Freedom of speech vs Islam
The following story is slowly making it into world news, but deserves mentioning nevertheless:
A Muslim cleric in Århus demands that daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten apologises for publishing cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed.
Daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten is facing accusations that it deliberately provoked and insulted Muslims by publishing twelve cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed.
The newspaper urged cartoonists to send in drawings of the prophet, after an author complained that nobody dared to illustrate his book on Mohammed. The author claimed that illustrators feared that extremist Muslims would find it sacrilegious to break the Islamic ban on depicting Mohammed.
How an islamic ban is supposed to have any impact on the 97% of the Danish population that arent moslems isnt explained. But there is more:
Twelve illustrators heeded the newspaper's call, and sent in cartoons of the prophet, which were published in the newspaper one week ago.
Daily newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad said one Muslim, at least, had taken offence.
'This type of democracy is worthless for Muslims,' Imam Raed Hlayhel wrote in a statement.
'Muslims will never accept this kind of humiliation. The article has insulted every Muslim in the world. We demand an apology!'
Jyllands-Posten described the cartoons as a defence for 'secular democracy and right to expression'. ...
Flemming Rose, cultural editor at the newspaper, denied that the purpose had been to provoke Muslim. It was simply a reaction to the rising number of situations where artists and writers censured themselves out of fear of radical Islamists, he said.
'Religious feelings cannot demand special treatment in a secular society,' he added. 'In a democracy one must from time to time accept criticism or becoming a laughingstock.'
It is not the first time Hlayhel has created headlines in Denmark. One year ago, he became the target of criticism from Muslims and non-Muslims alike, when he said in a sermon during Friday prayer, that Danish women's behaviour and dress invited rape.
Make that "that Danish women had it coming when they were raped".
The stand Jyllandsposten is making has to be commended, but it remains to be seen whether it will eventually give in. Today the paper had to call in security guards after its employees received death threats:
Death threats have forced daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten to hire security guards to protect its employees, after printing twelve cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed. ...
'We have taken a few necessary measures in the situation, as some people seem to have taken offence and are sending threats of different kinds,' the newspaper's editor-in-chief, Carsten Juste, told national broadcaster DR.
The same day as the newspaper published the cartoons, it received a threatening telephone call against 'one of the twelve illustrators', as the caller said. Shortly afterwards, police arrested a 17-year-old, who admitted to phoning in the threat.
Since then, journalists and editors alike have received threats by email and the telephone. The newspaper told its staff to remain alert, but then decided to hire security guards to protect its Copenhagen office.
'Up until now, we have only had receptionists in the lobby. But we don't feel that they should sit down there by themselves, so we posted a guard there as well,' Juste said.
The funny thing is, that reality gains more and more resemblance to the carricatures. Here is one of them: