CAIRO: Prominent Islamic institution Al-Azhar called on Muslims around the world to “ignore the hateful frivolity” published in Charlie Hebdo’s Wednesday edition, referring to the magazine’s depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as “repellent imagination.”
“The stature of the prophet of mercy and humanitarianism – peace be upon him – is greater and loftier than to be defamed by cartoons unrestrained by all ethical rules and civilized standards,” Al-Azhar said.
Established in 970, Al-Azhar is the most prestigious Sunni institution in the Islamic world.
Dar al-Ifta also invited Muslims to “endure wisdom and self-control” in their reactions to the cartoons of the French satirical magazine, and not to duplicate the “bad scenario of reaction” sparked after the 2005 Danish cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, which were perceived as highly offensive among Muslim communities.
“[T]he world must listen to the wise voices from among the #followers of different faiths and pay attention to the demands they repeat after each incident of offense against religious symbols and beliefs,” spokesperson of Dar al-Ifta Ibrahim Negm said at a Tuesday lecture in the Martin Luther Church in New York, according to Dar al-Iftaa’s Facebook page.
Negm emphasized that “fanatics” must be prevented from agitating conflicts among the followers of different faiths, which will only serve “evil forces and terrorism.”
He also called on the United Nations to criminalize defaming religious symbols and beliefs.
“[T]he best way to respond to any offense against the Messenger [of God] is to ignore it and show kindness instead, just as he used to do along his lifetime,” Negm said.