Cartoons: Freedom to Abuse

The protracted, still-raging controversy over a Danish newspaper's caricature of the Prophet Muhammad is a case study of the West's troubled relations with Muslims. 

It features the easy cliches of the age - freedom of speech vs. Islamic intolerance, and open democratic debate vs. politically correct cravenness.

But what it has actually exposed is the European media's tendency to exploit anti-immigrant, particularly anti-Muslim, bigotry, as well as the Danes' readiness to bow to the gods of commerce.

The story begins last fall when an author complained he could not get an artist to illustrate a children's book about Muhammad's life, given Islam's prohibition against depicting the Prophet, lest it lead to idolatry.

Jyllands-Posten, the conservative mass circulation daily, asked 40 illustrators to defy the ban. On Sept. 30, it published a dozen of their drawings.

One depicted the Prophet as a bearded terrorist, with bulging eyes and a bomb-shaped turban with a burning fuse. Another had him wielding a sword. Another showed him as a crazed, knife-wielding Bedouin. Another placed him at the gates of Heaven telling suicide bombers: "Stop. Stop. We have run out of virgins!''

The first to complain were Danish Muslims. They were ignored. Muslim ambassadors to Denmark asked to meet the prime minister. Anders Fogh Rasmussen refused.

Flemming Rose, the paper's cultural editor, said he had commissioned the cartoons to break the self-censorship he felt had descended on Europe since the 2004 murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim (since convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment). Editor Carsten Juste said he saw no reason to apologize.

Prime Minister Rasmussen walked a fine line, denouncing "any expression that attempts to demonize groups on the basis of religion or ethnic background," but adding that "freedom of speech is not negotiable.''

As protests spread worldwide, Editor Juste struck a disingenuous note. "We are sorry if Muslims have been offended."

On Jan. 10, the cartoons were reprinted in Norway in an evangelical Christian newspaper. 

Protests continued. The Arab League and the 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference issued formal condemnations. Last week, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Denmark. Libya closed its embassy.

A grassroots consumer boycott of Danish and Norwegian products spread from Saudi Arabia across the Arabian Gulf.

Arla Foods - the Danish dairy, which sells about $421 million (U.S.) a year in that region - said sales had come to a "standstill." Other Danish firms also reported lost sales and cancelled business meetings.

In Copenhagen, the Confederation of Danish Industries accused Jyllands-Posten of jeopardizing $1 billion of annual sales to the Middle East.

Editor Juste went back to being defiant. The paper "cannot and will not" apologize. "If we were to, we'd be letting down generations who have fought for freedom of speech. Do we have to give up this right to protect Danish export interests?" 

Meanwhile, in Iraq (where Denmark has 530 troops), thousands protested. In the West Bank, Danish flags were burnt. A militant Fatah group demanded that all Danes and Swedes leave the region, apparently confusing Sweden for Norway. 

Sweden, Norway and Denmark urged their citizens to avoid travel to the Middle East.

By Monday evening, Jyllands-Posten had caved. "The drawings are not against the Danish law but have indisputably offended many Muslims, for which we shall apologize."

Yesterday, a newspaper in France and another in Germany published the cartoons, citing freedom of the press.

But the issue goes well beyond the old debate over whether freedom of expression has limits. It does in countries like Canada, which have anti-hate laws. But regardless of the presence or absence of legislated limits, every society has its own notions of what is acceptable and what is not. 

We can be certain that the editors publishing the Muhammad caricatures would not smear their pages with anti-Semitic graffiti. Or commission drawings maligning the Pope, by depicting him, say, in compromising sexual positions.

And had the editors opted to be that offensive, we can be equally certain that not too many people would have been rushing to their defense. 

It is this double standard that's at the heart of the repeated conflicts between the West and the world of Islam over how far anti-Islamic provocateurs can go in baiting Muslims, repeatedly, knowing full well the depth of Muslim feelings about their most cherished beliefs. 

Invoking freedom of speech or the need to puncture political correctness are no more than smokescreens to hide that larger, and uglier, truth.

The Danes have neither defended freedom of speech well nor upheld another sacred secular principle, mutual respect between peoples of all faiths. 

In balancing these two competing rights in this troubled world at this time, thinking people and responsible public institutions should err on the side of advancing mutual understanding, not fanning more conflicts.


Haroon Siddiqui is the Toronto Star's editorial page editor emeritus. [email protected]

Related posts from similar topics:

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  73 Comments   Comment

  1. AlBature from Nigeria

    I think there are limits for freedom of speech in Europe. The limits works only when the interest of Europe is to be affected as in case of Book called "SPY CATCH". Why is the book not published till date. The option left for muslims is to be independent completely from the so called WEST. So long as we live under the dictates of the west the insult will continue and they will continue to sponsor it by way of FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Muslim leaders must be strong like KHOMEINI. The economic sanctions by individual muslim is not enough. Muslim countries and governments must also place their economic sanctions on the countries and their citizens.


    islam and muslims are the epitome of tolerance.non muslims especilly the west want to continue to slap you and would not want you to as much as complain talkless of taking action.this is never the way of muslims.

  3. Sardar Khan from UK

    To abuse someones religion is not a Free Speech.It shows how downgraded are these people.

    The Muslims should protest peacefully.No Voilance be shown in our protest marches.

  4. Anum from Pakistan

    Have anyone ever noticed that, muslims are the only one's who never make fun of any religion,never stepping into others lives.Then why, everytime the arrow is pointed upon them? won't this make them aggressive.

    If a Christen sing abusive songs or draw related to his religion or pope, its his own rite of speech, but who gave him permission for insulting others possessions.

    what law states that the neighbour has rights for terrorizing other neighbour, and call it freedom of speech,ya ! sure, we would accept it,if its Jungle's Law.But not for human beings.

    Infact ,its a natural way,when you know any person who is superb in every way, a natural respect is created in one's heart,then how could ,the most beautifull personality of all times be disrespected.this shows media is blind,that print without knowing about any truth. and thats not y its given rights. It limits should be considered,because that not y it was created.

  5. Hudd from Canada

    Brother Yakub, thank you for clarifying your stand on this issue. If you would have been less ambiguous on your sentiments and you would have conveyed a straighter message, we wouldn't have this misunderstanding in the first place. For the sake of peace, I am not going to compromise my religion, my beliefs, my values or my principles. If there is no way out for me to keep all of the above, then war it is! And least I could care whether the hillbillies of the civilized world would approve of me or not.

    Yakub, do not you think that they did this out of ignorance or the pretended freedom of speech. Read more and document yourself more on the matter. This was a deliberate act to which they had already estimated the forecast. The West is ruled by the Zionists, those bloody bastards will not be pleased unless a similar progrome as it was done to them would be started on the Muslims. They are not insulted by what Nazi Germany did to them, if they were,they wouldn't flock to Germany as they do.Think about if you were a Jew and your family would have been barbecued at Auschwitz would you go from Israel to live in Germany?Now tell me how stupid is that? Do you see my point?The Zionists are not mad at their killers because they murdered them. They are mad at them because they didn't choose the Muslims instead of them.That is their forseeable revenge on the victory of Islam over Judaism in Yathrib(Medinat al-Munawarah).They know what they did. We Muslims would be terribly stupid to play their game of free speach. All this little game is for the apartheit state of the Zionist baby-killers, the most coward people this planet ever produced: the Zionist Israelis!

