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Prof. Yacub: “Freedom of expression not absolute”

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One of the leading Muslim peace advocates and educators in Zamboanga City has said that freedom of expression was not absolute as he stressed that everyone must respect all the religions.

“There are people offending Islam, especially caricaturing the Holy Prophet Muhammad when he has not done anything wrong to anyone,” Professor Ali T. Yacub told Zamboanga Today in an interview last Thursday.

“While the violence done on those journalists in France was really condemnable because there were killings, but it doesn’t mean also that they have not done wrong. It seems to me the western media make it appeared that they have not done anything wrong,” Yacub said.

Yacub, chairman of the Golden Crescent Consortium of Peace Builders and Affiliates, was referring to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, claimed as a provocation by the gunmen who killed 17 people in Paris last week.

His comments came after thousands of Muslims staged a ‘No apology’ march in Marawi City, a Muslim-majority city on the southern island of Mindanao, in protest at the perceived double standards of Western media against Muslims.

“Because particularly the Muslim religious respect the Christian religion. We never offend the Christian religion. So there are people also offending Islam especially caricaturing the Holy Prophet Mohammad when he has not done anything wrong to anyone,” Yacub added.

“What’s their point if it is not to agitate And, in fact, that it is even worst terrorism. To me, that’s the worse terrorism because you agitate people to do against somebody in violence you are provoking violence so that is even worse because it is hurting the sensitivity of people.”

“The intention was really to sabotage the Pope’s visit so that the Pope will be hated by Muslims,” Yacub added.

Pope Francis issued a warning on the limits to freedom of expression as he began his tour of the Philippines on Thursday.

The Pope, beginning a five-day visit to Asia’s most populous Catholic nation, defended freedom of speech but said there were limits to free speech, especially if it confronted freedom of religion.

Speaking en route to the Philippines, the Pope told reporters: “You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others. Violence in God’s name could not be justified and was an aberration.”

Meanwhile, Prof. Yacub called on the Muslims to promote peace and respect of other religions.

He said the promotion of peace and harmony is very crucial at this time around the world not only in the Philippines but throughout the world.

“We Muslims should be sober and be respectful to other religions. We should be understanding, we should be promoter of peace,” Yacub added.

“The pope is already here and we have to send our message that we do not share the feelings of people who are agitating violence,” he said. Hader Glang




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