Bush War Ally Defends Hate Propaganda that is very reminiscent of Julius Streicher
The Danish government communicated its official view to the United Nations (UN) regarding the newspaper Jyllands Posten's cartoons insulting the Prophet Mohammed.
A notice prepared by the ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Integration read that neither Denmark nor the newspaper publishing these cartoons "did anything to be ashamed of."
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen considered the caricatures once again in the frame of freedom of expression and said the government is proud of the works made on human rights issues.
"In the letter we sent to the UN, as the government, we expressed we cannot pressure the press. Freedom of expression is deeply ingrained in a society where democracy prevails," Rasmussen said.
Denmark's approach towards the faith of minorities was also explained in this document together with examples.
Rasmussen's meeting with Muslim representatives last September and the Integration Minister Bertel Haarder's meetings with imams were recalled in the document. The author, Kaare Bluitgen, who ignited the "cartoon crisis" that put the Muslim world and Denmark on rocky terms, has published his book titled "Qur'an and the Life of the Prophet Mohammed".
The book of the author defining himself as a socialist has caused widespread reactions since the Prophet Mohammed is described as "unjust, belligerent, the killer of Jews, and a womanizer ".
I have taken a stand against hate-speech and secrecy, a stand against Bush and the war doctrine.
I have taken a stand against Norway's support for George W. Bush, and God help me I'm gonna pay for it. Norway was, three years ago, a nation of peace. We are only 5 million people and wished no harm to anyone. Then we were brought into the 'Coalition of the willing' by a political fraction supporting Bush. Public voices in opposition to the war, and Norway's participation in it, was silenced by the same fraction which is now pushing ahead for Norway's 'right to free speech' by offending muslims all over the world.
I've made a public document, a call for a democratic investigation into why the charicatures of the prophet Mohammed was publicly embraced by parts of the Norwegian press. I want an open and just debate about this, where all aspects of the process leading up to publication should be brought up.
Please sign my call for action. It's in Norwegian, but I've made a translation here: ------------------------------- I WANT A PUBLIC INVESTIGATION OF THE 'MOHAMMED-CASE' To: The Norwegian people
This document is a demand for a public invstigation of Vidar Selbekk and Per Edgar Kokkvold, and their campaign for 'free speech'.
I want a public investigation into this matter which covers all aspects of it; who talked to whom, who influenced Selbekk to publish the charicatures.
My freedom of speech is now limited, because I can no longer speak - with credibility - in countries not used to the 'western' understanding of liberalism.
My freedom of travel is limited because I'm a Norwegian. I have never experienced this before, and never thought that Norway, yes NORWAY folks, would be seen as an ugly crow now croaking on the shoulder of the Bush-dictator.
My economic freedom is limited, because this will have consequences for our economy, on a much longer term than we can see today.
I know where this campaign comes from, and who's running it. I know which people that got Norway into the Iraqi war, and also how it came to be. I also know there's a connection to this present matter, because the same people that removed vital voices from the Norwegian debate prior to the war - against the will of the Norwegian people (68% was against this).
I want these people brought to justice for taking part in something that can only be compared to the ugly cartons of Jews published before the second world war, then claim it's about 'freedom of speech'. By doing so, they are stealing my whole life, my present and my future.
I know what freedom of speech is, and what it implies. I also know what democracy is and how the counter forces work.
I am a Norwegian citizen and I've had enough!
You must fight for your democracy now, Norwegian citizen - if not, you will lose it forever. This 'freedom of speech'-campaign is fake - Kokkvold (chairman of the Norw. Press Assoc.) did nothing to defend Petter Nome when he was removed from his position as a journalist in the Norwegian Broadcasting before the war, but claimed it was OK that Nome had his emails stopped in secrecy, without him knowing.
He did protest when Nome was removed, but thought this was OK. He was 'surprised and shocked', but didn't take a stand.
Read more on the main url for this call for action. (The url is Norwegian).
I want a open and democratic debate about this campaign and the events that led Norway into the Coalition.
When 1/4 of the world population hates us, we have the right to know every aspect WHY! -------------------------------
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) has fired popular but outspoken Petter Nome from his job as host for the variety program "Summer Open". Nome, a journalist and producer, refused to heed a request to tone down his activism against a war in Iraq.
