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All tarred with the same brush?

Reader comment on item: Something Rotten in Denmark?
in response to reader comment: The Recent Cartoon Controversy in Denmark

Submitted by Mark (United Arab Emirates), Feb 4, 2006 at 08:28

I read with interest comments posted here suggesting that the West and Islam should divorce each other, reduce contacts and go their separate ways as a way of avoiding future conflict.

This is a tempting idea but unfortunately is not practical or even possible.

The fact is we just have to learn to get along.

And some steps need to be taken to turn down the heat. For example, last night I saw on British television protestors marching at the Norwegian embassy in London holding high posters with extremely inflamatory slogans like; Islam will exterminate Europeans, Europe, your 9/11 will come, Death to all who insult Islam etc.

As far as I know this would amount to racial vilification and incitement to racial hatred and this kind of thing is very much against the law. So I wonder, where were the police? why was this tolerated?

From the Muslim point of view I suppose that the cartoons in question are inflammatory to a point where this kind of response represents some kind of quid pro quo or measure for measure. While that may be debatable, the point that I would make is that the responsibility and accountability rests with individuals and not nations in this.

Those who incite violence should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law as individuals. Those who use newpapers to incite controversy and insult should perhaps be held accountable as individuals. The concept of holding a nation responsible for the actions of a few individuals is in my opinion quite wrong. We should not divorce ourselves from Islamic people in our midst. So long as they are law abiding they should be welcomed and encouraged to contribute. On the other hand they should not threaten us with sanction or even violence because of the offensive words of a few in our midst.

I don't think that it would hurt to reign in Newspapers a little to avoid topics of religion and race. On the other hand any individual who takes it into their own hands to be offended and to take that offense out on another should be prosecuted fully if that involves any braking of the law which no doubt it would..
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