    Yakub, brother, if I offended you, I apologize. In my opinion talk is cheap.Talk couldn't keep the US out of Iraq and talk couldn't allow the formation of a free Palestinian state.A coward will be manipulated by fear alone.Haven't you seen how fear can work in Israel as well as in the USA? I bid you peace!

  6. Yakub

    As-salaam alaykum,

    Brother Hudd, I am not trying to say that this issue is unimportant, but we should respond in a better way. This sort of response would be more appropriate for some other issues facing us, in my opinion. We should teach them the beauty of our prophet(pbuh), and let them know that he came for their benefit as well as ours (Al-Anbiya:107). We cannot arbitrarily expect them to observe our regulations, but, inshallah, we can kindly show them that our prophet(pbuh) deserves respect.

    It is too true that "in the sleep of reason monsters are born." Yet, how much reason are we using in our responses so far? In our failure to respond in a calm and civil fashion we have reinforced the impression that we hate freedom, rather than convince them of our love and respect for rasulallah(pbuh). As long as the "west" views this as a fight against free speech we can only expect more and more people to slander our prophet(pbuh) in order to "defend" free speech. What have we accomplished aside from providing free advertising for these hateful comics? What would have remained an obscure incident of ignorance is now being reprinted all over the world to "defend" free speech.

    Don't you know that the zionists are even now rubbing their hands with glee, proclaiming to anyone who will listen "....see, I told you these people are dogs who hate freedom!" We are doing their work for them!

    I do not pretend to know what the best course is, but I am certain that our current unreasoned response is not it.

    As far as my forgiving you is concerned, I was not trying to be pompous or imply any hatred for you. It was because I have always been taught that wrongly accusing a person of disbelief is kufr. It was a sincere attempt at rapproachment, and I am sorry if I presented myself badly or offended you.


    PS: Tariq Ramadhan gave an excellent interview on this topic at...

  7. c from c

    Mr. Hudd,

    Wow! I did not expect personal insults for writing my opinion on the issue. I was just trying to post my point of view. But I guess if I don't apologize you might go on a rampage of violence and burn my house down? Right? I don't hate Muslims, I work with them, I socialize with them, I had never had an issue with them except for maybe a difference of opinion.

    My premise just states that the cartoon of Mohamed is more a representation of how an "infidel" sees your culture then trying to depict your Prophet in a very negative light. I continue to state that this is Democracy (Free Speech) at it's very ugliest. I also state that the ridiculing of religious figures has been done before in worse ways, for example:

    Many Christian find the artist very insulting but it is his right to free speech. Or maybe you like music, If you requested I can send you an infinite amount of Western music that puts down Christ, and the Christian religion. Yet there are no mass riots or fatwa to kill him. Why? Maybe Hudd you will not understand this, "because of free speech."

    Hudd, don't be ignorant and mock my name. People call me C because my name is Cesar so I use my nickname. But I do work with a friend, and I am not kidding his name is cc. Yep cc and he is a Buddhist. I also like Buddhist because they tend not to be as rude and judgmental as people like you

  8. Mohammad Ibrahiem from HOLLAND

    Salaam broeders and sister,

    now we open our eyes on the world of Islam it is very terrible our prophet SAW is place in this way a daylight to place by the kafirs Allah SWT them will punish this way to sneer concerning its pleased prophet.

    What my also is notable then our Islam countries is attacked by the kafirs and saudi left the kafirs concerning its holy country have let walk and he who's they have do there all what is against Islam no moslim country and moslims people have what concerning

    Now all moslim are angry but to let we no ostrich politically conduct this cannot but the other also not that we are looking how the kafirs are killing my moslim brothers en sister in islam.


  9. Hassan Drama Juma from congo

    I think freedom of expression does not mean insulting the dignity of a particular people.The proffesion of media was created to inform people but unfortunately its now days used as a weapon of mass hatred and destruction. We saw it in Rwanda and Bosnia where pressmen were calling upon a certain group of people to slay thier neighbours of a diffrent ethnic group.

  10. robert from usa

    It is ok for members of the Islamic and Muslim faiths to burn flags, kidnap, murder, rape and supress freedom in the name of their God, yet others try to opine the right of free speach, we are evil. Get a grip on the reality of the free world. If you cant accept the values of others==do not expect others to accept yours.

  11. Hudd from Canada

    Brother Yakub, there is a saying, "If you are an Egyptian, walk like an Egyptian." In your case if you were an Egyptian why did you choose to walk like an Israeli? Brother you cannot discard something of this proportions as unimportant. Losing solidarity with your brothers is splitting Islam. Not exactly what Imam Khomeini,A.i.(Allahu yirhamhu) urged Muslims to do:"Ya Muslimin, itahadu, itahadu!", eng:'O Muslim, unite,unite!' I do not approve with burning down of embassies. Embassies should be places of diplomatic imunity and sanctuaries. Unless they would be involved in some henious crimes, they should not be targeted as a substitute for the Danish newspaper administration. Boycot is a right that could be exercised by Muslims peacefully and very efficiently, since everybody understands through the stomach, it seems. However commendable what happened in the time of Muhammad,pbuh, nowadays is quite a different piece of pie. We do not have with us that living guidance to instruct us rightly instantenously. These complex times are very different than those in the sense that we evolved to new definitions in almost all aspects of our lives. We can't lead successfully a pastoral life. Among the new realities we have the pestilences of the mega metropolises and the super-civilizations that tailored our resources and budgets in a way it was not even remotely fathomed in the 7th century. Guidance should be understood as such and not as a refractory oposition to any possibly progressive development.

    Dream on, Yakub, but take care, as the famous Spanish painter Francisco de Goya put it,"The sleep of reson produces monsters."

    Show me the mu'meen! O, you forgive me of that! What if you don't? Are you going to burn down my house? Brother, please, if you are an Egyptian walk like one and you will not be confused with your cousin. Be articulate and represent your people and advocate wittily for them, or don't say a word and you acquired gold.

    I bid you Salam for now

  12. Kris from USA

    This is by far the most intelligent column I've

    read on this controversy yet. It was helpful to

    get the full background on the issue since we

    don't get the full story here in the States very


  13. muslima from USA

    Micheal H., I agree with you that the violent reactions that have caused the burning of Danish embassies are completely wrong and unexcusable. This is a reflection of Muslims ignorance of their own religion. There is no justification of such acts in Islam, nor are there any teaching of suicide killing. Muslims have condemned terrorism for a very long time, unfortunatly the Western media ignores those kind of reports. You should complain to their double standards.

    You might not know that when the world was rampant with intolerant, the prophet taught tolerance and patience, those teaching are not considered by some among Muslims who let their anger control their actions.

    In the Qur'an there is a verse that says "O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do." Surah Ma'idah, verse 8.

    There is an article in this website that talks about Islamic tolerance, I recommand to read it.

