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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Denmark: Newspaper receives threats for publishing Mohammed cartoons

Danish Muslims condemned the Danish daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten for publishing cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed. On September 30, the paper published 12 cartoons of the prophet (see here). As Jyllands-Posten states, it 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." 12 illustrators answered the paper's call.

Yesterday, a group of 16 Muslim organizations demanded the paper to apologize for printing the cartoons, reports Aljazeera. The group said, "The newspaper has with its action deliberately stepped on Islam's ethical and moral values with the purpose of contempt and ridiculing Muslims' feelings, their holy sites and their religious symbols". The Islam bans any depiction of the prophet. Jyllands-Posten, which received several threats after publishing the cartoons, said it would not apologize for the cartoons and cited the freedom of speech, writes The Guardian.

Already last week, Imam Raed Hlayhel criticized the publication. He stated, "This type of democracy is worthless for Muslims. Muslims will never accept this kind of humiliation. The article has insulted every Muslim in the world. We demand an apology!" Lars Refn, one of the cartoonists, agreed with Hlayhel. As Jyllands-Posten reports, "his cartoon did not feature the prophet Mohammed, but a normal Danish schoolboy Mohammed, who had written a Persian text" saying with Arabic letters "Jyllands-Posten's journalists are a bunch of reactionary provocateurs" on his schoolroom's blackboard.

However, cultural editor Flemming Rose denied that the goal was to provoke Muslim but rather a reaction to artists and writers censuring themselves out of fear of radical Islamists. "Religious feelings cannot demand special treatment in a secular society. In a democracy one must from time to time accept criticism or becoming a laughingstock."

About 150,000 Muslims live in Denmark. They represent 2.8% of the country's population of 5.4 million. With a circulation of 158,000, according to World Press Trends 2005, Jyllands-Posten is Denmark's biggest newspaper.

Sources: Jyllands-Posten, Aljazeera, The Guardian

Posted by Anna-Maria Mende on October 13, 2005 at 11:31 AM | Permalink


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