AMP appreciates decision not to print latest Charlie Hebdo cover in The Economist in Singapore

SINGAPORE - The Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) on Monday said that it appreciates the decision made by Times Printers here not to print a picture from The Economist featuring a satirical cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, and the magazine's subsequent removal of the picture from the publication.

The cartoon that was to be featured was from the cover of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which has gained international attention after Islamist terrorists stormed its offices and killed 12 people on Jan 7.

Times Printers said on Jan 16 that The Economist told them it had decided to publish the cover in its United Kingdom, Asia, United States and Europe editions, and asked the printer to let it know if Times Printers had any concerns. Times Printers consulted and registered their concerns with The Economist. After deliberation, The Economist sent out a replacement page.

"Satire such as that featured and propagated by Charlie Hebdo, where mockery of other races and religions seems to be the cornerstone of its existence, has no place in a multi-racial and multi-religious country such as Singapore," said the AMP's board of directors in a statement.

The printer's decision not to print the picture was a responsible one and one that protects the sensitivities of our society, the statement added.

While AMP holds on firmly to the notion of the freedom of speech, it should come with accountability, and attacks on any particular individual or group should not hide behind the guise of freedom of speech, it said.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg