Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Danish Cartoons printed in Christian magazine in Norway.

EU: Christian magazine in Norway decides to join the freedom of speech/expression train.

Oslo --- A Norwegian Christian magazine on Tuesday published a set of caricatures deemed blasphemous by Muslims following months of uproar in the Muslim world over a Danish paper’s decision to print the same cartoons. Repeating a move by conservative Danish paper Jyllands-Posten last September, Magazinet published the controversial drawings in the name of 'freedom of expression'. The same caricatures have been blasted by Muslims in Denmark and abroad. "Just like Jyllands-Posten, I have become sick of the ongoing hidden erosion of the freedom of expression," Magazinet editor Vebjoern Selbekk wrote. The murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004 revealed "that we are not facing empty threats. We know that the freedom of expression in our part of the world is being threatened by religion that is not afraid of using violence", he added. The editor said he was not afraid of the prospect of facing the same indignation and even death threats that faced the Danish paper after it published the cartoons. "We have gone astray if we start to give in to fear in this question," Mr Selbekk said. "Many people have already done a lot to make sure this problem is not hushed to death. We hope that by publishing these drawings we are doing our part," he added. Muslim communities in Norway did not immediately react to the publication of the caricatures.
Some Muslim leaders have reacted to friendly Islam Online.
CAIRO, January 11, 2006 (IslamOnline.net) – Norwegian Muslims on Wednesday, January 11, blasted an obscure magazine for echoing a Danish daily and publishing a set of caricatures offending Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). "The Supreme Islamic Council (SIC) condemns in the strongest possible terms the publishing of such offensive cartoons by Magazinet," SIC Head Mohammad Hamdan told IslamOnline.net over the phone from Oslo. The Christian magazine on Tuesday, January 10, published the same cartoons that caused uproar in the Muslim world after first emerged in Denmark's mass circulation Jyllands-Posten last September. It printed the blasphemous cartoons in the name of "freedom of expression." "What on earth does freedom of expression mean?" A furious Hamadan wondered. "What is the real motive behind this act? Is it out of free speech or to insult Muslims who make up the largest minority in Norway?" Hamdan said it is crystal-clear that the publishers want to trigger a sectarian sedition inside peaceful Norway. "These caricatures do no good for Muslims, Christians or even atheists, but will only shake the national unity to its foundations," he said. He went on: "The prophet himself will not be affected by such provocative drawings, which are aimed at today's Muslims."
Not only that Hamadan also implies violence will happen to the Magazine and Norway's politicians will bow down to their complaints.
Hamadan said these cartoons must have been published by a bunch of "extremists" in the Christian magazine. "We never heard of this magazine and had it not been for news agencies, we wouldn't have known about the publishing," Hamadan said. He noted that this magazine did in no way speak for the Christian community in Norway. "Some Christian organizations have already denounced in statements the magazine's act and distanced themselves from it," the Muslim leader said. "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." On politicians' stance on the offensive cartoons, Hamadan said Muslims await a strong and clear condemnation. "I'm confident that the ministers here will give heartfelt condemnation unlike their peers in Denmark," he said in reference to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller.
In other news, Danish backlash towards Muslim groups who went seeking outside "help" gets bigger.
Meanwhile, Denmark's prime minister on Tuesday accused a group of local Muslims of smearing the country's reputation in the Middle East as they sought support against a newspaper that published caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was "stunned" that leaders of the Islamic Faith Community had travelled to Egypt, Syria and Lebanon "to stir up attitudes against Denmark and Danes". The group's leader, Ahmed Abu Laban, a cleric, has defended the December trip, saying the Muslim community was feeling marginalised in Denmark in its protests against the paper. Drawings condemned Muslim leaders in Denmark and abroad have condemned the drawings, one of which shows Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse. Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet, even respectful ones, out of concern that such images could lead to idolatry. Danish Muslims groups have called on authorities to prosecute Jyllands-Posten, but a regional prosecutor said last week he would not file charges. On Tuesday, the prime minister directed his criticism towards the Muslim group, saying "misinformation" about Denmark had appeared in the Arab media after their tour of the Middle East. Kasem Ahmad, a spokesman for the Islamic Faith Community, denied the group had spread false information about Denmark. "The Islamic Faith Community has not said anything wrong," he said. "We did nothing wrong by seeking help abroad and making use of our freedom of speech."

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