    I would have supported the demonstrations if they were peaceful.

  14. ZOHRA from Mauritius

    According to me and my family this kind of issue should be condemned as nobody has the right to ridiculize any religion. By the way Islam teaches us that no one should dare ridiculize any religion whether it is Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, or other faiths. In the Holy Book it is also said that it is a sin to caricature our Holy Prophet (S.A.W) AND BY ACCUSING HIM (PBUH) AS A TERRORIST, THOSE PEOPLE COMMITTED A VERY SERIOUS SIN.

  15. Shahrukh Shahzada, from USA

    Those who consider themselves "Not a part of the 3rd World Countries", are acting worse than the most ignorant ones, in the 3rd World Countries. May God guide us all to the straight way, by His mercy. I appreciate this balanced article for the reading pleasure of those who have some common sense left and are fair in their dealings and show respect to people and their faith. Rest assured that the Final Judgement belongs to Allah!.

  16. Ms. Ali from USA

    Well written. Freedom of speech is often a cover for many prejudices, wrongs, disrespects and falsehoods, in supposedly "civilized" societies.

  17. sauda Mohammed from Nigeria

    i totally agree. the danish guy claims they ridicule their queen and even the prophet jesus so why is islam different? Well i have this question to ask them: If they beat their mothers everyday does that make it okay to beat someone else's mother and say its oksy. We are all fighting for peace. And it is something that one party cannot achieve on its own. The west claim they want peace but thier actions say otherwise!

  18. syed zakir from India

    Part- 2 ( in continuing of part 1)

    Can anyone ask themselves, why it was paining for Mr. Bush, When Iran President said, and erase out the Israel from the map? He is a President of America, not Israel?

    You have touched the lives of the true followers? Do you been we all Muslim has to go to sleep? You think mad dog will come to attack us, and we have to be quit?

    All are the true followers of Allah Almighty and His Beloved Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him), Our Beloved Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) is more than our lives.

    You so called civilized people have touched the nucleus of Allah Almighty creation; understand, Allah almighty Say in the Quran,

    " If I have not created Beloved Prophet Mohammed ( peace upon him) I would not created this Heavens and this worlds".

    In other incidence Allah Almighty say s; When you happen to be before my Prophet talk with less voice. Do not raise your voice more than my Prophet's Voice.

    Allah Almighty cannot bear if anybody mis-behaves His Prophet. Allah Almighty declares war on them.

    In other incidence , Allah Almighty teaches, you can remember me any movement, sleeping or seating or driving or walking etc., But, when you remember my prophet sit or stand with respect and with full disciplined manner. Never misbehave even in our thing.

    So feel pretty on all of you so called civilized world who support the freedom of speech on this cartoon;

    You have touched the Nucleus of Allah Almighty's creation. Mis-fortune going to surround you all.

    So do repentance, so that you can escapes from Allah Almighty's Anger. Think about tsunami and earthquake these are very small token of anger.

    Do not teaches us what is civilization?

    May Allah Almighty Guide us in the right way.

  19. syed zakir from India


    It is very difficult to understand, why the editor has to select our Beloved Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) to create a cartoon. Respected Prophet was sent in this world to show the right path. In today's context, the cartoon is more suitable for persons who are involved in terrorist activities.

    The beloved Prophet Mohammed (peace be on him) never thought to anybody about terrorist activities. Your own western author rated the best person his world is Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). Wake-up so called civilized nations. Peace is earned not brought-in.

    How come the editor made this cartoon on Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), he shows he is illiterate and living in a civilized world. The editor call himself christen and he says he will make Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) has cartoon, they made this cartoon. This people are worst than the old civilization. If they don't respect their own belief, they are liar to their own faith and soul. They sold themselves for penny's to earn.

    You are teaching us what is civilization? You have touched the nucleus of the Allah's creation.

    This editor not is fit to his own profession. The cartoons are made in context with some news or incident has taken place past or future. The actors and villains of that, news should be the part of the cartoon, not the one made by the news papers editor and his government.

    In the BBC Hard Talk, Mr .Stephen asked the editor, will you do the same thing on a Jews Rabbis, and the news paper editor was blinking. The fear is easily seen in his face.

    I do respect the old civilizations, who are respecting each other's religions. But, this editor and who all supporting, his cartoon, are worst then the old civilization. If any word available in the dictionary more than uncivilized, they are the one suitable for that word meaning.

  20. Lutfi Olloh from Tajikistan

    I think now it is time for all muslim pepople to be come together and fight againist this kind of nation like Danish people.We shoul fight and fight againist this kind of false people around of world.

  21. Yakub

    As-salaam alykum wa rahmatullahi,

    Brother Hudd, I am sorry if anything I said has angered you. I was simply trying to point out that we have more important concerns than what some kaffiruun or mushrikeen are saying about our beloved prophet(pbuh). This has been their method since day one, and rasulallah(pbuh) himself never once allowed this to make him lose his dignity and unparalelled civility. I liked the response of Br. Ibrahim on this topic, especially the reference to the events at Ta'if.

    If we could devote this amount of time and energy to curing the suffering of muslim people, rather than insults from the ignorant, we might be able to improve our condition.

    Also, while you are within your rights to insult me, calling me a Jew is going too far. I forgive you for this, but you should be cautious what you accuse mu'mineen of.


  22. Ben from USA

    yes go ahead, boycott those blaspheming Danes, they only gave a couple hundred million dollars to the Muslims of South East Asia after the tsunami, but what the hec does that count for!? A Danish citizen with no connection to the government drew a cartoon that offends the prophet and calls him a terrorist! By all means, cripple the Danish economy, but quit asking for their assistance and money to the Indonesians, Palestinians, etc.

    ps- would any of you please offer to condemn the cartoons in the Muslim press depicting Jews as blood suckers and monkeys and pigs? Or the articles and cartoons mocking Hinduism? Or is it only prohibited to hurt Muslim sensibilities?

  23. pops from Canada

    I would suggest that people of the Islamic persuasion come out of the cave. It is 2006 and behaving as many have done simply from a drawing of someone who has been dead for quite a long time is very backward. It's a lot like kids being afraid of the boogey man or vampires. Wakeup people and evolve or become extinct.

  24. Sajid Mahmood from INDIA

    I am a strong believer of freedom of expression. Everyone has a right to express their views in a cilivised way. There is a difference between freedom of expression and freedom of abuse. Abuse is not civilised.

    Making fun of our Prophet (PBUH) is like abusing Muslims. In a civilised world we have a right to protest against this through demonstrations and boycots.

    We shopuld not burn flags and destroy Danish property.

    The Danes should apologize for their uncivilised behaviour.

    Until then Muslims should boycot Danish products and services.

    Let us show the world who is civilized and who is not.

  25. Fahd K from USA

    Mr. Micheal H., I have a response for you. Imagine a cartoon of a priest sexually molesting a 6 yr old boy who is crying in the cartoon "saying please dont", and the priest only has a smile on his perverted face. Oh, and the priest only says "Praise the Lord". Now having shown a cartoon I am going to publish this throughout the newspapers of the world, do you still think this is freedom of speech. I am in essence taking a bigoted stereotype portraying it in a cartoon. I do not find this at all funny. Freedom of speech has its limits. You have the right to speak on whatever you choose so long as you dont go and offend others. To muslims, creating a picture of our prophet is considered offensive. Plus making a picture to make a bigoted joke is double negative. Thanks, I was just trying to make a point. To anyone who reads this article, please do not take the image I created seriously, for I was just trying to make a point. If for any reason I offended anyone, I am sorry.


    Fahd K

  26. yusuf from usa


    freedom of speech is given by the one who created speech allah swt). not man. those who curse allah and his messenger(saw) will be cursed themselves.. we muslims will protect muhammad (saw) with every means we have....

  27. Bryan from United States

    I am very impressed with Yakub's comments. They echo my own feelings although written better than I could.

    Considering the articles' conclusion, the writer seems to doing exactly what he preaches against. It clearly "fans conflict" by seeming to turn a blind eye or even lend support to the violence perpetrated in the name of Islam in response to the cartoons.

    While I believe the cartoons were inappropriate and mean-spirited, the violent response of some individuals is downright Satanic.

  28. AC from UK

    Doin Phine comment 35114.

    So Doin Phine, I presume this will be your last post on ever, since you have labelled all Muslims as terrorists, and mad men and women etc. Yes we Muslims are a FARCE-all 1.2 billion of us. There, are you happy now? Go out and have a few drinks, you've won. Tell your mates you won on Feel good about it, its your right. Also,thank you for your informed and eduacted labelling of Islam and Musllims over the years. Now that you have finially found what Islam and Muslims are all about (a Farce) and found another way-being an Atheist and/or leaning towards the Buddhist Ideology/Religion, may be you will leave us in peace. "..and for people who do need religion I believe Buddhism to be a good choice." So we would have it you are no longer in search of anything else -i.e Islam. It follows logically that you don't need to come to this site anymore since you have found what you are looking for. Besides this site is for terrorists and violent mad men and women who follow a way of life called Islam and call themselves Muslims. So I bid you fair well, every success in your life, and that you be at peace with your self and surroundings.

    But, why do I feel that this will not be your last post at Is it because you've never been interested in searching into Islam, but are on this site due to shear hatred and spite for Islam and the Muslims? If you hate us so much, why than bother coming to a site that is specifically geared towars Muslims and non-biased non Muslims?

    Go on prove me wrong and leave this site for good and go and visit your atheist sites and Buddah sites- there will plenty out there. I say once again as in my previous post to you: To you your way in peace, what ever that may be and leave us Muslims in peace. There, simple to understand for a person of your education and intellect-yes.

  29. Michael H. from U.S.

    Why do the members of your website and respondents not devote more space to the acts of intimidation, violence, and property destruction of those members of your religion? Could it be the one sidedness which is so prevalent here?

    The press of democrate countries have the right to publish what they deem appropriate, not what your religion prohibits. If you disagree, then respond with an argument, not coercion and threat and nonsense about "intellectual terrorism" which applies to cases such as the infamous fatwa against Salmon Rushdie.

    The press of Western liberal democracies is not bound by your religious precepts, which apply only to the members of your religion. However, when people live in a society they must, to some degree, take that society on its terms, with its political values, and not believe that they have the right to challenge those values at their core by demanding censorship.

    Furthermore, there is also a clear double standard through much of the Islamic world as we have seen with the welcome reception and defense the Opening Speech by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, at of the 10th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference in 2003. We have seen the forged, absurd "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" turned into a television serial and broadcast in Egypt during Ramadan to maximize the impact. I could provide a lengthy list of such examples of bigotry and discrimination stemming from your religion and backed by governments in Islamic societies and you know as well as I that it is the case.

  30. Marium from Afghanistan

    By publishing these kind of cartoons, the west proved that they are the real terrorists. In my opinion the so called "freedom of speech" should be called the "obvoius act of terroisim"

  31. Mohammed Samiuddin from India

    Now the time has come for all Muslims to unite and boycott all countries who have done this blasphemous act. It's the limit no normal muslim can tolerate this abuse of our most beloved Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him).

  32. Hudd from Canada

    Mr c, does your name end in a 't' or a 'k'? Your vile attempts to minimize this issue is preposterous. Muslims consider Christians to be blasphemous, and so Christians consider Muslims to be terrorists, this is freedom of thought and freedom of opinion expressed in churches and mosques. In the moment Muslims would start a wich hunt against Christians by means of ridiculing them in their Islamic media and making cartoons of their most 'Holy' characters and sites then and only then the infamous Danish cartoons would be warrented. This didn't happen. Therefore, the Danish cartoons as well as your comment and Yakub's denotes your utter intolerance toward Muslims and your disgusting fascism against a minority and your undeniable Islamophobia. How would you people want any Muslim to respect you? You are despicable and biased mediocre citizens of your own communities that got a chance to bark and thus get heard. Your voices are like the brays of a donkey in the midst of the desert, loud but futile. People like you make me retch, you are like cowardly jackals yelping at the feet of big game, you neither have the power to bring it down nor are you allowed to share in the lion's kill. In other words, your initial should have been rather 'L', for obvious reasons. You Yakub, if you are in USA, go back home, they need you there the cannon fodder is dwindling and so the infamous Israeli immigration. As well you know, as many as they immigrate at least half of that number emmigrate. Your demographics are low, so take care and stay there because the Arab Israelis will overcome your numbers in the dull future you face!


  33. Doin Phine

    To the author I think he should go back to School, and learn about journalism and the importance of free speech.

    I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

    Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

  34. alia rejab from cambridge, massachussetts, USA

    In the Name of Allaah the most Merciful,

    Us Muslims who practice the religion, should recognise where this hate of yours come from! it should not be a major surpprise only to those thathave melted in with, in you your way of life,The Muslims that have praiseed you who mixed with you all this time in your mischief, adultary, and fornacations!! and to Muslims should be a good slap on their chicks!!!! how EVIL you are! we will never mock your prophet and your faith! and God knows how much you have killed us in the name of Jesus (Peace and blessings on him.) we love all Prophets equally the same! we just do not share your understanding of believe, but yet have the same love for them! this pure jalousy and ignorance, that partly is Muslims faults not being enough there to be agent constant to the protection of our religion, but teaching you the truth about Allaah subhanuhu and arising from your mind your ignorant doctrine that was taught to you since your chilhood! when i say you! means those who are attached to their hate for every thing like partners to each other, "just hate and ignorance' together. Freedom is not about what you hate but is about enlarging your mind to reach a bondery of what Allaah subhanuhu "God" ordered you to be! that come between you and your ennemy! wich is forgiveness, patience, gratitude, balancing the good and bad, not being RADICAL, and EXTREMISTE! with your feelings and emotions that can only in the end proove how much your freedom did not make a posistive change in this life! that is why your freedom and ours can never match or be near the same. we view FREEDOM as a spiritual journey of discipline that is guided by honor, respect and PURE JOY OF LIFE! pray for all of you HATERS! and IGORANTS! guidande and more WISDOM in th way of LOVE and HATE!

