|26th January |
Updated 22nd March
Nutters Spring into Action |
Based on an article from Christian Today
the nutter bait stage show, Jerry Springer – The Opera, begins with theatres across the country now bracing themselves for protests during the nationwide tour.
Local organisation Action Group has already planned a protest outside the
Plymouth Theatre Royal and up to 50 nutters are expected to turn out to voice their concerns.
The 20-city, five-month tour will begin in Plymouth, Devon on Friday after a turbulent period where it was questionable whether the tour would go ahead.
A spokesperson for the Plymouth theatre said there is planned to be extra security on the opening night of the tour. The BBC reported her as saying, We are aware that there are people out there who aren't particularly happy with the fact that
we have Jerry Springer. We have got more people who will be present front-of-house to ensure that there are no problems with people who want to come in and see the production and make sure they can gain access.
Previously, one third of the
venues had backed down on plans to show the musical after receiving threats of protests by religious pressure group Christian Voice, according to Manchester Online.
The Independent newspaper reported that Stephen Green, the national director of
Christian Voice, has announced the organisation's intention to prosecute any venue that shows the Jerry Springer show.
But theatres have joined forces and a deal was agreed upon with the producers, Avalon despite threats of protests. The
Independent newspaper has reported that Stuart Griffiths, the chief executive of the Birmingham Hippodrome, said that the tour venues were "absolutely keen" it should go ahead.
But the Bishop of Manchester, the Right Rev Nigel
McCulloch, who described the TV broadcast of the musical as “gratuitously offensive” said he has no problem with the show coming to the city.
He said there was a “big difference” of issues because people could choose whether to buy a ticket,
according to Manchester Online. "This production has been on stage before and there is a big difference between something on the television and the stage.
Bishop McCulloch said people had a right to “peaceful protest” but warned that
violence or threats of violence are not acceptable: I want to distance myself completely from the kind of thing that happened after the televised performance when the lives of people were threatened. That is reprehensible and has
nothing to do with any Christian concern.
|28th January || Update:
Southport Nutters Bay for Repression |
From the Southport Visitor
have joined in the call against Jerry Springer: The Opera. Around 600 members of Southport churches have signed a petition calling on the Liverpool Empire and the Manchester Opera House to drop performances of the production.
Dave Allen of Elim Pentecostal Church organised the petition.
|2nd February ||
Update: Only 35 Protesting Brethren |
Based on an article from
The archdeacon of Plymouth and two of the city's former lord mayors have attacked the staging of Jerry Springer: the Opera , as the
controversial show begins its national tour. Archdeacon Tony Wilds branded the award-winning musical "unfair and unacceptable", and called for its tour to be abandoned. But the opening performance of Jerry Springer went ahead as scheduled last
Friday, and continues in Plymouth until the end of the week.
In a statement entitled Freedom, Not Hate in Plymouth, Wilds was backed by former mayors Tom Savery and David Stark, plus ministers of five other Christian denominations. According to
the statement: The local production of the controversial Jerry Springer the Opera is ... a serious and damaging misjudgment.
The shameful archdeacon said that he was in favour of the principle of free speech...
BUT. .. he argues that Springer takes undue liberties according to this standard. The abusive portrayal of figures held by Christians to be [dear] should be recognised by all people of goodwill as unfair and unacceptable ...
Organising this tour has been the most difficult thing we've ever done, said producer Jon Thoday. It's been on and off about three times, to the point when we thought we were fighting a losing battle. Further protests against the
show are planned across Britain as the tour progresses.
But Thoday is heartened by the events of last Friday, when only a handful of protesters attended the opening night of the show. If they can only muster 35 people
praying on the first date of the tour, my hope is that it will be the show that prevails and not the protests.
|| Update: Christian Voice & Dog Shit |
Arts Council England has given £30,000 to the national
tour of Jerry Springer: The Opera , six months after turning down an application for funding.
In August the organisation threw the future of the production into doubt when it decided against subsidising the tour. On that occasion the
application was from the producers Avalon and the Arts Council claimed it could not justify the use of public money for a commercial tour.
But it has now made the £30,000 award in response to a separate application from a consortium of
theatres. The musical is in the middle of a nationwide regional tour. The funding will enable the production to reach new audiences across the country.
Sir Christopher Frayling, chair of Arts Council England, said: "
We are committed to continuing our association with Jerry Springer: The Opera . The original production provoked an important debate and attracted new audiences during its time on the London stage. Our award will allow the production to reach out
to new audiences across England allowing them too to take part in the debate."
Stephen Green of Christian Voice, the organisation which is currently picketing venues around the country, is predictably furious: It
would not be possible for this show to be any more blasphemous and insulting to Christians if it tried. I cannot believe it has qualified for public money. It needs the money to keep it going. As far as I am concerned, Jerry Springer: The Opera appeals
to people who like treading in dog shit. Taxpayers have no business supporting it.
So full of love and the grace of his lord Jesus Christ, isn’t he?
24th February || Update: Diapers vs Turban Bombs |
By my calculations the Jerry Springer version of Christ is just as likely to be the truth as the multitude of church versions. Which in turn is equally likely to be the truth as a prophet from God wearing a turban bomb and
indeed, equally likely as a prophet from God wearing any other sort of headwear.
From Christian Today
Protestors gathered in Yorkshire earlier this week, regarding the controversial stage show
Jerry Springer – The Opera. As part of a national tour, the show is at the York Grand Opera House every night this week, and will visit the Bradford Alhambra in May as its only other Yorkshire date.
Major Paul Westlake, of York Branch of
the Salvation Army, said: We are here to put across to people that they should not formulate any ideas about Jesus Christ from this production they are going to see. In the production, he is portrayed as a ridiculous figure who says he may be a little
bit gay. The issue is that there is a lot in the show that is offensive to Christians. In this country we seem to be able to poke fun at Christianity but not other minority faiths.
Lizzie Richards, general manager of the Grand Opera House,
said: It's up to them if they want to protest. They are perfectly entitled to say how they feel. We are trying to offer a balanced programme. We think it is a great show from great producers written by two very talented people in
Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas, which is why we wanted it to come to York.
|3rd March ||
Comic Pictures and Comic Opera |
I think the Springer protestors must be feeling a little bit overshadowed by the cartoon protests. They simply cannot
support their own beliefs with the same level of intimidation that Islam can command.
Perhaps they can achieve some feeling of fairness in knowing that both beliefs are equally absurd and equally unlikely to be the truth.
Jerry Springer: The Opera opened at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester recently accompanied not only by the usual gaggle of Springer protestors, but also by a counter-demo by the active Leicester Secular Society in support of free
speech. As far as we can gather, this is the first time the anti-Springer brigade have encountered organised opposition.
If the show is coming to a theatre near you, and you want to know what the Christian demonstrators are up to (if anything),
Stephen Green of Christian Voice has helpfully set up a web page (Stopspringer.com) with contact details for would-be activists
From Christian Today
planning to come out to protest against Jerry Springer: The Opera when it opens in Glasgow next week.
The protest will kick off on the opening night of the show next Monday night and will be attended by numerous prominent Christians,
including Rev. George Hargreaves, leader of the Scottish Christian Party, reports the Scottish Herald.
The Glasgow campaign will be spearheaded by Bob Handyside, a local Christian, who criticised the play for its biased disregard of the Christian
faith: Christianity is a whipping boy, and obscenities like this, which are absolutely shocking, just seem to be expected. You would never get away with this if you were ranting about Islam. Glasgow City Council would be attacked and there
would be Muslims complaining to everyone.
A website for the anti-Springer opera campaign, www.stopspringer.com, is calling for Christians to write to Prince Edward, patron of the Glasgow theatre, voicing their concerns for the musical. The
website states, “It’s time for Prince Edward to stand up for Jesus Christ.”
The protest organisers are hoping that many local churches will get involved with the campaign by encouraging their congregation to express their concerns over the play.
The tour is due to continue to Aberdeen’s His Majesty’s Theatre after the Glasgow week-long run. The Aberdeen theatre is also facing criticism for going ahead with the run of the show.
|13th March |
Update: Spot the Difference
Shamelessy lifted from one of my favourite sites: MediawatchWatch. The observation surely deserves wide distribution.
