There are three aspects to be taken into account while analyzing and assessing the caricatures of Prophet Mohammed. The first is that painting any prophet is forbidden in the Muslim religion. The second is that, in the Muslim world, it’s not common to make fun of our religion or others. Thus, these caricatures are considered, even by the “moderate” Muslims, an attack against a sacred person and as a provocation against our religion. The third aspect is that Muslims must understand that making fun of religion is part of the culture in which they live in Europe, and that this tradition can be traced back to Voltaire’s times. Since us, Muslims, live in this environment, we must adopt a convenient position and not to react with emotion. We must stick to our religion and not to give in to provocations.
The reaction of most Muslim countries to these caricatures, shown through calls to boycotts, will support the extremist theories which state that the integration of Muslims into Europe is impossible.
What we need is understanding, not rights. Freedom of expression is a right protected by the law in Europe and nobody should contest it. However, the composition of the European population must be taken into account for it has changed and the sensibility of the Muslim must be considered.
There are no legal limits to the freedom of expression but there must be a civic limit so that people’s sensitivities don’t get offended. I don’t think that publishing this kind of caricatures is a good way of establishing the debate about the integration because they have a real emotional and provocative impact. The matter has become so serious that it has to do with the balance of forces. Who will decide? Who’s in command? To publish these caricatures is a stupid way of dealing with the freedom of expression.
Undoubtedly, we must wonder about the future of our society today. Muslims must simply understand that there’s freedom of expression in Europe. On the other hand, a sensible policy must be adopted and avoid provocations with regard to such sensitive themes for having the legal right to do something does not force us to do it.

International Herald Tribune (France)
The International Herald Tribune is a version of the New York Times adapted for the European public. It works in direct association with Haaretz (Israel), Kathimerini (Greece), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany), JoongAng Daily (South Korea), Asahi Shimbun (Japan), The Daily Star (Lebanon) and El País (Spain). It also works, through its head office, in indirect association with Le Monde (France).

Free speech and civic responsibility”, by Tariq Ramadan, International Herald Tribune, February 5, 2006.
الإساءة للأديان.. رؤية في كيفية الخروج من نفق الدمار”, Asharq Al Awsat, February 6, 2006.