  35. Khalid from Saudi Arabia

    The point: "We can be certain that the editors publishing the Muhammad caricatures would not smear their pages with anti-Semitic graffiti. Or commission drawings maligning the Pope, by depicting him, say, in compromising sexual positions." is very valid.

  36. Sarah from England

    I completely agree with what the writer of this article is saying. I also believe that there is a strong double-standard in the west regarding freedom of speech-its okay to insult islam & muslims by drawing caricatures of Muhammad (PBUH)however the west would not dare to do, say or even draw anything that is anti-semitic because then it would be very offensive & racist, but its okay to draw offensive pictures of the Prophet (PBUH) because its 'freedom of speech'- what level of hypocrisy do u call that?

  37. Ann from usa

    Jazzak ALLAH Khayer on this editorial.

    I totally agree. Hatered in no freedom of anything but a bondage.

    The cartoons are nothing but hatered for the muslim people and Islam.

  38. Thomas

    A quote for Muslims to help them understand the concept of free speech which they seem so very difficult to understand. The following quote is one of the most famous and important quotes of Western civilization. Thank-you for taking the time to read it.

    Voltaire (1694 - 1778);

    I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

  39. Doin Phine

    Dear "Friend", You ask if I'm a Christian or a Jew. I'm neither, I'm an Atheist. None the less I have seen cartoons depicting Jews and Christians, on Muslim sites, and they bother me not. I have also seen anti-religious cartoons in the West and that bothers me neither. Any cartoons that make fun of somebodies race, sexual preferences, age, or sex I don't even find offensive. Even if it is a joke about a white male such as myself. The reason for this is because I'm mature, and don't over react to something so unimportant. If in the cartoon I see some truth I will reflect upon it, and see how I can become a better person. If it is not truthful, I ignore it.

    The Muslim response to the now infamous cartoons is a total FARCE.

    By the way, the burning of the Embassies prove some of the cartoons to be truthful. So much for the religion of piece. As I said while I'm an Atheist but I have much respect for Buddhist Ideology/Religion, and for people who do need religion I believe Buddhism to be a good choice.

  40. Martin Horst from The Netherlands

    Why am I not surprised by the reaction from the Muslems regarding the cartoons? I am a Christian and do you know how I insulted and threatened by just mentioning that? I have tried many many times in the past to start a dialogue based on equality. Christians have learned to listen and respect all humans as well as the whole earth. Every day you can find examples on the internet or in the Arab press of anti semitism (the Zionist conspiracy) and anti Christian articles or cartoons. One of the problems with Muslems is that they are not prepared to listen to other religions or humanists as they feel always a sort of superiority (all humans are Muslems, so they only need to return to the original religion Islam; that while Jewish and Christian religion are older). I hate talking in a way of we and them, but the Muslem world seem to do all the time. Freedom of speech is a basic right, even if you do not agree or see it as an insult. In the western world we have the judge to see if a word or cartoon is not according to the law.

    That is democracy. The Arab European Liga (AEL) now decided to show very disgusting cartoons about ther Jews/the holocoust on their website. This has nothing to do with any dialogue whatsoever. I am always so surprised how the Muslem world is so quickly mobilized by a few Muslems, without any knowledge of what really happened the people start demonstrating with violence. I do not say that i appreciate the Mohammed cartoons, but you can not simply forbid them. Respect from both sides can help to start a dialogue, not by escalating the issue! It would also help when Muslems start condemning the many suicide attacks and wars. I never hear any comments (which means the at least tolerate it)form Muslems. Only from the Western states and Muslems see that as a confirmation on their thoughts... I can only pray that this is not the start of the battle between civilisations as many people fear. I hope one day the Muslems will show more peaceful efforts soon

  41. Ishaq M. Beg from U S A

    Appreciate Brother Haroon's article,we must continue to educate the west to understand the need to respect other religions in the search of Peace on earth.

    We as Muslims must spend time to think and plan be ahead in the game of world Politics.

    We must tackle these deep routed problems with wisdom and restrained in a civilised manner.

    Seek guidance from ALLAH.

    ALLAH Bless us all.

    Ishaq Beg

  42. Ibrahim from Saudi Arabia

    I have chosen the 'indifferent' selection because that most accurately expresses my feelings. While I am disturbed at the continuing arrogance of some Western journalists in the name of freedom of expression, I am as much appalled at the apparently insane reaction in some parts of the historic Muslim world. We claim love for our Noble Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, but we completely disregard his teachings in our behavior and manners. Yes, these cartoons (which I have not yet viewed) are offensive to the love, legacy and stature of Allah's Messenger, pbuh. At the same time, the western media has seized the opportunity to show crazed, hysterical Muslims demonstrating, burning and cursing. What did our beloved Messenger do when the Quraish threw garbage in his path? What did he do when the people of Taif pelted his beloved body with stones. What did he do when Allah's enemies ridiculed him, cursed him and eventually cast him and his followers out of Makkah? He bore it all with patience and continued his mission. What is our mission today? Yes, we should be insulted, but we should also use the opportunity to be better, not worse than our enemies. And why don't we exhibit our love for Allah's Messenger, pbuh with better relations among the Muslims? Better development and education in an Islamic framework without the fear of repression in the name of Islam or more intellectual and spiritual slavery in the name of democracy and freedom. And we say we love our Prophet . . . . Show me the love! ! ! Allah protect and guide us all.

  43. ahmed asgher from bahrain

    firstly, the god i believe in can not be intimidated by mere men. so insulting Him does not worry me. however, to hide behind freedom of speach and insult a revered figure is no less than swearing at someone's mother under the guise of freedom of speach coz muslims love their prophet more than their parents - most of your leaders know this just like the gitmo us soldiers who trash the quran know how insulting it is to muslims and do it precisely for that reason - to insult. you might as well swear at all our mothers. i prefer to call it ignorance, but what is this civilisation that the pillars of its foundation stand thro insulting another? you dare not insult jews or even call holocaust a 'myth' for fear of being dragged into the court as zundel is being treated right now in germany. how come with one breath you denounce any criticism of state of israel whilst giving yourself every right to dengerate muslims and everything they hold dear. perhaps it is you who should search your soul for traces of anti-semecism, for prophet mohammad was a true semite. besides no muslim worth his nettle would insult christ or any prophets of judaism. the quran revers them all and mentions them by name. the point about christ is whether he was god or not and even by bible standrads this is debateable but no muslim would mock him but mock the belief held about him. notice the difference. you are right to criticise muslims for not following their true faith but any intelligent person would abstain from criticising a figure he does not know much about. it is like attacking the traffic light coz some drivers fail to respect traffic rules. 'to demean' is the opposite of 'to respect' and freedom of speach is the vague excuse for those who do not know the difference between the tww.

