Date: 05 February 2006
Time: 13:00 GMT
PCHR Strongly Condemns Attacks on International Institutions and Citizens
In the past few days, Palestinian armed groups have attacked European institutions and cultural centers in the Gaza Strip and threatened to kidnap European citizens. These acts have been in protest to cartoons humiliating the Prophet Mohammed, which were published in a Danish newspaper and republished by newspapers in Norway, German, France and other countries.
The office of the European Union in Gaza City has been subject to a series of attacks by Palestinian armed groups in the past few days. On 30 January 2006, dozens of armed members of the Popular Resistance Committees demonstrated in front of the office and burnt the Danish and Norwegian flags. On 1 February 2006, the al-Yasser Brigades, affiliated to the Fatah movement, demonstrated near the office. Some of its members climbed to the roof of the office, opened fire into the air, closed the office and threatened to kidnap Norwegian and Danish citizens if the two countries did not apologize to Muslims. On Saturday morning, 4 February 2006, a number of school children threw stones at the offices of the European Union and the German Cultural Center.
On Thursday evening, 2 February 2006, a number of members of the Ahmed Abu al-Reesh Brigades, affiliated to the Fatah movement, attacked the French Cultural Center in Gaza City. They destroyed its banner and opened fire into the air. At night, unknown persons threw a hand grenade at the center, but no damage was reported.
PCHR strongly condemns the humiliation of the Prophet Mohammed through these cartoons and asserts that the right to freedom of expression does not give the right to deliberately insult others and their religions. PCHR believes that European countries, which have passed laws to punish anyone who raises doubts regarding the genocide of Jews (the Holocaust) or attacks Judaism, should pass similar laws prohibiting attacks on other religions and their symbols.
PCHR appreciates the insult and humiliation that Muslims all over the world have been subjected to by these cartoons published in European newspapers. PCHR also understands the feelings of anger and protest against these cartoons, which should be expressed peacefully, including through peaceful demonstrations. However, PCHR totally rejects the expression of anger through threatening European citizens, attacking international institutions, embassies and consulates, and undermining the rule of law. PCHR believes that these latest actions have come in the context of the state of security chaos in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in the Gaza Strip.
PCHR strongly condemns the humiliation of the Prophet Mohammed:
1. PCHR condemns attacks on international institutions and citizens in the Gaza Strip.
2. PCHR calls upon the Palestinian National Authority to take necessary steps to stop such attacks.
3. PCHR calls upon all national and Islamic factions to condemn and confront such actions and make efforts to promote the rule of law.
4. PCHR asserts that protest and anger does not permit the undermining of the law and it is necessary that protests should be peaceful and conform to the law.
For more information please call: +972 (0)- 8 – 2824776 – 2825893.*
*Office Hours are between 0800 – 1600 hours (0500 GMT – 1300 GMT) Sun – Thurs.