Nome, who works for NRK as a freelancer, has just signed a new contract with the station and says his year is full with other NRK projects.
"But if I am asked to hold further appeals against the war in Iraq I will say yes," Nome said, and called the NRK decision "sad".
Per Edgar Kokkvold, secretary general of the Norwegian Press Association, was surprised and shocked by NRK's move.
"NRK management have not solved a problem of questionable impartiality, they have punished a commitment," Kokkvold said.
"Nome has created a credibility problem which must be solved. At the same time, there is a greater problem in the Norwegian press with people shying away from social issues rather than becoming too involved," Kokkvold said.
NRK program director Mari Velsand disagrees.
"First, we believe the conflict in Iraq will continue to be a hot issue this summer. Secondly, we believe it was correct to [fire him] make a decision now, because there have been strong reactions to this (Nome's activism), both within NRK and externally," Vesland said.
"I respect Nome's commitment but as his editor I believe hosting a current interest program is incompatible with his role as an activist," Vesland said.
Nome launched the "Hello, America" campaign, a chain e-mail petition to American news media and the USA's president George W. Bush and vice-president Dick Cheney.
The BBC also has been framing this as a matter of those backward muslims not understanding democracy. And PBS did admit, but in couched terms, that the derisive depictions were published by a "conservative" magazine, but then the German "reporter" turned to an American muslim and demanded the American muslim stop "distortions" in the Saudi Arabian media!! Europe has returned to the racist Hitleresque racism and fascism, and have grown bold now that Puppette Merkel has hold of Germany.
Timeline: How the cartoon crisis unfolded >By FT reporters >Published: February 6 2006 11:52 | Last updated: February 6 2006 11:52
As protest spreads in the Muslim world over the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, the FT gives a step-by-step chronology of events as they unfold.
Sep 17 2005: Politiken, a Danish newspaper, runs an article under the headline ”Deep fear of criticism of Islam”, detailing the difficulty encountered by the writer Kåre Bluitgen, who had difficulties finding an illustrator for his children’s book on the life of Mohammed.
Sep 30: Jyllands-Posten, one of Denmark’s best-selling daily newspapers, publishes 12 cartoons of the prophet to illustrate the problem.
Oct 12: Ambassadors from 10 mainly Muslim nations and the Palestinian representative in Denmark call the cartoons deeply offensive and demand a meeting with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, urging him “to take all those responsible to task”.
Oct 21: Mr Rasmussen says offended parties should use the courts to air their grievances and refuses to meet the ambassadors.
Oct 28:A coalition of Danish Muslim groups files a criminal complaint against Jyllands-Posten newspaper. A regional prosecutor investigates the complaint, but decides not to press charges.
Dec: The Danish Muslim coalition visits the Middle East. seeking support from religious and political leaders.
Jan 1 2006: Mr Rasmussen condemns any actions that “attempt to demonise groups of people on the basis of their religion or ethnic background,’’ but reiterates Denmark’s commitment to freedom of speech.
Jan 4: Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League, joins the protests.
Jan 10:Magazinet, a Norwegian Christian newspaper, reprints the cartoons.
Jan 25: Saudi Arabia’s religious leaders demand an apology and call for the Jyllands-Posten newspaper to be punished.
Jan 26: Saudi ambassador is recalled from Copenhagen. Danish companies in Riyadh report a boycott of Danish goods and supermarkets remove products from the shelves.
Jan 27: Protests begin to spread across the Middle East
Jan 30: Jyllands-Posten publishes a statement on its website, saying it regretted offending Muslims and offered an apology, but said it had a right under Danish law to print the cartoons.
Jan 31: Mr Rasmussen calls for calm in the dispute, but the Danish Muslims group say the Jyllands-Posten apology is “ambiguous” and demands a clearer one.
Feb 1 - 2: Media in France, Germany, Britain, Spain, the US, Iceland, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Hungary, reprint the cartoons.
Feb 2:France Soir, a Paris daily tabloid, sacks its managing editor for publishing the drawings, but defends its right to print them. In Jordan, the weekly newspaper Shihan’ publishes them with an editorial by former Jordanian senator Jihad Momani but later withdraws issues from circulation.
