Islamic Society of Greater Harrisburg Hosts Panel on Cartoons

February 23, 2006

Source: The Patriot-News

On February 23, 2006 The Patriot-News reported, "Expressing the same outrage that has sparked violence overseas, but in a peaceful public forum, midstate Muslims last night explained why they object to cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

About 50 people, including about 20 non-Muslims, attended a presentation on Muhammad, whom they called a man of peace, compassion and tolerance.

The local chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations sponsored the event at the Islamic Society of Greater Harrisburg in Steelton, one of seven mosques in the Harrisburg area... 'Turbulent times are also windows of opportunity,' Umar Farooq, a co-founder of the Steelton mosque, said in opening the forum. 'It is important to speak out in measured voices. ... We should not allow the worst among us to drive the agenda. No doubt that Muslims around the globe were very much offended by these cartoons, but their reacting hysterically by rioting and burning buildings is also reprehensible,' he said.

'We all are for free speech and freedom of press, but we believe responsibility should be a part of this right,' he added.

Panelists told stories of Muhammad's respect for all people and his instruction to Muslims to be in 'service to every living thing.'

Several panelists said most of the protests against the cartoons in the Muslim world have been peaceful."