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17 Danish papers reprint Mohammed cartoons igniting another round of woldwide protests

After the arrest of three men for suspicion of plotting to kill famed Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, 17 Danish papers have reprinted the 12 Mohammed cartoons “vowing to defend freedom of expression” and in doing so, igniting another round of worldwide protests. Pakistani youth rallied in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and other places burning the Danish PM in effigy and calling for a ban on all Danish products and companies.

215 of Iran’s 290 lawmakers have sent a letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asking him to review Iran’s trade and political ties to Denmark.

Thousands of students in Cairo protested the reprinting and like Pakastani students, called for a ban on Danish goods. A prominent Muslim scholar has called for a “rational, wise and calm response.

Thousands of Hamas supporters in the Gaza Strip have been demonstrating, demanding an official apology.

Yemen has formed a committee to write four letters to denounce the Danish papers for reprinting the cartoon.

Meanwhile, Westergaard, who has been staying at secret locations and under police protection, was asked to leave the hotel where he and his wife were staying by hotel management who cited fear for the safety of other guests.

Community Comments

#1 Wiley Miller
February/19/2008
@ 7:52 am

I drew one of the cartoons for the Danish papers and signed it Mike Lester.

#2 Lucas Turnbloom
February/19/2008
@ 9:59 am

Ha!

#3 Dawn Douglass
February/19/2008
@ 10:37 am

And then there’s this, about a journalist jailed for years for reprinting the cartoons:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,331188,00.html

#4 Rich Diesslin
February/19/2008
@ 12:28 pm

Ooooh, an Iranian boycott of Denmark. There’s a dent in their economy. While I applaud the paper’s decision to defend free speech, I’m not sure this helps the cartoonist(s) involved. Seems it would have made more of a statement to prosecute those plotting the murder. Dawn your sited article is disturbing too! Crazy people!

#5 Garey Mckee
February/19/2008
@ 7:06 pm

I just have to laugh. The absurd act of reprinting these cartoons is funnier than any of the cartoons themselves.

Rich raises an interesting point, how many Danish products are sold in Iran? Danish furniture? Pot? LOL.

#6 Mike Peterson
February/20/2008
@ 2:48 am

Press freedom seems to mean more when it isn’t being used as an indiscriminate cudgel. For all the self-righteous chatter about preserving the freedom to write illustrated storybooks about the Prophet, this sounds an awful lot like a bunch of snide ivory-tower elitists who don’t much like people with deeply held religious beliefs. And I say that as someone with absolutely no deeply held religious beliefs, but a strong sense that, while these cartoons have infuriated the violent, radical fringe of Islam, they are also needlessly hurtful to a large number of moderate Muslims. I suppose in the wake of the assassination of MLK, you could have run cartoons mocking him, in order to show your press freedom to the rioters who were burning cities that they could go riot some more and it wouldn’t stop you, but I don’t remember anyone making that argument. (This all makes me sound like a hidebound conservative, but what could be more conservative than mocking those who believe differently, eat different foods, dress differently? Honest, I’m an agnostic, progressive Danish-American who works for the press.)

#7 JeffM
February/20/2008
@ 9:31 am

Mike, I think you need to visit these Islamic countries and see just how many “moderate” Muslims there really are (rolleyes). These people put a death sentence on the cartoonist and a plot to follow through with it was recently foiled in Denmark.

Where is the “moderate” voice condeming the acts of the radical fringe? There isn’t one because the moderates are merely letting the radical fringe do their dirty work.

I guess during WWII, you’d be defending “moderate” Nazi’s??

#8 Mike Peterson
February/21/2008
@ 2:53 am

Nazis???? *snrk* That didn’t take long!

If you truly believe that all Muslims are bomb-throwing radicals, then I guess you ought to go out of your way to insult them. It’s a matter of conscience, isn’t it? Draw a cartoon mocking their prophet. Burn crosses in their front yards. Whatever.

Godwin’s Law aside, it’s as if you were suggesting that all white people supported the Nazis and that insulting white people would have been a blow against Hitler.

Islam is a very diverse religion, practiced in many, many non-Arab countries around the world by people who have nothing in common with the radicals except their religion.

And the fact that some cartoonists think it’s brave and noble to insult them.

For my part, I save my respect for someone who can effectively wield a rapier, not the clumsy dolt with the sledgehammer.

#9 Rick Stromoski
February/21/2008
@ 6:30 am

>>If you truly believe that all Muslims are bomb-throwing radicals, then I guess you ought to go out of your way to insult them.

They may not all be bomb throwing radicals, of course but I see no universal uproar within the Muslim community decrying the assassination of Theo Van Gogh, the death threats against Salmon Rushdie or Ayaan Hirsi Ali and other apostates, the practice of genital mutilation on Muslim female children, honor killings for the crime of being in the company of a man who isn’t your husband, the use of the mentally handicapped for suicide bombings The Koran forbids the execution of a virgin so it is common practice in Muslim societies for condemned virgins to be gang raped prior to execution. etc….the list could be a mile long.

