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2006-03-23

The French/Algerian journalist, Mohammed Sifaoui, known as the man who got inside al-Qa'eda, has interviewed the Danish imams. What they didn't know was, that they were also filmed with a hidden camera, which made some of their statements more - candid. (Danish article)

For instance Imam Shaykh Raed Hlayhel admits they are deliberately working to single out Jyllands-Posten, instead of trying to debate with other newspapers that have published Mohammed-drawings: "I think that the pressure should be maintained in order to create a climate of hate against the newspaper, God willing".

Ahmed Akkari said about Naser Khader, member of the Danish Parliament and founder of Democratic Muslims: "If one day he should become minister for immigrants or integration, shouldn't one then send over two guys to blow up him and his ministry?"

At the end of the session, Abu Zakaria, who's apparently Abu Laban's assistant, threatens the French journalists (without knowing about the hidden camera):

I warn you that if there's anything negative in what you have filmed or what you're going to write, it wouldn't be good for you or your friends. This is just a piece of advice I give you and your friends. It is necessary that you bring a positive image of us, and not something that is against us. I prefer to express myself clearly.


This "advice" was not really necessary, since Mohammed Sifaoui is already living under police protection and has done so for three years.

Today Ahmed Akkari denies ever having been together with Shaykh Raed Hlayhel and a French journalist, and says: "I have never said such about Naser Khader, but they shall be welcome to prove it".

This is exactly what French TV2 intends to do tonight.
Smile. You're on candid camera
"to blow up him and his ministry?"

Added: Danish TV2 has contacted Akkari, who at the moment is in Bahrain.

Akkari initially said that he had never been in a car with a French journalist and dared anybody to prove it. Now, that it has been proved, he remembers the situation, but claims it was a jest.

Akkari has written an open letter (Danish text) to Naser Khader, where he assures Khader that it was only a crude joke. He then proceeds to teach Khader: "In Denmark there's a tradition for humour, sarcasm, irony and jest - and I have often heard the same kind of playful remarks from different sides. Not just from Muslims."

This is truly astounding news: Akkari and 5 other Danish Imams are currently attending a conference in Bahrain, where they'll decide what "punishment" they are going to mete out on Denmark in return for 12 innocuous cartoons published half a year ago! 1,6 billion Muslims (has anybody noticed, how the number is constantly rising?) have been deadly insulted!

That's right, Akkari: "In Denmark there's a tradition for humour, sarcasm, irony and jest".

Added: Naser Khader has gone into hiding. The most of the day, he has been too shocked to give a statement - and now he's gone underground and is considering resigning from politics. He's no longer sure it's worth the risk.

Added: I just saw the French program on Danish TV2. Most of the program is a sober-minded round-up of the Cartoon Jihad, the contents of which would not come as a surprise, if you have followed the blogosphere.

The threats against Khader are much discussed in the media, but I predict it will all come to nothing. It will be hard for a prosecutor to prove Akkari wasn't joking with his friends.

The most interesting part, IMHO, is how they admit to having targeted Jyllands-Posten in their campaign and how they have singled Jyllands-Posten out. Apparently there's old hate behind it - the imams didn't like it when Jyllands-Posten wrote about the Danish Guantanamo prisoner, Slimane Abderahmane and his connections with the mosque on Grimhøjvej, Århus.

For instance, Abu Laban repeats that the cartoons in Weekendavisen were worse that those in Jyllands-posten. This claim sounds odd to me, since those cartoons are not really about Mohammed, but the Imams are apparently earnest. The journalist then asks the logical question, why they don't target Weekendavisen - and are told, "We have concentrated on the source of the problem, i.e. Jyllands-posten and not Weekendavisen. The primary problem comes from Jyllands-posten".

Another revelation is when Akkari discusses how Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen have regretted the cartoons. He thinks the government should send this apology to all "Muslim countries". And the reason for this is not that Akkari wants to comfort the tormented souls of 1,6 billion offended Muslims. Akkari's cold and cynical reasoning is that the words of the apology will remove all political support for Jyllands-Posten.

Mohammed Sifaoui's final conclusion is that Abu Laban belongs to an extreme branch of political Islam, and that the group of Danish imams have used the caricature-case in an attempt to force their their laws, rules and doctrines on the European society.



I won't be blogging for the next 36 hours or so, so check Agora for updates.

Comments:
Here's the link to the France 2 programme
http://envoye-special.france2.fr/emissions/19176022-fr.php
 
Thanks. It will be broadcast on Danish TV2 at 22.00, Thursday.
 
I saw the report. Ahmed Akkari licked his lips when he pronouced the death threat.
 
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