Muslim Action Committee

Thursday, March 23, 2006

CIVILISING THE MARCH FOR FREE EXPRESSION
The March for Free Expression says No to Danish Cartoons!!

In discussion between MAC and the organisers of the March for Free Expression it became clear that placards depicting the cartoons would be an intimidation to Muslims and would perpetuate the BNP campaign that is very openly being conducted in the run up to the May local elections.

The Campaign for Free Expression was set up to defend the right to speak out, but the organisers have now come to the realisation that with that right comes with it responsibility: the need for civility.

Mr Risdon has now made a big step and done the right thing in telling people not to bring placards and t-shirts with the Danish cartoons on. He has also admitted he was mistaken in welcoming them in the first place. He said to us that he didn’t want the demonstration to be one in which Muslims couldn’t feel welcome and that would be humiliating and intolerable for them due to the presence of the cartoons.

Key to this process of discussions has been a Muslim speaker due to speak at the March for Free Expression: Sayyida Rend Shakir al-Hadithi. Rend was concerned about the tone that the March was taking and contacted MAC. Following that discussion, she spoke to Peter Risdon one of the co-organisers of the demonstration and he spoke to us. We encourage Peter to continue down this road of understanding the concerns of the global community and appreciating the need for civility. This is an excellent first step.

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