Feb 3: Danish prime minister meets ambassadors and diplomats from more than 70 countries. Mona Omar Attia, Egypt’s ambassador says the Danish government’s response is inadequate.
Feb 4: A South African court prohibits newspapers from publishing the cartoons. Protesters in Damascus attack the Danish and Norwegian embassies. Mr Momani and Mr Hisham Khalid, editor of al-Mehwar, another Jordanian weekly that published the cartoons, are arrested and charged with insulting religion
Feb 5: Protestors storm the Danish Embassy in Beirut. One person is left dead and several are injured. Iran recalls its ambassador to Denmark. Denmark says it is withdrawing diplomatic staff from Syria and recommending Danes leave the country. Norway confirms it is taking the same action with diplomatic staff in Syria.
Feb 6: Lebanon apologises to Denmark. Protests erupt in Afghanistan where one person died. In Jakarta, Indonesian Muslims demonstrate outside the Danish embassy in Jakarta.
Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have caused a storm of protest throughout the Islamic world, refused to run drawings lamthingying Jesus Christ, it has emerged today.
The Danish daily turned down the cartoons of Christ three years ago, on the grounds that they could be offensive to readers and were not funny.
In April 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series of unsolicited cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ to Jyllands-Posten.
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."
The illustrator said: "I see the cartoons as an innocent joke, of the type that my Christian grandfather would enjoy."
"I showed them to a few pastors and they thought they were funny."
But the Jyllands-Posten editor in question, Mr Kaiser, said that the case was "ridiculous to bring forward now. It has nothing to do with the Muhammad cartoons.
"In the Muhammad drawings case, we asked the illustrators to do it. I did not ask for these cartoons. That's the difference," he said.
"The illustrator thought his cartoons were funny. I did not think so. It would offend some readers, not much but some."
The decision smacks of "double-standards", said Ahmed Akkari, spokesman for the Danish-based European Committee for Prophet Honouring, the umbrella group that represents 27 Muslim organisations that are campaigning for a full apology from Jyllands-Posten.
"How can Jyllands-Posten distinguish the two cases? Surely they must understand," Mr Akkari added.
Meanwhile, the editor of a Malaysian newspaper resigned over the weekend after printing one of the Muhammad cartoons that have unleashed a storm of protest across the Islamic world.
Malaysia's Sunday Tribune, based in the remote state of Sarawak, on Borneo island, ran one of the Danish cartoons on Saturday. It is unclear which one of the 12 drawings was reprinted.
Printed on page 12 of the paper, the cartoon illustrated an article about the lack of impact of the controversy in Malaysia, a country with a majority Muslim population.
The newspaper apologised and expressed "profound regret over the unauthorised publication", in a front page statement on Sunday.
"Our internal inquiry revealed that the editor on duty, who was responsible for the same publication, had done it all alone by himself without authority in compliance with the prescribed procedures as required for such news," the statement said.
The editor, who has not been named, regretted his mistake, apologised and tendered his resignation, according to the statement.
· To contact the MediaGuardian newsdesk email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 7239 9857
BBC: Rasmussen continues to use the cartoons to promote the neocon frame/war:
Anders Fogh Rasmussen said extremists seeking "a clash of cultures" were exploiting the dispute over the images, which first appeared in Denmark.
Da’ud X Mohammed disagrees:
"While it isn't not about the cartoon, it is, as I have explained in explaining The Satanic Verses flap, there is also an element of disrespect toward Muslims, and worse, and so there comes a time when someone saying "enough is enough" should not be a surprise.
“Just going back to the west staking out a large chunk of real estate for themselves in Palestine, long before the Holocaust was ever heard of, and that compounded by western support of Middle East and North African dictators - in the past Saddam and the Shah, and even today in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, there comes a time when it is only logical that failing to say "enough is enough" would be a shame.
“So we're not talking a "clash of cultures" as much as we're seeing rebellion against "restrooms for men, women and colored" for Muslims, world wide.”
Danny Schecter Writes: (His partner is one of those who was pushing the Abel Danger Story, btw) Is anyone familiar w/ the Roj/PKK controversy? :
Yesterday I carried a long letter from Adam McConnell in Turkey asking folks in the west to show more understanding to Muslim sensitivities. He criticized the Danish cartoonists and those like my Globalvision partner Rory O’Connor who feel that free speech is the issue.
