In an attempt to balance out the views expressed in an earlier statement in response to the cartoon controversy and the protests ensuing from it, I am posting another statement that was sent to me by a friend from an Afghan Civil Society organization, ostensibly on behalf of a number of such groups. The statement is posted below, as is, and without edits.
On a related note, I have been roaming around the Farsi blogworld for the past few days and have seen the obsessive focus of every writer on this singular subject. With a few notable exceptions, most other blogs are myopical in their attention to this and no other subject. It feels as if the blogwriters have staged their own version of street protests (with the blogworld’s version of stone-throwing and violence, i.e. back-and-forths, accusations, defenses).
While the issue in question is an important one, and merits response -especially in the way that it has crystallized the tensions that apparently inhere in Europe’s relations with its minorities, and with the Muslim world- it is painstakingly over-analyzed by now. One wishes there was a moratorium on this subject until a single, intelligible response was sent out to the outside world. I feel like my compatriot blogwriters have used the subject merely as fodder for their intellectual mills and have forgotten their responsibility: that they are expected to speak out on their and many other people’s behalf.
But then again, maybe they are taking their time to agree upon a single message.
In the mean time, I shall wait and see.
Statement of a Number of Afghan Civil Society Organizations
Respect to Religious Beliefs
The Afghan civil society, affirming the universal rights of freedom of expression, considers the disparaging act of depicting Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in caricatures, contradictory to the values of freedom of expression and therefore, condemns it.
We believe that mocking religious values, while negating the fundamental human rights and international conventions; would also damage the culture of tolerance and widens the gap between human cultures and religions.
As the world is becoming a small but global village such proceedings not only entails scattering within the human family but also undermines the efforts for peace and solidarity around the globe.
The civil society of Afghanistan, likewise, does not consider resorting to violence a rational solution to religious, social, cultural and political problems.
Therefore, we urge that people from all cultures, civilizations and religions, pave better grounds of dialogues with respect to and acceptance of one another. Realization of such a vision can liberate the human race from all forms of torture, contempt and humiliation as well as facilitates to have a beatific and immune life which every human being deserves in our common home, the earth.