Most Muslims may not be this “radical” but the collective silence of their community to these atrocities done in the name of Allah reveals a tacit approval. And let us not forget that the original cartoons in question were deliberately altered by Islamic fanatics to make them seem more aggregious and were distributed amongst the Muslim community to deliberately fan the flames of Islamic outrage.

Good People will do good deeds and evil people will do evil, but for Good people to do evil that requires religion. Religion in all it’s hideous forms deserves no special quarter or consideration when it seeks to foist it’s dangerous and stultifying worldview onto the rest of us and should be confronted at every turn.

#10 Alan Gardner
February/21/2008
@ 7:58 am

Mike, Rick, all: You all know how I feel about religious flamewars. They accomplish nothing and only spoil any real discussion that can be had on this topic. Please exercise restraint when posting your comments. If you can’t keep the discussion within the bounds of cartooning, then take your comment to a different blog.

#11 Rick Stromoski
February/21/2008
@ 9:26 am

I’m not sure how one could avoid talking about the religious aspect of a thread that deals with a particular religion’s aversion to cartoons. If discussion about religion is taboo in this context then why even post a thread about it?

#12 Alan Gardner
February/21/2008
@ 9:37 am

Because I expect my readers to have the maturity and respect of others not to post inflammatory remarks that have nothing to do with the cartoon or the religion’s reaction to a cartoon (e.g. “Religion in all itâ??s hideous forms deserves no special quarter or consideration when it seeks to foist itâ??s dangerous and stultifying worldview onto the rest of us and should be confronted at every turn.”).

Maybe you’re right. Perhaps I overestimate my readers capacity to keep the discussion in the context of cartooning and ought to avoid such topics.

#13 Rick Stromoski
February/21/2008
@ 9:54 am

Making the observation that a religion that seeks to murder cartoonists because of the content of their work as being dangerous and stultifying, within the context of a thread that deals with that very issue, is neither inflammatory nor is it immature, I think it is a valid point and legitimate to the discussion.

Why is it that one can make a multitude of disrespectful and inflammatory remarks on this board on a variety of subjects, calling other cartoonists hacks, editors as racist idiots etc. but mention religion and individuals get a collective case of the vapors?

#14 Alan Gardner
February/21/2008
@ 10:00 am

Because the other topics don’t send the discussion in to a flame war. And yes, you’re last sentence (the one I quoted) was inflammatory and not in the context of a legitimate discussion.

#15 Rick Stromoski
February/21/2008
@ 10:19 am

I fail to see any semblance of a flame war in this thread, only a discussion regarding the merits of the topic. It is no more heated than the current thread on editorial cartoonists and certainly not even close to the heat from the recent thread on the african american cartoonists boycott. If discussing religion is taboo then just make it your policy, but then don’t post a thread and expect everyone not to weigh in on it or chastise anyone who takes a position you may not happen to agree with.

#16 Mike Peterson
February/21/2008
@ 10:41 am

I’m not really interested in discussing religion, except as a cultural determinant, and I’m suggesting that Islam is practiced in so many diverse ways and in so many diverse cultures that it is inappropriate to view it entirely as the religion of one subset of one group.

To that extent, it’s clumsy and poor commentary to blast all of Islam for the actions of that single group, or for failing (in your mind) to properly chastise people who live a half a world away, speak another language, live in a different culture and happen to practice a branch of the same major religion.

I’m also not particularly enamored of shock tactics per se and don’t consider them a sign of wit, and that’s not just because I’m an old man. I was a young man when National Lampoon abandoned wit (after, what, about the first five issues?) and started doing poop jokes and “boy, this would be offensive if we really meant it nudge-nudge-wink-wink” jokes.

When people are injured as a direct result of your work, it seems kind of irresponsible to me to reprint the offensive materials in order to show that you don’t care how many more people get hurt.

This has nothing to do with religion, except inasmuchas someone may stereotype people by their religion as easily as by their language or race. At the risk of going out on a limb here, I think it’s a bad thing when people do that.

#17 Rich Diesslin
February/21/2008
@ 2:30 pm

Per my prior point, republishing the cartoons, while fully within the rights of the newspaper to do so, wasn’t the best way to make their statement. Prosecuting those in on the murder plot (a decision by the state, not the newspaper of course) would be. Mike, I disagree with you defending Islam though when, as Rick pointed out, there is no attempt to decry the violence that is the response to cartoons! There are so many human rights violations yet humanitarian groups are afraid to comment for fear of reprisal, or a naive view of appeasement or the lack of guts or other excuses. While it’s practice is diverse, other religions condemn their fringe group’s misdeeds … this should be no exception … but they are silent. Hmmm.

