Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy

The controversial cartoons of Muhammad, as they were first published in English version). The headline, "Muhammeds ansigt", means "The face of Muhammad".

The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy (or Muhammad cartoons crisis) ( Danish: Muhammedkrisen) [1] began after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 editorial cartoons on 30 September 2005, most of which depicted Muhammad, the principal figure of the religion of Islam. The newspaper announced that this was an attempt to contribute to the debate about criticism of Islam and self-censorship. Muslim groups in Denmark complained, and the issue eventually led to protests around the world, including violent demonstrations and riots in some Muslim countries. [2]

Islam has a strong tradition of aniconism, and it is considered highly blasphemous in most Islamic traditions to visually depict Muhammad. This, compounded with a sense that the cartoons insulted Muhammad and Islam, offended many Muslims. Danish Muslim organisations that objected to the depictions responded by petitioning the embassies of Islamic countries and the Danish government to take action in response, and filed a judicial complaint against the newspaper, which was dismissed in January 2006. After the Danish government refused to meet with diplomatic representatives of the Muslim countries and would not intervene in the case, a number of Danish imams visited the Middle East in late 2005 to raise awareness of the issue. They presented a dossier containing the twelve cartoons from the Jyllands-Posten, and other information some of which was found to be falsified. [3] [4]

As a result, the issue received prominent media attention in some Muslim-majority countries, leading to protests across the world in late January and early February 2006. Some escalated into violence resulting in more than 200 reported deaths, attacks on Danish and other European diplomatic missions, attacks on churches and Christians, and a major international boycott. Some groups responded to the outpouring of protest by endorsing the Danish policies, launching "Buy Danish" campaigns and other displays of support. The cartoons were reprinted in newspapers around the world both in a sense of journalistic solidarity and as an illustration in what became a major news story.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen described the controversy as Denmark's worst international relations incident since the Second World War. The incident came at a time of heightened political and social tensions between Muslim majority countries and Western countries, following several, high-profile Islamic terrorist attacks in the West—including the September 11 attacks—and Western military interventions in Muslim countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The cartoons and the reaction to them aggravated already-strained relations. The relationship between Muslims in Denmark and the broader society was similarly at a low-point, and the conflict came to symbolise the misunderstandings between the Islamic community and the rest of society. In the years since, terrorist plots claiming to be in retaliation for the cartoons have been planned, and some executed, against targets affiliated with newspapers that published the cartoons or Denmark.

Supporters said that the publication of the cartoons was a legitimate exercise of free speech regardless of the validity of the expression, that it was important to openly discuss Islam without fear or that the cartoons made important points about topical issues. The Danish tradition of relatively high tolerance for freedom of speech became a focus of some attention. The controversy ignited a debate about the limits of freedom of expression in all societies, religious tolerance and the relationship of Muslim minorities with their broader societies in the West, and relations between the Islamic World in general and the West. Critics of the cartoons described them as Islamophobic, racist, or baiting and blasphemous to Muslims, possibly intended to humiliate a Danish minority. Others saw them as a manifestation of ignorance about the history of Western imperialism, double standards, and stereotyping.

Timeline

Debate about self-censorship

On 16 September 2005, Danish news service Ritzau published an article discussing the difficulty encountered by the writer Kåre Bluitgen, who was initially unable to find an illustrator prepared to work on his children's book The Qur'an and the life of the Prophet Muhammad (Danish:Koranen og profeten Muhammeds liv). [5] [6] Three artists declined Bluitgen's proposal out of fear of reprisals.

One artist agreed to assist anonymously; he said that he was afraid for his and his family's safety. [7] According to Bluitgen, one artist declined due to the murder in Amsterdam of the film director Theo van Gogh the year before; another cited the attack in October 2004 on a lecturer at the Carsten Niebuhr Institute at the University of Copenhagen; he was assaulted by five assailants who opposed his reading of the Qur'an to non-Muslims during a lecture. [8] [9] The story gained some traction, and the major Danish newspapers reported the story the following day. [8]

The supposed refusals from these first three artists to participate was seen as evidence of self-censorship out of fear of violence from Islamists, which led to much debate in Denmark. [8] [10] The Danish news paper Politiken stated at February 12, 2006, that they asked Bluitgen to put them in touch with the artists, so the claim that none of them dared to work with him could be proved. The author refused, and nobody has ever been able to confirm whether the incident is properly described. [11]

Publication

At an editorial meeting of Jyllands-Posten ("The Jutland Post", Denmark's largest daily newspaper) on 19 September, reporter Stig Olesen mooted the idea of asking the members of the newspaper illustrators union if they would be willing to draw Muhammad. [12] This would be an experiment to see the degree to which professional illustrators felt threatened. Flemming Rose, culture editor, was interested in the idea and wrote to the 42 members of the union asking them to draw their interpretations of Muhammad. [10] [13]

15 illustrators responded to the letter; three declined to participate, one did not know how to contribute to what he called a vague project, one thought the project was stupid and badly paid, and one said he was afraid. [14] 12 drawings had been submitted—three from newspaper employees and two which did not directly show Muhammad. [14] The editors thought that some of the illustrators who had not responded were employed by other newspapers and were thus contractually prohibited from working for Jyllands-Posten. In the end, editor-in-chief Carsten Juste decided that given its inconclusive results, the story was better suited as an opinion piece rather than a news story, and it was decided to publish it in the culture section, entirely under the direction of editor Flemming Rose.[ citation needed]

Peter Hervik, a professor of Migration Studies, has since written that the results of this experiment disproved the idea that self-censorship was a serious problem in Denmark because the overwhelming majority of cartoonists had either responded positively or refused for contractual or philosophical reasons. [15] Carsten Juste has said that the survey "lacked validity and the story fell short of sound journalistic basis." [15] Hervik said that this, along with the fact that the most controversial cartoons were drawn by the newspaper's staff cartoonists, demonstrates that the newspaper's "desire to provoke and insult Danish Muslims exceeded the wish to test the self-censorship of Danish cartoonists." [15]

Rose wrote the editorial which accompanied the cartoons in which he argued there had been several recent cases of self-censorship, weighing freedom of speech against the fear of confronting issues about Islam, so he thought it was legitimate news story. Among the incidents he cited were: the translators of a book critical of Islam did not want their names published; the Tate gallery in London withdrew an installation by the avant-garde artist John Latham depicting the Quran, Bible and Talmud torn to pieces, and comedian Frank Hvam said in an interview with Jyllands-Posten that he would hypothetically dare to urinate on the Bible on television, but not on the Quran. Rose also mentioned the case of a Danish imam who had met with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and "called on the prime minister to interfere with the press in order to get more positive coverage of Islam." [10]

On 30 September 2005, Jyllands-Posten published an article entitled "Muhammeds ansigt" ("The face of Muhammad") incorporating the cartoons. [16] The article consisted of the 12 cartoons and an explanatory text, in which Rose wrote:

Modern, secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They demand a special position, insisting on special consideration of their own religious feelings. It is incompatible with contemporary democracy and freedom of speech, where one must be ready to put up with insults, mockery and ridicule. It is certainly not always attractive and nice to look at, and it does not mean that religious feelings should be made fun of at any price, but that is of minor importance in the present context. ... we are on our way to a slippery slope where no-one can tell how the self-censorship will end. That is why Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten has invited members of the Danish editorial cartoonists union to draw Muhammad as they see him.

— Flemming Rose, [16]

Later, Rose explained his intent further in The Washington Post: "The cartoonists treated Islam the same way they treat Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions. And by treating Muslims in Denmark as equals they made a point: We are integrating you into the Danish tradition of satire because you are part of our society, not strangers. The cartoons are including, rather than excluding, Muslims." [10] The publication of the cartoons was also accompanied by an editorial titled 'Truslen fra mørket ('The Threat from the Darkness) condemning Islamic spiritual leaders "who feel entitled to interpret the prophet's word, and cannot abide the insult that comes from being the object of intelligent satire." [15] In October 2005, Politiken, another leading Danish newspaper, published its own poll of thirty-one of the forty-three members of the Danish cartoonist association. Twenty-three said they would be willing to draw Muhammad. One had doubts, one would not be willing because of fear of possible reprisals, and six artists would not be willing because they respected the Muslim ban on depicting Muhammad. [17]

