“Freedom should never be abused.”

FSPC President Gottfried Locher denounces violence against Western institutions after the publication of the Muhammad movie and at the same time appeals against the defamation of Muslims.

Today, Gottfried Locher, Council President of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, denounced the vicious circle of escalating global violence following the publication Muhammad movie. “Innocence of Muslims has sparked a wildfire that must be put out. It is vitally important right now to stop adding fuel to the fire.” On the sidelines of the General Assembly of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) in Florence, Locher appealed to all parties involved in the conflict to listen to the voice of reason.

Freedom of speech is a highly important good, Locher emphasized. The state must protect freedom of speech, especially if it is met with resistance. However, state law is not necessarily fully congruent with church ethics: “Protestant freedom can never be at the expense of others. Freedom should never be abused,” Locher stated regarding the recent Muhammad caricatures in the French and German media. “Defamation is not a sign of freedom. If I am free I am also free to refrain from doing certain things.”

“The media will continue to publish Muhammad caricatures even though they know that houses will burn as a result. This is no longer only a question of freedom of speech,” Locher said. With the same insistence, the FSPC president denounced the brutal violence directed at Western institutions. “Hurt feelings do not give anyone the right to kill. Hurtful words do not legitimize the use of violence.”