Progressive Muslim Union of North America's Statement on the Cartoon Controversy

February 11, 2006

Source: Muslim Wake Up!

On February 11, 2006 Muslim Wake Up! reported, "Freedom of expression is a cardinal value in both the West and in Islam. (The Prophet never chastised his followers for challenging him, for questioning, indeed he praised people who did not let their shyness get in the way of speaking frankly. Another value, we note, that many in the Muslim world have neglected to uphold.) We must defend the right of cartoonists to draw satirical, biting, even blasphemous commentary, and the right of papers to publish items which may be offensive or perceived as heretical by some. A society without such freedom rapidly becomes poisonously repressed and out of balance.

But at the same time, we must insist that the practice of freedom of expression must be responsible. It is universally agreed that inciting others to murder is a form of free speech we will not tolerate. And there are items that no editor would publish, because they are too bigoted, because they are too obscene, or because they foster hatred and intolerance to such an extent as to threaten the very fabric of the society we live in."