Ramadan wants Muslims to ignore far-right Dutch film on Koran

As the premiere of the long-awaited Koran film by far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders nears, it’s not uncommon to hear Muslims call for some way to censor what they expect to be a blistering condemnation of their faith. But not all see the film – now expected to be broadcast by the end of this month – as an opportunity to revive the polarisation of the Prophet Mohammad cartoons clash in 2006, when freedom of expression and respect for faith were presented as implacable opposites.

Tariq Ramadan, one of Europe’s most prominent Muslim intellectuals, has never shied from confronting the critics of his faith. But his approach to the Wilders film aims to avoid a repeat of the cartoons controversy. At a recent conference in Sweden, he told Reuters that people could not be prevented from publishing material like the Wilders film and the Danish newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad that triggered protests across the Muslim world. Ramadan went on: “My advice (to Muslims) is take an intellectual critical distance towards this. Say ‘we don’t like it’ but go ahead and just ignore it.”

Reuters blogs, 17 March 2008