Mr. Prime Minister,

In the spirit of ‘Freedom of Expression’ that you and we all value so much, I have taken the liberty to write this letter to you.

You stand as the leader of a democratic society which has promoted itself as a peace loving member of the international community of nations, valuing the spirit of human co-existence. Yet, recently, both, you as the leader, and your country have failed the test. Under the pretext of freedom of expression you have allowed, with impunity, freedom of insolence, totally disregarding the fundamental requirement of harmony and peaceful co-existence.

Mr. Prime Minister,

Allow me to quote to you an edict from the Quran which is compelled upon Muslims in the chapter Al Ana’am verse 108. “Do not insult those who call upon gods other than Allah”. This legal provision will prosecute any Muslim who abuses the religious sanctities of others. This is a divine proclamation that was revealed to the very Holy Prophet upon whose dignified head your “freedom of expression” has drawn a time bomb and whose sacred faith you have made a mockery of. Now ponder this legal provision which requires its adherents to co-exist with others and compare it with the value system you proudly represent.

When the Taliban destroyed the statues of Buddha I addressed to them a letter in this newspaper condemning that atrocity based on this very Quranic edict 108. As a Muslim, and like you, also proud of my heritage, I was not only defending the sanctities of others, but also defending the very values of my heritage which were violated by the Taliban’s deed. Decency requires that we stand and be counted, perhaps more so, when one of our own commits a wrong. The Taliban did not represent my faith, I made that clear. However, your defense of your newspaper, and your refusal to apologize for its sacrilege, clearly indicates that it does represent your values.

Your defense has been based on the pretext of freedom of expression. Which freedom of expression allows you to permit your subjects to transgress upon others? Is it freedom of expression for me to permit my child to insult my neighbor? In many countries in Europe this ‘freedom of expression’ pretext seems to be the basis on which all attacks on Islam are made. Yet, in Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Poland, Switzerland and Holland the law will prosecute and indeed throw in jail an individual who questions the holocaust. It seems freedom of expression has its limits even in your part of the world. It is however unfortunate that these limitations do not include religious sensitivities.

Mr. Prime Minister,

The anger you see in the Islamic world and the public boycott of Denmark is also a freedom of expression that you must not only respect, but indeed, in the spirit of that freedom, equally defend and then explain to your citizens. Doing otherwise will be the height of hypocrisy.

As you believe it is your freedom to violate our sanctities and religious sensitivities, it is also our freedom to decide that we do not wish to co-exist or in any way relate and do business with you. It is our right to continue, as indeed we shall definitely do, with our pens, to mobilize our people and pressure our governments to impose a total boycott of your country. For example, we shall not buy from you because you have broken the first rule of business, i.e. you simply do not insult your customer and still expect the customer to shop with you. And you are starting to see the effect of that. We, the people if not our habitually weak governments, shall ensure that every single business house in the Islamic world today that imports your products does so at its peril because it will not find buyers for any Danish products. We shall ensure that this will not be a confrontation between governments willing to compromise and make deals on anything, but a confrontation with the masses. No government in the Islamic world, despite their autocracy, can impose upon me to introduce anything in my house that has a Danish content. This will continue to be our message to our people, until you, as the leader of your people can summon the courage to recognize the injury and make amends directly to the world’s billion Muslims you have offended. You are the leader of your country. You are responsible for the behaviour of your subjects. It is indeed hypocritical of you and your Western allies to hold responsible and persecute a billion Muslims and their governments for the behaviour of 19 of our subjects for 9/11 while you find refuge from the behaviour of your subjects behind ‘freedom of expression’. Through our newspapers, our mosques, our schools, we shall not allow this to cave in. We shall keep this issue alive.

Mr. Prime Minister,

As I have demonstrated above, we Muslims are a nation of people who will condemn our own if they insult the sanctities of others. We have even demonstrated that we will pursue, arrest and punish severely, indeed more severe than you do, those of our own who violate the peace of other nations. We hope you also share that value and you are capable of the higher calling of mutual respect and peaceful co-existence…

Abdullah Al Rahim.

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