Growing Islamic Anger Over Mohammed Cartoons (CNSNews.com)
Now what was the fuss over? Danish cartoonists daring to draw critical satires of a Muslim religious figure head. Mohammed joins the crowd of lampooned religious leaders, such as Moses, Jesus and Buddah. I am sure that somewhere, an ancient cartoon of Confucius or Taoism’s Lao Tzuis is just waiting to be discovered, as Solomon once said “there is nothing new under the sun”. KGS
For the government of one small European nation, the new year begins with a deepening crisis: growing anger in the Islamic world over a newspaperÂs decision to publish cartoon depictions of the prophet Mohammed. The Danish daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten last fall published 12 caricatures of Mohammed, causing an uproar that continues to build more than three months later. Muslims consider any images of the prophet who founded Islam in the seventh century to be blasphemous. The published cartoons showed ÂMohammedÂ in various settings. One depicts him wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with its fuse lit, while another has him with eyes blacked out and carrying a large, curved knife, flanked by two women in top-to-toe burqas. In another, the prophet is shown telling a line of suicide bombers seeking entry to paradise: ÂStop, stop, we have run out of virgins.Â The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), representing 57 Muslim states and territories, issued a memorandum on January 1 accusing the Danish government of ÂindifferenceÂ after Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen declined to intervene in the dispute. Rasmussen called it a matter of freedom of speech, echoing the reasoning of the newspaper at the center of the row. Jyllands-Posten had said it wanted to test the limits of free speech at a time it was under threat because of the influence of radical Islam. The OIC dismissed the free speech argument, saying in its statement this week that the publication of the cartoons Âwas meant to disturb and infuriate Muslims, and could not be considered as an innocent behavior falling within the scope of freedom of expression in which everyone believes.Â Claiming that the publication Âhas offended hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world,Â the organization announced that the governments and cultural organizations in all OIC member states had been asked to boycott a forthcoming cultural project on the Middle East, partly funded by the Danish government. Last week, foreign ministers of the Arab League mandated the 22-nation blocÂs secretary-general, Amr Moussa, to take up the issue directly with the Danish government. In a declaration, they voiced Âsurprise and indignation over the Danish governmentÂs reaction, which was disappointing, despite the political, economic, and cultural bonds with the Muslim world.Â Not only did Rasmussen refuse to take up the matter with the newspaper, he also declined to meet with a delegation of ambassadors from 11 Muslim nations who wanted to discuss the ÂtoneÂ of the debate over Islam in Denmark. ÂAs prime minister I have no tool whatsoever to take actions against the media, and I donÂt want that kind of tool,Â he said at the time. The growing pressure – the U.N. and European Union have also waded in, while a group of former Danish ambassadors said the premier was wrong to refuse to meet with the Muslim envoys – appears to have left the government cold. ÂNow it is important to stand our ground and say that we have a separation of powers in Denmark and something called freedom of expression,Â the Copenhagen Post quoted the ruling partyÂs foreign affairs spokesman Troels Lund as saying in response to the Arab League complaints.