Canada’s FM to Azhar Sheikh: Freedom of expression has limits
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird - REUTERS

CAIRO: Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said Thursday that he disagrees with those who satirize Prophet Muhammad in the name of freedom of expression, according to a readout of the meeting published by Al-Azhar.

Baird also was quoted by the institution in a meeting with Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayyeb that the freedom of expression “should be limited by rules that should not be violated.”

The Canadian “government appreciates the role of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif in spreading the culture of tolerance, moderation and acceptance of others, in supporting stability and peace in the world, and in promoting dialogue and understanding among civilizations,” the statement added.

Tayyeb highlighted the right of freedom of expression was guaranteed by Islam, noting that such right not should be used to “insult the religions and the peoples,” the statement continued.

Azhar Sheikh added that the West combine between two contradictions as “they are criminalizing the talk about some historical issues affecting Jews, and in return they do not mind to abuse the others doctrines on the pretext of freedom of opinion.”

Tayyeb continued that the magazine such deed ignoring the feelings of about two billion Muslims nationwide.

Reuters reported Tuesday that the magazine’s next edition will display a cartoon depicting Muhammad holding a sign of “Je suis Charlie” and a teardrop falling from his eye, adding the magazine’s lawyer Richard Malka said that the new edition would includes cartoons criticizing politicians and other religions.

Islam forbids its followers to depict God or any of the prophets, and Dar al-Ifta issued a fatwa to that effect in 1980. Outlets that have published images of religious figures have often fallen under sharp criticism by Muslim organizations, and also been violently targeted by extremists.

A few hours after the magazine was attacked, Dar al-Iftaa spokesperson Ibrahim Nagm issued a statement condemning it: “Any attacks committed in the name of religion should cease immediately and that the merciful teachings of Islam abhor the killing of innocents.”

Al-Azhar condemned also the attacks that killed 12 people, including a Muslim French-Algerian citizen, saying such deeds are rejected by Islam.

Speaking on Paris attacks, Pope Francis said Thursday during his flight from Sri Lanka to Manila that the freedom of expression has limits when it “insults or ridicules someone’s faith,” AP reported.

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  1. Qamar
    January 18, 2015 at 9:49 am

    The West is talking about Free press all the time but you ar not allowed to give your opinion on holoucast in the West.

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