A VIEW FROM DENMARK
The first response came in from singer Pia Raug in Denmark:
Appreciate that you sent it on. Also appreciate most of McConnel's views. But I would like to comment on a few things.
1. McConnel says that: "... the Danish cartoonists seems to have been deliberately trying to provoke Muslims ..."
The fact of that matter is (in my opinion) that the real culprit is the Jyllandsposten newspaper, since they COMMISSIONED these drawings. In my opinion they did so only to provoke and to woo/smoothtalk the growing xenophobia and right wing prejudices in our country. The cartoonists should have been wiser; but they are - like most artists - poor, and this was work just like when they are commissioned to draw cartoons of our Prime Minister as a cave man (before he was PM they drew him in women’s clothing swinging a handbag!).
They did not necessarily know what they could be stirring up - but professional press people - who had done their legal research beforehand - ought to know. I am sure it was a deliberate provocation on their part - and now they are cowardly trying to hide behind the artists' freedom of speech.
2. He also refers to Rasmussens subtle opposing to Turkish EU membership.
Before his party came to Government they were extreme EU-lovers - and for as many countries to be EU-members as possible on the terms agreed upon. BUT this Danish government only has its total majority by the help and votes of the (right-wing) "Danish Peoples Party". In actual fact, that means that this party rules the country. The two parties building the government lust for their power to such an extent that they are willing to compromise on some of their own basic politics. This is why the emigration legislation has been tightened to extremes during this government. The reason why Rasmussen is so subtle is that he dares not lose the benevolence of their support party - and they will if they are not willing to chastise anything Muslim and immigrant-related. This party is very close to the French Le Pen's.
McConnel may not agree on this point, but the PKK (Kurdish militants-connection to Roj-TV has never been proven solidly. And who these days could not risk to be called terrorists and for what reasons? Roj-TV is actually based in CPH, and one of the issues we talked over with indicted Turkish writer/composer, Ferhat Tunc, last week was the threat that the Danish Government would try to close down the station - because of the Turkish Government's opposition. Because of this incidence with Erdogan our Government commissioned the Public Prosecutor to scrutinize Roj-TV. If any "terrorist" content was found, the station would be closed down. They did not find any. BUT the the American Government leaned - still does - heavily on the Danish government to close it down anyway. So they set up another scrutiny to find possible PKK-funding. This of course would bring down Roj-TV as a terrorist platform as well. So far nothing has been found - and believe you me they will look as carefully as the Americans did for WMD's!
4. Politicians using the crisis as opportunity:
YES - the Danish nationalistic, xenophobia-promoting party has already gained many new members over the last few days proportionally with the ongoing riots! BUT - on the other hand the desperate need between human beings - Muslims, Christians and agnostics alike - to build bridges and have dialogue, is at the same time given this opportunity to build a platform never seen before - at least not in Denmark.
Never have so many well educated, well-spoken, sympathetic, bright and young Muslims in coalition with ethnic Danes had such extended air-time in Danish media. Had the mainstream media been willing to offer that positive picture (and had they not so coveted their own ratings at any price!) a long time ago, maybe we would not have ended up with a Denmark being THE most prejudiced state in Europe.
Even if we are many who have opposed and fought heavily to have counter-narratives publicized. Just like many Americans have been disgusted and have tried to paint another, truer picture of their home land than the one Bush has promoted worldwide.”
As suspected, and claimed on this blog over the weekend, the inflammatory anti-Muslim cartoons published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten were a deliberate provocation designed to outrage and incite Muslims and thus engender support in Europe and America for the manufactured “clash of civilizations” engineered by the Straussian neocons. As Christopher Bollyn writes for the American Free Press, the neocon operative behind the cartoon scheme is Flemming Rose, cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, who has “has clear ties to the Zionist Neo-Cons.” Rose “traveled to Philadelphia in October 2004 to visit Daniel Pipes, the Neo-Con ideologue who says the only path to Middle East peace will come through a total Israeli military victory. Rose then penned a positive article about Pipes, who compares ‘militant Islam’ with fascism and communism,” Bollyn reveals.
