News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Europe's Muslims Calmer About Cartoons of Prophet

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Europe's Muslims Calmer About Cartoons of Prophet

By Elizabeth Bryant

PARIS -- Nursing an almost empty cup of coffee in a cafe Wednesday (Feb. 8), Sebhi Mennad confessed he had not seen the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have unleashed violence across Asia and the Middle East. The 55-year-old, gray-haired Algerian is not offended by the alleged blasphemy. But he does object to the way fellow Muslims in other parts of the world are not respecting European standards of taste and free speech. Mennad doesn't speak for all of the estimated 15 million to 20 million Muslims living in Europe, but his attitude reflects what experts say is a unique culture and outlook among Muslims living here. Despite pockets of outrage, these experts say, the vast chunk of Europe's Muslim community is either indifferent to the caricatures or at least reconciled to the right of free expression, however offensive.

No comments: