Before this it was “Wonderful, Wonderful, Copenhagen!”, Hans Christian Andersen, a mermaid, bacon, pastry, and jokes about blondes and its famous lager. Now this small country with 4% muslim population (and it needs to be said a political current questioning the strictness ofimmigration laws)
will be forever associated with 12 cartoons (and 3 more even more awful ones slipped into the dosssier which circulated around the Middle East courtesy of a Denmarkian Imman.)
...the cartoons were not an attack on Islam. They were instead a protest against the violent intimidation being practised in its name after the author of a (totally inoffensive) children’s book about Islam had difficulty in finding an illustrator because artists feared they might be attacked.
Children's book that started it all is flying off the shelves
But this response (the only way cartoonists knew how to reply?) was ridiculous. A few paragraphs explaining the difficulty would have been preferrable. It would hardly have been reported. One wonders what said cartoonists – pretty paltry ones by these 12 examples - are thinking now (9 Feb 06 ....from their places of hiding).
Plus: we have learnt J-P commissioned the cartoons not from the author or cartoonist involved in the book on Islam, but from others. So the paper has the most to answer for in the publishing of cartoons by a selection of other cartoonists. An obvious an act of provocation.
Though the offending cartoons were commissioned, earlier
Danish paper rejected Jesus cartoons
Guardian 6 February 2006
In April 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series of unsolicited cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ to Jyllands-Posten.TAKING THE DEBATE FURTHER
Zieler received an email back from the paper's Sunday editor, Jens Kaiser, which said: "I don't think Jyllands-Posten's readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore, I will not use them.
A wide range of opinion can be found at OpenDemocracy:
which begins with Roger Scruton, British philosopher and Conservative.
The liberal dilemma: integration or vilification?
The origins of the infamous Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed do not lie in an attempt to offer contemporary comment, let alone satire, but the desire to illustrate a childrens' book. While such pictures would have been distasteful to many Muslims – hence why no illustrator could be found – the cartoons are in an entirely different league of offence. They are all unfriendly to Islam and Muslims and the most notorious implicate the prophet with terrorism. If the message was meant to be that non-Muslims have the right to draw Mohammed, it has come out very differently: that the prophet of Islam was a terrorist.
To claim one of the ridiculous cartoons depict the Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist is to show how wide is the cultural divide as much as the religious one. Most westerners would assume this bomb symbolised not some slur on the man himself but on some of his supposed adherents. This is how I interpeted it, and am entitled to my view, though it does not ask the question of my Prophet (if I had one) so I can take more detached view of it. However, the fact that so many muslim commentators claim it is both an insult to the Prophet, Islam and muslims as a whole, is patently ridiculous. This cartoon is certainly provocative (and unnecessarly) but obviously under the rublic of "Is Islam a religion of peace or what?" A question that needs an answer. The west knows to its cost that certain people who claim to be muslim think they at violent war with the west. That is the problem which concerns them more than what Islam is or is not to its adherents.
The cartoons are both in obvious bad taste, certainly unnecessary, and widen the cultural divide, let along the relious one. But muslims must consider that if the Jehad against the west had not been instigated, as exemplified by 9/11, America and western countries would not now be as here
insisiting on cultral restrictions for the sake of social harmony. What next? All orthodox Jews can't wear dreadlocks and black hats?
Neil Ascherson (anthor Opendemocracy piece) is instructive here:
A carnival of stupidity
Islam a a religion (and indeed a way of life) as a whole has been so intertwined with other issues such as the rights of Palestinians and the killing of innocent Iraqi civilians (who also happen to be muslims) that no debate on TV in the U, for example, does nothave a simple question answered by a muslim leader like Ikbal Sacranie without prefacing his remarks with some linkage of this type. So in essence it is "Oh, yes, we recognise we gain advantages by living in the west, and we respect your laws, but look what you do to the Palestinians", which though an intractible problem is not specifically a muslim problem, simply involing a people which happens to be muslim.
This type of arguing has turned the peaceful religion into a political movement in the eyes of many westerners. And of course there has always been the argument that Islam was always more than a' just a religion', a thought which concentration on Islam in recent years has brought to the attention of people who knew little of the faith. We are now in a situation where non-muslims will know as much about the faith as the average muslim, as they sit of an evening pouring over the Koran, Hadith and other commentries, in the quest for answers to questions they would have never thought to ask before.
Ramadan, 38, is the grandson(maternal side) of Hassan al-Banna , founder, in 1928, of the Muslim Brotherhood...
Wiki: Tariq Ramadan