Daniel Pipes is one of the more virulent and hateful of the Straussian neocons, famous for his racist and xenophobic statement that Muslim immigrants are “brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and not exactly maintaining Germanic standards of hygiene,” an attitude straight out of the Nazi school of racial hyperbole (a philosophy embraced by no small number of Jabotinsky Likudites and their fellow travelers among the traitorous Straussian neocons).
“Agents of certain persuasion” are behind the egregious affront to Islam in order to provoke Muslims, Professor Mikael Rothstein of the University of Copenhagen told the BBC. The key “agent” is Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of JP, who commissioned cartoonists to produce the blasphemous images and then published them in Denmark’s leading morning paper last September….
Rose told the international paper owned by The New York Times that “he would not publish a cartoon of Israel’s Ariel Sharon strangling a Palestinian baby, since that could be construed as ‘racist.’”
As Daniel Pipes and his ilk have repeatedly demonstrated, it is not racist to characterize Arabs and Muslims as “brown-skinned peoples” suffering from bad hygiene, although it is a crime to take the apartheid state of Israel to task for murdering Palestinian children. But then, as Lenni Brenner has documented, the followers of Ze’ev Jabotinsky—and his political creation, the reactionary Likud Party in Israel—are not only well versed in fascism, but murderous racism as well.
As for the unapologetic stance of the Danes in regard to publishing the cartoons, Bollyn comments:
There is clearly a more sinister reason why the Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen refuses to issue a formal apology as demanded by Arab and Muslim governments. The hard-line position taken by Rasmussen, an ally in the “war on terror,” has more to do with advancing the “clash of civilizations” than defending free speech in Europe….
There is a deeper reason behind the publication of the offensive cartoons. Given the unapologetic position taken by the Danish government and the editors it appears very likely that tension with Islamic nations will increase and the international crisis will deepen. This is, after all, exactly what the global planners behind the “clash of civilizations” want.
The completely predictable reaction among Muslims sets the stage for violence and “false-flag” terror attacks as Europeans prepare to host the Olympics in Turin, Italy. The Turin-based La Stampa irresponsibly published the cartoons on Feb. 1, two days after Milan’s Corriere della Sera.
The anti-Islamic cartoon scandal is no laughing matter. If and when a terror attack does occur and the cartoons and angry Muslims are blamed for being the cause, the reason they were published will become clear. Europeans will become increasingly polarized and hostility to Islam will grow.
Of course, as the Straussian neocons prepare the next phase of their total war against Islam master plan—attacking Iran and possibly soon after Syria—tacit support from Europe will be a plus, especially after the false flag Gladio-like terror attacks in Madrid produced undesirable results (the Spanish people rejected José María Aznar, a neocon toady and grandson of a prominent fascist journalist).
So if terror attacks do indeed occur during the Olympics in Turin, we can point an accusatory finger quite naturally in the direction of the Straussian neocons, linked to Operation Gladio terrorism through Michael Ledeen, who is connected to Francesco Pazienza and the P2 Masonic Lodge responsible for the CIA-NATO sponsored Strategy of Tension terrorism campaign in Italy (an Italian criminal court convicted Pazienza in 1985 of political manipulation, forgery, and the protection of criminals and terrorists, among other offenses, in relation to the Gladio bombing of a Bologna train station, killing more than 80 people; see Jeff Wells’ Rigorous Intuition).
“One of P-2’s specialties was the art of provocation,” writes Mark Zepezauer. “Leftist organizations like the Red Brigades were infiltrated, financed and / or created, and the resulting acts of terrorism, like the assassination of Italy’s premier in 1978 and the bombing of the railway station in Bologna in 1980, were blamed on the left. The goal of this ’strategy of tension’ was to convince Italian voters that the left was violent and dangerous—by helping make it so.”
In the same way, the Straussian neocons, taking a page from the P-2 provocation playbook, are attempting to convince Europeans and Americans that Muslims are “violent and dangerous” by “helping make it so,” as Bollyn’s revelations about Flemming Rose’s role in the inflammatory publication of the anti-Muslim cartoons in Jyllands-Posten and other newspapers make obvious.
