CAIRO: Egypt’s Al-Azhar denounced the Texas Muhammad Art Exhibit held in Copenhagen by Stop Islamization of Denmark (SIAD,) saying in a Monday statement it contradicts mutual respect and peaceful coexistence.
“The racist, abhorrent cartoons hinder the integration of Muslims in Western societies,” Al-Azhar said, demanding the international community “condemn such provocative acts that are no less grave to world peace than what some terrorist groups do.”
The exhibit was first founded by New-York based American Freedom Defense Initiative, headed by rightist blogger Pamela Geller. It was held in Texas in May, but the police shot two men dead when they opened fire at the event.
According to Geller’s website, the exhibit was held in Denmark Sept. 26, and is planned to be held in London, Paris and Madrid. The exhibit, which includes cartoons depicting Islam’s prophet in forms considered offensive to Muslims, is meant to be a “stand for free speech,” Geller claims.
Al-Azhar, a prominent Islamic institution established in 970, slammed the murder of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in January, but after the French magazine depicted the prophet in the following edition, Al-Azhar, called on Muslims to “ignore the hateful frivolity” and the “repellent imagination” of the cartoons.
Meanwhile, Al-Azhar is participating in the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism that U.S. President Barack Obama will convene Tuesday at the U.N.