  44. mohamed raffi from australia



  45. friend..

    dear dione...

    r u a christian or a jew?u said religion does not come under freedom of speech..then do one thing ask the same newpapers to potray u r pope or som high peris in a insulting an shameful way...if insulting mohammed is right to speech this is also a right but why didnt they do it? it will hurt their own feelings , their own religion..and they will have to face the consequecne from their society far as i understood islam is the only religion that have no mythologies..its al true in islam..holy quran itself is a standing challenge till can an illiterate man like mohammed can say unkonwn n unseen things that happened many year before him n that will come long after his death?every human who have a bit of COMMON SENSE(unlike you)will understand thats he is definitely a person who is guided by the god all wise all insulting him even if its a right act is very shameful

    come on make a cartoon abt ur religious person..come on do it!!! u r such a heartless people who dont have any protest or objection in making fun of jesus n holy mary!!! true that u leave behind ur religion on sunday after the mass prayer in the church itself..

    watever they have done is wrong...absolutely wrong...the number who disagrees the article like u itself is an evidence that you have very few people on ur side...i heard human have a heart but i dont think u have'it'.anyone will feel offended on such an act.

    this itself states that u western people have lost a word from ur life"consideration for others feelings".u dont have such a thing..

  46. Ayoub from Canada

    Muhamed the messenger of God was sent as a sign of mercy to mankind from God, he never preached violence against any race or religion, he specificaly banned violence agianst the innocent, when you ridicule him...whats left for the " moderate " muslims in thier debate agianst the " radicals" who show indefferance in thier attacks against thier enemies

  47. c from usa/mex

    Yakub - Nicely put. I think you git the nail on the head with your statements.

    Nusraat - You state "no Muslim ever published a picture of Christ if they did the same thing would be happening now." But the fact is that, and as Yakub stated, we Christians find it very insulting when Muslims state that Jesus is not the son of God and part of the Trinity. Your imams state it all the time. I have heard it over and over again on this site and islamicity. But most of my Christian friends don't care what Muslims say about our faith. In a secular democracy the law protects the individual rights to state their mind with in a few limitations. Muslims, Christians, and Jews are protected alike. We usually don't go on rampages to limit freedom of speech, but we have gone on rampages to protect it. Totally the opposite of your society. Why would you want to limit your self or anyone else.

    (Now that I think about it about 1000 years ago we did go on several rampages called the Crusades but since then we have evolve mostly into a secular democracy.)

  48. Anonymous

    Yakub - Nicely put. I think you git the nail on the head with your statements.

    Nusraat - You state "no Muslim ever published a picture of Christ if they did the same thing would be happening now." But the fact is that, and as Yakub stated, we Christians find it very insulting when Muslims state that Jesus is not the son of God and part of the Trinity. Your imams state it all the time. I have heard it over and over again on this site and islamicity. But most of my Christian friends don't care what Muslims say about our faith. In a secular democracy the law protects the individual rights to state their mind with in a few limitations. Muslims, Christians, and Jews are protected alike. We usually don't go on rampages to limit freedom of speech, but we have gone on rampages to protect it. Totally the opposite of your society. Why would you want to limit your self or anyone else.

    (Now that I think about it about 1000 years ago we did go on several rampages called the Crusades but since then we have evolve mostly into a secular democracy.)

  49. Azah from Singapore

    The Arab and Muslims around the world must learn and understand about western freedom and expression and speech. The Arabs must also learn that insulting and disrespecting others are part of the western cultures .

    Ironically these western peoples are mostly Christian faith. Christian forbids insulting others and teaches respect. Are these Christians Christians Extremist ? What if Muslim does something like this to Jesus (PBUH) ? God only knows what will be the reaction of Western world.

    Going back to the freedom of expression and speech . When Iran president said that Holocust was a HOAX, why were there huge uproar among the Western peoples ? Isn't that Freedom of Speech and Expression ? Isn't that contradict to their current actions ? Why DOUBLE STANDARD.

  50. khadija Mansoor from India

    I challenge anyone to give evidence of abuse and insult of any religious figure of any religion by Muslims so why do non Muslims feel the need to insult ours?This is no question of freedom of speech merely bigotry and unreasoning hatred of ISLAM.they could have used any other figure ,say Bin Laden,to get across their point but why Prophet Mohammad if not to encourage misconceptions of Islam?this is how ignorant people are mislead about the real tenets of a great religion.I wonder if after all those sex scandals in the catholic church this paper would have found takers for a juicy caricature of the pope!By now people should know the depth of the love and esteem that Muslims have for their Prophet and refrain from this kind of cheap behaviour and then bravado and then being forced to eat humble pie!


    Deeply ingrained malice towards Prophet Muhammad is nothing new. He suffered abundant ridicule and abuse in his own lifetime at the hands of his people. But since the Prophet's impact on the course of human history has continued to be so fundamentally profound and everlasting, the assassination attempts on his character have continued apace throughout the fourteen centuries since his passing. Under academic guises like Orientalism, whole disciplines have dedicated themselves to projecting warped interpretations of his persona in order to fallaciously discredit his message. Such momentous ongoing efforts are deemed necessary given that theological defeat of the cardinal Islamic doctrine of the unity of God and His immateriality has failed miserably.

    Equally troubling though is the agitated reaction to this latest round of abuse directed at the Prophet, with a certain minority among the larger Muslim community demanding redress in ways he himself never utilized. Even the most biased observer would be hard pressed to find the Prophet ever sanctioning threats, kidnappings, beheadings or wanton destruction of property as a response to personal insults against him.

    The Prophet hated peoples' idolatrous beliefs, not the people themselves. His whole life is a testimony to the achievement of excellence in the use of reason, not anger, as a means of transforming individual human beings, and through them, entire nations and empires. Anyone claiming him as their guide would do well to channel their zeal into acquiring his methods of moving hearts and minds as he dealt with his adversaries and delivered the Truth to mankind. The Holy Qur'an, the only religious text to survive the ravages of time completely unaltered, clearly shows the way:

    "The Unbelievers say: "No messenger are thou." Say: "Enough for a witness between me and you is God, and such as have knowledge of the Book." (13:43)

  52. Nusraat from united kingdom


    i think that it is fair if muslims protest peacefully. there are so many non muslims who think that what is happening is not right but the truth is all muslims respect islam. i have read another article where it said that jews and christians have been mocked before but the fact is that no muslim ever published a picture of christ if they did the same thing would be happening now. non muslims have perhaps said or portrayed jesus in a manner that is not correct but if christians had the same iman as muslims they would have done something about it. i also think that christians and other religions should study other religions before they judge them as i have studied christianity and trust me there is not alot of differences between islam and christians but than again even if they had to study it they eyes will still be closed as they believe only what they want to.

    it is very nyc to see that all muslims have come together and that shows how united we are as muslims.

  53. withoutaclue from USA

    All intolerant religions (redundancy) are fair game. Until this type of "abuse" causes no repercussions whatever the inhabitants of this planet will never be able to live together in peace.

    It is time that all reasonable people express their outrage and outright disrespect at the small mindedness of religious fundamentalists of all sects who believe that infidels, unbelievers and apostates should be killed or otherwise excluded from society.

    Until the publication of such depictions of religious satire can be made without the reactionary response we have seen thus far, we will always be at risk for mutual destruction.