Has the BNP taken over the anti- Jerry Springer: The Opera protests? Above left is a photo from the Leicester Mercury showing a group
of protestors outside the de Montfort Hall. On the right is a group of BNP supporters outside Leeds Crown Court in January, during the trial of Nick Griffin and Mark Collett.
The “Defend Christian Values” banners they are
holding are from the self-styled Christian Council of Britain, one of several new BNP offshoots.
From Lancaster Unite Against Fascism blog:
The Christian Council of Britain, replete
with one or two hundred rabid members of the BNP (who also happen to be Christians), was set up by the BNP as a so-called balance to the Muslim Council of Britain. They claim to represent the Christians of Britain, which of course, they don’t. They
actually represent a racist though supposedly Christian offshoot of the BNP formed solely so that the party could almost-legitimately jump on the back of the anti-’ Jerry Springer - The Opera ’ campaign. The real Christian group who actually are
organising the campaign have stated clearly that the BNP is unwelcome.
Stephen Green did indeed come out and speak against the BNP involvement in the anti-Springer campaign, eventually. But if the Leicester
Mercury photo is representative, the very least we can deduce is that they are good at distributing their banners.
|| Update: Dirty Minded |
Certainly an illuminating quote: We do not think
any decent-minded person would want to watch this show.
Based on an article from ic Liverpool
More than 500 Christians descended on St George's Plateau to make their feelings about Jerry
Springer: The Opera coming to the city very clear.
Nutters in the region were protesting in the hope of deterring people from buying tickets. The show is part of the Empire Theatre's summer season and campaigners plan to stage a series of
demonstrations over the next two months and throughout its run.
Dave Allen, from Merseyside Christians Against Jerry Springer, said: We regard this production as disgraceful, disgusting and dirty. We do not think any decent-minded person would
want to watch this show.
It very clearly demeans our Lord Jesus Christ by depicting him as a baby in a nappy and makes God out to be a bumbling fool. There is no doubt about it, we will be raising our voice very
strongly over the next few weeks to show our disgust.
|22nd March || Update:
Comic Relief |
From Manchester Online
The staging of controversial musical Jerry Springer The Opera brought protesters to the streets of Manchester last night - but placard-waving supporters of the show outnumbered Christian protesters.
But on the streets outside the Opera House last night, a small group of around 10 protesters opposed to the show were
out-numbered by a group of noisy Manchester comedians, who carried placards reading "Don't Gag the Gagsters".
Organiser Mike Landers, who heads the Manchester Comedy Forum, said: We are concerned about freedom
of speech. There seem to be a lot of things conspiring against this freedom because of the protest against the Prophet cartoons and the religious hatred bill. We think it is the job of comedians to be able to say what we think, even if it offends people.
From the excellent MediawatchWatch
Mike Landers reports:
We gathered in the Sports Cafe on time, hurriedly finishing off placards and so
on. A nice little turn out, and then we found out that the tables around us were occupied by people going to see the show and were laughing themselves silly at some of the slogans.
The original plan was to wander up to the Opera House around
6.30pm (7.30pm show start) but a distinct lack of Christian “opposition” meant we kept putting it back and putting it back. As the queues of audience members grew and still no sign, we finally made the Executive Decision to head up at about 6.50pm.
As we gathered opposite the Opera House, there were a lot of curious looks from the Springer audience, but as soon as the placards were unveiled, there was a big cheer and a lot of laughter.
A round of interviews (TV and radio) with myself
and John Cooper, more laughter and chanting and some grateful thanks from some of the backstage crew, who left with their own stickers.
Eventually some of the Christians turned up at about 7.15pm. We serenaded them with “You’re late! And you know
you are!” as they took station right outside the doors. A quick countup of protesters versus anti-protesters led to the football style chant of “16-3! 16-3!”.
At 7.30pm, showtime so time to retire to the pub. I wandered past the Opera House at
about 8.45, and one of the protestors was still there. Earlier she had given out a huge number of handwritten cards about spreading the word of God. As my good friend Geoff said, quite frankly, with dedication and determination like that, she’s wasted
doing what she is doing.
I’ll write more, set up a webpage to show the pictures, but from memory the slogans were:
“Down with protests”
“Don’t gag the gagsters”
“Jerry Springer stole my other cheek”
“Free Speech! I’m a
“Its digusting. Its a musical, not an opera”
“It was either this or the hoovering”
“I don’t care about blasphemy, I just hate opera.”
“For one night only: Much Ado About Nothing”
“Stop being so bloody silly.”
Very tired, but happy.
|13th January |
Updated 31st March
| Tolerant Death Threats
Magazinet, an obscure Norwegian Christian magazine, has incurred the wrath of the Supreme Islamic Council for re-publishing the Mohammed cartoons
originally printed by Jyllands-Posten in Denmark.
According to Islam Online, the head of the Supreme Islamic Council, Mohammed Hamdan, has condemned the magazine “in the strongest possible terms”. When informed that Magazinet printed the cartoons
in the name of free expression, Hamdan revealingly replied: What on earth does freedom of expression mean?
He hopes that the government of Norway will condemn the publication, unlike the Danish government who steadfastly refused to take
action: Editors should not take free speech as an excuse to insult a certain religion; otherwise they risk an extremist response from the offended, which carries grave consequences.
In other words, shut up or we’ll kill you.
|17th January || Update :
Tolerantly Threatening Death in an atmosphere free of intimidation or bullying |
When UK Muslim dignatories were challenged for the homophobic opinions then they said: All Britons, whether they are in
favour of homosexuality or not, should be allowed to freely express their views in an atmosphere free of intimidation or bullying. We cannot claim to be a truly free and open society while we are trying to silence dissenting views.
According to the Brussels Journal, the Norwegian newspaper which published the Mohammed cartoons in support of Jylands-Posten has withdrawn them from its website in the face of
Vebjørn Selbekk, the editor of Magazinet, received threatening anonymous emails, including one containing a picture of a burnt body. The e-mail with the pictures of the burnt body is the most frightening. But I am not
afraid. This is of course unpleasant, especially for a family man. But I cannot go around being afraid said Selbekk.
Another Norwegian newspaper, Dagbladet, has also published the cartoons as a gesture of support.
|27th January || Update: Saudi Depiction of Intolerance
From The Guardian
Saudi Arabia said yesterday it had recalled its ambassador to Denmark, saying the
government had not taken enough action over newspaper cartoons seen as mocking Islam and the prophet Muhammad. The Saudi government recalled its ambassador ... in light of the Danish government's lack of attention to insulting the prophet Muhammad by
its newspapers, a Saudi official said.
Denmark's biggest newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, ran 12 cartoons last September including one in which Muhammad seemed to be carrying a bomb in his turban.
|28th January || Update : Morality Does not Apply to Business
Denmark's main industry organization, fearing a loss of business in the Muslim world, sought to distance itself Friday from a newspaper that published contentious drawings of Islam's Prophet Muhammad.
Confederation of Danish Industries urged Jyllands-Posten to explain its decision to publish the cartoons on Sept. 30 last year: Time has come for Jyllands-Posten to use its freedom of speech to explain how it views the fact that the paper's Muhammad
drawings have offended large groups of people, the group's head, Hans Skov Christensen, wrote in a letter to the daily.
The caricatures have sparked a wave of denunciations across the Islamic world and from Muslim leaders in Denmark. Islamic
tradition bars any depiction of the prophet, even respectful ones, out of concern that such images could lead to idolatry.
In Iraq on Friday, thousands of people condemned the caricatures during weekly prayer services and demanded legal action be
taken against the newspaper.
Skov Christensen said Danish companies faced repercussions this week from customers in the Middle East, including product boycotts, dropped orders, and cancelled business meetings. The confederation claims the Middle
East accounts for annual sales of at least $816 million for Danish companies.
Danish-based Arla Foods, Europe's largest dairy group, said it had noted sales dropping in Saudi Arabia because of protests over the drawings.
|30th January || Update : Iraq Protests & Norwegian
Shiite and Sunni clerics in Iraq have joined the chorus of condemnation against the Mohammed cartoons published first by Jyllands-Posten in
Denmark, and then by a couple of magazines in Norway.
