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2006-02-27

Jyllands-Posten has an interview with the artist who drew the (in)famous portrait of Mohammad with a bomb in his turban (Danish text):

The drawing of the prophet Muhammed with a bomb in his turban has in the last months travelled around the world. Famous and at the same time hated. Because the combination of Islam and terrorism has offended millions of Muslims, who have seen the satirical line as an expression of the West's contempt for Muslims and their religion. But this is an misunderstanding, says the artist behind the controversial depiction.
Metter Dreyer
Have you seen the funny cartoons?
By Metter Dreyer (not yet on the death list)


[Journalist:] »What was the message in your drawing of the prophet Muhammed with a bomb in his turban?

[Artist:] »The drawing doesn't aim at Islam in general, but on the part that apparently can inspire to violence, terrorism, death and destruction. And thus the fundamentalist part of Islam. I wanted to point out that terrorists get their spiritual ammunition from Islam.«

[Journalist:] »Why was it important to you to get this message out?«

[Artist:] »If a religion deteriorates into religious Fascism, we are facing totalitarian tendencies, like we used to have Fascism and Nazism. It's the same situation, where people have to bend their heads and do what the regimen wants. I think we must oppose this - and an artists weapon is this here pen or pencil, and a certain indignation.«

[Journalist:] »Do you feel that your drawing has been misunderstood?«

[Artist:] »There are interpretations of it that aren't correct. There's the common perception among Muslims that it aims at Islam in general. It doesn't. It aims at some particular fundamentalist traits, which are of course not shared by everybody.«

»But the fuel to the acts of the terrorists comes from interpretations of Islam. I think there's no denying it. This doesn't mean that all Muslims are responsible for terror. It's about pointing out a connection from where the spiritual fuel comes. There are some interpretations of Islam, where you become a martyr if you die for Islam, and where you calmly can kill the Infidels and then you will be rewarded in the hereafter.«

[. . .]

[Journalist:] »Why was it necessary?«

[Artist:] »We were obliged to defend our view on free speech because a religion - or people practicing a religion and maybe professing to the more fundamentalist sides of it - have started to demand a privilege or an exceptional position in the public space. Take for instance the case of the author who couldn't get his book illustrated. We have to preserve our traditions for free speech, and I believe that if we hadn't made the drawings now, then the clash would have come anyway, sooner or later. Then it would have been a film, a theater play or a book. It's something we have to go through, but naturally we have to talk to each other and understand each other.«

[Journalist:] »You are an Atheist yourself, and at the same time known for having a hard line on religions. Is your cartoon a showdown with religion in general?

[Artist:] »I have nothing whatsoever against religions, but I think one should be skeptical towards the fundamentalist versions. A waxing religiousness means more intolerance and restrictions. It becomes troublesome when the whole existence is defined in a religious way. Both for those who become seized by it, and even more for all the others who don't. We are living in a time, where the religious obscurantism is spreading, apparently religion matters more and more. This then means that I, as an old Atheist, has become stronger in my faith.«

The artists name is deliberately left out, since the Security Intelligence Service out of security concerns advices him to to remain anonymous in the debate about the drawing of the prophet. Several death threats have been made against the artists.



Added: Jyllandsposten has made their own translation of the article:
The Cartoonist: The reason for the bomb in the turban.

Added: Updated the addresses of the articles.


Comments:
I liked this piece as I also liked Flemming Rose's own essay on the background. We need to know what the perpetrators want to say, not only what we want to say about them and their deeds...

Unfortunately, the fears of self-criticism in the West have really proven right - see for example the several cases in Finland. PM apologizing for pictures published on a marginal far right website, neutral picture of Muhammed withdrawn from his new biography, an editor sacked for publishing another cartoon and the cartoonist having his order cancelled from the City of Oulu for the illustration of a book on a 19th century champion of free speech. How low can we get..?

But, Ateist, if you want to be security conscious, the name of the cartoonist in the interview is just a click away on the right column of your website. That's a contradiction!!! If you want him to be a little bit safer than he is, you should delete the 12 names there as well.

Your reader in Finland
 
> "if you want to be security conscious, the name of the cartoonist in the interview is just a click away on the right column of your web"

That's true. But then I would also have to remove his name from the articles themselves - and from all other articles on the Net. You can't really hide on the Internet.

Besides, I can see from my counter that many of my visitors find my site site searching for his name, so it's not really a secret.
 
SPAM removed.

3,325 characters, which had nothing to do with the subject and which can be found - verbatim - countless places on the Net.
 
thanks a lot for posting here the cartoonist's view. i can't read dannish but i loved to know what he thinks and what inspired him while drawing. it's quite amazing that he shares almost the same points of view with me. thanks again...
 
Linket til JPs version virker ikke.

Hvad med selv at fjerne tegnerens navn på det billedet, I bringer andetsteds på bloggen?
 
> "Linket til JPs version virker ikke."

Det er fast arbejde at linke til avisartikler, men det lykkedes mig at finde den engelske artikel igen.

Tak for tippet. :-)

> "Hvad med selv at fjerne tegnerens navn på det billedet, I bringer andetsteds på bloggen?"

Det er lissom lidt for sent. Folk, der kigger på den side, finder den netop ved at søge på tegnerens navn.

Han har jo heller ikke ligefrem skjult sit navn, når han har optrådt på TV de sidste par uger.
 
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