"Cartoons reflect Europe's Islamophobia"
After Hamas's electoral triumph, Palestinians are in the news again, with thousands of them demonstrating against Denmark and European countries for publishing cartoons that they say depicts the Prophet Muhammad in an unfavourable light.
Last week armed Palestinian groups briefly surrounded a European Union office in Ram Allah.
Aziz Duwaik, professor of urban planning at the Najah University of Nablus, won a parliamentary seat in the recent Palestinian legislative elections.
His Change and Reform (Hamas) list won all nine contested seats in the southern West Bank town of
Aljazeera.net spoke with Duwaik at his
Aljazeera.net: Why have Palestinians been so strongly protesting against the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad?
Duwaik: These cartoons have been insulting to our religion and injurious to our feelings. They were meant to insult, provoke and offend Muslims. And they have succeeded. I call on the government of
We respect press freedom, but ridiculing and besmirching our religious symbols is not press freedom. There is a conspicuous malicious intent here, and people's right not to be insulted and offended overrides a Danish newspaper's right to insult the prophet of Islam. Besides, we are living in a global village now, and we should respect each other.
And we value our religion and our prophet (peace be upon him). Press freedom is a great ideal. However, could one argue that Hitler and the Nazis were practising their freedom prior to the Holocaust? We know the Holocaust started with cartoons like this against Jews, and with books like Mein Kampf, and then came Kristallnacht ... and then we know what happened.
These cartoons are a reflection of rampant Islamophobia in Europe, which is very similar and nearly as virulent as the anti-Semitism that existed in Europe, especially in
You see, when you send out thousands of hate messages against a certain ethnic or religious community every day, you make people hate these people, and when mass hatred reaches a certain point, nobody would object to the physical extermination of the hated community when it happens.
Do you fear a Holocaust against Muslims similar to what happened to the Jews?
Why not? The Holocaust was committed by human beings, not by citizens of another planet, and
But Europe is now democratic, unlike Nazi
Yes, but who told you those democracies don't commit genocide?
Let's talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Do you still want to destroy
You are asking the victims of Israeli oppression, occupation and racism if they are interested in destroying their oppressors and tormentors? This is a tendentious question that should be asked to
In fact, all that we want is to be free. Is freedom for the Palestinian people tantamount to destruction of
Are you not are evading the question?
I am not evading anything; it is you who is evading and ignoring reality here. Just take a look and see for yourself who is destroying whom, who is stealing whose land, who is savaging and persecuting and brutalising whose people, and who is practising ethnic cleansing and slow-motion genocide against the other.
But the question remains, how can
Why on earth should we recognise
The important thing is not what
Are you implying that the creation of a Palestinian state is no longer possible or realistic?
Will you be willing to negotiate with
Negotiation in itself is not the issue. The issue is our rights as human beings and as a nation. If
Will you form a government of national unity, a government of technocrats, or a Hamas government?
We certainly prefer a government of national unity which we think would best serve the interests of our people. I believe that eventually Fatah will join the government.
But Fatah leaders have ruled out joining a Hamas-led government?
These statements by some Fatah leaders are mostly post-election reflexes; we understand how our brothers in Fatah feel after their electoral defeat. But I am sure that eventually some Fatah leaders will join the government.
What would you say to Palestinian Christians, some of whom might be worried about the aftermath of Hamas' election victory?
I think if these fears are real, and I don't think they are, they must be phobic in nature. The Christians of Palestine are our brothers, compatriots and countrymen. We are languishing under the same occupation and experiencing the same pain and suffering, hence it would be preposterous to even contemplate harming or even hurting these people.