“Don’t Point to the Speck in Your Brother’s Eye Until You Remove the Log from Your Own Eye”
The Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights In Europe (CDHRE)
15 February 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dr Helmy Guirguis
Tel: +44 7775 800 929
(Birmingham, UK) - The Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights in Europe calls for soberness and humility in response to the recent violent protests by radical Islamists.
Although sympathetic to the religious feelings of Muslims to preserve the dignity of their religious figures and symbols, we are deeply concerned over the escalating violent nature of the events as they have unfolded during the past two weeks.
As ethnic and religious minorities from Islamic countries could attest, we understand what it is like to suffer the degradation of one’s religious values. Let us not ignore the reality under which non-Muslims live across the Muslim world.
Freedom of religion does not exist in Saudi Arabia. It is severely limited in countries such as Egypt. Three weeks ago a mob of angry Muslims attacked a church in a village near Luxor, in Upper Egypt, resulting in the death of two innocent people, including a five years old child, with scores of wounded and terrorized. Where were Muslim organizations calling for the defense of these vulnerable people? In Pakistan, one can be put to death for being convicted of Blasphemy. Why are Christian churches attacked with stones in Beirut, Lebanon and bombed in Kirkuk, Iraq for a small Danish newspaper’s actions? Do feelings of insult require the blood of a Catholic priest, Fr. Andrea Santoro, murdered as he prayed in his church in Trabzon, Turkey?
The fact is, freedom of expression in religious matters in the Islamic world is invariably one-way: Public attacks (often virulent) on faiths other than Islam are abundant, without even the right of response. Displayed at the Cairo Book Fair held in January, numerous titles bashing Christianity and Judaism were readily available. Inflammatory books are abundant throughout the Islamic world. More than engendering hurt sensibilities they are invitations to bigotry, hatred and violence against non-Muslims.
Despotic rulers, sensational media and extremists have exploited the cartoon saga throughout the Islamic world in order to falsely frame the issue as a ‘conspiracy’ against Islam, or an expression of Islamophobia. This only deepens the gulf between Muslims and the West. We implore the millions of moderate and reasonable Muslims not to be exploited in such a way.
We call upon those who think that the excesses of liberty are such an affront to Islamic religious sensibilities that they deserve the most virulent protest to first look into their own eyes and consider the terrible human suffering that is inflicted upon non-Muslims by the curtailment of their liberties and dignity. At that point the dialogue may begin.
The Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights is the largest organization advocating for the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in the Islamic world. It was founded in 1993 and is based in The United States and in Europe.