Description of the cartoons

The 12 cartoons were drawn by 12 professional cartoonists in Denmark. Four of the cartoons have Danish texts, one deliberately evades the issue and depicts a school child in Denmark named Muhammad rather than the Islamic prophet, one is based on a Danish cultural expression, and one includes a Danish politician.[ citation needed]

Response

The immediate responses to the publication included newspaper sellers refusing to distribute that day's paper. [18] In the following days, the cartoons received significant attention in other Danish press outlets. According to Jytte Klausen, "most people groaned that the newspaper was at it again, bashing Muslims. The instinct was to split the blame." [19] Berlingske-Tidende criticised the 'gag', but also said that Islam should be openly criticised. Politiken attacked Rose's account of growing self-censorship; it also surveyed Danish cartoonists and said that self-censorship was not generally perceived as a problem. [19] On October 4, a local teenager telephoned the newspaper offices threatening to kill the cartoonists, but he was arrested after his mother turned him in. [20]

Shortly after the publication, a group of Islamic leaders formed a protest group. Raed Hlayhel called a meeting to discuss their strategy, which took place in Copenhagen a few days after the cartoons appeared. [21] The Islamic Faith Community and four mosques from around the country were represented. The meeting established 19 "action points" to try to influence public opinion about the cartoons. Ahmed Akkari from an mosque in Aarhus was designated the group's spokesman. The group planned a variety of political activities, including launching a legal complaint against the newspaper, writing letters to media outlets inside and outside Denmark, contacting politicians and diplomatic representatives, organising a protest in Copenhagen, and mobilising Danish Muslims through text messages and mosques. [21] A one-day strike and sleep-in were planned, but never took place. [21] A peaceful protest, which attracted about 3,500 demonstrators, was held in Copenhagen on 14 October 2005. [22]

Having received petitions from Danish imams, eleven ambassadors from Muslim-majority countries—Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Libya, Morocco—and the Head of the Palestinian General Delegation [15] asked for a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen on 12 October 2005. They wanted to discuss what they perceived as an "on-going smearing campaign in Danish public circles and media against Islam and Muslims". [23] In a letter, the ambassadors mentioned the issue of the Muhammad cartoons, a recent indictment against Radio Holger, [24] and statements by MP Louise Frevert [25] and the Minister of Culture Brian Mikkelsen. [15] [26] It concluded:

We deplore these statements and publications and urge Your Excellency's government to take all those responsible to task under law of the land in the interest of inter-faith harmony, better integration and Denmark's overall relations with the Muslim world.

— Letter from 11 ambassadors, [27]

The government answered with a letter without addressing the request for a meeting: "The freedom of expression has a wide scope and the Danish government has no means of influencing the press. However, Danish legislation prohibits acts or expressions of blasphemous or discriminatory nature. The offended party may bring such acts or expressions to court, and it is for the courts to decide in individual cases." [28]

The refusal to meet the ambassadors was later prominently criticised by the Danish political opposition, twenty-two Danish ex-ambassadors and the Prime Minister's fellow party member, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Uffe Ellemann-Jensen. [29] Hervik wrote, "While it is certainly true that the prime minister did not have a legal right to intervene in the editorial process, he could have publicly (as an enactment of free speech) dissociated himself from the publication, from the content of the cartoons, from Rose's explanatory text, from Jyllands-Posten's editorial of the same day, and from the general association of Islam with terrorism. Rasmussen did none of those. Instead, he used his interview [on 30 October 2005] to endorse Jyllands-Posten's position and the act of publishing the cartoons." [30]

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Arab League also wrote a joint letter to the Prime Minister expressing alarm about the cartoons and other recent incidents and insults committed by Danish politicians. [22] The Muslim countries continued to work diplomatically to try to have the issue—and the other issues mentioned in their initial letter—addressed by the Danish government. [31] Turkey and Egypt were particularly active. [31] Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Copenhagen in November in an encounter which the Turkish press described as a crisis. [32] Erdogan clashed with Rasmussen over the cartoons as well as Roj TV—a television station affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party—being allowed to broadcast from Denmark. After trying to engage the Danish government diplomatically, Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and the secretary-generals of the OIC and the Arab League sent letters to the OSCE, OECD, and EU foreign policy coordinator complaining about Danish inaction. [32]

