On Monday 13th February a leading Iranian newspaper launched a competition asking people to submit cartoons about the Holocaust. The Hamshahri Daily says the competition is to test the boundaries of free speech for Westerners. At its website, Hamshahri has invited artists to send up to three cartoons by 5 May and promised to announce the results. The move could be viewed as retaliation for the publication in a Danish paper- Jyllands-Posten that has caused angry protests across the Muslim world.

Many in the media have suggested that this whole area is a freedom of speech issue. In my view it is one of a lack of basic respect for each other. What right has anyone to be critical of someone’s beliefs and then justify their actions! The fact is that Blasphemy is Blasphemy regardless of international boundaries. Religious tolerance is achieved through dialogue – a dialogue that promotes understanding each others differences not through ridicule.

Although Denmark’s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday 13th February again tried to soothe the row, insisting his nation was ‘an open and tolerant society, a tolerant society which respects all faiths’. Unfortunately, the cartoons have caused so much outcry that people have died. There appeared to be no guidelines in any country that can proactively review possible risky material. Although this latter statement implies the need for state control of any publication, it is not meant to. Maybe instead or a compromise / or the closest we can get to is a published code of honour that provides a guide to respect in the community. This is where interfaith and representative of faiths can come together to provide sensible discussion on what is acceptable and the implication on society if incorrect information or inappropriate use of content is distributed. I would hope that the world is sensitive to reason and this is enough to motivate change.

Take for example, a couple of articles I wrote way back on the Hitman 2 video game, clearly this was a inappropriate portrayal of Sikhs.

In an era of available images on the Internet we have further challenges on our hands. For example, whilst scanning the Internet, I came across how the misuse of Google available content as part of a company logo. My understanding is that the image has now been removed from the home page of the particular site in question (date of writing this: 13th Feb). Whilst reading some of the posting protesting the adaptation of the item of content, one response suggested that Sikhs needed to open a dialogue with the company to ensure a peaceful resolution to this situation. The irony being that sometimes investigating abuse can give unnecessary publicity to the party responsible for the crime. In addition, we need to be aware that there are many that wish to defame religion as part of a hidden agenda. This is why respectable groups that talk sense need to communicate with the correct media outlets.

We need to work closely with the law to define and establish an international law to achieve a protocol of mutual respect.

On Monday 13th February a leading Iranian newspaper launched a competition asking people to submit cartoons about the Holocaust. The Hamshahri Daily says the competition is to test the boundaries of free speech for Westerners. At its website, Hamshahri has invited artists to send up to three cartoons by 5 May and promised to announce the results. The move could be viewed as retaliation for the publication in a Danish paper- Jyllands-Posten that has caused angry protests across the Muslim world.

Many in the media have suggested that this whole area is a freedom of speech issue. In my view it is one of a lack of basic respect for each other. What right has anyone to be critical of someone’s beliefs and then justify their actions! The fact is that Blasphemy is Blasphemy regardless of international boundaries. Religious tolerance is achieved through dialogue – a dialogue that promotes understanding each others differences not through ridicule.

Although Denmark’s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday 13th February again tried to soothe the row, insisting his nation was ‘an open and tolerant society, a tolerant society which respects all faiths’. Unfortunately, the cartoons have caused so much outcry that people have died. There appeared to be no guidelines in any country that can proactively review possible risky material. Although this latter statement implies the need for state control of any publication, it is not meant to. Maybe instead or a compromise / or the closest we can get to is a published code of honour that provides a guide to respect in the community. This is where interfaith and representative of faiths can come together to provide sensible discussion on what is acceptable and the implication on society if incorrect information or inappropriate use of content is distributed. I would hope that the world is sensitive to reason and this is enough to motivate change.

Take for example, a couple of articles I wrote way back on the Hitman 2 video game, clearly this was a inappropriate portrayal of Sikhs.

In an era of available images on the Internet we have further challenges on our hands. For example, whilst scanning the Internet, I came across how the misuse of Google available content as part of a company logo. My understanding is that the image has now been removed from the home page of the particular site in question (date of writing this: 13th Feb). Whilst reading some of the posting protesting the adaptation of the item of content, one response suggested that Sikhs needed to open a dialogue with the company to ensure a peaceful resolution to this situation. The irony being that sometimes investigating abuse can give unnecessary publicity to the party responsible for the crime. In addition, we need to be aware that there are many that wish to defame religion as part of a hidden agenda. This is why respectable groups that talk sense need to communicate with the correct media outlets.

We need to work closely with the law to define and establish an international law to achieve a protocol of mutual respect.

Written by admin

Broadcaster, Presenter, Columnist, Political Blogger & Media Commentator

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