“They had been trying to promote a “dialogue of civilisations.” And if you buy that one, they may have a bridge or two to sell you also. From the Telegraph, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
As world leaders pleaded for calm in the Mohammed cartoon row yesterday, the Danish Muslim leaders who set the crisis in motion insisted that they had been trying to promote a “dialogue of civilisations”.
They also angrily denied allegations from moderate Muslims and European intelligence services that hidden “masterminds” triggered the sudden explosion of protests, a full four months after 12 cartoons of the Prophet were first published in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
Ahmed Abu Laban is the most prominent of a group of Danish imams and activists who toured the Middle East late last year, seeking to “internationalise” their campaign of protest at the cartoons, after deciding their complaints were falling on deaf ears back home.
Speaking from his office at the Waqfs mosque in Copenhagen, Mr Abu Laban said that the sudden explosion of anger at the end of last month was due to the rapid success of a “grass-roots” consumer boycott against Danish dairy goods and other exports.
Mr Abu Laban, a 60-year-old imam of Palestinian origin, also credited the hardline “Salafist” television stations based in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, such as al-Majd and Iqra, with a “big influence” in fomenting the trade boycott.
“It was the swift and decisive sanctions of the boycott. Keen Muslims responded, and found it was a good chance to show their love of the Prophet. And the amount of Danish trade [in the region] is so large that the echo was quickly heard in Denmark. It was a grass-roots thing, though nobody is denying the role of the mosques. They have loudspeakers, and the people listen.”…
Mr Abu Laban was keen to stress his moderation yesterday. Danish Muslims were not looking for a victory or confrontation over the government, or the press, he said. “The whole story is about dialogue of civilizations.”
Sure it is.