Ranting in his mosque in a Shiite district in Baghdad, Sheikh Hazem al-Aaraji said: They want to disfigure Islam and this we cannot accept. These cartoons directly attack the personality of
the messenger of God. We say to them: they cannot attack Mohammed, nor any of the prophets. Mohammed is the symbol of humanity. He is not dead, he lives always among us through his teachings and through the sacred book
After the sermon, a
crowd of about 100 charged through the neighourhood chanting: there is no god but God, and Mohammed is his prophet.
Meanwhile, an email memo to Norwegian embassies has been leaked which reveals that Norway’s government is trying to make
amends by “apologising”: I am sorry that the publication of a few cartoons in the Norwegian paper Magazinet has caused unrest among Muslims. I fully understand that these drawings are seen to give offence by Muslims worldwide.
The cartoons in the Christian paper Magazinet are not constructive in building the
bridges which are necessary between people with different religious and ethnic backgrounds. Instead they contribute to suspicion and unnecessary conflict.
Let it be clear that the Norwegian government condemns every expression or act which expresses contempt for people on the basis of their religion or ethnic origin. Norway has always supported the fight of the UN against religious intolerance and
racism, and believes that this fight is important in order to avoid suspicion and conflict. Tolerance, mutual respect and dialogue are the basis values of Norwegian society and of our foreign policy.
Freedom of expression is one of the pillars of
Norwegian society. This includes tolerance for opinions that not everyone shares. At the same time our laws and our international obligations enforce restrictions for incitement to hatred or hateful expressions.
|31st January || Update : Bacon
Boycott Causes a Stink |
From The Times
Denmark faced the full fury of the Muslim world yesterday as a long-simmering row over newspaper cartoons depicting the Prophet
Muhammad finally erupted.
There were street demonstrations and flag-burnings in the Middle East. Libya joined Saudi Arabia in withdrawing its ambassador from Copenhagen. Islamic governments and organisations, including the Muslim Council of
Britain, issued denunciations and a boycott of Danish goods took hold across the Muslim world.
The Danish Government warned its citizens about travelling to Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria, and withdrew aid
workers from the Gaza Strip.
Last night EU foreign ministers issued a statement in support of Denmark, and the European Commission threatened to report any government backing the boycott to the World Trade Organisation.
A spokesman for Peter Mandelson, the EU Trade Commissioner, said that if the Saudi Government had encouraged the boycott of Danish goods, Mandelson would take the matter to the WTO.
By yesterday governments across the Arab world
were responding to public outrage. Libya closed its embassy in Denmark and the Egyptian parliament demanded that its Government follow suit. The Kuwaiti and Jordanian governments called for explanations from their Danish ambassadors. President Lahoud of
Lebanon condemned the cartoons, saying his country “cannot accept any insult to any religion”. The Justice Minister of the United Arab Emirates said: “This is cultural terrorism, not freedom of expression.” In Gaza, gunmen briefly occupied the EU office
in Gaza and warned Danes and Norwegians to stay away. Palestinians in the West Bank burnt Danish flags. The Islamic groups Hamas and Hezbollah and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood demanded an apology.
Supermarkets in Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan,
Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen all removed Danish produce from their shelves. Arla Foods, a Danish company with annual sales of about $430 million in the Middle East, said that the boycott was almost total and
suspended production in Saudi Arabia.
The Muslim Council of Britain, whose leaders are to meet the Danish ambassador tomorrow, deplored the newspapers’ refusal to apologise for printing “sacrilegious cartoons vilifying the Prophet Muhammad”.
Per Stig Moeller, Denmark’s Foreign Minister, insisted in Brussels last night: We condemn blasphemy. We want respect for religions. But we cannot intervene. We have sent explanations but, as we have said before, freedom of
expression is a matter for the courts, not for the Government
From al jazeerah
The publication of the Danish illustrations of the Prophet and their republication in Norway offers
not one but two separate offenses to the Muslim world. The most obvious is that not only was the Prophet depicted in ten of the twelve cartoons, but also that one of the illustrations portrayed him as a terrorist. The second offense is that people in
Denmark and Norway and no doubt in most of Europe and North America seem blissfully unaware of precisely how outrageous these images are to Islamic sensibilities.
What is so deeply disappointing is that the Danish and indeed Norwegian authorities
have failed to adequately condemn the publication of the image or to directly apologize for the hurt it has caused to everyone in the Muslim world. Instead, we have heard the usual responses about freedom of speech and governments having no control over
the press and media.
No one is talking about censorship. .. BUT... what Muslims are saying that with every freedom comes a responsibility. Something deeply painful to the entire Muslim world was published in a
Danish newspaper. That in itself was an irresponsible use of the freedom of the press, which in no country anywhere is an unlimited freedom allowing journalists to vilify, libel or lie.
|1st February || Update:
Danish Newspaper Threatened with Hat Bomb |
From The Independent
A Danish newspaper suffered bomb scares a day after apologising for cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed which prompted protests from Muslims and a boycott of Danish products in a dozen nations. The offices of Jyllands-Posten in Copenhagen
and Arhus were evacuated for a short tim
Stunned by the scale of the reaction, the newspaper - which received 9,000 e-mails on the subject in one day - moved to defuse the row with an appeal published on its website. Carsten Juste,
editor-in-chief, said in the open letter, which was also published in Arabic: In our opinion, the 12 drawings were sober. They were not intended to be offensive, nor were they at variance with Danish law, but they have indisputably offended many
Muslims for which we apologise.
Under the headline "Honourable Citizens of the Muslim World", the editor defended the publication, arguing: The initiative was taken as part of an ongoing public debate on freedom of expression, a
freedom much cherished in Denmark. The apology, which has prompted a fierce debate over freedom of expression, was welcomed by the Danish premier, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He said: I'm extremely happy that Jyllands-Posten has
decided to take this very difficult step. I would now like to appeal to Muslim groups in Denmark to speak out and defuse the situation after Jyllands-Posten's apology.
A Danish Muslim group accepted an apology from a newspaper that published offensive cartoons of the prophet Muhammad but said later that it
had decided the statement was ambiguous.
The group did not elaborate, and it was unclear whether there would be any effect on protests and boycotts of Danish goods in Muslim countries.
|2nd February || Update :
European Stand Against the Bacon Boycott |
From The Times
Newspapers across Europe yesterday republished caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that have inflamed the Muslim world since they first appeared in Denmark.
Daily newspapers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands featured the 12
cartoons, which have caused a firestorm in the Islamic world.
Editors expressed a wish to show solidarity with the Editor of the Jyllands-Posten in Denmark, whose cartoons triggered violent protests in Gaza, a boycott of Danish goods across the
Arab world and death threats against the newspaper’s senior staff. The paper’s offices had to be evacuated last night after the second bomb threat in two days.
Showing any depiction of Muhammad is deemed blasphemous and these were seen as
particularly offensive, with one portraying the Prophet wearing a turban in the shape of a bomb. Under the headline Yes, we have the right to caricature God , France Soir covered its front with Buddha, the Christian and Jewish deities and the
Prophet all sitting on a cloud. The Christian God says: Don’t complain Muhammad, all of us have been caricatured.
Shortly after the paper appeared, however, its managing editor, Jacques Lefranc, was sacked. Raymond Lakah, the paper’s
owner, issued a public apology: We express our regrets to the Muslim community and all people who were shocked by the publication of the cartoons, he said.
French officials privately shuddered over the likely damage to relations with
Muslims at home and abroad but ministers defended France Soir’s freedom to publish what it wanted. After a Cabinet meeting with President Chirac, Jean-François Copé, a minister and government spokesman, said: France is attached to the
freedom of expression, but adding that respect should always be shown for the beliefs of others.
France Soir published all 12 Danish cartoons and deplored what it called the new inquisition by “backward bigots” in a Muslim world that knew
In Berlin, Die Welt reprinted one cartoon on its front page and three others inside: The protests from Muslims would be taken more seriously if they were less hypocritical. When Syrian television showed drama documentaries in
prime time depicting rabbis as cannibals, the imams were quiet. Roger Koeppel, Editor of Die Welt, told The Times: We owed it to our readers. They have to understand what the fuss is about.
