By Nancy K. Matthis | Friday, March 31st, 2006 at 4:53 pm
We are extremely privileged to publish an article by Danish clinical psychologist Richardt Thomas Lionheart, A conference of literature on the cartoons and the clash of cultures. We encourage our readers to study his thoughtful exegesis of all twelve Jyllands-Posten cartoons and particibate in the conversation that he invites.
The cartoon controversy began when Danish author KÃ¥re Bluitgen sought an illustrator for a children’s book he had written about the life of Mohammed. When he tried to find an artist to illustrate the book, he discovered that his fellow Danes were frightened of the project. Eventually an artist agreed, on condition of anonymity, and the book was completed. You can see the illustrations here:
The episode exposed a growing fear of free expression in Denmark, brought on by a perceived threat from their immigrant Islamic population. Concerned about the loss of this basic human right, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten drew a “line in the sand.” Late last September the editor offered about forty artists an opportunity to draw editorial cartoons of Mohammed. Only twelve had the courage to accept, and now they are in fear for their lives.
The original twelve cartoons were well-done, in terms of the western tradition of humor as political commentary. The Danish Islamic imams added three egregiously offensive images to the collection themselves, one being an adaptation of a French newspaper article about a completely unrelated pig-calling contest.
Having thus misrepresented the situation, the Danish imams then travelled throughout the middle East stirring up hatred for their Danish hosts, partially on the basis of this false information. They instigated damaging attacks against the economy of the country that had welcomed them as guests.
Returning to Denmark, they sought to pursue legal action in the Danish court system. On March 15, their case in the Danish court system was dismissed. From Rigsadvokaten:
The Decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the case of Jyllands-Posten’s Article “The Face of Muhammed”
I have today decided not to institute criminal proceedings in the case of Jyllands-Posten’s article “The Face of Muhammed”, which was published on 30 September 2005 and where complaints were filed against Jyllands-Posten for violation of Sections 140 and 266 b of the Danish Criminal Code. My decision is that there is no violation of the said rules of the Danish Criminal Code….
My decision in the matter cannot be appealed to a higher administrative authority. This follows from Section 99(3) of the Danish Administration of Justice Act.
Freedom of expression is protected under Danish law, and so the imams essentially had no case. It is the duty of the Danish Director of Public Prosecutions to refuse cases that would simply be a waste of the taxpayer’s money. So now the imams are taking their case to the United Nations. From The Brussels Journal (article here):
The Islamic Faith Community, an umbrella organisation of 27 radical Muslim organisations in Denmark, is lodging a complaint against the state of Denmark with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva …. The reason for the complaint is [the] refusal of the Danish director of public prosecutions to press criminal charges against Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that published 12 Muhammad cartoons in September 2005….
The western countries have traditionally valued freedom of expression. Presumably the Islamic population of Denmark knew that when they immigrated to that country which so kindly welcomed them. Now they are cast in the light of ungratefully biting the hand that feeds them. One publication guesses at the real motives of the Danish imams:
Those who believe that the whole issue has to do with 12 cartoons are naÃ¯ve. Denmark is being punished for its alleged Islamophobia. Its crime is not the publication of 12 drawings in Jyllands-Posten, a paper in the rural province of Jutland. Its crime is the staunch refusal of the Danish Vikings to allow Muslim immigrants to impose their laws upon their host country.
In short, the radical Islamists are seen as intending to infiltrate and take over the western countries. Against this background, there are reasonable scholars from both the western and eastern traditions who are calling for dialog and understanding. We are deeply pleased to have the opportunity to publish one of them.
Here is a complete list of our coverage.
The coverage by the Blogosphere in general has been summarized in a “trackback” listing by Michele Malkin.
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Nancy Matthis is the publisher and executive editor of the weblog format news magazine and multimedia outlet American Daughter Media Center.
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Filed under: Islamic Issues, Islamofascism|
Tags: Islamic Issues, Islamofascism, Jyllands-Posten