IF we believe in dialogue among nations and civilizations, the first fundamental issue is mutual respect of faiths and religions of each other. How the West grasped easily prohibition of critic for Semitism, holaucost, Zionism, and Israel, under freedom of expression being tabos; but criticizing and amusing and redicalising faiths and religions of others is allowed of course with the exception of Jeudaism!! What logic have the West?!
Turkey says EU must protect Islam
By Ingrid Melander
SALZBURG, Austria (Reuters) - The European Union risks damaging its image worldwide if it does not do more to protect Islam against insults, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told Reuters in an interview on Saturday.
Gul said that was the message he gave EU counterparts in the Austrian city of Salzburg at a meeting called to draw lessons from the controversy over cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad.
"The laws are already there but they should cover all religions," Gul said, referring to existing European laws to protect religions from insult.
Drawings first published last year in a Danish newspaper and reprinted by other European media sparked worldwide protests by Muslims who believe it is blasphemous to depict the Prophet. At least 50 people were killed.
EU foreign ministers meeting in Salzburg discussed ways of rebuilding trust with the Muslim world, and Gul told them in a speech that existing laws should be reviewed "to ensure that ... restraints apply to all religions equally, including Islam".
He told Reuters there was a risk Europe's image would be damaged if the 25-nation bloc did not show clearly that it treated defamation of all religions in the same way.
"People should not think that respect of religions, respect for others' identities, is not part of the European values," Gul said. "If they think like that, the image of Europe is damaged."
Gul said he would regret any negative impact on the EU's standing as it would affect Europe's "soft power", the term used for exerting influence through economic and other incentives rather than military might.
The Turkish foreign minister stressed he did not want debate limited to the cartoons, and would call on his European colleagues to work together on all aspects of racism and discrimination to prevent other crises.
"In this fragile world we have to be very responsible ... I invite all of us to be more careful, because there are people or individuals that want to exploit these issues," Gul said, adding that he thought the cartoons' publication had been wrong.
The call to review legislation is controversial. Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said on Friday that EU countries would not change laws on freedom of expression.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner suggested on Friday that EU states make an inventory of national laws protecting religions from insult but did not call for specific changes.
They also urged the 25-nation EU to work with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which groups 57 predominantly Muslim nations, to draft a joint United Nations resolution promoting religious tolerance.
The EU and the OIC previously presented competing resolutions to the UN General Assembly, but EU countries voted against the OIC text on the ground that it focused too narrowly on discrimination against Islam.
The head of the OIC had criticized the EU for not doing enough to heal wounds with Muslims caused by the cartoons row.