDowell said that everyone who came to Ireland to become part of society did so on the basis of a written constitution that guarantees freedom of speech.

"The vast majority of the people of the Islamic faith in Ireland are reasonable and intelligent people who value the constitutional values of our society," he said.

The satirical cartoons, one of which depicts the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, were first published by a Danish newspaper last September but the decision by other European newspapers to reproduce them last week re-ignited the controversy.

"I think everybody involved in this furore should take a few good deep breaths and think about whether the destruction of life and property is proportionate to anything that appears in a newspaper hundreds of thousands of miles away from where they live," said Mr McDowell.

He said he did not want to comment on the decision of the Irish Daily Star to reproduce the cartoons last week.

"That’s the essence of a liberal democracy that I am not in a position to dictate what appears in newspapers. The Government opinion on this is not what counts. We have to remember we live in a liberal republic," he said.

Imam Yahya Al-Hussein, the Imam of the South Circular Road Mosque in Dublin, has said that while the violent protests against the cartoons were regrettable and not acceptable, the whole situation surrounding them had not been handled well.

The Minister is right. There hasn't been a violent reaction to the cartoons here in Ireland.

Why do you think that is? Is it because, as the Minister said, most Irish Muslims are people who value the constitutional values of Irish society?


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