Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Newspapers across Europe are reprinting the Jyllands-Posten cartoons:

Newspapers across Europe have reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to show support for a Danish paper whose cartoons have sparked Muslim outrage. France Soir, Germany's Die Welt, La Stampa in Italy and El Periodico in Spain all carried some of the drawings.

Their publication in Denmark has led to protests in Arab nations, diplomatic sanctions and death threats.

Islamic tradition bans depictions of the Prophet, but media watchdogs defend press freedom to publish the images.

Reporters Without Borders said the reaction in the Arab world "betrays a lack of understanding" of press freedom as "an essential accomplishment of democracy."

France Soir said it had reprinted the full set to show that "religious dogma" had no place in a secular society.

Under the headline "Yes, we have the right to caricature God", the daily carried a front-page cartoon of Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian gods floating on a cloud. It shows the Christian deity saying:

"Don't complain, Muhammad, we've all been caricatured here."

Responding to France Soir's move, the French government said it supported press freedom - but added that beliefs and religions must be respected.

French Muslims spoke out against the pictures.

The president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), Dalil Boubakeur, described France Soir's move as an act of "real provocation towards the millions of Muslims living in France".

Theologian Sohaib Bencheikh said "one must find the borders between freedom of expression and freedom to protect the sacred".

"Unfortunately, the West has lost its sense of the sacred," he wrote in a column accompanying the cartoons in France Soir.

(Cue Beavis and Butthead doing wanking-off motion.)

The publication in Denmark of the images last September has provoked diplomatic sanctions and threats from Islamic militants across the Muslim world. Dozens of protesters from a small Islamic party demonstrated in front of the Danish embassy in Ankara on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.

Ministers from 17 Arab countries on Tuesday urged Denmark's government to punish Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the caricatures, for what they described as an "offence to Islam".

Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated this week in the Gaza Strip. Syria and Saudi Arabia have recalled their ambassadors to Denmark, while Libya said it was closing its embassy in Copenhagen and Iraq summoned the Danish envoy to condemn the cartoons.

The offices of Jyllands-Posten, had to be evacuated on Tuesday because of a bomb threat.

The paper had apologised a day earlier for causing offence to Muslims, although it maintained it was legal under Danish law to print them.

How about that? Jyllands-Posten apologizes and the next day there's a bomb threat. What does that tell you?

Let me say this, good job Europe. I have never been so proud to be a Westerner. We all owe Europe for this.