JOINT STATEMENT BY THE ICYF-DC AND THE EYF

The publication, of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in European and some other newspapers, which contradict not only principles of Islam but also the historic facts related to the life and prophetic mission of this great personality, have spiraled a complex situation affecting both Islamic and European countries. Thus the publications have incited stormy emotions of millions of Muslims as well as protests of many peoples of good will from different beliefs around the world. Unfortunately in some cases protests have elevated into violent attacks against  innocent people who didn’t take responsibility for the motive of the resentment.

   Many international organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the European Union as well as different national governments, including European nations, made statements denouncing this act and called on the representatives of mass media to be tolerant towards the sensitivities in religious believes.

   We live in such a world, where relationships and exchanges among different civilizations continue to multiply, and in which a seemingly local insignificant incident may have worldwide negative consequences, so it is vital that we cultivate the values of respect, tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

   The Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation uniting leading youth organizations of OIC domain and the European Youth Forum, the leading European youth platform express their disapproval of the publications insulting religious beliefs of millions and call upon media institutions to be cautious in such sensitive issues. We believe that, the freedom of expression doesn’t mean freedom to insult and defame sanctuaries of others.

   We also believe that the recent violent acts surpass the limits of peaceful protest. In particular, we strongly condemn the deplorable attacks on diplomatic missions. Aggression against life and property can only damage the image of a peaceful Islam and create a vicious circle of hatred and mistrust. Therefore we call on youth in Muslim world to contain their reaction to peaceful means. We also invite youth in Western, particularly European countries to join the efforts aimed at building bridges of understanding and respect to the representatives of religious minorities living in their countries. We also call on youth people worldwide to learn the cultures and religions of different peoples in order to avoid misunderstandings and contribute to the dialogue of civilizations which is the only alternative to the civilizations clash and worldly chaos. In this regard we welcome the call for respect and calm jointly issued by distinguished leaders of Turkey and Spain and their broad initiative to launch “An Alliance of Civilizations”.

   On our own part the ICYFDC and EYF express readiness to work together in order to develop a mechanizm of mutual understanding, promote respect and tolerance between the youth auditories of Islamic and European countries.