“Pointing out that Islam and the West are not inherently contradictory or monolithic, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Doha, Qatar, today called for replacing the loud shouts of extremists with the calm voice of reason.

The crisis over the recent publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad is being fueled by extremism, Mr. Annan told the second meeting of the High-Level Group for the Alliance of Civilization, an initiative set up last year to bridge divides between Islam and the West and to overcome prejudice, misconceptions and polarization.

But he cautioned against crediting extremists with representing widely held views. “Those who shout loudest, or act in the most provocative ways, are not necessarily typical of the group on whose behalf they claim to speak,” he said. “I think one can safely say that most non-Muslims in western societies have no desire to offend the Muslim community, and that most Muslims, even when offended, do not believe that violence or destruction is the right way to react.” [More]

Get occasional updates from UN Dispatch

* indicates required

Want Our Social Media List?