In Italy some of the cartoons appeared in
Corriere della Sera and La Stampa. Both newspapers said that the decision to publish had been taken on purely journalistic grounds.
Paolo Lepri, the acting foreign editor of Corriere della Sera, said that it was not a political decision. We
simply felt that you could not explain to readers why the cartoons had caused such a furore without showing them some examples by way of illustration.
The Spanish daily El Periodico published a montage of the cartoons under the headline The Effects of Terrorism: A Test
. Carlos-Enrique Bayo, foreign editor of El Periodico, said: We don’t normally shy away from things like this. Publish and be damned, as they say.
The Dutch daily De Telegraaf has also
published the 12 cartoons which can also be seen on the Dutch MP Groep Wilders who published them on his blog.
|| Update : Clash of Cultures |
Who can be the most offensive?
Perhaps if Islam allowed itself to be tempered by public criticism and debate it would not provide such a fertile breeding ground for violence, intimidation and intolerance
Based on an
article from The Telegraph
Demonstrators in London gathered at Regent's Park mosque following Friday prayers and marched to the Danish embassy in Sloane
The protesters held placards, one declaring: "Behead the one who insults the prophet." Another said: "Free speech go to hell."
Passers by stopped police officers to ask why the marchers
were being allowed to carry banners threatening further suicide attacks in the city. One police officer replied: Don't worry. We are photographing them.
Media organisations - including the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV - showed the controversial
drawings, but British newspapers did not publish the images.
Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, today attacked media outlets who republished the cartoons.
There is freedom of speech, we all respect that, but there is not any obligation to
insult or to be gratuitously inflammatory. I believe that the republication of these cartoons has been unnecessary, it has been insensitive, it has been disrespectful and it has been wrong.
America sided with tens of thousands of Muslims who protested worldwide yesterday about cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published in European newspapers.
In its first comment on the furore, the State Department said: These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims.
Answering a reporter's question, its spokesman, Kurtis Cooper, said: We all fully
respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner is not acceptable.
On a somewhat different tack, Philippe Douste-Blazy, the
French foreign minister, said: It is not normal to caricature a whole religion as an extremist or terrorist movement. But the extreme reaction to the cartoons w ould suggest the caricaturists were right.
Pakistan's parliament unanimously passed a resolution yesterday criticising the newspapers publishing the cartoons for conducting a vicious, outrageous and provocative campaign.
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
was quoted in the Turkish press saying: Caricatures of prophet Muhammad are an attack against our spiritual values. There should be a limit of freedom of press.
By contrast, Wolfgang Schauble, the
German home minister, defended the decision by four German newspapers to publish the cartoons: Why should the German government apologise? This is an expression of press freedom.
Today a New Zealand newspaper, the Dominion Post, became the
first in that country to publish the cartoons. Its editor, Tim Pankhurst, said: We do not want to be deliberately provocative, but neither should we allow ourselves to be intimidated.
Daily Star in Dublin was the latest to publish the drawings yesterday.
Update: Nov 12th 2006: Guilty of Inciting Racial Hatred
A man who
called for the killing of British troops has been found guilty of stirring up racial hatred at a rally. Mizanur Rahman, from north London, was arrested after a protest at the UK's Danish Embassy over cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Old Bailey jury was unable to reach a verdict on a separate charge of inciting murder. The jury had spent two days considering the charges.
February || Update: Cartoon Terrorists Animated |
Lebanese demonstrators have set the Danish embassy in Beirut on fire in protest at the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Thousands
of people attended a rally and clashes broke out with security forces sent to protect the building.
Denmark urged its citizens to leave the country as soon as possible.
The violence came a day after mobs in neighbouring Syria torched the
Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus in anger at the pictures.
Huge crowds attended Sunday's protest in Beirut. It turned violent after Islamic extremists tried to break though security barriers protecting the Danish embassy building.
Some 2,000 riot police and army troops fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd and fired their weapons into the air. But smoke was later seen rising from the building after demonstrators broke into it. Some protesters threw stones at
the security forces and burned Danish flags.
The embassy building, which also houses commercial offices, was believed to be unoccupied.
Denmark and Norway condemned Syria for failing to stop Saturday's attacks in Damascus and urged their
citizens to leave the country.
The principle of diplomatic relations is that diplomats can work safely and the fact that this has been broken is extremely serious, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference in
|6th February || Update:
No Tolerance |
From The Telegraph
Police were under pressure last night to
adopt "a no tolerance" approach to Muslim demonstrators threatening violence in Britain after a third embassy was set on fire in the Middle East.
The Conservatives called for firm action against any further militant demonstrations as
police faced growing criticism over their failure on Friday to arrest protesters in London who chanted and carried placards glorifying the July 7 London bombings and threatening beheadings.
Scotland Yard said it was studying film of the protests
but refused to say if any prosecutions would go ahead.
Television pictures broadcast that evening showed the majority of placards in similar handwriting. One of three veiled women - or at least people who appeared to be women - was seen writing
placards and distributing them. Most were held by men who had also hidden their identity.
Among the slogans were "Europe, your 9/11 will come" and, in an apparent reference to the four July 7 suicide bombers, "Europe you will pay,
fantastic 4 are on their way". One protester was dressed as a suicide bomber.
The only arrests were of two counter-demonstrators, who police said were held after apparently attempting to hand out caricatures of Mohammed. Both were released
without charge after a few hours.
Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain umbrella group, said last night: The placards were quite disgraceful and seemed to constitute a clear incitement to violence, even murder.
I think the police were right to take footage of the event and identify the ringleaders, because although several hundred people were there the placards were being held by a tiny group of extremists. I think people will understand that the
police did not step in to make matters worse and were waiting for a more propitious time to charge these people. Most Muslims feel enormous distress and anguish at what has occurred. There will be no sympathy for [the extremists] when they are charged by
Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, and Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, led Government appeals for calm but stopped short of endorsing Tory calls for the police to arrest militant protesters in future.
called on all sides to "cool it" and said that politicians must not try to "second guess" police: If people are on our streets inciting terrorism or promoting suicide bombings, they should be dealt with and dealt with toughly and
firmly - and they will be. But that is the police's responsibility and they will discharge that.
David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said that slogans such as "Massacre those who insult Islam" amounted to incitement to murder
and that police should take "a no tolerance" approach to them. He told the Sunday Telegraph:"Clearly, some of these placards are incitement to violence and indeed incitement to murder." Dominic Grieve, the Conservative legal affairs
spokesman, expressed concern that it could prove impossible to identify those responsible because arrests had not been made at the time.
Scotland Yard, which has received at least 100 complaints from members of the public so far, defended the
decision not to make arrests. It said the officer in charge at such scenes had to weigh the need to make arrests against the likelihood of provoking more serious unrest.
|9th February || Update : UK
Muslims Back the Bacon Boycott |
From The Guardian
British imams have demanded changes in the law and
a strengthening of the Press Complaints Commission code to outlaw any possible publication of the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in the UK. They also wanted the Race Relations Act modified to give Muslims the same protection as Sikhs or Jews.
Amid escalating tensions provoked by the controversy throughout Europe and the Middle East, more than 300 religious leaders and scholars met yesterday to highlight the distress of British communities and to plan a way forward.
They have scheduled a march through London next weekend and say at least 20,000 people are likely to attend.
Yesterday's event, which involved imams and grassroots figures from throughout England and Scotland, marked the foundation of the
Muslim Action Committee (MAC), whose leaders plan a continuous campaign to confront the alleged disparagement of Muslim communities and to call for "global civility".
They say they are determined to show how deeply Muslims have been
hurt, without allowing the issue to be hijacked by extremists. Families on the MAC-sponsored march on February 18 from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park will only be allowed to carry approved banners.
Faiz Siddiqi, the MAC's national convenor, said:
What is being called for is a change of culture. In any civilised society, if someone says, 'don't insult me', you do not, out of respect for them.
