Armenian Patriarch of Turkey on Cartoons and Islam

His Beatitude Mesrob II, Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and All Turkey, made the following statement on the subject of the cartoon caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in the western media. His Beatitude Mesrob II, Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and All Turkey, made the following statement on the subject of the cartoon caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in the western media.

"Both I and the members of the Spiritual Council of our Patriarchal See condemn the publication, first in Denmark, and then in Norway, Germany, Holland, Italy, Iceland, Mexico, and in France of the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, which are openly political propaganda aimed at the adherents of the religion of Islam.

The justification given in a French newspaper for the publication of these cartoons as 'testing the limits of the freedom of expression' is nonsense and unacceptable.

The press here has not exceeded the freedom of expression but has gone beyond what is ethical. It has hurt large numbers of people and has dealt a blow to a newly beginning and accelerating dialogue of civilizations. 

You will recall that a few years ago in Istanbul a textile company in Istanbul sold underwear with depictions of Jesus Christ on it. 

This type of inconsideration has no relation to modernism, one way or another. I think that this sort of behaviour is something quite other than testing the reactions of radical and liberal elements; it is a serious question of human rights. The rights of religiously believing persons are as important as the freedom of the press and of commerce."