"We have to solve this matter through dialogue; the outcome of this controversy is that it facilitated a deeper dialogue', he told Khaleej Times. "We Europeans have realised that we can say anything to Muslims and they do not feel bad as long as we don't touch upon the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). This is the lesson we learned from this cartoon issue. The importance of the Prophet in the minds and hearts of Muslims must be fully understood", he said, adding that Muslims in Denmark form the second largest population.
"We have about six to eight Members of Parliament (MPs) drawn from Danish Muslims. This shows how much importance we give to each other and how we get along with each other." "It is extremely important for us to explain to the people here that, back in our country, there is a huge respect for Islam. We are known as a tolerant people. We have nothing against the faith of Islam. "Unfortunately, one single daily published this silly cartoon...," added Bay.
Khaleej Times stressed however that freedom of expression does not mean hurting others' sentiments. "I fully agree with you. That is exactly the key. The editor of the Danish daily had not anticipated the outcome of his action. Yet, he has the freedom of speech. However, now, I am sure they (the newspaper) are not very proud of what they have done," the Danish head of mission said.
"You can also turn around and say, this had a positive impact on Islam. The realization has come that you have to respect Islam, and the prophet. Now Europe is more aware of this aspect. There is positive thinking in this respect...and people will now be more careful (about hurting others' feelings). People have now been more careful," he observed. "Unfortunately, we were the ones to start the fire, and we were hit badly".
He said, "We are very supportive of Muslims. Therefore, it is time for us to move on. The newspaper has apologised...it is important for me to remark that this was an isolated incident." The Danish diplomat said: "We have to find out how we can move on. We have Muslim politicians...we have quite a few Muslim Members of Parliament. Let us get around...let us not focus on this single incident."
Source: Khaleej Times