STATEMENT ON THE CARICATURES OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD

 

By leaders of the Islamic Council in Norway, the Christian Council of Norway and the Church of Norway.


 

Prominent members and leaders of Islamic Council in Norway, Christian Council of Norway and Church of Norway, meeting in Oslo on 3 February 2006 together denounce the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed as well as the violent reactions they have caused:

 

-         The caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed published in Danish and Norwegian newspapers offend Muslims’ religious feelings. Our sympathies go out to Muslims in Norway and the rest of the world who feel hurt by this unnecessary show of disrespect. When that which is sacred to one religion is attacked, all religions suffer.

 

-         Freedom of expression is a fundamental right which must be respected, but it must be exercised with responsibility and wisdom.

 

-         Expressions, however deplorable, must be met with peaceful means. We denounce any acts of violence in the wake of the publication of the caricatures.

 

-         The great majority of Muslims and Christians in Norway enjoy respectful relations in an atmosphere of openness and dialogue. We ask religious people in all parts of the world to resolve conflicts through dialogue and sharing.

 

-         Over the last few days, violence has been directed towards representatives of Norwegian humanitarian organisations such as Norwegian Refugee Council and Nowegian Peoples’ Aid. Our sympathy also goes to Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) which was among the very first organizations in Norway to denounce the caricatures. NCA is mandated by Christian churches in Norway to carry out humanitarian work in many countries, also with Muslim organisations and people.

 

 

Oslo, 3 February 2006,

 

Mohammed Hamdan, President, Islamic Council in Norway

Senaid Koblica, Vice President, Islamic Council in Norway

Khalid Hussain, Secretary, Islamic Council in Norway

Mehboob Ur-Rehman, Imam, Islamic Cultural Centre

 

Ole Christian Kvarme, Bishop of Oslo, Church of Norway

Bent Inge Eidsvig, Bishop of Oslo, Roman Catholic Church,

Arnfinn Løyning, President, Christian Council of Norway

Gunnar Jeppestøl, Chairman of the Pentecostal Movement in Norway

Åge Åleskjær, Leading Pastor, Oslo Christian Center

Anne Hege Grung, Contact group for Christian-Muslim relations

Ørnulf Steen, General Secretary, Christian Council of Norway

Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, Church of Noway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations

Atle Sommerfeldt, General Secretary, Norwegian Church Aid