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memri
April 6, 2006 No.
1135

Arab-Danish Student Organizations Dialogue: ‘Do Not Translate That Word for Word, Just Say….’

Earlier this week, representatives of Arab and Danish student organizations met for a dialogue following the violent reaction to the publication of the cartoons by the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten. The following are excerpts from the dialogue that was covered live by Al-Jazeera:

TO VIEW THIS CLIP, VISIT: http://memritv.org/clip/en/1087.htm.

"[Islam] is Not a Religion of Terrorism, as Portrayed by Zionism or Imperialism... Muslims Do Not Interfere in the Religious Beliefs of Others"

Arab Students Union Chairman Ahmad Al-Shater [speaking through interpreter]: "The Islamic religion is not a religion of terrorism, as portrayed by Zionism or imperialism."

[...]

"According to the Islamic religion, even in times of war... Translate it bit by bit, it's better that way... According to the Islamic religion, even in times of war, it is forbidden to uproot a tree, it is forbidden to kill a woman, it is forbidden to kill a child, it is forbidden to destroy wells... It is forbidden to fill wells with earth... Water wells... It is forbidden to harm human life, it is forbidden to destroy a church, it is forbidden to attack a religious belief... Muslims do not interfere in the religious beliefs of others. Forgive me for using difficult words. Help us out, Kinda.

"Those who try to pin the blame for terrorism on the Muslims, headed by the leader of international terrorism, America, and by Zionism and imperialism, are killing our children in Palestine and Iraq on a daily basis, as you can see. They are destroying schools. They are destroying churches and mosques. They violate our honor. They rape women and slit open the stomachs of pregnant women."

[...]

"Arabs' Feelings and Emotions Must Be Taken Into Consideration, Even More Than Their Minds"

"The cartoons which appeared in the Danish newspaper were a premeditated plan, by parties known to all, to divert global and Arab attention away from the crimes and massacres committed in Iraq, in Palestine, in Abu Ghureib prison, and in many occupied Arab territories. The plan was to divert attention away from what is going on."

[...]

"What is peculiar and surprising is that to this very moment, the Danish government does not want to punish this paper, and has not apologized."

[…]

"This only strengthens our feeling that the Danish government is behind this."

[...]

"We ask our Danish friends who are with us to pressure their government to issue an apology."

[...]

"The Arab people - the Arab Muslims and Christians - are an emotional and compassionate people…"

[…]

"…even though they are so strong in battle. The Arabs' feelings and emotions must be taken into consideration, even more than their minds."

[...]

"[This Paper Cannot] Draw a Similar Cartoon About a Zionist Rabbi, or Discuss the Imaginary Holocaust and Refute it, or Even Draw Sharon, the Arch-Murderer"

"Can this Danish newspaper or any other newspaper in the world draw a cartoon similar to the one about the Prophet Muhammad... Shut the door, Abdallah... Can it draw a similar cartoon about a Zionist rabbi..."

[…]

"…or discuss the imaginary Holocaust and refute it, or even draw Sharon, the arch-murderer, who has killed thousands of Arabs, in a cartoon similar to the one that appeared in the Danish paper?"

[…]

"With all due respect, I am saying that it cannot do so. There are many examples all over the world.

"George Garaudy and what happened to him... No, no... Garaudy... Not George Garaudy. Roger, sorry. That intellectual... What happened to British MP George Galloway... What happened to the mayor of London recently, merely because he answered a Jewish reporter somewhat harshly. He was suspended for two weeks, even though he is the mayor of one of the world's largest cities."

[...]

"The world-renowned English intellectual, who was recently tried in another country, and was sentenced to three years in jail, although the whole world recognizes him as a great and reliable intellectual, who does not say things that are baseless. He relies on documents. I cannot recall his name, but he is a great English intellectual, a university professor, who refuted the Holocaust. So, he was sentenced in Geneva, in a country that is not his own, in violation of all international laws."

[...]

Danish Delegation Head: "If you are asking why the Danish government hasn't apologized, or why they haven't punished the newspaper - that is a very precise but also a very important question to be answered in this dialogue."

[…]

"And as a representative of the Danish youth and not a representative of the government, I cannot explain to you why the Danish government has not apologized. But I can tell you that the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which is from Jutland, has apologized for the drawings."

[...]

"And another important question, in your last very concrete questions about... could a Danish newspaper have made drawings of the Holocaust or denying the Holocaust."

[…]

"And the answer to that question is yes. There's no law in Denmark preventing a Danish newspaper from making drawings of the Holocaust."

[...]

"The Term 'Middle East' Does Not Appear in Our Dictionary... We Call it 'The Great Arab Homeland'"

Arab Students Union Chairman Ahmad Al-Shater: "I would just like to point to a certain term... which was used by my friend, the head of the delegation, and which also appeared in the correspondence with Mr. Klaus - the term 'Middle East.' I would like to emphasize to our friends - and I'm not saying this for propaganda purposes, but because it is in keeping with the constitution of the General Union of Arab Students..."

[…]

"The term 'Middle East' does not appear in our dictionary. Absolutely not. We call it 'the Great Arab Homeland.' I won't even call the term "Middle East" an international one... Its purpose is to include Israel in this region, but this is another issue, not part of this dialogue."

Sudanese Student Union Chairman Muhammad: "I'd like to tell you that harming the Prophet is not a new thing. One thousand four hundred years ago, the Jews tried to kill him in Al-Madina. In our religion, harming the Prophet is where we draw the line. We are prepared to die to prevent this."

[...]

"The Sudanese People are so Angry... They Will Kill Danish Soldiers [in U.N. Forces] Before Killing the Others"

"As you know, Bush killed 110,000 people in Iraq, while Saddam did not kill even one third of this figure. Saddam did not kill even 30,000 people throughout his rule. I would like to welcome you on this visit, because the image of Denmark and the Danish people has become very negative in the Arab and Islamic world. In conclusion, I would like to say that tomorrow America will pass a resolution in the U.N. Security Council calling for international military intervention in Sudan. Among these forces, obviously, there will be Danish forces. I would like to inform you that because the Sudanese people are so angry over this affront, they will kill the Danish soldiers before they kill the others."

Arab Students Union Chairman Ahmad Al-Shater: "Don't translate that word for word. Just say that the Sudanese will put up resistance against them."

Sudanese Student Union Chairman Muhammad: "We will not become another Iraq, and I hope you do not respect America."