Judicial investigation of Jyllands-Posten (October 2005 – January 2006)

On 27 October 2005, representatives of the Muslim organisations which had complained about the cartoons in early October filed a complaint with the Danish police claiming that Jyllands-Posten had committed an offence under section 140 and 266b of the Danish Criminal Code, precipitating an investigation by the public prosecutor. [33]

  • Section 140 [34] of the criminal code, known as the blasphemy law, prohibits disturbing public order by publicly ridiculing or insulting the dogmas of worship of any lawfully existing religious community in Denmark. Only one case, a 1938 case involving an anti-Semitic group, has ever resulted in a sentence. The most recent case was in 1971 when a programme director of Danmarks Radio was accused in a case involving a song about the Christian god, [35] but was found not guilty. [36]
  • Section 266b [37] criminalises insult, threat or degradation of natural persons, by publicly and with malice attacking their race, colour of skin, national or ethnic roots, faith or sexual orientation.[ citation needed]

On 6 January 2006, the Regional Public Prosecutor in Viborg discontinued the investigation as he found no basis for concluding that the cartoons constituted a criminal offence because the publication concerned a subject of public interest and Danish case law extends editorial freedom to journalists regarding subjects of public interest. He stated that in assessing what constitutes an offence, the right to freedom of speech must be taken into consideration, and said that freedom of speech must be exercised with the necessary respect for other human rights, including the right to protection against discrimination, insult and degradation. [33] In a new hearing resulting from a complaint about the original decision, the Director of Public Prosecutors in Denmark agreed with the previous ruling. [38]

Danish Imams tour the Middle East

This picture of a French pig-squealing contestant was unrelated to the Muhammed drawings, but was included in the imams' dossier. Original caption included in the dossier: "Her er det rigtige billede af Muhammed", meaning "Here is the real image of Muhammad." [39]

In December, after failing to make any progress with the Danish government or the newspaper, the "Committee for Prophet Honouring" decided to gain support and leverage outside of Denmark by meeting directly with religious and political leaders in the Middle East. They created a 43-page dossier (commonly known as the Akkari-Laban dossier, after two leading imams ( Arabic: ملف عكّاري لبن‎)) containing the cartoons and supporting materials for their meetings. [40]

The dossier, finalised for the group's trip to Lebanon in mid-December, contained the following: [41] [42]

  • An introduction describing the situation of Muslims in Denmark, the country itself, background on the cartoons, and the group's action plan. [41]
  • Clippings of the articles and editorials from 30 September 2005 that accompanied the cartoons and a copy of the page with cartoons translated into Arabic; [41]
  • An 11-point declaration by Raed Hlayhel against alleged Western double standards about free speech; he wrote that Islam and Muhammed are ridiculed and insulted under the guise of free speech while parallel insults would be unacceptable; [41]
  • 11 of the 12 cartoons from the paper itself blown up to A4 size and translated. The cartoon with Muhammad and the sword was not shown here, only in the overview page; [41]
  • Copies of letters and the group's press releases; [41]
  • Arabic translation of the Jyllands-Posten editorial of 12 October discussing the early controversy and refusing to apologise; [41]
  • 10 satirical cartoons from another Danish newspaper, Weekendavisen, published in November 2005 in response to the Jyllands-Posten controversy, which Kasem Ahmad, spokesman for Islamisk trossamfund, called "even more offensive" than the original 12 cartoons despite being intended as satire. He said that they were part of a broader campaign to denigrate Muslims and were gratuitously provocative; [41] [43]
  • Three additional pictures that the dossier's authors alleged were sent to Muslims in Denmark, said to be indicative of the "hate they feel subjected to in Denmark"' [40] [41]
  • Some clippings from Egyptian newspapers discussing the group's first visit to Egypt. [41]

The dossier also contained "falsehood about alleged maltreatment of Muslims in Denmark" and the "tendentious lie that Jyllands-Posten was a government-run newspaper". [44]

