CAIRO, February 6, 2006 (IslamOnline.net) – Prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi denounced on Sunday, February 5, sabotage and violent protests by Muslims over the publication of cartoons mocking Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by several European newspapers, saying Muslims should vent anger prudently.
"The sabotage done by some Muslims in some [Arab] capitals in response to the offensive cartoons is unacceptable and should be denounced," Qaradawi, who heads the Dublin-based International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) told Al-Jazeera’s Shari`ah and Life program.
"We never call on people to set fire to cars, but to express their anger in a prudent manner to head off serious consequences," said the prominent scholar.
"True that Islam has been the subject of attacks recently, but Muslims should not reciprocate."
Qaradawi further strongly condemned the attack on a church in the Lebanese capital Beirut by a Muslim mob.
"It seems as if some opportunists are behind these attacks just to add fuel to the already raging flames," he said.
Muslims protesting against the cartoons set fire to the Danish consulate in Beirut on Sunday and Syrian protesters did the same with the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus a day earlier.
Muslim scholars, organizations and leaders were united Sunday in condemning the violent attacks against the embassies.
Twelve cartoons, first published last September by Denmark's mass-circulation Jyllands-Posten and then reprinted by several European dailies, have caused an uproar in the Muslim world.
Qaradawi said boycotting the products of European countries whose dailies had published the blasphemous cartoons is the Muslims’ sharpest weapon.
"We called on Muslims to boycott their products in response and pressed for an international resolution criminalizing any insult to any religion," he said.
A cohort of Muslim dignitaries and organizations have called for the enactment of an international law banning the publication of any insults to religious symbols and values.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Arab League, the Muslim world's two main political bodies, are seeking a UN resolution, backed by possible sanctions, to protect religions following the publication of provocative cartoons.
On the freedom of expression argument often used for publishing the cartoons, Qaradawi said blasphemy "has nothing to do with freedom of expression, which is not absolute….there are limits that should not be stretched."
A number of European newspapers have said press freedom was more important than the protests and boycotts they have provoked.
Many Arab commentators have said that defense rang hollow because, they said, European media shield Judaism and Israel from criticism.
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