Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham, and Lyn Brown, MP for West Ham, issued the following statement after a meeting at the House of Commons on Wednesday 15 February, with representatives of the Alliance of Newham Muslim Associations, led by Dr Zulfiqar Ali.

"The events following republication of the Danish cartoons are deeply regrettable, both for the extreme offence that has been caused to a large number of people, and for the violence which has occurred. We all support the right to freedom of speech, but the right should be exercised responsibly. Republication of these cartoons was deeply insensitive, completely disrespectful and ill-advised. We applaud the responsibility of the UK media in declining to republish them."

"We acknowledge the right of people to demonstrate in a peaceful way. We welcome the measured statement issued last week by the Alliance of Newham Muslim Associations, and we recognise the responsible reaction of the Muslim Council of Britain and of the great majority of the Muslim Community in Britain, including the peaceful demonstrations which have been held. We abhor the violent reactions we have seen - mainly outside the UK, but on a small scale in the UK too - and we have been impressed by the strong and widespread reaction against them from members of the UK Muslim community also."

"We associate ourselves with the widespread calls for calm and for further work, which we shall be pleased to support, to improve understanding between the distinct faith communities."

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AuthorStephen Timms