7 February 2006

Resentment over Caricatures Cannot Justify Violence, Says Secretary-General, Urging Muslims to Accept Apology by Danish Newspaper

NEW YORK, 6 January (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued on 5 February by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is alarmed by the threats and violence, including the attacks on embassies, that have occurred in Syria and Lebanon and other countries over the past few days.  While he shares the distress felt by many Muslims at the publication of caricatures which they see as insulting to their religion, he wishes to emphasize that such resentment cannot justify violence, least of all when directed at people who have no responsibility for, or control over, the publications in question.

Once again, he urges Muslims to accept the apology given by the Danish newspaper, to act in the true spirit of a religion famed for its values of mercy and compassion, and to put this episode behind them.  He also appeals to all parties, particularly all Governments and authorities, whether religious or secular, to do everything they can to reduce tension and to avoid actions or statements which might increase it.  He believes that now, more than ever, it is time for people of goodwill in all faiths and communities to come together in a spirit of dialogue and mutual respect.

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