He said committee members would seek to meet editors and the PCC. Newspapers have so far
declined to publish the offending cartoons. Siddiqi called for that approach to be formalised: The PCC's code is voluntary. It is a benchmark of civility. It is a social contract. Why could it not be extended to cover Muslims?
also agreed to back a boycott of Danish goods already imposed by Muslims in other European countries.
|| Update: Police Censors |
A student newspaper has recalled 8,000 copies and suspended its editor after publishing a cartoon satirising the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist. It is
thought Cardiff University's student union paper Gair Rhydd is the first UK publication to use the image which has caused global protests. The paper has been withdrawn and said it regretted any upset caused.
Gair Rhydd which means Free Word in
English was published and pulled on the same day, but the university said it was likely that about 200 copies remained in circulation.
A statement by Cardiff University Students' Union read: The opinions expressed in Gair Rhydd are those of
the editorial team independently of the Students' Union or University. The Students' Union very much regrets any upset caused or disrespect shown by the publication of the controversial cartoon and has taken immediate action
by promptly withdrawing all copies of this week's edition of Gair Rhydd.
From the Daily Mail
fears of a backlash from extremists last night as a British magazine published one of the controversial cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed.
The Liberal magazine placed one of the Danish caricatures on its website despite warnings from police
about the likely reaction.
Several newspapers across Europe have already published the cartoons but The Liberal is the first to show them directly in Britain.
Scotland Yard chiefs last night called an emergency meeting to discuss the
development. Anti-Terrorist Branch detectives believe the British magazine's decision to publish one of the original cartoons will increase tensions "significantly".
Staff at The Liberal decided against publishing one of the cartoons in
the magazine itself after warnings from police. Editor Ben Ramm said detectives had told him it would inflame an already tense situation. They also hinted they only had finite resources to protect him and his publication.
After last night's
meeting of Scotland Yard commanders, security is expected to be stepped up at The Liberal's North London offices and staff may be given advice about their own protection.
Ramm said he was not afraid of being targeted by extremists. "I
realise it is a very sensitive issue but I believe that Muslims will see our reasoning for doing this. We had a long and heated debate before deciding to go ahead with it. We have chosen the least offensive of the cartoons. We do not want to
cause offence unnecessarily but in the end we decided it was about artistic freedom of expression.
The magazine is in its seventh issue and has a print run of 25,000. The image shows a cartoonist bent over a drawing of a conventionally
depicted Arab. Drops of sweat fly from the cartoonist's forehead, and it is not clear whether they come from the heat of the lamp above the drawing or from the tension of drawing the Prophet of Islam.
Inayat Bunglawala, from the Muslim Council of
Great Britain, said he was "saddened and disappointed" by the decision to publish the cartoon: The cartoons are gratuitously offensive to Muslims and will cause great hurt. I would appeal to the editor of The Liberal to think again. The
mainstream media in Britain have shown great restraint but we always feared a smaller publication would print the cartoons."
A senior police source said: It appears the people running this magazine have
underestimated the likely reaction to this decision.
|12th February ||
Update: Peacefully Intolerant |
From The Guardian
Thousands of British Muslims went into Trafalgar Square yesterday to express their anger at the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist. But they also voiced their rejection of the wave of violent
protest that has swept the Muslim world during the past two weeks over the cartoons, first published in a small Danish newspaper.
This is the Muslim community, said the rally chairman, Anaf Altikriti, of the Muslim Association of Britain.
Not a handful of people claiming vile things like those last Friday. He was referring to protesters who took to the streets of London with placards embracing al-Qaeda and calling for the beheading of non-believers.
5000 people gathered in
the square to listen to an array of speakers. The organisers had carefully chosen calm, co-ordinated banners that were lifted in the air to create a sea of white and blue. The messages simply read: United against Islamophobia, united against
incitement, mercy to mankind and Muhammad, symbol of freedom and honour.
Sumayah Razzak, said they had come there to defend the honour of Muhammad: But we are against all violence and hatred and also condemn those evil reactions. We are
hear to show Muslims are peaceful.
Pakistan's ruling party and hardline Islamic groups yesterday issued a joint call to hold a nationwide strike there on 3 March. The Muslim League party and a six-party coalition of religious groups also
urged people to boycott the products of those countries where the Danish cartoons have been printed.
|| Update: Ethicists, Politically Correct Term for Censors |
The student newspaper at Northern Illinois University this week ran the controversial Danish political cartoons of the Muslim Prophet
Muhammad. The student paper at the University of Illinois is still reeling from the consequences of running them.
Harvard's conservative alternative paper has run them. On Wednesday, so did the alternative student paper at Illinois State
We weighed the potential backlash, the potential fallout and decided being afraid of backlash should not keep us from running a story, because where do you draw the line? said Northern Star editor-in-chief Derek Wright, as
letters—many incensed, some supportive—began to arrive at the Star's offices at Northern Illinois. We felt it was something that was our responsibility.
As violent reactions to the cartoons simmer in the Muslim world—at least three more
people were killed in riots in Pakistan on Wednesday—the controversial cartoons are trickling into student newspapers here.
Faculty advisers and journalism ethicists have rushed to frame the discussions with students over handling the
images in their own campus papers.
For the most part, news organizations—including the Chicago Tribune—have decided it is enough to write about the cartoons and their aftermath without publishing them. Only two major U.S. newspapers have run the
cartoons, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the American-Statesman in Austin, Texas.
The nature of the offensiveness alone creates a significant barrier to publishing or republishing the image, even if you can justify the original publication,
which I think is not easy to do , said ethicist Bob Steele of the Poynter Institute for journalism.
Meanwhile, the Daily Illini's suspended editor, Acton Gorton, on Wednesday hired a Chicago-based Muslim-American civil rights attorney, Junaid
Afeef. Gorton said he was defamed by the Illini's retraction editorial, which blamed the decision to publish the cartoons on a "renegade editor."
I just want to make sure I have good representation for whatever happens now, Gorton
said. My career is in jeopardy.
The Daily Illini backlash was fresh in the minds of editors at NIU, where the Star's editorial board decided to publish the political cartoons last Thursday, but postponed doing so until Monday. Officials said
they delayed to look into copyright questions about re-publication. But it was just as well they waited, Wright said. The reaction in Champaign prompted them to rethink how to present the material.
The 12 cartoons were run inside on Page 3 of the
tabloid paper, with an editorial headlined "More Than Cartoons" on the front page. Alongside the cartoons, an article explained the controversy and student opinions. On Page 8, the Star ran an opinion column from a student Muslim group
explaining objections to the images.
Feedback on the decision has been split, said Wright and Jim Killam, the paper's adviser. Some people, including Muslims, said they objected to the cartoons but appreciated the newspaper's muted presentation.
|18th February || Update:
Tolerating Italian Fashion |
From The Guardian
At least nine
people were reported dead in the Libyan city of Benghazi after a mob set fire to the Italian consulate.
More than 1,000 protesters set upon the mission, setting cars alight and breaking windows, apparently angered by a minister in Silvio
Berlusconi's government who has said he intends to wear T-shirts bearing some of the cartoons.
An Italian consular official said nine protesters had been killed and several more had been wounded as armed police clashed with the crowd. State
television showed part of the consulate on fire.
Italian state-owned RAI television said six members of the consular staff were trapped inside, but unhurt. RAI said anger mounted at the actions of Roberto Calderoli, the minister for
constitutional reform, and a leading member of the xenophobic Northern League. Earlier this week, he announced that he planned to wear T-shirts featuring the cartoons that were published in European newspapers and have sparked violent protests around the
Last night Berlusconi asked for Calderoli to resign.
|18th February ||
Update: Deeply Respecting a Million Dollar Bounty |
From The Scotsman
A million dollar bounty for the killing of a cartoonist who caricatured the Prophet Muhammad was yesterday offered by a radical cleric in Pakistan, as thousands joined in street protests.
In the north-western city of
Peshawar, the prayer leader Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi announced the bounty to a crowd of about 1,000 people. Qureshi said the mosque and his religious school would give $25,000 (£14,300) and a car, while a local jewellers' association would give
another $1 million (£570,000).
