Egypt-based major Islamic Sunni institution Al-Azhar has strongly denounced on Sunday endeavours by the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders to publish a cartoon that allegedly offends Islam.
Long known for his campaigns against Muslims around the world, including banning the Holy Quran in 2007, Wilders called for the publishing of a cartoon video of the Prophet Muhammad.
Referring to the attempted publishing, Al-Azhar said in an official statement on Sunday: “This is a clear provoking act towards Muslims and goes against the western beliefs of respecting other cultures and views.”
The statement added that some people take advantage of such acts by spreading terrorism, out of rage.
In January, an attack on a French cartoon magazine left 12 journalists and two police officers dead. Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula claimed responsibility. Media reports quoted eye-witnesses as saying the gunmen shouted “revenge for the prophet”, before carrying out the attack.
“I was in Texas a couple of weeks ago attending an exhibition of Mohamed cartoons […] Islam, the terrorists, do not want us to show those cartoons,” Wilder said. “Terror and violence must never be allowed to win over freedom of speech, and that is why we have to publish this film.”
He said there was a misunderstanding regarding the Dutch parliament’s rejection of the video’s publishing. Dutch NPO board director Henk Hagoort assured him the video will be broadcast at 15:55 GMT on Wednesday.