Interfaith Alliance of Rochester Condemns Cartoons

February 8, 2006

Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

On February 8, 2006 the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle printed a press release from the Interfaith Alliance of Rochester, responding to the controversy over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The statement read, "As members of the Interfaith Alliance of Rochester, and in view of our mission to promote respectful discussion of public affairs, we are appalled at the publication of offensive cartoon images of the Prophet Muhammad. It was a violation of the concern, reverence and peacemaking efforts that are called for in these volatile times. This has become an issue that is undermining the works of so many who are working very hard to develop interfaith understanding and dialogue. Making an image of God is forbidden in Islamic tradition because humans can have no clue as to what the unseen God looks like. Muslims avoid picturing the prophet because it helps to prevent idol worship. Although we respect freedom of speech, we can condemn those who brought forth these cartoons for their extreme lack of judgment, poor taste and irresponsibility... It is deeply offensive to every Muslim (in spite of the variety of political views), touching the core of their tradition of reverence. It is odious to us, their brothers and sisters of other faiths. We must also condemn the unnecessarily violent response that is now taking place across the world. However strong emotions may be, one only demonstrates an appalling immaturity in failing to restrain one's outbursts of inflammatory words and actions, whether in provocation or in reaction."