Qureshi continued: This is a unanimous decision by all imams of Islam that whoever insults the Prophet deserves to be killed and whoever will take this insulting man to his end will get
The security forces were out in strength, particularly around government offices and Western businesses, as Muslims streamed on to the streets after Friday prayers. More than 200 people were detained, but most gatherings were
Mogens Blicher Bjerregaard, president of the Danish Journalists' Union and spokesman for the cartoonists, condemned the bounty said the cartoonists - who have been living under police protection since last year - are aware of the
reward and were "feeling bad about the whole situation".
In Islamabad, the former US president Bill Clinton criticised the cartoons but said violent protests by Muslims had wasted an opportunity to build better ties with the West: Most people in the United States deeply respect Islam ... and most people in Europe do.
Denmark announced it had temporarily closed its embassy in Pakistan. It also advised against travel to Pakistan and urged Danes still in the country to leave.
Pakistan, meanwhile, recalled its ambassador to Denmark for
"consultations" about the cartoons, foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.
|| Update: Dial 666 for the Religious Police |
Four out of 10 British Muslims want sharia law introduced into parts of the country, a survey reveals today.
The results of the
poll, conducted for the Sunday Telegraph, came as thousands of Muslims staged a fresh protest in London yesterday against the publication of cartoons of Mohammed.
Last night, Sadiq Khan, the Labour MP involved with the official task force set up
after the July attacks, said the findings were "alarming". He added: Vast numbers of Muslims feel disengaged and alienated from mainstream British society .
The most startling finding is the high level of support for applying
sharia law in "predominantly Muslim" areas of Britain. Islamic law is used in large parts of the Middle East, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, and is enforced by religious police. Special courts can hand down harsh punishments which can include
stoning and amputation.
40% of the British Muslims surveyed said they backed introducing sharia in parts of Britain, while 41% opposed it.
Based on an article from the
Meanwhile 16 people have been killed/murdered in Northen Nigeria where Sharia law has already been established. Most of the deaths occurred in rioting in
Maiduguri over the cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.
Witnesses said most of the dead were from Maiduguri's minority Christians. Eleven churches were also torched.
The BBC's Alex Last in northern Nigeria says the protest had begun
peacefully in Maiduguri, and it was not clear what started the violence. The city's residents described demonstrators running wild after police tried to disperse the protest with teargas. Crowds of protesters carried machetes, sticks and iron rods
through the city centre, the Associated Press news agency reported. One group threw a tyre around one man, poured gas on him and set him ablaze, it said.
Christian leader Joseph Hayab told the agency most of those who died were Christians:
The Muslim group came out to protest and the security forces tried to ensure it was peaceful, but there were some hoodlums in the crowd and somehow the security forces shot one or two of them, They went on the rampage, burning shops and
churches of the Christians. The protesters killed the others. Some were even killed in the churches.
|| Update: Cartoon Negotiation for a Cartoon Truce |
..Apologise or my mates will kick your head in...
From Christian Today
Danish church officials met with Egypt's top Muslim cleric in an effort to resolve the conflict caused by the Muhammad cartoons.
According to the Associated Press, however, no significant advancements were made during the meeting.
During the meeting, Grand Imam Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi of al-Azhar University, the world’s highest Sunni Muslim seat of learning, said
the Danish prime minister must apologise for the drawings and further demanded that the world’s religious leaders, including him and Pope Benedict XVI, meet to write a law that “condemns insulting any religion, including the Holy Scriptures and the
He said the United Nation should impose the law on all countries.
In response, Bishop Karsten Nissen of Denmark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, did not address the issue of a global law but said that it was impossible for Danish
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmusen to apologise for what a newspaper had published: I have brought to his excellency (Tantawi) the apology of the newspaper, but our prime minister did not draw these cartoons. Our prime minister is not the editor of
this newspaper. He cannot apologise for something he did not do, Nissen said
Saturday's meeting was part of a four-day visit to Egypt by the Danish church delegation to open up a dialogue after the events following the publication of the
|26th February || Update:
Calling for World Wide Blasphemy Laws to Protect the Kings Clothes |
The religions of the
world have come up with an impossibly contradictory tangle of myths intended to unify communities into controllable and socially powerful groups. When the myths simply become too far divorced from any evidence of reality whatsoever, then they have to be
enforced by intimidation and punishment. Perhaps though there is one myth that unifies all of mankind's religions, and that's the story of the King's Clothes.
National Secular Society
Belgian Islamists staged a march through Brussels on Tuesday, demanding that the European Commission institute a Europe-wide
blasphemy law. The marchers delivered a letter of protest about the cartoons to the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Danish Embassy. The president of the Union of Brussels and Neighbourhood Mosques said: We oppose the widening
chasm between the Muslim community and other European citizens that has incited hatred and fear of Islam, due to these irresponsible acts [the publication of the satirical cartoons].
In their letter to the European Commission and the European
Parliament, the Islamists warn that the wave of irresponsible humiliation caused by the cartoons may be dangerous: This attitude can only exacerbate conflict, fuel hatred and reinforce the logic of the clash of civilisations
letter asks for the European Union’s top decision-makers to act determinedly to prepare a draft law that forbids every kind of blasphemy, so that all groups in society can leave in peace and harmony. Such a law would: be completely
consistent with the EU’s protection of freedom, human rights and sacredness, and the elimination of all acts that lead to racism and xenophobia
EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana signalled this week that the EU might be supportive of this
idea, stating: We are working on some ideas. I cannot be very precise, but we are working on some ideas that maybe it is possible to get through, according to Reuters. Deutsche Welle quotes Solana’s spokeswoman Cristina Gallach as saying They
want mechanisms to guarantee this is not repeated and we should be able to find it in UN conventions on human rights.
Meanwhile, an Iranian government minister has demanded that the European Union ban the publication of caricatures that
satirise “holy figures” of any religion, including the allegedly offensive Prophet Muhammad cartoons, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki told a news conference in Yerevan on Tuesday: Today I will hold negotiations over the phone with the
foreign minister of Austria, which currently holds the EU presidency. During the conversation, I will suggest including the issue of respect for all prophets of any religions in the EU agenda.
East Asian Muslim and Christian leaders wrapped
up their two-day meeting in the Indonesian capital Jakarta by urging the UN to make a “universal declaration” strictly banning blasphemy. Din Syamsuddin, leader of Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organisation, the Muhammadiyah, said I personally
agree that the UN should issue a universal declaration of human responsibility, apart from the universal declaration of human rights, Because having the freedom without responsibility could lead our civilisation to absolute liberalism.
Extremist cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi has added his influential voice to the pressure on the United Nations to adopt a resolution banning blasphemy to head off similar incidents in the future. He also urged the European Union to criminalise blasphemy against any religion, including pagan religions.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is pressing for a ban on religious intolerance to be part of the “bedrock” of a planned new United Nations human rights body. According to the text of an OIC proposal, the new UN body should state
clearly that the defamation of religions and prophets is inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression and that states, organizations and the media have a responsibility in promoting tolerance and respect for
religious and cultural values.
|27th February || Update:
Free Speech Equality |
From the BBC
must accept that freedom of speech is central to Britishness and should be preserved even if it offends people, says Sir Trevor Phillips.
The chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) said we should allow people
to offend each other . And he suggested that Muslims who wanted a system of Islamic Shariah law should leave the UK.
His comments follow angry protests against cartoons satirising the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby programme: What some minorities have to accept is that there are certain central things we all agree about, which are about the way we treat each other. That we have an attachment to democracy, that we sort things out by
voting not by violence and intimidation, that we tolerate things that we don't like.
And that commitment to freedom of expression should also allow Muslim preachers to make comments about homosexuality that are offensive to broad segments of
the British population, he said: One point of Britishness is that people can say what they like about the way we should live, however absurd, however unpopular it is.
He also rejected the idea of Shariah law in Muslim communities in the
UK. We have one set of laws. They are decided on by one group of people, members of Parliament, and that's the end of the story. Anybody who lives here has to accept that's the way we do it. If you want to have laws decided in
another way, you have to live somewhere else.
|2nd March || Update:
Child Hatred |
From the Daily Times
About 5,000 Pakistani children chanting “Hang those who insulted the prophet”
rallied against caricatures of Prophet Muhammad on Tuesday, with some torching an effigy of the Danish premier and coffins representing Denmark, Israel and the United States.