  54. Servent of Allah from USA

    Asalaamu Alaykum Warhmatulaahi Wabarakaatu. After the Islamic greeting I would like to make a du'aa for the Muslims who protested against this terrible act. Even though Muslims do not have great respect in the west, we must still voice our opions and speak the truth. Mainly, the lack of oness in Islam brought about this issue in many non-muslim countries. Lastly, I would like to piont out that the Day of Judgement is not that far away. Oh Muslims be aware of your actions and your dealing with people. Oh Allah please forgive our faults and mishaps and unite us Muslims on One. Amiin. Asalaamu Alaykum Warhmatulaahi Wabarkaatu.

  55. muslima from USA

    To those who cannot understand the reaction of Muslims to the cartoons, I invite you to please look around what Muslims have been subjected to all over the world. You cannot deny that the Western powers have collectively punished the whole Muslim world for the alleged crimes of some.

    Western media have demonized Muslims over and over, before 911 until now. These continuous campaign of degradation of over a billion and a half people has to stop.

    Do not see this incident as an isolated case, but part of the greater picture, then you might finally understand.

  56. Rauf from cda


    Good article as is expected from Mr Siddiqui.

    The West stands exposed of its ill intention/vbiews of Islam. And trust me they will not mend their ways. North America is not too civilized about it either-only showing a little better behaviour. I pray and hope that every Muslim country boycotts the Danish products from many years to come. (And include France etc if necessary). Trust me they will need you more.

    We must not take this matter lighly.

    Let's join together.

  57. Yakub

    Sorry to run so long, but I have a couple more things to say on this topic. So, my fourth point is that we do not respect the things that "westerners" hold sacred. Many "western" people hold their flags to be sacred, yet they are burned in protests in muslim majority countries quite frequently. When someone burns a flag in Karachi, should Musharraf apologize and swear to make sure this sort of thing never happens again? Should other muslim countries denounce Pakistan? Should the whole world rise up in indignity against this "heinous" act? What right do we have to expect non-muslims to afford us a form of respect that we clearly do not have for them?

    Fifth, these comics are the actions of a few individuals, not the whole of Denmark. When you boycott Danish products you are hurting the economy of a nation whose muslim citizens will also suffer economic deprivation. I often hear people complain that muslims in general are persecuted for the misdeeds of a few, so how can anyone justify insulting and boycotting Danes as a group because of the "misdeeds of a few"?

    Last, and most important, there are muslim people suffering practically everywhere. Illiteracy, poor medical care, poverty, and political opression plague muslim-majority countries the world over. Our brothers and sisters are freezing to death in Pakistan, starving to death in Africa, being tortured and murdered in the Caucas, Middle East and Central Asia, and what does the muslim world do? Not much. Yet when non-muslims living in a non-Islamic country do something contrary to shari'a then all hell breaks loose. If only we could make this kind of coordinated and concerned response to the very real suffering of muslim people, maybe we could improve the condition of our ummah.


  58. Yakub

    As-salaam alaykum,

    This issue has raised quite an uproar, revealing the many forms of hipocrisy in the Muslim mind.

    First, the enemies of Islam are always at work. People almost daily say things against our religion and prophet(pbuh). They have made comments, and even comics, much more insulting and derogatory than these recent Danish creations. Why is this only now an issue?

    Second, there is much talk of a double-standard with regards to anti-Semitism. In "western" countries the code of "political correctness" makes it ostensibly wrong to express bigotry against any group, even muslims. This code, however, is only effective to the extent that people speak out against a form of prejudice, and so tolerated forms of bias continue to exist despite being considered wrong. For instance, disrespect and prejudice against women permeates "western" societies (even moreso than bias against muslims) even though it is considered wrong. Bigotry against muslims is more tolerated in some circles than that against Jews because of the negative image some "muslims" have given our most beautiful religion recently (thanks alot Mr. Bin Laden) coupled with the failure of muslims generally to elicit sympathy in the "west" as the Jews have done, not because bigotry against muslims is considered objectively less wrong. If "western" people had a better opinion of Islam, they would be less tolerant of anti-Islamic rhetoric. Which begs the question, are we muslims not responsible to create and foster a positive image of Islam?

    Third, these comics were made by non-muslims who are not responsible to obey our religious dictates in the first place, and it is just silly to expect them to, just as we are not responsible to obey the dictates of other ideologies. For example, Christians consider it blasphemous for people to say "Jesus(pbuh) is neither God nor the son of God". Should we be forbidden from saying this because it is offensive to them and contrary to their beliefs


    Thank you for your excellent comforting article.

    Mohammad Syed

  60. Helgi

    I am a christian and I do respect all religions as long as they are not involved with terrorism and any other extremist activities.

    I do not see a reason for Jyllands Posten to apologies in regards to these publist cartoons. I have been reading alot of material in regards to these cartoons and found out that pictures of Muhammed have indeed been made and publiced in eastern countries and have been let go unnoticed. All this demonstartion thing which seems to have been sparked by few innocent cartoons has obviously got a deeper meaning/background to it. Why should the western countries bend over every time a muslim is insulted etc. isn't it enough that thousands and millions of muslims both good and bad are let to enter the western countries and live a peaceful life with, offered the same oppertunities and education as the locals. The least that should be expected of them is a thank you and a decent will to do well for themself and for all of us sake try to adapt to the western cultures.

    Enough sad.


  61. Hassan from Saudi Arabia

    Allah says in the Quraan:

    21:107 We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.

    9:33 It is He Who hath sent His Messenger with guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it).

    48:28 It is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religion: and enough is Allah for a Witness.

    61:9 It is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, that he may proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it).

  62. c from usa/mex

    Dear Muslims,

    Think of the Cartoons as a depiction of how we see you, your culture and your religion. Murderers, willing to go on a rampage of hate becuase of any reason. And it's only logical, for us, to assume that Mohamed the first in your religion, to be the root of the problem.

    Please don't be surprise by the Mohamed cartoons, and be assured that he is not the first religious figure to be depicted in a degrading manner. Jesus and the Virgin Mary have been depicted in worse ways. Jews have too suffered. It is Democracy at its best in a very very ugly way.

    Your response to the cartoons only re-enforces the facts that what we think is true. Violent society bent on revenge, murderers, hateful and hypocrites. This is how my society sees you because of your actions. If you really think about it, these cartoons are meant to depict how we see your society more then just being a cartoon of Mohamed. Because after all we really don't know much about him but we know much about you. Wouldn't you like to prove to us how wrong we are? Then stop behaving like you do......

  63. linu






  64. Martin Nielsen from Denmark

    As a Dane I want to correct a few small but important errors in

    this otherwise informative article. First of all, the Danish Prime

    Minister refused to talk to the Muslim Ambassadors because

    their stated purpose of the meeting was to get the government

    to punish the newspaper. For any politician to punish a

    newspaper for what it prints is offcourse totally out of the

    question. Actually a politician can not punish anyone! Just to

    make another thing clear, it is easy to imagine satirical drawings

    depicting the pope in compromising sexual positions appearing

    in a danish newspaper - if it had been revealed somehow that

    the pope had been involved in compromising sexual acts. In fact

    I have personally seen several such satirical drawings during the

    days of the pedophilia cases involving catholic priests. Also we

    have at least one radiostation that keeps airing very strong anti-

    Semitic messages, even though practically no one listen to it. I

    even think they have a newspaper too but I have never seen it

    nor do I wish to do so. But offcourse - although we danes are

    very much used to satire and ironic humor - a newspaper editor

    should have been aware of the sensitivity of Muslims regarding

    any kind of pictures of their Prophet. We are all very sorry to see

    that the world arround us hating us because of what one

    newspaper printed. We try hard not to make this crisis worse.

