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Lessons for Denmark

Filed on June 3, 2008

THIS is what we had feared when Denmark and some other European states went ahead and republished those disturbing caricatures of the Prophet of Islam. This newspaper had led many in the Arab and Muslim world in warning our European friends that such actions would not only broaden the existing gulf between the Muslim world and the West but would also fuel extremism around the world.

As if, the actions of 17 Danish newspapers were not enough to add insult to injury, a Dutch lawmaker unveiled a sick attack on the Holy Quran, Islam's holy book in a documentary film.

Not surprisingly, these irresponsible actions were quickly followed by angry Muslim protests across the world, from Palestine to Pakistan and from London to Washington. Which is why the attack on Denmark's embassy in Islamabad yesterday would not come as a surprise to many around the world, at least not to those in the Muslim world.

The attack has left at least eight people dead besides destroying the Danish mission. Most unfortunate and unacceptable as this attack is, we can't help notice the fact that none of those killed was a Denmark national or European. Eight of those killed were innocent bystanders, mostly Pakistani visitors to the embassy for visa and consular services.

This doesn't mean if the victims included Danish or European citizens, the attack would be somehow justified. The point is such attacks always end up targeting innocent people the people who have nothing to do with those the terrorists seek to punish and target.

In fact, as this newspaper has repeatedly argued, Islam and Muslims have been the real victims of the extremists actions blamed on the so-called Muslim militants.

But there's not a greater travesty than linking Islam to such extremist and absurd actions. This great faith stands for peace, mercy, justice, accountability and moderation in every walk of life. A faith that believes taking one innocent life is like killing the entire mankind would never sanction such injustice and mass murder of innocent people even if it's done in its name. It has nothing to do with Islam. In fact, terror has nothing to do with any faith. It's a political and nihilistic death cult.

This is why the Muslim world must completely reject such actions. Not just because it does not believe in killing innocent people to serve one's political objectives but also because the terrorists are distorting the humane and universal teachings of Islam.

At the same time, the Islamabad attack is a message to the countries like Denmark that targeting people's religious beliefs and icons in the name of freedom is not only wrong, it's downright dangerous.


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