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UN Head Condemns Embassy Attacks In Syria, Lebanon

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (file photo) (CTK) 6 February 2006 -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has condemned violent Muslim protests in Syria and Lebanon sparked by the publication of drawings satirizing the Prophet Muhammad.

In a statement, Annan said he shared the "distress" of many Muslims at the publications of the cartoons, first published in Denmark in September and recently reprinted mainly in Europe.

But Annan said such resentment cannot justify violence, least of all when it is directed against people who have no responsibility for or control over the publications in question.

On 5 February, thousands of angry Muslims set fire to the Danish Embassy in Beirut, prompting the country's interior minister to resign.

On 4 February, thousands of protesters destroyed the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus.

The European Union has condemned the violence as "utterly unacceptable."


Islam In A Pluralistic World

Islam In A Pluralistic World

A Muslim woman (left) watches a Christian procession in Madrid in March (AFP)


CONFERENCE ON ISLAM: A major international conference on Islam concluded in Vienna in November 2005 with strong appeals from prominent Muslim leaders to recognize international terrorism as simply "terrorism." Political figures from Islamic countries, including the presidents of Iraq and Afghanistan, argued that it should never be labeled "Islamic" or "Muslim" terrorism because Islam is based on peace, dialogue, and tolerance. "Salaam" -- meaning "peace" -- was the key word of the three-day conference, titled "ISLAM IN A PLURALISTIC WORLD."
Iraqi President Jalal Talibani and Afghan President Hamid Karzai used the word in their remarks to emphasize the peaceful nature of Islam. Other speakers quoted passages from the Koran to the effect that all men and women, regardless of faith, are creatures of God and should live in peace with each other without discrimination...(more)


Listen to Afghan President HAMID KARZAI's complete address to the Vienna conference (in English):
Real Audio Windows Media


Listen to UN special envoy LAKHDAR BRAHIMI's complete address to the Vienna conference (in English):
Real Audio Windows Media

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: Click on the image to view a thematic webpage devoted to issues of religious tolerance in RFE/RL's broadcast region and around the globe.