    Please do not contribute to make this crisis worse e.g. by hinting

    - as this article does to a "larger, and uglier, truth." Most danes

    are as most other people quite respectfull and really take pride

    in BOTH freedom of speach AND freedom of religion!

    With Sincerity and Respect, Martin Nielsen - Denmark

  65. Ali from USA

    It is definitely true that there are double standards applied whenever a Muslim is involved or Islam is involved in any situation versus other religions. This is the most outrageous defense I have heard of, "freedom of speech" to attack Islam and to demonize the character of Prophet (SAW). If a Muslim had done something like this to any other religious figure, then the western countries would have been calling emergency sessions of the UN and the European union to pass resolutions to label those groups "terrorists" and people having "extreme" and "hateful" views and this would have been a crime carrying death or life sentence so the western countries could once again shut the Muslims up "legally" with their unjust "world bodies". Where are those western leaders now, show your fairness and respect to Islam and its Prophet (SAW), remember that you and your religion(s) will be treated like you treat Islam and Muslims.

  66. Hudd from Canada

    Thomas you sidewinder! Don't even go there to suggest that Canada would ever approve with the publication of such cartoons in any of her editorials. The two notoriously Zionist-biased newspaper just exercised their right to free speech. Now ask them to publish the cartoons. I challenge you and them to get those cartoons published in Canada by any newspaper not as evidence of a wrong doing but in solidarity with Denmark! See what happens. The Canadian Muslims wouldn't need to move a finger. We have a decent government here, thanks God! So what the two notorious Canadian newspaper opined is rainwater. Talk is cheap,"just do it". The reputable Toronto Star on the other hand, played the card of political correctness. Stupidity is inherent to anti-social conduct and many so often very obvious!


  67. Charles Jacks from USA

    A boycott is just as much a form of freedom of speech as being intentionally insulting. Such things go too ways. If the east were to flex its economic muscle a little more often, possibly the west would learn a little more intercultural manners (I slay myself ROTFL). The author made a valid point, insufficiently emphasized, that "We can be certain that the editors publishing the Muhammad caricatures would not smear their pages with anti-Semitic graffiti." Such would have brought clear and outspoken denunciations across the globe. But insulting Islam and Muslims is seen as fair game in much of the west.

    What interests me is that neither the publishers nor the author of this article realize that the cartoons and the attitude being displayed is in fact anti-semiticism. It would behoove the Muslims to educate the world that at its root anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim acts and attitudes are no different in any way from the European and American acts and attitudes that lead to the ghettos, night of broken glass and all that followed. It would probably be much more effective to call it anti-semiticism (Muslims being linguistically as well as religiously and frequently genetically Semitic).

    The one light in the depths of the darkness Europe is showing and the Jews and Papacy are remaining silently complacent over is that the French editor that was sacked was sacked by a Christian. True he was an Egyptian Christian and therefore probably more cosmopolitan in outlook but a Christian non the less.

  68. r.mckenzie from england

    i agree wholeheartedly with your comments.freedom of speech is one thing but to be so insensative and disrepectfull to a nations most cherished belief is totally wrong. i am not a muslim or indeed a follower of any religon but i feel that the nation of islam has every right to be outraged

  69. Ali Baba from USA

    The real reason for the US and its allies being militarily involved in the middle east is all about oil and gas. The US government is thoroughly corrupt. As is often the case, it is the citizens of a country who are the last to know since much of the corruption is taking place elsewhere - intese media coverage not withstanding.

    However, the islamic movement is also thoroughly corrupt. Moslems have been preying on other moslems for centuries. That seems to be acceptable. It's just not acceptable when westerners prey upon moslems. It's kind of like a team sport.

    Americans confuse patriotism with christianity. Not only is God not a republican, He is not even an American. What a shock!!!

    On the other hand, Allah isn't a sunni or a shia. He's not even an arab. He probably doesn't even live in the middle east....Another shock!!

    On both sides of any religious issue there are popularists who seek influence, power, money or glory by manipulating the ignorant masses. his is true in america and it is true throughout all of Islam. It almost completely confuses the efforts of decent, hardworking, moral and ethical Christians and Moslems.

    What should occur is for the REAL mases to rise up and eliminate those among us (Christian and Islamic) who preach violence and practice corruption.

    Do you want to know who they are? They are the ones who have adequate clothing? Who eat well. They have nice cars and sometimes chauffers. They often appear in front of cameras and are often quoted in the press. They claim to be the voice of the 'people'.

    When is the last time one of these pretenders has asked you for your opinion.

    Lastly, this issue of the western world not showing proper respect for Allah and offending the delicate sensitivities of the Islamic world. What a load of garbage. The western world is under no such obligation. Western politicians are responsible for not offending the delicate sentivities of the people in THEIR countries.

  70. Thomas

    Two reputable Canadian papers the Globe and Mail, and th National Post both came out with editorials defending the Danish Newspaper's actions. The Toronto Staris not as highly regarded, came out against free speech. With editorials like that we can see why, the newspaper would not be as highly regarded.

  71. Adam Ibrahim Muhammad from Nigeria

    I thought non-muslims, since after the case of Salman Rusdie, will have by now have an idea of the consequence of making any image and saying it is that of the prophet (SAW), not to talk of a caricature for that matter!. This is a gravious breach of trust. We learnt that the OIC will soon issue a fatwa on this. Let them be fast, cos the muslims are boiling already. This just cannot go on like this.

  72. Doin Phine

    Mr. Haroon Siddique believes that religion should be exempt from free speech. Shame on you. In the West there is a long tradition of making less then positive comments about religion. Nothing happened to them then, and nothing should happen to Jyllands-Posten now.

    Just two quotes to prove my point;

    "All natural institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." From The Age of Reason. Mr. Thomas Payne ([1737-1809] American writer, an important figure in the American Revolution with his pamphlets like "Common Sense", and "The Crisis"


    "Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies."

    Thomas Jefferson [1743-1826] 3rd American president, author, scientist, architect, educator, and diplomat.

    And a quote for the editor of the Toronto Star, who seems ready to give away the so precious right of Free Speech. You who are suppose to defend free speech, and are so ready to give it away. Shame.

    "Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech."

    - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American public official, writer, scientist, and printer who played a major part in the American Revolution

    Final quote for the public also from Benjamin Franklin;

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    Religion is no more then an Ideology, and deserves no protection, in actually religion deserves to be criticized in every possible instance. The day that any ideology is exempt from free speech, the future of the world will darken. believes that religion should be exempt from free speech. Shame on you. In the West there is a long tradition of making less then positive comments about religion. Nothing happened to them then, and nothing should happen to Jyllands-Posten now.

    Just t