Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"Don't be silenced by extremists"

In yesterday's Toronto Star, eleven Canadian Muslim academics and activists published a plea to fellow Canadians:

Today, the religious right and autocracies in the so-called Islamic world are united in their call for passing legislation to make any discussion on religion a criminal offence. This, at a time when many writers in Jordan, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan are rotting in jails, facing charges of apostasy and blasphemy.
We call on Canadian politicians and intellectuals to stand up for freedom of expression.

Yesterday's Jyllands-Posten featured a manifesto, signed by eleven intellectuals, including Canadian Muslim Irshad Manji:

We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

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