Europe,  Religion

Liberal Norwegian Muslims stand up for free speech

This is a cross post by Edmund Standing

A liberal Norwegian Muslim organisation named LIM (Equality, Integration, Diversity) is standing up for free speech and against Islamism. Shakil Rehman of LIM has spoken in defence of republishing the notorious Jyllands-Posten cartoons in the Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen. Rehman states:

It was not wrong that the cartoons of Muhammed were published, and in any case this doesn’t justify violence. Muslims have as much interest in defending freedom of speech as anyone else. Therefore Muslims should also support Kurt Westergaard.

Now LIM have challenged the Islamic Council of Norway (IRN) to organise a demonstration in defence of free speech, not that they think this is likely to happen:

I’m afraid that they won’t take up our challenge, because they don’t want to lose face in the Muslim world. But if they support freedom of speech, they must also be able to show that they mean it in practice.

Rehman is unimpressed with arguments about it being ‘offensive’ to depict Muhammad, stating:

Muhammed didn’t want to be depicted, because he didn’t want to be turned into a false god. When Muslims believe that depictions of the prophet insult him, then they are turning him into just such a false god. There should thus be no reason not to caricature him. I would go so far as to say that Muslim leaders are unqualified.

Muhammad is not God, says Rehman, and he is not above criticism:

He was also a commander of an army. It is one of his bad sides. We must be able to criticize this. Muhammed mustn’t be so holy that we can’t criticize him.

Islam, as Rehman shows, can be ‘liberalised’ and can co-exist peacefully with liberal European culture. Just as Jews no longer stone disobedient children, and Christians no longer burn ‘heretics’ at the stake, so a future is possible in which Muslims in Europe are as ‘European’ as anyone else.

H/T: Butterflies & Wheels