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Asian Churches Call on Understanding in Response to Muslim Cartoon Outrage

In response to the controversial cartoons published in Danish newspapers that have outraged Muslims across the world, Asian churches have called on understanding between different faiths as a key to r
( [email protected] ) Mar 16, 2006 07:52 PM EST

In response to the controversial cartoons published in Danish newspapers that have outraged Muslims across the world, Asian churches have called on understanding between different faiths as a key to recover peace.

Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) described that the cartoon was just "too shocked" for many of the Asian Christians, according to a statement released by the Faith, Mission and Unity Program Area of CCA. Acknowledged that journalists always try to pursue full extent of "press freedom" or political "democracy," CCA insisted that there should be no excuse, however, to make cartoons "without any sense of human sensitivity."

"Our human rights always have to be exercised with care and responsibility," it stated.

Mutual understanding has become very crucial in order to portray a correct image of each religion and avoid conflicts; CCA therefore raised the need for "religious literacy." All people should "have some depth of knowledge about the teachings of other religions" so as to "bring about real understanding and respect for one another" in the religiously plural world.

In the media, Muslims have almost being stereotyped as the violent side that has triggered the bloody unrest. The CCA statement quoted a respected Muslim leader from India, Asghar Ali Engineer, who clarified that a true Muslim does control his anger.

"According to the Qur'an, a believer is one who restrains his anger and pardons (see 3:133). What kind of believers are we that we always talk of killing and punishing rather than restraining and pardoning. It hardly brings any glory to Islam and Muslims. We become even more fanatics and intolerant in their eyes. Also Qur'an lays great emphasis on wisdom and says that 'whoever is given wisdom, he indeed is given great good' (2:269)," stated Engineer.

Another Indonesian Muslim Irfan Abubakr told CCA that he wished to see the crisis would renew the relationship between different faiths.

"As members of religious communities we hope this crisis can help us strengthen our unity and brotherhood. We believe that respect of [each] other's faith is necessary for every member of religion and denomination in order for us to perform our duties to bring [about] a better world for all in the future. It is a world in which the gap between the rich and the poor can be reduced and in which every one can have equal rights and dignity," said Abubakr.

In conclusion, CCA reminds all Christians to "share the good news of life together in peace with justice for all" as they meditate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for all mankind during the Season of Lent.