At first, the agitation was limited to Denmark. Ahmed Akkari, 28, a Lebanese-born Dane, acts as spokesman for the European Committee for Honoring the Prophet, an umbrella group of 27 Danish Muslim organizations to press the Danish government into action over the cartoons.
Mr. Akkari said the group had worked for more than two months in Denmark without eliciting any response. "We collected 17,000 signatures and delivered them to the office of the prime minister, we saw the minister of culture, we talked to the editor of the Jyllands-Posten, we took many steps within Denmark, but could get no action," Mr. Akkari said, referring to the newspaper that published the cartoons. He added that the prime minister's office had not even responded to the petition.
Frustrated, he said, the group turned to the ambassadors of Muslim countries in Denmark and asked them to speak to the prime minister on their behalf. He refused them too.
"Then the case moved to a new stage," Mr. Akkari recalled. "We decided then that to be heard, it must come from influential people in the Muslim world."
The group put together a 43-page dossier, including the offending cartoons and three more shocking images that had been sent to Danish Muslims who had spoken out against the Jyllands-Posten cartoons.
Mr. Akkari denied that the three other offending images had contributed to the violent reaction, saying the images, received in the mail by Muslims who had complained about the cartoons, were included to show the response that Muslims got when they spoke out in Denmark.
In early December, the group's first delegation of Danish Muslims flew to Cairo, where they met with the grand mufti, Muhammad Sayid Tantawy, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League.
"After that, there was a certain response," Mr. Akkari said, adding that the Cairo government and the Arab League both summoned the Danish ambassador to Egypt for talks.
Mr. Akkari denies that the group had meant to misinform, but concedes that there were misunderstandings along the way.
In Cairo, for example, the group also met with journalists from Egypt's media. During a news conference, they spoke about a proposal from the far-right Danish People's Party to ban the Koran in Denmark because of some 200 verses that are alleged to encourage violence.
Several newspapers then ran articles claiming that Denmark planned to issue a censored version of the Koran. The delegation returned to Denmark, but the dossier continued to make waves in the Middle East. Egypt's foreign minister had taken the dossier with him to the Mecca meeting, where he showed it around. The Danish group also sent a second delegation to Lebanon to meet religious and political leaders there.
Mr. Akkari went on that trip. The delegation met with the grand mufti in Lebanon, Muhammad Rashid Kabbani, and the spiritual head of Lebanon's Shiite Muslims, Sheik Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, as well as the patriarch of the Maronite Church, Nasrallah Sfeir. The group also appeared on Hezbollah's satellite station Al Manar TV, which is seen throughout the Arab world.
Mr. Akkari also made a side trip to Damascus, Syria, to deliver a copy of the dossier to that country's grand mufti, Sheik Ahmed Badr-Eddine Hassoun.
Lebanon's foreign minister, Fawzi Salloukh, says he agreed to meet in mid-December with Egypt's ambassador to Lebanon, who presented him with a letter from his foreign minister, Aboul Gheit, urging him to get involved in the issue. Attached to the letter were copies of some of the drawings.
At the end of December, the pace picked up as talk of a boycott became more prominent. The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, comprising more than 50 states, published on its Web site a statement condemning "the aggressive campaign waged against Islam and its Prophet" by Jyllands-Posten, and officials of the organization said member nations should impose a boycott on Denmark until an apology was offered for the drawings.
"We encourage the organization's members to boycott Denmark both economically and politically until Denmark presents an official apology for the drawings that have offended the world's Muslims," said Abdulaziz Othman al-Twaijri, the organization's secretary general.
In a few weeks, the Jordanian Parliament condemned the cartoons, as had several other Arab governments.
On Jan. 10, as anti-Danish pressure built, a Norwegian newspaper republished the caricatures in an act of solidarity with the Danes, leading many Muslims to believe that a real campaign against them had begun.
On Jan. 26, in a key move, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Denmark, and Libya followed suit. Saudi clerics began sounding the call for a boycott, and within a day, most Danish products were pulled off supermarket shelves.
...."The cartoons were a fuse that lit a bigger fire," said Rami Khouri, editor at large at the English-language Daily Star of Beirut. "It is this deepening sense of vulnerability combines with a sense that the Islamists were on a roll that made it happen."
The wave swept many in the region. Sheik Muhammad Abu Zaid, an imam from the Lebanese town of Saida, said he began hearing of the caricatures from several Palestinian friends visiting from Denmark in December but made little of it.
