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2006-02-14

The Weekly Standard from Washington broke the ban by reproducing the original page from JyllandsPosten. After studying the 12 innocuous drawings they were forced to conclude The cartoon jihad is phony.

U.N., E.U. and Muslims link in call to curb protests," read the Financial Times headline last week. A "U.N.-brokered statement," the paper reported, was issued "in an effort to curb days of protests, some violent some peaceful, at the publication and republication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. 'The anguish in the Muslim world at the publication of the offensive caricatures is shared by all individuals and communities who recognise the sensitivity of deeply held religious belief,'" the statement said.

Oh, the anguish! And why not? You remember--don't you?--the wave of bloody pogroms against Muslims living in Denmark following the Jyllands-Posten's publication, on September 30, 2005, of 12 cartoons depicting (in most cases) the prophet Muhammad. (The newspaper was testing freedom of speech in Denmark, and challenging "the self-censorship which rules large parts of the Western world.")


In the mean time in Europe, people have braved the ban for a while. Italy's Reform Minister Roberto Calderoli has put Mohammad cartoon on T-shirts: "I have had T-shirts made with the cartoons that have upset Islam and I will start wearing them today, [. . .] We have to put an end to this story that we can talk to these people. They only want to humiliate people. Full stop. And what are we becoming? The civilization of melted butter?"

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has been interviewed by JyllandsPosten and he backs Denmark over cartoons:

It's better to publish too much than not to have freedom.

Denmark is a country that we respect and that has a long tradition of being an open, tolerant and a free country, and a country known for good dialogue with different civilisations and cultures," Barroso was quoted as saying.

Barroso expressed the EU Commission's full solidarity with Denmark and said he was "upset" by TV pictures showing angry mobs burning Danish flags.


Barroso is Portuguese, which means he grew up under a dictatorship. He had quite a bit more to say in the Danish interview:

We are in favour of dialog, but that doesn't mean that we should give up values that are not up for negotiation. Nothing justifies violence, and we must say to those who doesn't like the drawings, that free speech is not up for negotiation. It's a fundamental value in our open European society.


Courageous words, but they pale in comparison to the two men who, at a demonstration in Paris, appeared among angry Muslims - one wearing a large Danish flag, and the other holding a (fake) severed hand with a pen. See the video, where Islamic Protesters in Paris Come Face to Face with an Unexpected Counter-Protest


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