Monday, May 26, 2008

Mohammed Cartoon Furore

Danish newspapers on Wednesday reprinted one of the 12 drawings of the Prophet Muhammad that caused global Muslim outrage two years ago, to protest against a plot to murder one of the cartoonists. A Danish citizen of Moroccan descent and two Tunisians were arrested on Tuesday for planning to murder 73-year-old Kurt Westergaard, a cartoonist at Jyllands-Posten, the Danish paper that originally published the drawings in September 2005.The republication of the cartoon showing Muhammad holding a bomb drew criticism from Muslims, who said it would only stoke anger. Five major daily newspapers, 10 smaller papers and a Swedish daily reprinted Westergaard's cartoon, the one that had caused the greatest controversy.

In the interest of respecting Islamic religious believes, without denying rights to freedom of speech, this link provides visual material for private viewing:

Most Muslims consider any depiction of the founder of Islam as offensive. "We believe this is very foolish and does not help building the bridges we need," said Imam Mostafa Chendid, a leading Danish Muslim cleric. Chendid, an Imam at the Islamic Faith Community, a religious Muslim organisation at the centre of the first cartoon controversy, condemned all violence but said it would be difficult to absorb the anger young Danish Muslims might feel. "It will make our young people feel more isolated," he said. "The printing of the cartoon is an insult to our intellectual capacity. We are not against freedom of speech but we are opposed to continued discrimination of the Muslim minority in Denmark." Three Danish embassies were attacked and at least 50 people were killed in rioting in 2006 in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Several young Muslims have since been convicted in Denmark of planning bomb attacks, partly in protest at the cartoons.

This link provides a chronology of events from the Danish perspective:

A scene from an animated version of a popular Japanese comic book has sparked a renewed outcry in the Muslim world, where some fear it could fuel the backlash created by the republication of the Muhammad cartoons. At issue is a 90-second “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” video segment that depicts Dio Brando, a villain, picking up a Quran from a bookshelf and apparently examining it as he orders the execution of the hero and his friends. The original artist professes innocence, citing that he didn’t understand Arabic and simply thought adding Arabic writing would be more believable in the context (the villain was hiding out in Egypt).

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