Naser Khader, the Syrian born Danish member of parliament, representing the social liberal Radikal Venstre, has started a network for moderate muslims in Denmark, opening up a channel for the majority of Muslims who appreciates the value of democracy. On the website he writes (in Danish, my translation):
I feel that, more than ever, our network is of importance. In particular after the visit of representatives from the Muslim Community (Muslimske Trossamfund) to Egypt and other countries, where they misinformed people of the conditions in Denmark. There can be no doubt that their actions have dug even deeper graves.
All the more important then that our network becomes a stable actor in building bridges and makes visible “the second voice”.
I know that we, in the network, do not agree on everything. But that’s what’s so great about it — we don’t have to be! As long as we agree to make visible the reasonable, tolerant, constructive and dialog oriented voices.
Initiatives like this one are of great importance, because they provide a way for the good people to break their silence. It is important for those of us who understands the importance of defending the freedom of speech to keep two thoughts in our heads at the same time. We need to take whatever measures necessary to defend our right to speak our minds; including when what we are expressing offends or taunts people. But we also need to realise that this does not mean that it is allright, from an ethical standpoint, to say or express anything. We need to be able to condemn what people are saying, while at the same time defend their right to say it.
This whole matter with the Muhammed pictures is, as I percieve it, essentialy an internal battle within the Muslim community; albeit one that greatly affects us. We should not blind ourself in the rightous cause of defending freedom of speech to the extent that we do not understand that decent, tolerant, good people are offended by, for instance those pictures. And we should agree and support these people when they, using that freedom of speech, declares this. That way we will not alienate them from the greater cause of defending the freedom of speech — a freedom that is imperative and that, as I’ve said before, we must not back down one inch from. Meaning we must act forcefully against those seeking to prevent people from speaking there minds. There is no contradiction in doing those two things simultaneously.
(Thanks to Carl-Robert for the heads-up)