Prime Minister of
the Kingdom of Sweden
We, Muslim Ambassadors in Sweden, take this opportunity to thank you Mr. Prime Minister for taking deep interest in the problem arising from the drawing and publication of the caricatures regarded by Muslims as provocative and insulting.† We fully share with you the common objective of promoting mutual respect and understanding amongst different cultures and religions.
Muslims around the world have yet again been greatly hurt by this deliberate mischief. They regard it as a brazen assault on their religious sentiments. It is most unfortunate that the universally accepted principle of freedom of expression and press has been used to offend over 1.3 billion Muslims around the world.
It is indisputable that all freedoms, including the freedom of speech, come with responsibilities. None are absolute or unrestrained legally, morally, socially, culturally, or politically.
Rights and duties go hand in hand. Nobody has an inherent right to hurt others†-†† physically, mentally or emotionally.† In any case, such conduct is universally regarded as violative of decency, good manners and civilized behaviour.
Freedom of speech is not a license to abuse other people or their most cherished values.
Such acts are also highly irresponsible. They greatly undermine the efforts of those who seek to promote respect and understanding among religions and civilizations. In this context we may recall the valuable contribution of the Swedish Institutes in Alexandria and Istanbul.
Even legally speaking, such reckless deeds amount to incitement to hate and violence. The result is disturbance of civic peace and creation of law and order situations. This must be prevented by all governments under their existing national laws.
The issue is not a demand for the respect of religion - even though mutual respect†between different communities is essential for peace and harmony in society. It is a demand not to be deliberately insulted. Is that too much to ask?
Muslims welcome an informed debate or dialogue over religion or its finer points. That is, inter alia, their religious duty. But vulgar satires do not constitute scholarly discourse. That is sheer mischief and should not be confused with art or artistic expression.
We take this opportunity to state that both international and Swedish laws are in perfect harmony with the position expressed above.
Mr. Prime Minister, we hope that your timely initiative and continued interest in the matter will prevent recurrence of such unfortunate practice. We, on our part, stand ready to extend our sincere cooperation both to you and your government.
Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration.†
Stockholm, September 05, 2007