BgArt News Blog
Sunday, February 05, 2006
  Muslim Cartoon Controversy
The outrage over the publication of cartoons originally posted in the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper has escalated into violence and destruction. Embassies in Beirut and Damascus have been torched by protestors.
"Despite the attempts of clerics to stay the mainly young male crowd, hundreds of men, some carrying green flags with the words "God is Great" written in Arabic, pushed them away and threw cans of tear gas back at police.
The Maronite Catholic church near the Danish consulate was also attacked, prompting fears that the protests could turn into a sectarian clash. By 4pm order had been restored and the 2,000 demonstrators had dispersed."
The cartoons were first published in September, depicting several images of the prophet Muhammad in offensive settings. According to Islamic teachings it is forbidden to depict the prophet Muhammad.
The Danish newspaper were writing an article about free speech, and the problems that an author had trying to find a cartoonist that would illustrate a children's book he was working on (it would of involved depicting Muhammad).
The cartoonists have now gone into hiding because of death threats and the Jyllands-Posten newspaper has had to increase security.
There's a more detailed description of the whole saga over at wikipedia.

See previous posts on buygazette where a relative of Van Gogh was killed over an 11 minute film, an Austrian cartoonist was wanted for Blasphemy in Greece for depicting Jesus, and a Sikh play in the United Kingdom caused protests and death threats.
I guess the message is that artists should stick to paintings flowers and landscapes... and God forbid, don't upset any religion.
I can't see that happening anytime soon though. It's part of the arsenal that any decent artist should have; the ability to shock and question authority.
BgArt News Blog Comments:
As turns out from the Danish Wikipedia encyclopaedia, the World
Socialist Web Site, and other sources, in the 1920s and 1930s, Danish
paper Jyllands-Posten was infamous for its affinity for Italian fascism
and the German Nazi dictatorship.

In 1933, it argued for the introduction of a dictatorship in Denmark (how would free speech have fared?).

Last September, the newspaper asked forty cartoonists to draw images of
the Prophet Muhammad ...

Spelling out the provocative and inflammatory aim of this exercise, the
chief editor said its purpose was "to examine whether people would
succumb to self-censorship, as we have seen in other cases when it
comes to Muslim issues."

Read whole article here.
This particular instance seems to have been a newspaper that was asking for trouble, but that doesnt excuse the disgusting actions taken by extremists in the name of religion.
The world would be a better place without religion. It's God we need to worship, not religion.
This same newspaper had indignantly refused three years ago to print cartoons making fun of Christianity. See here (comments).
its a simple cartoon. some people think its funny, some dont. its an opinion people, just leave it at that. it doesnt need to be blown out of preportion and made into some big deal. its a cartoon, not a big deal.
death threats?! wow. i really dont think its that big of a deal. its a cartoon. i dont think that one controversial cartoon is worth someones life...
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