Our Letter to the Norwegian Ambassador

Posted in Columns and Letters


Defamation and Vilification:

Mr Nordsletten Øyvind

In the name of God most Gracious most Merciful

The Muslim community in Ireland has become aware of a recent development in Norway and we have some serious concerns that we would like to discuss with the Embassy of Norway in Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

According to news reports, an extremely insulting cartoon of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was published in a Norwegian Tabloid. We have read about this in total disgust, shock and disbelief and have seen reports of Muslims in Norway protesting this publication. The news reports are apparently throwing the blame of the publication upon an unknown Muslim character instead of the Tabloid itself. In view of this incident we would like to make the following statement.

We find the whole affair absolutely disgusting and highly insulting. The Muslim community across the world is increasingly being targeted with such derogatory and abusive publications in the name of freedom of speech. We have seen similar antics from a Danish newspaper in 2005. We unequivocally reject such falsehood and have repeatedly stated our viewpoint that there is a fine line between insulting and criticism. We have no objection to criticism with a view of discussion with Muslims and Islam. Infact we would like to have debate between the Muslim and the non Muslim world in a civilized manner where grievances and problems can be highlighted and a solution can be discussed. We have aimed at such interaction for many years in Ireland and we are sure that Muslims in Norway think and act similarly. We will never accept to be humuliated and targeted in such a vicious manner which aims to stop all discussion and is the real source of disharmony between the Muslim and non Muslim communities today. To print insulting cartoons where our Prophet is depicted as a terrorist with a bomb in his turban or in an even more insulting manner which this Norwegian Tabloid has done is a disgrace and it is a cause of real concern to us since we feel that our very basic identity is being rediculed and disrespected. This is not a debate rather a clever attempt to infuriarate Muslims by insulting their honour and their Master.

One of the hallmarks of a civilized society is that every human being be treated with dignity and honour. This is the reason why laws exist dealing with libel and slander. Muslims can forgive and forget insult directed at themselves but we will never forgive or forget disrespect and insult of our Prophet.

We feel it is important to inform the Embassy that a gathering of Muslims is going to protest peacefully outside the Embassy on Saturday 20/02/2010 at 3PM. We are going to inform the Gardai to make arrangements and we would like the Ambassador of Norway to the Republic of Ireland to come and meet the protestors where we shall hand him a letter of protest. We also invite the Royal Norwegian Embassy to arrange a discussion with the Muslim community about any issues ranging from freedom of speech, war on terror, economics, politics and the future of relationships between Islam and the Western nations. We believe we are capable of engaging in healthy and constructive discourse. We shall now leave it to the Embassy as to how they deem fit to deal with our concerns.


Dr Barkat Masood

Dr Qasim Afridi

on behalf of the Muslim community in Ireland

One Comment

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    So we informed the Gardai that a few of us will be protesting outside the Norwegian Embassy. The Ambassador agreed to meet us on that day. About 7 protestors arrived there with about an equal number of Gardai from Riot Control Unit. :). The Ambassador told us he was going to meet us after a few minutes. So we chatted away with the Gardai. He then met us and told us that Norwegian government does not agree with such insulting cartoons and that they wanted good relationships with Muslims and that the King of Norway had been to the Mosque in Oslo and that Pakistanis in Norway live very happy lives and make a lot of money and then get a house for themselves. Like a skilled diplomat he was willing to meet us and talk to us and attempted to distance the government of Norway from what that Tabloid had published. In the same spirit, we sent him condolences after the tragic event when Andres Breivik went on his murder spree. I have a photograph of him and myself lying around somewhere. Will upload it once I organize my data a bit inshaAllah.