Europe Should Integrate Muslims: Commissioner

Europe should integrate all minorities, including Muslims who should not have to choose between their faith and European values, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said.

Europe Should Integrate Muslims: Commissioner
Europe should integrate all minorities, including Muslims who should not have to choose between their faith and European values, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said Tuesday, May 30.

"Europe should be big enough to integrate all those different approaches," he said after a meeting with Muslim leaders and representatives of other faiths, including the iconic Dalia Lama, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

Tuesday's meeting was called for by Australian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel last year, shortly after riots in France involving mainly youths of African or Arab origin.

"We need believers in the project of Europe," Schuessel, who holds the current rotating EU presidency, told reporters.

"We thought it would be important to meet with all the relevant partners to re-establish confidence and trust in the project of the European Union," he added.

Balance

Schuessel said all religious leaders who attended Tuesday's meeting spoke in favor of European values such as the right of freedom of expression.

"All the speakers of the Islamic communities repeated they understand the concerns of European communities to defend their freedom, to defend their rights," he said.

Barroso, for his part, said they discussed "the idea that Islamic people in Europe should not be in a position where they have to choose between their religion and European values."

The European Commission chief urged Europeans to avoid offending others while practicing their liberal values.

"In Europe we need to defend values like liberty by thinking of the individual but also of different communities.

"Responsible exercise of liberties must avoid a lack of respect, of offending other communities' feelings," added Barroso.

Last September, cartoons mocking Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) were published by Denmark's mass circulation Jyllands-Posten, sparking furor in the Muslim world.

The blasphemous cartoons, including one showing the Prophet with a bomb-shaped turban, were later reprinted by European newspapers on claims of freedom of expression.

The EU in February pledged to promote dialogue with the Muslim world after the cartoon row.

Spain urged the West on Monday, April 4, to engage in a more constructive dialogue with the Muslim world to promote mutual understanding.

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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