At least 5,000 demonstrators, mostly aged between five and 12 years and
wearing school uniforms, marched through Karachi chanting “God is Great”, police and witnesses said.
The entire nation, from men and women to children, are now on the streets to protest against the caricatures, Jamaat-i-Islami President
Merajul Hude, told the protesting children.
Accompanied by their teachers, the children were bussed in from local schools, including madrassas, witnesses and officials said. Some waved placards with the slogans ‘Down with Denmark’ and ‘Boycott
Danish products’ as they marched for about half a kilometre from the National Stadium.
One group then set ablaze a cloth figure representing Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the prime minister of Denmark, and burned plywood coffins emblazoned with the US,
Danish and Israeli flags, an AFP photographer said.
The police said Tuesday’s rally remained peaceful, like all the other rallies so far held in Karachi.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Liaquat Baloch welcomed the European Union’s first
statement on the controversy. EU foreign ministers said Monday they regretted the cartoons were “considered offensive” by Muslims around the world after first appearing in a Danish newspaper in September. But Baloch demanded an apology from Denmark,
saying it “has not so far acknowledged its mistake.”
Baloch also said a “line should be drawn” between the freedom of expression - the justification newspapers gave for reproducing the drawings, which Muslims consider blasphemous - and actions
that offend cultural sensitivities. A freedom of expression that destroys world peace is against basic human rights.
March || Update: Liberal Tolerance |
Muslims should have "broader shoulders" when it comes to issues of free speech such as the Danish cartoons, a Lib Dem home affairs spokesman
Kishwer Falkner, who is a Muslim, said her community must be "tolerant" and "learn the art of peaceful dissent". She said freedom of speech was not just a Western concept but it was necessary in any pluralistic
Falkner said there was "no doubt" the cartoons had offended Muslims and no doubt their publication in Britain was an error of judgement. But she said self-censorship was always better than state censorship and freedom of
speech was a "necessary condition" of living in a pluralistic society.
The Lib Dems last month helped defeat the government over plans to ban incitement to religious hatred, which had been called for by Muslim groups who want the same
protection from offence as Christians. Falkner, who speaks for the Lib Dems on home affairs in the Lords, said the blasphemy laws protecting Christians should now be repealed to ensure consistency. But she added: If we demand equality, we cannot
demand respect - that has to be earned.
She said laws in Austria and Germany banning denial of the holocaust should also be scrapped, arguing they were now out of place in the "mature and confident democracies" the two countries had
become: They should repeal it and let Holocaust deniers express their hateful and warped versions of history.
Her views were echoed by Lib Dem human rights spokesman Evan Harris, who told delegates said that with extremists - and even
our own prime minister in a mild way - increasingly hiding behind religious beliefs it had never been more important to stand up for free speech. He urged the party to say no to blasphemy laws, holocaust denial laws and, in a reference to
London Mayor Ken Livingstone's suspension over remarks he made to a Jewish reporter, "no to standards board speech police".
He warned that unless people stood up against state censorship people easily offended will be able to get
protection for their views but people less easily offended will not be able to get protection for their views. He told delegates: If you don't want to read The Satanic Verses don't buy the book. If you don't want to watch Jerry Springer the Opera
on the BBC switch channels. If you don't want to read cartoons in a Danish newspaper, don't go to Denmark and buy those newspapers.
Sajj Karim MEP said Muslims in the European Union had "by and large" responded to the publication of
the cartoons democratically, even though they had been offended by them. He said the globalised nature of modern media meant extra care had to be taken - but the final judgement on whether to publish should be left to the press and not the censors. We
as a party must defend the editors' right to make that judgement call at all costs, he told delegates.
Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael also backed calls for greater freedom of speech, telling delegates:
There is no such thing as freedom not be offended.
|6th March ||
Update: Satanic Visions |
From the BBC
Salman Rushdie is among a dozen writers to have put their names to a statement in a French weekly paper warning against Islamic "totalitarianism". The writers say the violence sparked by the publication of cartoons satirising the
Prophet Muhammad shows the need to fight for secular values and freedom.
The statement is published in Charlie Hebdo, one of several European papers to reprint the caricatures.
Almost all of those who have signed the statement have
experienced difficulties with Islamic militancy first-hand, says the BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris. They include Dutch MP and filmmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali and exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen.
After having overcome
fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global threat: Islamism, the manifesto says. We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of
freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all .
The clashes over the cartoons revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values , the statement continues: It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism
of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.
They also said they would not give up their critical spirit out of fear of being accused of Islamophobia. Islamism is a reactionary
ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present, the writers added, saying it is nurtured by fears and frustrations
Salman Rushdie - Indian-born British writer
with fatwa issued ordering his execution for The Satanic Verses
Ayaan Hirsi Ali - Somali-born Dutch MP
Taslima Nasreen - exiled Bangladeshi writer, with fatwa issued ordering her execution
Bernard-Henri Levy - French philosopher
Chahla Chafiq - Iranian writer exiled in France
Caroline Fourest - French writer
Irshad Manji - Ugandan refugee and writer living in Canada
Mehdi Mozaffari - Iranian academic exiled in Denmark
Maryam Namazie - Iranian writer living in Britain
Antoine Sfeir - director of French
review examining Middle East
Ibn Warraq - US academic of Indian/Pakistani origin
Philippe Val - director of Charlie Hebdo
Update: Special Edition
As spotted by MediawatchWatch
The March issue of the UK’s secular-humanist monthly, The
Freethinker, is a “religious cartoons special edition”, featuring several Mo-toon fever inspired cartoons, a couple of Jesus-on-the-cross funnies, Jesus and Mo, one of the original “Danish twelve” (the “ran out of virgins” one - “turban bomb” and “horn
head” were reprinted in the November 2005 issue, to a noticeable absence of outrage), and articles by Irshad Manji and Ibn Warraq, among other things.
March || Update: Cartoon Depiction of Yemenese Intimidation |
A newspaper editor in Yemen who republished Danish cartoons depicting prophet Muhammad said Yemeni prosecutors
are calling for his execution.
I am afraid but I am also hopeful , Muhammad al-Asadi of the Yemen Observer said in a telephone interview today from the capital, Sana'a: We were against the cartoons and we wanted only to explain about
Islam. I hope the judge will see that.
Al-Asadi was arrested in February and charged under a press law that bans publication of anything that prejudices the Islamic faith and its lofty principles, or belittles monotheistic religions or
The editor spent 12 days in a prison run by the Prosecutor for the Press, before being released on bail. Three other Yemeni journalists also have been jailed for reprinting the cartoons, which angered Muslims worldwide
and led to violent demonstrations in countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
As many as 21 Yemeni prosecution lawyers asked for the death penalty in yesterday's proceedings, arguing a precedent was set during Muhammad's lifetime,
according to al-Asadi. He said the lawyers recounted a story in which the prophet praised one of his companions for killing a woman who had insulted him.
The prosecution, commissioned by the head of a legislative committee, also called for the
confiscation of the newspaper's property and assets, and for compensation, al-Asadi said. The case opened on Feb. 15 and was adjourned until March 22, he said.
The Yemenis are among 11 journalists in five countries being prosecuted for printing
the cartoons. Six journalists have been jailed and 13 publications have been closed in Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Yemen, Malaysia and Indonesia, according to Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based organization that promotes freedom of the press and
works to end censorship.
The Yemen Observer's license to print newspapers was revoked in a temporary action that the government is trying to make permanent. The staff has continued to publish on the Internet.
Committee to Protect Journalists on Jan. 26 said it was alarmed by the deterioration of press freedom in Yemen over the last several months, according to a statement in its Web site. Journalists who have covered protests, reported on official corruption,
or criticized the president or government policies, have all been targeted, the group said.
Al-Asadi said he was very careful in the way he chose to reprint the cartoons, and didn't think he would cause offense: We selected three of the 12
images, reduced them to all fit in a 7-by-9 centimeter (2.75-by-3.5 inch) box, and printed a thick black X over them to show we disproved of them. Accompanying articles denounced the cartoons, called for calm and explained that the prophet should be
honored: We wrote in an editorial that the cartoons were terrible but we should accept the apologies of the newspaper that published them and move on, al-Asadi said. That's what angered really the hard-liners.
|10th March || Update:
Defending the European Right to Enforce Ludicrous Beliefs by Intimidation |
The European Court of Human Rights said that it had received a request by a French Muslim body to condemn the publication of cartoons of Prophet
Mohammed in French newspapers.
