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The desecration of the mosque site was firmly condemned Foto: Islamska skupnost

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All religious communities condemn desecration of mosque construction site

They all appeal for tolerance in current conditions
14. January 2016 ob 20:29
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

"It is not possible to talk about freedom of speech once hatred is present," Mufti Nedžad Grabus warns. The act of throwing pig's heads at the construction site was condemned also by the Roman-Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church, and the Jewish community.

»Islam doesn't know discrimination based on racial, religious, linguistic, or national basis. Yet there are Muslims who discriminate against others. Muslims are human beings, and not angels. Are they right in doing so? Of course not," Mufti Nedžad Grabus said at the International Scientific Symposium Harmony between Cultures - Paths towards Intercultural Dialogue.

"I can understand that in certain quarters it is considered that everything that is going on in the world is entirely the fault of Muslims, but such a standpoint advocated by the intolerant is not the right path towards mutual respect. The Islamic community always condemns wrongdoings performed by Muslims, but we expect the wider society to understand that there are certain limits on freedom of speech. It is not possible to talk about freedom of speech once hatred is present," he said.

Respect and acceptance are crucial
The audience was addressed also by the retired archbishop of Ljubljana Anton Stres and the Evangelical Bishop Geza Filo. Stres underlined that dissimilarities among people can lead to tensions which are mainly the consequence of prejudices and ignorance. But dissimilarities are enriching us all, and it is up to us to choose one of the two paths, Stres said. Respect can be fruitful only if mutual, and if human rights are respected.

According to the Evangelical Bishop Filo harmony cannot be reached if we feel superior to those who are different. Harmony can be achieved only by establishing true accord. "It means we accept each other openly, without any impediments. It is essential for the survival of humanity in the current circumstances," he cautioned.

The desecration of the mosque site was firmly condemned in the joint statement also by the Jewish Cultural Centre, and characterised as an attack on all minorities and religious communities in Slovenia. They emphasized the need for zero tolerance towards such actions, especially in the current conditions, "in which the absence of condemnation of such actions could encourage new hatred, and acts of intolerance among the citizens of the capital".

The Ministry of Culture responded as well and emphasized that we should all strive for tolerant and constructive interpersonal relations. No special measures are being planned, "the purpose of legal regulations of the criminal law is to prevent such events", they wrote.

A. Č., translated by G. K.

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