The imams said that the three additional images were sent anonymously by mail to Muslims who were participating in an online debate on Jyllands-Posten's website, [45] and were apparently included to illustrate the perceived atmosphere of Islamophobia in which they lived. [46] On 1 February, BBC World incorrectly reported that one of the images had been published in Jyllands-Posten. [47] This image was later found to be a wire-service photograph of a contestant at a French pig-squealing contest in the Trie-sur-Baise's annual festival. [3] [48] One of the other two additional images (a photograph) portrayed a Muslim being mounted by a dog while praying, and the other (a cartoon) portrayed Muhammad as a demonic paedophile.[ citation needed]

Experts—including Helle Lykke Nielsen—who have examined the dossier said that it was broadly accurate from a technical point of view but contained a few falsehoods and could easily have misled people not familiar with Danish society, an assessment which the imams have since agreed to. [4] Some mistakes were that Islam is not officially recognised as a religion in Denmark (it is), that the cartoons are the result of a contest, and that Anders Fogh Rasmussen in his role as Prime Minister gave a medal to Ayaan Hirsi Ali (he gave one in his capacity as party leader of the Liberal Party). The imams also claimed to speak on behalf of 28 organisations, many of which later denied any connection to them. [49] Additions such as the "pig" photograph may have polarised the situation (the association of a person and a pig is considered very insulting in Islamic culture), as they were confused for the cartoons published in the newspaper. [3] Muslims who met with the group later said Akkari's delegation had given them the impression that Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen somehow controlled or owned Jyllands-Posten. [40]

Delegations of imams circulated the dossier on visits to Egypt, Syria and Lebanon in early December 2005, presenting their case to many influential religious and political leaders and asking for support. [40] The group was given high level access on these trips through their contacts in the Egyptian and Lebanese embassies. [50] The dossier was distributed informally on 7–8 December 2005 at a summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Mecca, with many heads of state in attendance. The OIC issued a condemnation of the cartoons: "[We express our] concern at rising hatred against Islam and Muslims and condemned the recent incident of desecration of the image of the Holy Prophet Mohamed." The communique also attacked the practice of "using the freedom of expression as a pretext for defaming religions." [51] Eventually an official communiqué was issued requesting that the United Nations adopt a binding resolution banning contempt of religious beliefs and providing for sanctions to be imposed on contravening countries or institutions. [52] The attention of the OIC is said to have led to media coverage which brought the issue to public attention in many Muslim countries. [51]

International protests

Protests against the cartoons were held around the world in late January and February 2006. [53] [54] Many of these turned violent, resulting in at least 200 deaths globally, according to the New York Times. [55] Large demonstrations were held in many majority-Muslim countries, and almost every country with significant Muslim minorities, including Nigeria, [56] Canada, [57] India, [58] the United States, [58] the United Kingdom (see: 2006 Islamist demonstration outside the Embassy of Denmark in London), [56] Australia, [59] New Zealand, [60] Kenya, [61] and throughout continental Europe. [62] In many instances, demonstrations against the cartoons became intertwined with those about other local political grievances. [63] Muslims in the north of Nigeria used protests to attack local Christians as part of an ongoing battle for influence, radical Sunnis used protests against governments in the Middle East, and authoritarian governments used them to bolster their religious and nationalist credentials in internal disputes; these associated political motives explain the intensity of some of the demonstrations. [63]

Several Western embassies were attacked; [64] the Danish and Austrian embassies in Lebanon and the Norwegian and Danish representations in Syria were severely damaged. [65] Christians and Christian churches were also targets of violent retribution in some places. [66] Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State of the United States, accused Iran and Syria of organising many of the protests in Iran, Syria and Lebanon. [67] However, Hezbollah, ally of Syria and Iran in Lebanon, has condemned the attack on the Danish Embassy. [68] Several death threats were made against the cartoonists and the newspaper, [69] resulting in the cartoonists' going into hiding. [70] Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen called it Denmark's worst international relations incident since the Second World War. [71]

Peaceful counter-demonstrations in support of the cartoons, Denmark, and freedom of speech were also held. [72] Three national ministers lost their jobs amid the controversy: Roberto Calderoli in Italy for his support of the cartoons, Laila Freivalds in Sweden for her role in shutting down a website displaying the cartoons, [73] and the Libyan Interior Minister after a riot in Benghazi in response to Calderolli's comments, which led to the deaths of at least 10 people. [74] In India, Haji Yaqoob Qureishi, a minister in the Uttar Pradesh state government, announced a cash reward for anyone who beheaded "the Danish cartoonist" who caricatured Mohammad. Subsequently, a case was filed against him in the Lucknow district court and eminent Muslim scholars in India were split between those supporting punishment for the cartoonists and those calling for the minister's sacking. [75] As of 2011, legal action was ongoing. [76]

Boycott

An example of one of the banners being posted across the web to encourage support for Danish goods.