#18 Mike Peterson
February/21/2008
@ 5:04 pm

“Mike, I disagree with you defending Islam though when, as Rick pointed out, there is no attempt to decry the violence that is the response to cartoons!”

Again, I’m not “defending” Islam. I’m attacking stereotyped, cheap, hurtful jokes. But, if we’re not going to do deep research on the topic, let’s at least read the material that starts the discussion.

From an article linked in the original post:

CAIRO â?? Prominent Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi called on Sunday, February 17, for a calm, rational reaction to the reprinting of a Danish cartoon ridiculing Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

“This is an insult to Muslims and an attempt to provoke them,” Qaradawi, the president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, told Al-Jazeera news channel.

Seventeen Danish newspapers reprinted on Wednesday, February 13, a drawing of a man described as Prophet Muhammad with a ticking bomb in his turban.

The move came following the arrest of two Tunisians and a Dane of Moroccan origin for allegedly plotting to kill the cartoonist who drew the caricature.

“Those people are provoking us to go in protests everywhere and Muslims have a right to be angry,” said Qaradawi.

“But we are appealing for the umma [Muslim nation] for a rational, wise and calm response.”

********
I don’t see any reason to prolong the discussion, really, because there have been any number of moderate Muslims who have called for a rational response to a deliberate insult. Whether they made the US network news isn’t a measure of whether or not they spoke up. For years, Protestant and Catholic clergy met and worked for peace in Northern Ireland and it was never as newsworthy as a shot of someone in a balaclava throwing a petrol bomb.

#19 Spirit Wolf
February/21/2008
@ 9:07 pm

I have no love for any religion and their mind–controlling tactics, whether its Muslims rioting over cartoons, or Catholics banning Richard Pullman books because he’s an atheist (as an atheist, I certainly can enjoy Narnia stories!) If the western press refrains from printing something just because someone might be offended, then the censors have won the war.

http://www.spiritwolfshowl.blogspot.com

#20 Eric Burke
February/21/2008
@ 9:21 pm

“The punishment for blasphemy in Islam is death,” Islamist leader Hafiz Hamidullah told a student rally in northwestern Peshawar, where about 500 students demonstrated.
————
Dozens of students from the fundamentalist Jamaat-i-Islami party thrashed a dummy of the cartoonist with shoes and then set it ablaze at a demonstration in the central city of Multan, joined by about 150 local traders.
————
“The Danish media have raised the issue after a gap of two years to trigger anarchy and violence in the Muslim world,” local cleric Abdul Ghaffar told reporters.

American perception of Islam as a religion of hate and Muslims as terrorists is often based on the peeps that are acting as the voicebox for the religion. They seem to speak louder and more often than those within their religion that don’t share their extremist views.The non-violent muslims need to speak out on a regular basis against their violent bretheren or they’ll just continue to be lumped in with them.

Whiiiiich western media may want to address by always addressing these types of “spokespersons” as “muslim extremists” for those that aren’t so willing to look deeper into who is and isn’t an extremist in Islam.

Stories like this also tend to paint all muslims as mindless followers…which while I’m sure isn’t the reality, it’s how situation like are being presented.

Christians and Jews are satired on a regular basis without death threats against the cartoonists and newspaper editors(although I’m sure there are a few exceptions. There is the Westboro bptist Church, aka, “God Hates Fags” church), even by muslims as I have read. But when it comes to satirizing Islam?

I can’t see how you can seperate religion from this issue. It is the issue…

#21 Jameelah Peters
March/29/2008
@ 12:33 pm

“Christians and Jews are satired on a regular basis without death threats against the cartoonists and newspaper editors… But when it comes to satirizing Islam?”

You’re right, Muslims would have a bigger problem if someone insulted Jesus (peace be upon him), who is to them a Messenger of God, than the Christians themselves! Maybe it is a reflection and a wake-up call to the world that has lost the morals of respect and honour. And it is a pure emotion that may be something to be learnt from the Muslims.

The reaction of the violence is not sanctioned by Islam. And so are ‘honour killings’, assassinations, and so forth. But don’t expect a reaction to ANYTHING on this Earth to compare to the reaction to an insult to the Messenger (peace and blessings of God be upon him).

The Muslims today are ignorant, of their religion. Don’t you see them being led like sheep by Hollywood and the American Culture and Lifestyle? They need to GO back to their religion to know that these things are wrong. And people ARE trying. But how can you not understand that NO REACTION, NO ATTEMPT will be more intense than one evoked by the hurt, and in defense of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

These cartoons, this mocking, is not something new. It happened in wholesale to the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) himself. He was called a madman, a sorcerer, a poet, people harmed him physically, threw filth on him, strangled him, and made attempts on his life. He is for us, the example to emulate. If you want to know Islam, see what his reactions were to these insults, and this is example we as Muslims need to follow as well.

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