/ Jimmy's Corner: Jyllands-Posten and Danish government: Does it have to be that way?

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Sunday, January 29, 2006 

Jyllands-Posten and Danish government: Does it have to be that way?

Jyllands-Posten last September published 12 caricatures of the prophet Mohammed, depicting him as a stereotypical Islamic terrorist.

Ten Muslim ambassadors wrote a joint letter to Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen asking him to take a stance on the issue, which he refused to do.

He said Denmark had a free and independent press and refused to intervene.

But the BBC's Julian Isherwood in Copenhagen says that has not been good enough for the Muslim countries and particularly Saudi Arabia, and there are now fears that the incident could affect Danish businesses.

The Confederation of Danish Industries has now appealed to Jyllands-Posten to print an apology for having commissioned the drawings.

In fact the newspaper has already apologised for, as it has said, wounding the sensitivities of Muslims, but at the same time maintaining its right to print what it likes.

Mr Rasmussen, too, fell just short of an apology in his New Year's speech, speaking of responsibility in exercising freedoms of speech. BBC News
Well the story goes as simple as this, last September Jyllands-Posten (a major Danish newspaper) published a series of caricatures dipecting Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) as a fundamentalist and a terrorist. Such caricatures triggered great anger and shock among Muslims all over the world.Surprisingly, Human Rights organizations took no clear decision about the caricatures (why would they do? The paper did not offend the Jews…). The Arab people are largely conservatives when it comes to religion and ethics. Thus the depiction of the Muslim Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) is largely unaccepted as it simply gives a very dishonest ignorant image of the Prophet. Moreover, a pictorial depiction of Prophet Muhammed is prohibited in Islam. Ten ambassadors of Muslim and Arab countries requested an apology to be published by the newspaper, a request that has been rejected. Even the Danish Prime Minister quietly added that he cannot tell them what to write and what not to.

In reaction to the frustrating Danish reply, a great boycott to all Danish products and businesses has begun in the Middle East. If you do not know, Danish food products are (or may be were) very popular especially in the Gulf area. The boycott caused a great change in the Danish mind-set about the problem that endangered the Danish relationships with Muslim countries. The newspaper apologized, the Danish Prime Minister Mr. Rasmussen asked for “responsibility” when exercising freedom of expression. Moreover, a large food product’s company named Arla posted apologies in all Arab newspapers tried to win the customers back.

Here comes the question: Does it always have to be that way? Why didn’t the Danish government and the newspaper just apologize and put emphasis on responsibility when it comes to freedom of expression (especially when this freedom of expression does others great harm) form the very beginning?

MY PART: Well everybody, can you see how it is effective to use unarmed ways of resistance and opposition?? Imagine with me this: a suicide bomber destroys some Danish building somewhere protesting against the caricatures… can you imagine how different the result could be??

I hope it is just a good omen that MLK’s and Gandhi’s way of resistance and opposition is somewhat alive.

This is very interesting site... »

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