Stop defaming Islam, says Doudou Diene

The warning by a United Nations expert that world peace is under threat because of defamation of religions – particularly criticism of Islam in the West – is by no means an exaggeration. It is problematic how Islam today is being perceived and treated. If this continues, the repercussions would undoubtedly be grave.

In his statement to the UN Human Rights Council, Doudou Diene said: “Islamophobia today is the most serious form of religious defamation. We see the initiatives and activities of many groups and organisations which are working hard to bring about a war of civilisations.” Protests of far-right groups and campaigns against the construction of mosques in a number of European countries are examples. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of all is the attempts being made to equate Islam to violence and terrorism.

Undoubtedly, not stopping such attacks would lead to an extremely unhealthy atmosphere where extremism would breed in all directions. Not only would it encourage more anti-Islam extremist groups to organise and thrive, but would also encourage some Muslims to resort to extreme measures to make their voice heard. Today’s world is way too fragile to tolerate any insensitivity towards any and all religions.

Gulf News, 15 September 2007

See also Reuters, 14 September 2007