The Regional Council for the Muslim Religion (CRCM) in the Champagne Ardenne region said in a statement that the publication of the controversial cartoons in French newspapers constituted a discrimination between
Muslims and non-Muslims contrary to the European Convention of Human Rights.
Muslims from Champagne Ardenne are touched like the rest of Muslims in the world, injured in their faith and their dignity, said the CRCM, that filed the
complaint on February 13.
The Muslim body said it hoped that the European court would accept the case, even though it had not yet exhausted possibilities for a trial in France.
The European Court of Human Rights has now to decide whether
it will accept the case.
|13th March || Update:
Blasphemy: Maintaining Belief in the Unbelievable via threat and Intimidation |
From The Telegraph
Turkey's foreign minister asks the EU for blasphemy laws to protect Islam.
Deep divisions have appeared among European Union governments over suggestions that they should alter their blasphemy
laws to protect Islam, and not just Christianity.
Abdullah Gul, the Turkish foreign minister, sparked disagreement among his EU counterparts at a weekend meeting in Austria, when he called for European nations to review existing laws, to ensure
they outlawed the "defamation" of all religions.
Gul told a meeting of EU and Balkan foreign ministers in Salzburg that many Muslims believed that European laws amounted to a double-standard, protecting established Christian religions,
and banning anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, while doing nothing to defend Muslims who felt offended.
He said several European nations already maintained laws against religious defamation. However, these restraints sometimes only apply to
the established religions of the concerned countries. I would like to call on you here to start a process of re-examination of your legislations to ensure that these restraints apply to all religions equally.
However, Bernard Bot, the Dutch
foreign minister, told reporters: We have freedom of speech. That means that Mr Gul can say what he wants and I can say what I want. And I think that this [Gul's idea] is superfluous.
|16th March || Update: Protestors Charged with Hatred, Danish Newspaper
From The Times
Denmark’s chief prosecutor says that he will not press charges against the newspaper that first published the Prophet Muhammad cartoons that angered Muslims
The Foreign Ministry warned that the decision could cause "negative reactions" against Danes, and warned citizens to be cautious when traveling in Muslim countries.
Henning Fode, the Director of Public Prosecutions,
upheld the decision of a regional prosecutor who ruled that the drawings published in Jyllands-Posten on September 30 did not violate Danish law. Fode’s decision cannot be appealed. His ruling said that the 12 cartoons, one of which shows the Prophet
wearing a turban shaped like a bomb, did not violate bans on racist and blasphemous speech.
Meanwhile five men were arrested in Britain today over their alleged role in protests outside the Danish Embassy in London last month against the
cartoons. Four of the five were held on suspicion of incitement to murder and all five are suspected of "using threatening words or written material to stir up racial hatred".
During the demonstrations on February 3 and 4, protesters
held placards threatening a repeat of the September 11 or July 7 terror attacks. Among the slogans were "Massacre those who insult Islam" and "Europe you will pay, your 9/11 will come".
The demonstration attracted widespread
political condemnation. Among those calling for prosecutions was the Muslim Council of Britain.
The Metropolitan Police said today: A number of specialist evidence-gathering officers were deployed, who collected video,
audio and stills of those within the crowd. A dedicated investigation team, Operation Laverda, was set up that day. After carefully reviewing all of the evidence and witness complaints a file was passed to the Crown Prosecution. Their advice was returned
to us on March 7.
|19th March || Update:
Blanket Cartoon Coverage |
From The Guardian
The Blanket will be the first media outlet in the British Isles to reproduce the cartoons since their publication provoked violent disturbances, boycotts and death threats. The website has posted one of the cartoons today.
Last night British Muslims warned the website's editors that they were 'fanning the flames of anger'. With 22 million hits since it was founded five years ago, The Blanket is read around the world. Usually it posts debates about the
future of Irish Republicanism, and many of its writers are highly critical of the Sinn Fein leadership. However, The Blanket's co-founder and former H-Block prisoner Anthony McIntyre said the site had decided to publish one cartoon of Muhammad per week
for the next three months 'in protest against totalitarianism'.
McIntyre said: The spur for us was a manifesto against totalitarianism that writers such as Salman Rushdie signed up to in response to the violent reaction
over the cartoons. We wanted to show solidarity with those writers who were prepared to stick their necks out in defence of free speech. We chose 12 weeks for each and every one of the writers who signed the anti-totalitarian declaration. 'We also
decided to publish because the liberal media in Britain and Ireland are guilty of total cowardice. None of them let the public see these images and make up their own minds about the debate. They [the mainstream media] buckled under fear and threats
|22nd March || Update:
Censor Resigns |
From Islam Online
Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds resigned on Tuesday, March 21, over a row triggered by her closure of a
far-right website for publishing a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad.
I believe that the current situation is impossible for me…and that is why I have chosen to resign, Freivalds told a news conference.
The politician has been under
stinging criticism over her decision to shut down the website of the far-right Sweden Democrats for launching a competition for Prophet cartoons.
The criticism has increased after it was revealed that the foreign ministry had pressured the
Internet host Levonlines to shut down the website. Freivalds had previously denied having known anything about pressures by her ministry on the Internet provider. But it was revealed this week that she had advance knowledge of the pressures, seen as
violating constitutional guarantees of free speech.
The far-right website launched the competition on January 10 and one of the 40 contributions it had received had already been published on the site.
The drawing, considered blasphemous
by some Muslims, depicted the Prophet from the back holding up a mirror. The reflection of his face has the eyes barred over and the caption reads "Mohammedan self-censorship."
|22nd March || Update: Don't complain ... we've
all been caricatured here |
From Yahoo News
The Anglican Church in Wales has apologised to Muslims
after a cartoon satirising the Prophet Muhammad was printed in its Welsh-language magazine. The Church in Wales has issued an immediate recall of all copies of the latest edition of Y Llan - meaning Church - following the reproduction of the
The drawing - reprinted from the French magazine France Soir - satirises the Prophet Muhammad by depicting him sitting on a heavenly cloud with Buddha and Christian and Muslim deities. He is being told: "Don't complain ...
we've all been caricatured here."
The cartoon was used to illustrate an article about the shared ancestry of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The Prophet's depiction is banned in Islam.
Sion Brynach, spokesman for the Archbishop of
Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said: The Church in Wales is thoroughly investigating how this cartoon came to be reproduced in Y Llan. Despite the publication's small circulation, we are concerned about the possibility of causing any offence to the Muslim
community in Wales - with whom the Church in Wales has an excellent relationship - as a result of the reproduction of this cartoon.
A letter from the Archbishop has been sent to all subscribers to the magazine requesting that they return all
the estimated 400 or so copies. Dr Morgan has also apologised to the Muslim Council of Wales for any offence caused.
A statement issued by the Church in Wales said the bishops had already "made it clear" that they regretted the
publication of the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in various
|31st March || Update:
Faith In the Law |
Thinking of damaged reputations, I haven't spotted a single claim that Islam is a tolerant religion since the
protests started. There must be millions that are partially responsible for this particular loss of reputation. Perhaps they can be sued too.
A group of 27 Danish Muslim organizations have filed a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper that first published the caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, their lawyer said Thursday.
The lawsuit was filed
Wednesday, two weeks after Denmark’s top prosecutor declined to press criminal charges, saying the drawings that sparked a firestorm in the Muslim world did not violate laws against racism or blasphemy.
Michael Christiani Havemann, a lawyer
representing the Muslim groups, said lawsuit sought $16,100 in damages from Jyllands-Posten Editor in Chief Carsten Juste and Culture Editor Flemming Rose, who supervised the cartoon project.
We’re seeking judgment for both the text and the
drawings which were gratuitously defamatory and injurious, Havemann said. The lawsuit was filed in the western city of Aarhus, where Jyllands-Posten is based.