Friday, February 03, 2006

Could Anthing Good Come Out of This?

It was in September of last year that Jyllands-Posten in Denmark published the by now famous cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

Since then the affair has been handled somewhat less than brilliantly in Denmark. The long-standing Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemamn-Jensen belonged to those that some months ago urged a somewhat different approach in order to prevent the conflict from escalating.

But now we are where we are.

Last week they were evidently burning Danish flags in Nablus on the West Bank. I wonder how they got hold of these flags and how they even knew that they were Danish flags - neither presence nor knowledge of Danish flags is particularly evident there.

It was obviously something organized and orchestrated. And that seems to have been the pattern throughout the Middle East as the conflict has escalated.

Much harm can be done by this conflict - but there is also the potential for some good to be a result.

The countries of the Arab Muslim world might learnt something more about the freedom of the press in all its different dimensions. The amount of rubbish produced on an daily basis by the media is astonishing - but their freedom to do also this is part of our free societies.

And our countries might learn something more about the religious sensibilities of the Muslim world and the wisdom of respecting the beliefs and feelings of people holding other beliefs than ours. Respect for others should also be a fundamental value of our societies.

Linked you can find the lengthy interview Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark gave yesterday to the pan-Arab TV channel Al Arabiya.

You can read it in Danish translation or you can watch it in English and Arabic. › Nyheder › Udland › Anders Fogh Rasmussens interview til Al Arabiya