In Paris religious leaders, academics and editors of satirical magazines have been debating the balance between freedom of the press and respect for religious faith.
The former Mufti of Marseille says the protests against the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed are self defeating. “Some Muslims have the genius, the gift, of confirming non-Muslim’s prejudices. Recent events are likely to justify the rejection and fear of Islam,” he said. The EU’s Justice Commissioner has called for European media to adopt a voluntary code of conduct to stop the same kind of outcry happening again. Franco Frattini argues it would send the message that exercising freedom of expression had consequences. Meanwhile the editors of Germany and Turkey’s top selling newspapers have published a joint editorial calling for Christian and Muslims to “respect each other’s feelings”. Bild and Huerriyet said it was essential to “avoid insults and humiliation, and to build a true union of cultures”. They argued the protests over the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed hinted at what they described as the “horror scenario of a clash of civilisations.”