Letter to Danish friends
We have read your letter entitled “A letter from Another Denmark” and it gives us the greatest pleasure to find that we have many ideas in common. This shows that differences in faith and cultural heritage are never so great that we lose sight of our common humanity and our shared noble values. Because of this, it had surprised us that any rational person could insist that a value like the freedom of expression can remain a true value – something to be proud of – when it is used so injudiciously and irresponsibly as to injure the feelings of over one billion Muslims around the world,… including those of Europe, and even those of Denmark itself.
We were surprised at this insistence, in spite of the fact that freedom of expression has been used in such a bad way as to violate the dictates of justice and respect for the feelings of others – and not just towards an individual, but towards an entire community of faith. A value can be rightly defended and esteemed only if it does not infringe upon other values, like justice and human dignity. Indeed, your letter emphasizes to the arrogant and haughty among the nations of the world that there is no place for their arrogance among rational people anywhere on Earth, and that they have proven incapable of eradicating true human values. It also confirms that as rational people, we are able to raise our voices above theirs to restore the spirit of peace and justice and uphold the principle of dialog and of benefiting from others, so that these noble values can be the basis upon which humanity can come together.
We as Muslims do not accept – indeed we strongly condemn – all acts of violence and aggression directed against the innocent people of Denmark or any other nation. We affirm that Islam has nothing to do with these acts of aggression. Our religion forbids all such acts. The Qur’an declares: “Do not aggress, for indeed God does not love aggressors.” [2:190]
Prophet Muhammad taught us that God says: “O my servants! I have forbidden oppression for myself and have made it prohibited for you, so do not oppress one other.”
Our Prophet Muhammad instructed us: “Keep far away from oppressing people, for oppression will appear on the Day of Judgment as the depths of darkness.”
He also said: “Fulfill your trusts to those who entrust you, but do not cheat those who cheat you.”
Our religion commands us to be just and good to others. It says in the Qur’an: “God commands justice, the doing of good, and generosity to kinfolk, and He forbids all shameful deeds, injustice, and wickedness. He thus exhorts you that perhaps you will take heed.” [16:90]
Your letter communicates to us just how much your people truly appreciate humanitarian values, and reassures us that thoughtfulness in speech and consideration for the feelings of others on our part will find a broad reception among your people. We know that in this way you will appreciate the extent of the pain caused by Jyllands-Posten and then further aggravated by the arrogant stance of the Danish Prime Minister, whose representation of his people did not do them justice.
With this letter, our previous open letter of 5 February, and your letter in reply, we are moving forward together in taking the message of reason and peace to the public. Perhaps we will be able to prevent the reoccurrence of conduct that is at odds with what we all seek – an increase of tolerance and respect among the people of the world.
International Committee for the Support of the Final Prophet
20 February 2006