Yesterday we have witnessed an intolerable attack on people who only used their freedom of expression. They became victims of terrorism for this very reason and our thoughts and prayers are with them and their beloved ones.
At the same time this attack is a reminder of a reality that is faced by so many people in countries like Iraq, Nigeria and Syria at an almost daily basis. In these areas people of all religions become victims of this type of islamist terrorism.
Fundamental values and freedoms rooted in the Christian concept of human dignity are of crucial importance in this global age. We all thrive when the freedom of religion and expression are respected for all, regardless the religion or worldview people adhere to.
The described reality faced by so many people today cannot be separated from a specific and intolerant interpretation of Islam that allows no freedom and creates an open space for the violence we now witness.
The ECPM calls again for a clear and (where needed) critical dialogue with the representatives of Islam. Given the fact that this is a global challenge we also see a role for the EU in its dialogue with for example the Arab League. Under article 17 TFEU the EU can find partners in this process.
Adhering to fundamental values also means that the Muslims in Europe are equal and fellow citizens in full rights. The best answer to yesterday's violence is not to allow hatred to take over but continue to try and live together with our deepest differences and to teach this to the next generations.