If you have stumbled upon this page and wondered why I have posted a lot of drawings of the prophet Mohammed (see the right column for links), then I can understand your perplexity. A news story, which would normally have been forgotten long ago, has grown totally out of proportion. You may start by reading about the newspaper Jyllands-Posten in WikiPedia.
It all started when Danish author, Kåre Bluitgen, found that he was unable to commission an artist for illustrating his new book about Mohammed. Apparently the artists did not want to suffer the same fate as Salman Rushdie and Theo van Gogh had suffered: Danish Artists Scared of Islam.
The newspaper Jyllands-Posten wanted to see if free speech was endangered in Denmark, and they invited more than 40 artists to submit their interpretation of the prophet. Many declined, some didn't answer - but 12 artist submitted one drawing each. As you can see on this blog, most of the drawings are pretty harmless (in contrast to the three black and white pictures that I have labeled © Dansk Islamisk Trossamfund, which I shall return to).
Half of the pictures don't even portray Mohammed and some of those that do are rather reverent. The "worst" ones show Mohammed as a warrior (just as he is described in the al-Quran), and link Mohammed to terrorist attacks (just as the terrorists themselves do).
I doubt anybody had foreseen what was to come. It started predictably enough with a death threat - apparently from a young Danish Muslim acting on his own. Then it got worse: An extremist Pakistan party promised 500,000 Rupees (8,333-US Dollar) for the murder of the cartoonists: Denmark warns travellers to Pakistan:
Urdu Times(News): Denmark said on Friday it had issued a warning to travellers to Pakistan after fundamentalists reportedly offered a reward for the deaths of cartoonists who drew the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in a Danish newspaper.
Copenhagen altered its travel advisory for the Muslim country after an official from Jamaat-i-Islami allegedly offered the Rs 500,000 (8,333-dollar) bounty, said Denmark's Ambassador to Islamabad, Bent Wigotski.
You may wonder why all 12 artists were sentenced to death, when half of the drawings don't even portray Mohammed. There was a reason for this: Price on the heads of the men who drew Mohammed:
A bounty of DKK 50,000 had been put on the head [of] the cartoonist responsible for the drawings, daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende reported on Friday. The Pakistani group offering the reward mistakenly believes that the 12 cartoons were created by just one person.
How could they think those 12 very different drawings were made by the same person if they had seen the drawings before issuing death sentences? It got worse.
Diplomats from Egypt and 10 other countries made an official protest and demanded that Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen should make Jyllands-Posten offer an apology. Apparently they thought Jyllands-Posten was owned by the Danish government (I'll get back to that). Fogh Rasmussen refused to meet the diplomats, which was in retrospect a very bad move.
It got even worse with labour strikes in Pakistan and Kashmir - and with 51 Muslim countries threatening to boycott Danish goods (I don't suppose they bought much Carlsberg and bacon to begin with). All because non-Muslims in a far-away country had broken a Muslim tradition.
Then the explanation slowly appeared. Islamisk Trossamfund (The Danish Islamic Society) had sent delegations to all countries in the Middle East and suddenly strange "facts" had begun to appear in Egypt newspapers, like:
- It was claimed that the Danish government owns Jyllands-Posten (In fact Jyllands-Posten is privately owned).
- Several Danish newspapers are crusading against Islam and the Prophet (the truth is that everybody's too politically correct to ever criticise Muslims).
- The Danish Government will publish a censored version of the Quran (Please. We haven't had censorship for 150 years)
- A movie is being made that will show how terrible Islam is (This rumour probably appears because of the Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali's recent visit to Denmark).
The Danish Newspaper Berlingske Tidende interviewed the Egyptian editor, Mahmoud Bakri, in this article (Danish text) where he said (my translation); "I am convinced that there is a conspiracy going on in Danmark to degrade Muslims and Islam". How - you may wonder - did Mahmoud Bakri become an expert on conspiracies in Denmark?
You probably gusessed it: The delegation from Islamic Society of Denmark had paid Mr. Bakri a visit - and he proceeded to write in his newspaper that the Danish government was going to bring forth a replacement for Submission 1 by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. When asked for his sources, he answered that he had based his article on "Dutch sources" and on the delegation from Danish Islamic Society.
Then came the revelation: The delegation from the Danish Islamic Society had not limited themselves to discussing the 12 drawings and to spread misinformation in general. They had actually produced propaganda material, which includes far worse pictures than the relatively harmless ones in Jyllands-Posten. The newspaper EkstraBladet has published all 43 pages here. The article is in Danish and the propaganda material is in Arabic, but look at all 43 images and you will see the 12 drawings I have published, a page from WeekendAvisen and three very blasphemous pictures of unknown origin.
One picture shows a praying Muslims being anally raped by a dog, another shows Mohammed with pig's ears and snout and the third is labeled "The pedophile 'prophet' Mohammed". I have no idea where Danish Islamic Society have found these pictures - they were certainly never published in any newspaper - therefore I must assume the pictures belong to Danish Islamic Society, and I have added a copyright notice. By reproducing these primitive pictures and spreading them all over the Middle East, the Danish Islamic Society have ensured that this pictures - which they supposedly hate - are now immortalized.
This explains most of the anger. The three blasphemous pictures are linked together with the 12 innocent drawings in Jyllands-Posten, which (or so the Muslims in the Middle East are told) is owned by the Danish government.
Of course there is more to the story than this. Why would people in Pakistan and Egypt react so violently - just because a Danish newspaper in a far-away country has broken an Islamic tradition? After all there's nothing in the al-Quran forbidding making drawings of Mohammed.
Muslims butcher cows, even if cows are sacred to the Hindus. Muslims step on bugs and ants, even if Hara Krishnas hold all life sacred. Muslims denigrate pork, even though the Nordic Gods have wonderful pigs like Særimner and Gallinbursti. So why do (some) Muslims take it so personally when non-Muslims break a Muslim tradition?
The sad (and scary) explanation is that non-Muslims are simply not allowed to break Muslim laws. In certain Muslims' minds, Islamic rule must be introduced world-wide and all who do not convert are treated as unclean "Kufr" and "Dhimmi" (a Dhimmi (or Zimmi) is a non-Muslim who must pay a special tax for protection ("jizya") and suffer humiliation). There is no room for compromise, since there is only one god and one Prophet. This explains why the Danish Islamic Society took such extreme steps to "punish" not only Jyllands-Posten, but Denmark as well.
Seen in this light the whole story turns out to be not about freedom of speech and not even about freedom of religion. It's all about freedom from religion.
The three *really* ugly ones - Mohammed with a pig's snout, a dog raping a Muslim and Mohammed with horns holding two childrens' corpses - have never appeared in any newspaper.
It's true that we have free speech in Denmark, but if any paper published drawings like that, it would find itself out of business in a minute.
The imams *claim* they received them by mail, but they have refused to let the newspapers talk to those who alledgedly received the pictures.
At any rate, it's totally unfair to brandish these pictures on al-Jazeera and hold an entire country responsible. The imams should quietly have destroyed the drawings instead of reproducing them.
Also, greedy Christians are always trying to overpower others. They intimidate and bully others, but Allah Subhanna Wataala will never allow them to take our land!!Whoever tries can burn in hell!
Do you mean the imams who made the fake Mohammed cartoons?
the creators are responsible for it.
They are the idiots who thought of drawing pics of the Prophet Mohamed Peace Be Upon Him
Jyllands-Posten made innocuous drawings and showed them to 150,000 kuffar Danes.
Them imams made much more blasphemous Mohammed cartoons and pushed them into the face of 1,3 billion believing Muslims.
Tell me again, why the imams are not at fault?