"For me, honestly, this didn't seem so important," Sheik Abu Zaid said, comparing the drawings to those made of Jesus in Christian countries. "I thought, I know that this is something typical in such countries."
Then, he started to hear that ambassadors of Arab countries had tried to meet with the prime minister of Denmark and had been snubbed, and he began to feel differently.
"It started to seem that this way of thinking was an insult to us," he said. "It is fine to say, 'This is our freedom, this is our way of thinking.' But we began to believe that their freedom was something that hurts us."
Last week, Sheik Abu Zaid heard about a march being planned on the Danish Consulate in Beirut, and he decided to join. He and 600 others boarded buses bound for Beirut. Within an hour of arriving, some of the demonstrators — none of his people, he insisted — became violent, and began attacking the building that housed the embassy. It was just two days after a similar attack against the Danish and Norwegian Embassies in Damascus.
"In the demonstration, I believe 99 percent of the people were good and peaceful, but I could hear people saying, 'We don't want to demonstrate peacefully; we want to burn,' " the sheik said.
He tried in vain to calm people down, he said. "I was calling to the people, 'Please, please follow us and go back.' " he said. "We were hoping to calm people down, and we were hoping to help the peaceful people who were caught in the middle of the fight." Reporting for this article was contributed by Craig S. Smith from Paris, Katherine Zoepf from Beirut, Suha Maayeh from Amman, Abeer Allam from Cairo and Massoud A. Derhally from Dubai.
On Thursday evening, Dr. Jim Zogby, president of AAI, appeared on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (VIDEO: Watch Dr. Zogby debate William Bennett) to discuss the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed that were first published in a Danish newspaper. Dr. Zogby did a great job of pointing out the malicious intent of the cartoons, and that while all Muslims are justifiably offended, the manifestation of anger and violence were those of only a few.
Here is an excerpt of the transcript:
BENNETT: Let's go beyond cartoons. The other story out of Iran is the story of two young girls who were raped. The girl defended herself and stabbed her attacker. She is now sentenced to be hanged under Islamic law. This isn't a caricature, this isn't a cartoon, this is a peak into the soul of that faith, when it's run through a government. It's a real story and it deserves to be criticized.
ZOGBY: It's not a peak into Islam, it's a peek into the outrages that take place in contemporary Iran, which is not synonymous with Islam...
BENNETT: It's recognized Islamic theology, it is Islamic theology...
ZOGBY: The policy of the Catholics during the Inquisition is not synonymous with my church, nor is the policy of the Islamic extremists synonymous with the Prophet Mohammed. Let's be fair and use one standard. I agree, we have a double standard and frankly I think the way this story is cast is the wrong double standard.
BENNETT:Here's the standard. Catholicism is as Catholicism does, Judaism is as Judaism does, and by God Islam is as Islam does and what it's doing right now I wouldn't wanted to associated with.
ZOGBY: As President Bush has said correctly, hundreds of millions of believing Muslims do not practice these things, did not burn embassies, do not behead people...
BENNETT: Where are they? Where are they?
Mr. Bennett’s comments about Islam turned what could have been an intelligent discussion about an important issue into a forum for hate. AAI needs your help to ensure that people like Mr. Bennett don’t have a forum to slander followers of any religion. With your AAI Membership and support, we can more effectively monitor the media and mobilize our community to respond quickly, and in large numbers, to offensive statements such as this.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Share this email with friends and family who also believe that no person should be allowed to make bigoted comments about any religion.
2. Join AAI and get involved. With your support, we can do a lot. There is strength in numbers.
1. The cartoons controversy began as a deliberate provocation. Publishing the cartoons is not an issue of free speech. According to The Washington Post, the editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Postenactually commissioned 12 cartoonists to create cartoons of Muhammed only to challenge the Muslim ban on portraits of Muhammed.
2. In the very real environment of Islamophobia that exists in the world today, publishing the cartoons is insensitive and further inflames tensions.
3. Ignorance about Islam is at the root of much of the media coverage of this story. The iconoclastic essence of Islam is not understood and, media coverage of the violence by a few dominated news and did not help create understanding about Islam.