Wanted: Voices of reason. All creeds. Apply to Dept. of Free Speech.

A British Muslim cleric has come out in condemnation of two things that both richly deserve it: some offensive cartoonage, defaming the prophet Mohammed, and also those who have gone overboard over it…

A march in which protesters chanted violent anti-Western slogans such as “7/7 is on its way” should have been banned, a leading British Muslim said.

Asghar Bukhari said the demonstration in London on Friday should have been stopped by police because the group had been advocating violence.

The chairman of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee said the protesters “did not represent British Muslims”.

More protests over cartoons of Muhammad on Saturday passed off peacefully.

Mr Bukhari told the BBC News website: “The placards and chants were disgraceful and disgusting, Muslims do not feel that way.

“I condemn them without reservation, these people are less representative of Muslims than the BNP are of the British people.”

He said that Muslims were angry over satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published in European papers but it was “outrageous” for anyone to advocate extreme action or violence.

“We believe it [the protest] should have been banned and the march stopped.

“It’s irrelevant whether it’s Muslims causing hatred or anyone else – freedom of speech has to be responsible.”

How right he is. And how soon we all forget that in our fervor to blindly condemn one another.

By the way, let’s not forget that less noisy majority of Muslims who believe in responding in a measured manner, not with knee-jerk violence. They could teach us all a thing or two about the responsible use of free speech.

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