A consumer boycott was organised in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, [77] and other Middle Eastern countries against Denmark. [78] On 5 March 2006, Ayman al-Zawahiri of Al-Qaeda urged all Muslims to boycott not only Denmark, but also Norway, France, Germany and all others that have "insulted the Prophet Mohammed" by printing cartoons depicting him. [79] Consumer goods companies were the most vulnerable to the boycott; among companies heavily affected were Arla Foods, Novo Nordisk, and Danisco. Arla, Denmark's biggest exporter to the Middle East, lost 10 million kroner (1.6 million US dollars, 1.3 million euros) per day in the initial weeks of the boycott. [80] Scandinavian tourism to Egypt fell by between 20–30% in the first two months of 2006. [81]

On 9 September 2006, BBC News reported that the Muslim boycott of Danish goods had reduced Denmark's total exports by 15.5% between February and June. This was attributed to an approximated 50% decline in exports to the Middle East. The BBC said, "The cost to Danish businesses was around 134 million euros ($170m), when compared with the same period last year, the statistics showed." [82] However, The Guardian newspaper in the UK said, "While Danish milk products were dumped in the Middle East, fervent right-wing Americans started buying Bang & Olufsen stereos and Lego. In the first quarter of this year Denmark's exports to the US soared 17%." [83] Overall the boycott did not have a significant effect on the Danish economy. [84]

Response to protests and reprintings

In response to the initial protests from Muslim groups, Jyllands-Posten published an open letter to the citizens of Saudi Arabia on its website, in Danish and in Arabic, apologising for any offence the drawings may have caused but defending the right of the newspaper to publish them. [85] A second open letter "to the honourable Fellow Citizens of the Muslim World", dated 8 February 2006, had a Danish version, [86] an Arabic version, and an English version. It said,

Serious misunderstandings in respect of some drawings of the Prophet Mohammed have led to much anger ... Please allow me to correct these misunderstandings. On 30 September last year, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten published 12 different cartoonists' idea of what the Prophet Mohammed might have looked like ... In our opinion, the 12 drawings were sober. They were not intended to be offensive, nor were they at variance with Danish law, but they have indisputably offended many Muslims for which we apologise. [87]

Six of the cartoons were first reprinted by the Egyptian newspaper El Fagr on 17 October 2005, [88] along with an article strongly denouncing them, but this did not provoke any condemnations or other reactions from religious or government authorities. Between October 2005 and early January 2006, examples of the cartoons were reprinted in major European newspapers from the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, Romania, and Switzerland. After the beginning of major international protests, they were re-published around the globe, but primarily in continental Europe. The cartoons were not reprinted in any major newspapers in Canada, [89] the United Kingdom, [90] or many in the United States [91] where articles covered the story without including them.[ citation needed]

Reasons for the decision not to publish the cartoons widely in the United States—despite that country's permissive free speech laws—included increased religious sensitivity, higher integration of Muslims into mainstream society, and a desire to be tactful considering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. [92]

Numerous newspapers were closed and editors dismissed, censured, or arrested for their decision or intention to re-publish the cartoons. In some countries, including South Africa, [93] publication of the cartoons was banned by government or court orders.[ citation needed]

The OIC denounced calls for the death of the Danish cartoonists. The OIC's Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said at the height of crisis that the violent protests were "un-Islamic" and appealed for calm. He also denounced calls for a boycott of Danish goods. [94] Twelve high-profile writers, among them Salman Rushdie, signed a letter called Manifesto: Together Facing the New Totalitarianism which was published in a number of newspapers. It said that the violence sparked by the publication of cartoons satirising Muhammad "shows the need to fight for secular values and freedom." [95]

