World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Annan joins with Islamic, Arab and other leaders

Annan joins with Islamic, Arab and other leaders to urge restraint over offensive cartoons

Reacting to the furor spawned by the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed widely considered to be offensive, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Doha, Qatar, today joined his voice with key Arab and Muslim leaders to urge restraint and to pledge action to foster tolerance.

Mr. Annan, along with the leaders of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the League of Arab States as well as the foreign ministers of Qatar, Spain and Turkey, warned that the present climate “threatens to sow deep discord between communities, societies and countries.”

They voiced deep regret at the offence given by the caricatures, as well as the loss of life and damage to property in several countries.

While reaffirming the universal right to freedom of expression, they appealed to all to exercise that right responsibly, and not to use it as a pretext for inciting hatred or insulting the deeply held belief of any community.

The statement also reaffirmed the right to peaceful protest, “especially where deep hurt has been caused, and we acknowledge that Muslims do indeed feel deep hurt over the caricatures.” The leaders hailed the fact that the vast majority of the protesters and demonstrators throughout the world expressed their indignation in an orderly and peaceful manner.

“We urge everyone to resist provocation, overreaction and violence, and turn to dialogue,” the statement said. “Without dialogue we cannot hope to appeal to reason, to heal resentment or overcome mistrust.”

The statement emphasized that all rights should be exercised responsibly. “Neither media, publications, nor places of worship should be used for incitement, or to spread hatred.”

Calling for a tolerant international society which recognizes both rights and responsibilities, the leaders emphasized that this will require “respect for the right of all people to freedom of worship, and of opinion and expression, and appreciation of diversity as an asset, not a threat.”

The statement was issued on the eve of a meeting in Doha of the High Level Group of the Alliance of Civilizations, a UN initiative set up to bridge the gap between Islam and other cultures. It looked forward to the Alliance's proposals for encouraging broader and deeper mutual respect and understanding.

“We intend, as a group, to follow up this joint statement, and commit ourselves to formulate a joint strategy and agreed measures that will contribute to overcome the current crisis and to prevent its recurrence, and promote tolerance and mutual respect between all religions and communities, in Europe and elsewhere,” the statement said, adding that the Secretary-General would bring the text to the attention of the General Assembly, Security Council and EU.

After reading the communiqué to reporters, Mr. Annan said the initiative and the meeting of the Alliance “should be seen as part of a wider effort to try to create dialogue, improve respect among different cultures, beliefs and civilizations.”

He anticipated that the Alliance would be putting forward “concrete suggestions as to how we can educate, as to how we can bring people together and as to how groups develop mutual respect and avoid any attempts to humiliate each other.”

The Secretary-General also noted that all people have the power to effect change. “Obviously, we need to hear the other voices. We need to hear the other voice and the mainstream voice of Islam and the Christians will have to speak out. We all need to speak up and reach out to each other.”

Today's statement in Doha follows one issued earlier this month by the UN, the EU and the OIC urging restraint in response to the cartoon controversy.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news