Getting Serious about Democracy
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Getting Serious about Democracy


By Anwar Ibrahim Friday, May 12, 2006


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(Page 3 of 6)

Because we are living in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society, political parties have had to ensure flexibility and accommodation towards diverse groups to maintain credibility.  I, therefore, believe that the Islamic party will remain a part of the democratic process and share the political stage with other groups.  What remains critical for all parties to accept is the constitutional guarantees that include freedom of conscience, expression, free media, and an independent judiciary.

 

Q: Do you think Malaysia’s government was right to shut the Borneo Post after it published the Danish cartoons? Was there an ulterior political motive at work?

 

A: The insensitivity and callousness of the cartoons is self-evident, but we must affirm our commitment to the principles of democracy.  Freedom carries a heavy burden and responsibility.  Muslims have the right to protest and condemn the cartoons, but they cannot then violate basic principles of the religion by destroying property, harming innocent life, and calling for violence and harm to an entire nation. Muslim governments must resist the urge to compromise the freedom of the press and instead establish clear guidelines on how to deal with sensitive issues in a prescribed and legally binding manner.



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