Later developments

Numerous violent plots related to the cartoons have been discovered in the years since the main protests in early 2006. These have primarily targeted editor Flemming Rose, [96] cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, the property or employees of Jyllands-Posten and other newspapers that printed the cartoons, [97] [98] and representatives of the Danish state. [99] Westergaard has been the subject of several attacks or planned attacks and now lives under special police protection. On 1 January 2010, police used firearms to stop a would-be assassin in Westergaard's home. [100] [101] In February 2011, the attacker, a 29-year-old Somalian man, was sentenced to nine years in prison. [a] [102] [103] In 2010, three men based in Norway were arrested on suspicion that they were planning a terror attack against Jyllands-Posten or Kurt Westergaard; two of the men were convicted. [104] In the United States, David Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana were convicted of planning terrorism against Jyllands-Posten and were sentenced in 2013. [105]

Naser Khader, a Muslim Danish MP, founded an organisation called Democratic Muslims in Denmark in response to the controversy. He was worried that what he believed to be Islamists were seen to speak for all Muslims in Denmark. He said that there is still a sharp division within the Danish Muslim community between Islamists and moderates, and that Denmark had become a target for Islamists. He said that some good came from the crisis because "the cartoon crisis made clear that Muslims are not united and that there is a real difference between the Islamists and people like myself. Danes were shown that talk of 'the Muslims' was too monolithic." He also said that the crisis served as a wake-up call about radical Islam to European countries. [106]

In 2009, when Brandeis professor Jytte Klausen wanted to publish a book about the controversy titled The Cartoons that Shook the World, Yale University Press refused to publish the cartoons and other representations of Muhammad out of fear for the safety of its staff. [107] In response, another company published Muhammad: The "Banned" Images in what it called "a 'picture book'—or errata to the bowdlerized version of Klausen's book." [108] Five years to the day after the cartoons were first published in Jyllands-Posten, they were republished in Denmark in Rose's book Tyranny of Silence. [109] When the book's international edition was published in the United States in 2014 it did not include the cartoons. [110]

In 2013, The Islamic Society in Denmark stated that they regretted their visit to Lebanon and Egypt in 2006 to show the caricatures because the consequences had been much more serious than they expected. [111] In August 2013, Ahmed Akkari expressed his regret for his role in the Imams' tour of the Middle East, stating "I want to be clear today about the trip: It was totally wrong. At that time, I was so fascinated with this logical force in the Islamic mindset that I could not see the greater picture. I was convinced it was a fight for my faith, Islam." Still a practising Muslim, he said that printing the cartoons was ok and he personally apologised to the cartoonist Westergaard. Westergaard responded by saying "I met a man who has converted from being an Islamist to become a humanist who understands the values of our society. To me, he is really sincere, convincing and strong in his views." A spokesman for the Islamic Society of Denmark said "It is still not OK to publish drawings of Muhammad. We have not changed our position." [112]

Charlie Hebdo controversies & attacks

The French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo was taken to court for publishing the cartoons; it was acquitted of charges that it incited hatred. [113] The incident marked the beginning of a number of violent incidents related to the cartoons of Muhammad at the newspaper over the following decade.

On 2 November 2011, Charlie Hebdo was firebombed right before its 3 November issue was due; the issue was called Charia Hebdo and satirically featured Muhammad as guest-editor. [114] [115] The editor, Stéphane Charbonnier, known as Charb, and two co-workers at Charlie Hebdo subsequently received police protection. [116] Charb was placed on a hit list by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula along with Kurt Westergaard, Lars Vilks, Carsten Juste and Flemming Rose [117] [118] [119] after editing an edition of Charlie Hebdo that satirised Muhammad. [120] [121]

On 7 January 2015, two masked gunmen opened fire on Charlie Hebdo's staff and police officers as vengeance for its continued caricatures of Muhammad, [122] killing 12 people, including Charb, and wounding 11 others. [123] [124] Jyllands-Posten did not re-print the Charlie Hebdo cartoons in the wake of the attack, with the new editor-in-chief citing security concerns. [125]

In February 2015, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, a gunman opened fire on attendants and police officers at a meeting discussing freedom of speech with the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks among the panelists, and later attacked a synagogue killing two people in Copenhagen in the 2015 Copenhagen shootings.

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