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2006-02-21

Mona Omar Attia, Abu Laban and Ahmed Akkari
Mona Omar: Together we can prophet from this case
(Notice the fake pig snout in Akkari's hand)
While Danish embassies are being attacked in the Middle East, our Prime Minister, Fogh Rasmussen, is being attacked by the political opposition in Denmark.

The subject is a letter, which Fogh Rasmussen and the Minister of Foreign Affairs received October 12th 2005 from 11 ambassadors - including Egyptian Mona Omar Attia. Fogh refused to meet them - saying that he had no control over the media. This reaction was in retrospect neither polite, nor smart, since Mona Omar seems to have played an instrumental role in creating the Cartoon Jihad.

The political opposition is now using the mistake in a vendetta against the government, saying that Fogh Rasmussen should have told about this letter much earlier.

This is a bit silly, since the letter has never been a secret. There's a PDF-file here. The letter, Fogh's rejection and Mona Omar's rage has been published several times, so it's hard to see why the opposition suddenly claim not to be informed. As Berlingske Tidende writes: Everybody knew about the Egyptian threats (Danish text, my translation):

[...] one has been able to read about the Egyptian threats in the newspapers. In the October-days after the famous letter was submitted by the 11 ambassadors, the media was full of statements from the Egyptian ambassador, Mona Omar Attia, who threatened with a »next step« (Berlingske Tidende, 22. October), warned that »this case is now on an international level« (Berlingske Tidende, 27. October), notified about »a reaction from The Arab League« (Information, 27. October), and informed that »many international organisations now know what has happened« (Politiken, 27. October).

The rough draft published by Politiken


The climax was a debate-contribution written by the ambassador herself, in which she »fears that this problem can take other dimensions«. This quite prophetic warning could be read in Berlingske Tidende 29. October, i.e. only four days after the Danish ambassador had been verbally abused in Cairo.

Thus anybody, who was able to read, knew about it. And any politician in the opposition, who thought that this was a case for the Foreign Policy Committee, could have asked the government to assemble the Committee, but apparently everybody at that time regarded the threats as empty rhetorics.


Nevertheless, Politiken has asked some "experts" to look at the letter to see if the government has acted prudently. For instance what exactly does the phrase "take all those responsible to task under law of the land" mean?

Politiken Sunday uses several pages to announce that their experts don't think the government has reacted appropriately. But the curious part is that the letter which Politiken reproduces is not the official letter.

Politiken's excuse is that they had an old draft of the letter - "a rough which had circulated between the embassies in Copenhagen, a short time before they sent the official letter". Politiken has posted a huge PDF-file, which highlights the difference.

Some points seem to have been softened in the final version - in particular the phrase, "We may underline, that it can also cause unrest in Denmark as welll as abroad, in particular Muslim countries" became "We may underline that it can also cause reactions in Muslim countries and among Muslim communities in Europe" in the official letter - thus taking away much of Politiken's ammunition

Still, it raises a question: While Mona Omar and the other embassies were plotting against Denmark - how did Politiken obtain a draft?

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