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EU must protect Islam against insults: Turkey


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http://www.dawn.com/2006/03/12/int3.htm

 

The Turkish foreign minister stressed he did not want debate limited to the cartoons, and would call on his European colleagues to work together on all aspects of racism and discrimination to prevent other crises.

 

“In this fragile world we have to be very responsible ... I invite all of us to be more careful, because there are people or individuals that want to exploit these issues,” Gul said, adding that he thought the cartoons’ publication had been wrong. The call to review legislation is controversial. Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said on Friday that EU countries would not change laws on “freedom of expression.”

 

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner suggested on Friday that EU states make an inventory of national laws protecting religions from insult but did not call for specific changes.

 

They also urged the 25-nation EU to work with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which groups 57 Muslim nations, to draft a joint United Nations resolution promoting religious tolerance.

 

The EU and the OIC previously presented competing resolutions to the UN General Assembly, but EU countries voted against the OIC text on the ground that it focused too narrowly on discrimination against Islam. The head of the OIC had criticised the EU for not doing enough to heal wounds with Muslims caused by the cartoons row.—Reuters

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